We live in an intercultural environment and that is why we need to develop intercultural competences. Foreign languages are a big part of that. In Camilla Spalivieros class students will learn that, instead of learning one language by one individually, they should focus on the aspects the individual languages share and study them through a pluralistic approach.
Can you share some details about your course „Effective Learning Strategies in Foreign Language Classes“? What exactly is it about?
The course will explore the most effective learning strategies regarding the acquisition of both Italian and Spanish as foreign languages through a pluralistic approach. Students will be asked to run a self-evaluation task on both languages according to the new descriptors of the CEFR Companion Volume (2020), and to reflect on the individual variables of second language acquisition. Students will then be trained in different learning strategies in order to promote the development of linguistic abilities in the two foreign languages, enhancing their multilingual competences and ultimately reaching autonomy. Instead of focusing on one language at a time, using a pluralistic approach to foster the simultaneous acquisition of two foreign languages represents the novelty of the course.
What do you want your students to take away with them after attending your course?
Upon finishing the course students will be able to use learning strategies transversally, that is not just for the acquisition of Italian and Spanish, but also within different foreign language classes. Moreover, students will be able to consider language learning strategies from both learners’ and teachers’ perspectives. During the course they will experiment activities in Italian and Spanish through pluralistic approaches, and they will create new activities based on similar inputs as well.
Why is studying a foreign language especially relevant today?
Since we are living in an increasingly multilingual and multicultural world, including the heterogeneous composition of school and university classes, the study of a foreign language is particularly relevant today. It should include the development of intercultural competences, and it should be promoted through a pluralistic approach. Instead of studying foreign languages individually, they should be considered simultaneously by emphasizing the common aspects they share in order to enhance students’ linguistic repertoires, promote multilingualism, and support the development of transversal language learning skills.
Camilla Spaliviero teaches at the University of Klagenfurt at the Romance Studies Institute. In March 2020 she received her doctorate from the Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia.