Teacher Training Competences and Subsequent Training Design for Higher Education Plurilingual Programs

Teacher Training Competences and Subsequent Training Design for Higher Education Plurilingual Programs

Fernando D. Rubio-Alcalá (Universidad de Huelva, Spain) and Saray Mallorquín (Universidad de la Laguna, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2318-6.ch003


This chapter aims to elucidate needs and competences of content teachers participating in higher education multilingual programs in order to devise a tailored training program for those contexts in which the language is not used naturally, and in which the teachers usually present some language difficulties to deliver, and students to comprehend, the lessons. The chapter starts with a discussion of the teachers' needs and follows with an analysis of the competences for CLIL teaching, offering a list of indicators which are embraced in three main dimensions: language, methodology, and emotion. These indicators provide the framework for teacher trainers and other stakeholders to design training courses. The methodology of the training has also been discussed and advised, taking the form of workshops, team teaching, reflective teaching, and other options, in both short-term and long-term bases.
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The European Union has designated language learning as an important priority in order to promote mobility and provide intercultural understanding (see http://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/142/language-policy). The European Parliament, in its resolution of 24th March 2009 on ‘Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment’, reiterated its support for EU policies in the field of multilingualism and called on the Commission to draw up measures aimed at promoting linguistic diversity. Thus, different actions have sprung from the European Parliament and other agencies. For instance, the ET (education & training) 2020 framework provides opportunities to build best practices in education policy, gather and disseminate knowledge, and advance educational policy reforms at the national and regional levels in Europe. The framework is based on a lifelong learning approach, and therefore addresses outcomes from early childhood to adult vocational and higher education. It is designed to cover learning in all contexts: formal, non-formal and informal. As a result, foreign language competence is then one of the basic skills that all EU citizens need to acquire in order to improve their educational and employment opportunities.

Consequently, the Member States have deployed plans for language learning, supported by diverse actions encapsulated in training programs. In Spain, the Language Policy Commision Board (Bazo et al., 2017) makes clear that plurilingual programs are grounded on three pillars: lecturers’ accreditation, training programs, and incentives. The training programs are addressed to lecturers, students and administration staff. In this paper, training is targeted to lecturers, and is based on their needs and the competences they need to develop in order to be able to give successful lessons.

Key Terms in this Chapter

English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI): The use of English as a way of communication in the teaching of subjects.

Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE): The use of foreign languages to teach contents in tertiary education.

LOTS and HOTS: Lower order thinking skills and higher order thinking skills, respectively. López (2014) refers to the former as those cognitive operations which require a low degree of difficulty, such as defining, classifying, identifying, etc., and the latter as those cognitive operations which require a high degree of difficulty, such as evaluating, hypothesizing, creating, etc. CLIL methodology should include both, starting from LOTS tasks and moving then on to HOTS tasks.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL): It is a concept coined by David Marsh that is used to teach subjects by means of a foreign language, taking into account the content and the language at the same time.

Eurobarometer: Public opinion surveys that develop a wide variety of topics related to the European Union.

Pedagogical Competences: The crucial teaching and didactic skills for teachers related to the way of planning the learning situations.

Language Competences: The linguistic skills that are necessary for teachers to communicate, explain, mediate and guide students in their learning process.

Team Teaching: Collaboration of language and content teachers in plurilingual programs.

BICS and CALP: Basic interpersonal communicative skills, and cognitive academic language proficiency, respectively. Cummins (1979 AU52: The in-text citation "Cummins (1979" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , 2008) refers to the former as the type of language used for normal communication, and the latter to the academic language found in educational settings.

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