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Promoting authentic language acquistion in multilingual contexts
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project PALM (Promoting authentic language acquisition in multilingual contexts) aims to encourage 6-14 year-old speakers of English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Ladin and Spanish to produce authentic texts (written, audio- and video recorded) in their coursework and free-time with the goal to create interesting reading and listening material for learners of the same age who want to study these languages. About 4,000 texts from eight content areas ranging from CEFR level A1 to B2 will be produced by approximately 500 pupils from 12 schools in five countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Hungary and UK) and in seven languages. About 1,000 texts selected by teachers and pupils will go to a Moodle course. About 750 texts selected by teacher trainees and their trainers will be word processed and teaching and learning materials to accompany these texts will be produced based on a corpus designed from the authentic samples. A selection of 300 texts will be supplemented by assessment tools for self- and peer assessment. All texts and materials will be published on the project platform ( = planned domain) where the participants of the project and the public will be able to comment on in a chat forum and “LIKE” the texts. Together with the project products, this process will create a virtual space for authentic plurilingual communication and exchange. Face to face meetings of small groups of learners (‘language ambassadors’) will provide additional opportunities to engage in real-life communicative exchanges and to collect authentic language from plurilingual communication. The project PALM will close with two symposia for teachers and experts as well as one for children and teenagers to provide final plurilingual and intercultural opportunities for exchange. The platform will be available after project work has finished and provide a plurilingual resource for learners and teachers in eight content areas and seven languages that comply with curricula across Europe. The project outcomes produced by PALM are envisaged to change the individual learning situations of the participating learners and also those of learners using the materials that will be generated. The materials produced through PALM will encourage a learning and teaching approach based on larger lexical units (chunks, fixed- and semi-fixed phrases) used by the target group. It will develop basic communicative competence at a very early time in the learning process through its functional approach and its connection to the experience and real world of the target group. Successful communicative exchanges will create positive experience which can be transferred from one language to another if similarly familiar and authentic situations are to be handled through strategies of intercomprehension. The authentic texts and the strategic approach to language learning will encourage the development of metacognitive strategies that can be employed in other new languages to be learnt making use of translanguaging skills and mediation. Through making use of texts created in plurilingual settings, researchers, teachers and trainees will gain insight into the processes of language acquisition and develop a repertoire of methods they found successful to make use of in multilingual classrooms. Their insights and the methodological procedures they will develop in so doing will be published in a handbook for teachers in addition to the texts and materials on the project platform. This will encourage teachers and learners to make use of for language learning in plurilingual settings which will provide the first resource that allows a strategic approach based on materials produced by young and teenage learners for learners of the same age group in authentic situations. The long term benefits for all participants, i.e. pupils, teachers, teacher trainees and trainers are seen in their learning and in the lifelong learning opportunities for many others brought about by the use of the plurilingual project outcomes.
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