On Wednesday 11th December 2019, 14 students from the University of Klagenfurt visited the European Centre of Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz. The aim of the excursion was for students to discover more about the work of the ECML and language education in Europe.
The ECML is a Council of Europe Institution based in Austria. Working at the Centre is a team of language experts who are passionate about learning and teaching foreign languages. In collaboration with experts in member states, the ECML and its staff work on language education projects across Europe. Some of the key areas at the heart of the ECML’s projects are plurilingual and intercultural education, migrant education and employment and new media in language education.
During the visit, students attended an informative presentation with Catherine Seewald, Documentalist, and Elisabeth Görsdorf-Léchevin, Language Project Manager. The presentation provided students with an overview of the projects that the ECML is currently working on and information about language education in Austria. Afterwards, students were given a tour of the ECML’s Resource Centre, which offers a range of fantastic resources for both language learners and teachers, including materials for celebrating the European Day of Languages and a library of books donated by the late linguist John Trim.
The students who visited the Centre are currently taking part in Natilly Macartney’s Professional Speaking Skills course and are Bachelor students studying either English and American Studies or Teacher Education. As part of the course, students deliver a group presentation on language teaching in UK schools and colleges, specifically in English as an Additional Language (EAL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) contexts. The students also participate in group discussions about plurilingualism in schools and how teachers can incorporate students’ home languages into the classroom.
As part of the excursion to the ECML, students learnt about the teaching of English and other modern languages in Austrian schools, as well as some of the approaches to teaching German as a second language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache). In addition, they also explored how multilingual games can be used by teachers and parents to both encourage and value minority and home languages in schools and at home. Students left the Centre with many ideas and resources they could include in their teaching practices in the future.
If you would like to learn more about the ECML, or plan a visit to the Centre, you can find further information on their dedicated webpage: www.ecml.at/.
We would like to thank the ECML for hosting our group, and we look forward to visiting the Centre again in the future.