Egilea: case study authors, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia and Eneko Antón

Case Study 4 : towards a multilingual model of education in the Basque Country

Linguistic diversity is one of the great strengths of the European Union. To foster the potential of linguistic diversity to support multilingual competences of students and help overcome its possible challenges, innovative policies and practices in language teaching must be implemented in European classrooms, schools, regions and countries –taking into account pedagogical shifts and ongoing societal trends such as migration and the increasing mobility of individuals. To transform language education in Europe, it is necessary to improve the language competences of learners by not only helping them to acquire new languages, but also to maintain and develop their skills in their own languages. It is further necessary to deconstruct the existing hierarchy between languages, and to apply an inclusive perspective towards all languages, both in education and in society. In addition, languages should be used as resources in the classroom, building on students’ linguistic repertoires for learning. This includes discontinuing strategies and practices that separate the target language from other languages students know, and encouraging those strategies and practices that allow transition from one language to another, resulting in a positive transfer of skills and concepts and the strengthening of each of the languages. In this context, the main purpose of this report is to inspire educators and policy makers to innovate and implement forward-looking policies and practices in language education, by exploring novel approaches and strategies for language teaching across in Europe that support learners’ plurilingualism.