The Language and Education team (LED) researches ways of improving the linguistic education of learners in primary, secondary and tertiary education in a formal education context, where the target language is both the vehicle and the object of learning. In a necessarily complementary fashion, LED carries out research into the use of the first language (L1) and the second or foreign language (L2) to assist the learning of curricular content. Taking Freire’s dichotomy (reading the word vs. reading the world) as a starting point, we are interested in exploring the spiral that leads from ‘learning to speak another language’ to ‘using speech as an efficient way to learn an academic subject’. That is to say, LED is interested in exploring the interrelation between a) the use and learning of first languages (L1), second languages (L2) and foreign languages (FL), and b) the use that students and teaching staff make of language as a tool to teach and learn about the world around them.
LED is a group mainly oriented towards applied research, whose ultimate goal is the formulation of educational and teacher education proposals, solidly backed up by the analysis of empirical data gathered in the classrooms of primary, secondary and tertiary schools.
We are currently pursuing the following research lines:
a) Language as an instrument for building knowledge
- Talking, reading and writing in order to learn: the use of first and foreign languages as the backbone of the curriculum.
- Academic disciplines and discursive communities: describing and characterizing the academic discourse in classrooms with a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) approach in the physical sciences, social sciences, mathematics, humanities, arts and physical education, and in ICLHE (Integration of Content and Language in Higher Education) classrooms corresponding to different areas of knowledge.
- Defining, characterizing and developing school-based interactive competence and academic interactive competence.
- How academic performance can be enhanced through peer interaction techniques such as pair or group work in the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom.
- Computer-mediated interaction in the ESL classroom.
- Describing and characterizing the ways in which CLIL teachers assist students in English-medium contexts in the appropriation of both the target academic content and the FL.
b) Teaching and learning L2 and FL in the school environment
- How academic performance can be enhanced through peer interaction techniques such as pair or group work in in Second or Foreign Language classrooms.
- Computer-mediated interaction in the German as a Second Language classroom.
- Defining and developing communicative competence and interactive competence in a FL in the school environment.
- The promotion of meaningful learning in context through tasks, projects and content-rich sequences.
- The development of tools and strategies for developing assessment tools that can be used for certifying language competences: grids, portfolios, European Language Portfolio, self- and co-assessment.
c) Initial and ongoing teacher education in and for internationalization
- Designing and evaluating formative models of collaborative research in partnership.
- Identifying spaces and methods for facilitating cooperation between teachers of linguistic and academic content as they work towards a truly integrated approach.
- Initial teacher education in/of foreign languages through a reflection on the teaching practice itself based on empirical data (the so-called Bellaterra Model).
- Co-teaching or tandem teaching as a strategy in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), English-Medium Instruction (EMI) and Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE) classrooms.
- Monitoring the deployment of the English-medium Primary Education Bachelor’s Degree (EMI-PEBD) offered at the UAB as seen by all participants, and assessing its outcomes with regard to the learning of English and subject content as well as participant satisfaction.
- Training university staff involved in English teaching, creating innovative and transferable experiences.
- Professionalizing the End-of-Degree Project (TFG) and Master’s Dissertation (TFM) so that they favour methods based on reflection on the practice of teaching itself, backed by empirical data.
- Guided videoconferencing with members of other European and North American institutions as tools for internationalizing teacher training.
d) Curricular development and promotion of multilingual competences
- Communicative competence and an integrated linguistic curriculum.
- Identification of organizational forms that respond to the diverse needs of the different academic contexts explored and of their student bodies, forms able to foster the integrated development of first and additional languages.