Multilingual and multicultural task-based learning scenarios: a pilot study from the MAGICC project

Álvarez, Inma and Pérez Cavana, Maria (2015). Multilingual and multicultural task-based learning scenarios: a pilot study from the MAGICC project. Language Learning in Higher Education. Journal of the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS), 5(1) pp. 59–82.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2015-0004

Abstract

In this article we report on the results of a pilot study on the use of task-based multilingual and multicultural professional scenarios for higher education teachers and learners at BA and MA level. The scenarios reflect new learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the presently under-conceptualised domain of communication in multilingual and multicultural settings (as opposed to monolingual regimes). The study was conducted as part of the work of the MAGICC project (Modularising Multilingual and Multicultural Academic Communication Competence for BA and MA level), which focused on the design of a conceptual framework based on existing practices, initiatives, tools, projects and elements from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe 2001), and in relation to multilingual and multicultural academic communicative competence, an area much less developed. We start by examining the meanings of multilingualism and plurilingualism in the context of formal education and review some of the practical pedagogical approaches that have been put forward for the introduction of a more flexible approach to language use in the classroom. We discuss in particular the pertinence of task-based learning for encouraging multilingualism. The testing of the MAGICC task-based multilingual scenarios revealed positive experiences among the users and highlighted the innovative contribution of the tasks for both students’ and teachers’ awareness of the possibilities of multilingual communication and the significant impact that a appropriate plurilingual practice can have on their self-awareness.

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