University of Southern Denmark
World of VISL -> Multilingualism Accelerator  Visual Interactive Syntax Learning  
 
 

Multilingualism Accelerator

Foreign language skills are becoming more important than ever. Today’s pupils are going to compete in an even more globalised world and cultural as well as language skills are going to be indispensable for a competitive society. The need to learn several languages, including the LWUL’s, has been confirmed by all surveys and research related to the ET 2020 strategy.

The goal of our project is to offer a “Multilingualism Accelerator” which will enable children to become multilingual faster and to be confident in their language abilities. Therefore we are building on the idea that learning a model language (in our case Esperanto) can boost the language learning skills of children and adds additional advantages as well. Several studies have shown that learning the model language Esperanto for one year increases the speed of learning of the next language by 30%! The reason is that such a model-language is very easy, it has no exceptions and it functions as a logical construct, which enables children to play with it and easily understand the underlying linguistic principles by deconstructing and rebuilding words and sentences. Thus it motivates them much more than other languages could. They develop language awareness, which helps them in a wide range of fields, connected with languages. Studies have for example shown that learning Esperanto for one year increases language awareness in the mother tongue significantly. For many languages it also fosters literacy in the mother tongue, because it is much easier to read and write, then say English or French.

An additional bonus for small children is the increased numeracy, because of the counting system in Esperanto. Teachers have observed that children help themselves in Mathematics classes with Esperanto, because it provides a clear picture of the numbers (similar to addition and multiplication). Learning Esperanto in class can also provide a great opportunity to learn about other cultures because classes can connect via internet or mobility mechanisms and communicate in a common language on an equal basis. Learning an easy model-language provides a successful inclusive experience for all children, because all can feel language learning success, not just the “talented” few. Most important of all, learning a simple model language, before learning other foreign languages equips children with a sense of achievement and self-esteem.

The results of the project will contribute to a number of priorities and topics but based on the research we expect an even broader positive effect on the learners. The concrete results of the project will be:

  • Proapedeutic materials for multilingualism acceleration in paper and electronic form: modules for 32 block-hours will be developed and materials in paper and electronic form will be produced (including a special program for automatic creation of teaching sentences) - the modules will be based on the newest research on morpheme frequency, in which findings suggest, that only 230 morphemes cover 90% of the language corpus and thus this small number enables the understanding of the language structure and logic.
  • A didactic methodology with step-by-step instructions for teachers: practical information (background information, step-by-step instructions, etc.) for teachers to enable self-guided use.
  • Online Tutorials for teachers to learn about the approach and learn basic Esperanto, needed for using the modules in classes
  • A portal for teachers with relevant materials to implement the program in classrooms: the website will include Information for teachers about the advantages of learning a model-language prior to foreign languages, Modules with downloadable materials and didactic methodology for using the materials in classrooms, Information for pupils, Materials for pupils for self-learning purposes in form of games or animations, Links to EU projects and other relevant sites, A forum to exchange experiences and approaches.
Our partnership is comprised of three schools, two faculties, an organization involved in multilingual research and education, an NGO active in the promotion of multilingualism, a publisher and a programming company. We are combining knowledge and experience of partners, who have developed materials which are quite unique and expect new and innovative approaches, which will benefit the project and our target groups.
 


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