Through this project we are making techniques for action research widely available to language teachers across Europe by establishing a community of practice and strengthening professional language teaching networks by forging links between academic expertise on action research and good practice in language classrooms. We want to show how research feeds into practice and practice feeds into research. Language teachers participating in the project will have opportunities to reflect on practice and to propose and test innovations while working collaboratively. We hope to demonstrate how action research can be beneficial to both teachers and learners in languages and can contribute to improvements in language education and support teachers in feeling more autonomous in their classrooms.
We are also designing action research tools which help to foster dialogue between teachers in different sectors and creating European models for peer learning activities which can be implemented both at school and national level.
We have organised a number of events for teachers aimed at introducing action research techniques and enabling them to develop collaborative projects to carry out in their own classrooms. These included an action research workshop for German teachers in Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania and a workshop for teachers and teacher trainers/educators from 18 European countries in Graz, Austria. Participating teachers in Graz identified their own action research interests and formulated collaborative group proposals for a set of pilot classroom projects. Collaborative projects are currently underway covering a diverse range of topics, including critical thinking skills, use of social media in language teaching, target language use, student-centred classroom activities and intercultural competence. Several projects focus on CLIL approaches.
Two participants from Ireland, Mary Kenny (ESOL and Development Officer, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board) and Kenia Puig (Languages Advisor, Post- Primary Languages Initiative) have conducted a particularly interesting project on the impact on learner autonomy of teaching vocabulary noticing strategies in EAL and MFL contexts. They concluded that teachers themselves are well placed to improve practice in their own classrooms and that teachers can feel empowered by the experience of doing action research. Mary and Kenia will be presenting their results at our network meeting in Graz in May 2018.
More information on all the collaborative projects is available here: https://www.ecml.at/ECML-Programme/Programme2016-2019/Professionallearningcommunities/Results/tabid/3040/language/en-GB/Default.aspx.
All project results and action research tools will be published on the website: http://www.ecml.at/actionresearch