Transnational settings and multilingual approaches in CALL Teacher Education

IMG_1497Bianka Fuchs (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis),
Stina Hacklin (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Christine Schmider (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Shona Whyte (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Katja Zaki (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg )

Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms, Frankfurt, February 17-18, 2016


The digital revolution and migratory movements are two of the main phenomena that have been changing and shaping Europe’s foreign language classrooms in recent years. Learning and teaching environments are characterized by hybridity in many forms: by an increased cultural and linguistic heterogeneity on one hand, and a wide range of potential multimedia arrangements on the other, though these need not be seen independently from each other. In order to prepare future teachers for those dynamic challenges and possibilities, an awareness of difference – and the correlated necessity of pedagogical and methodological differentiation, with or without CALL practices – is one of the key components of any competence model in teacher education.

In this context, the focus of our paper will rest on the perspective of future language teachers and their awareness of CALL tools – starting, however, with their role as “learners” throughout their professional development in teacher education settings. Consequently, we aim to discuss multilingual and multimodal CALL practices (cf. Levy 1997) in a transnational web 2.0 environment, which ought to enable student teachers to explore what they are later expected to adapt and apply – such as working with digital tools and tandem arrangements in their own teaching.

We begin with a short overview of the EU-LLP-Project SoNetTE (Social Networks in Teacher Education) which aims to virtually bring together teacher education students and in-service teachers in order to experience and develop research-based educational concepts through the use of CALL tools. The combination of an integrative CALL approach (cf. Bax & Chambers 2006) and differentiated study groups makes it possible for some 90 future teachers of English, Spanish, French and German to take part in a transnational blended learning environment, in which they study in subject groups and binational tandems (e.g., how to use audio-visual materials and correlated digital tools in the foreign language classroom).

On the basis of two case studies, we then aim to illustrate how these learning collaborations may be beneficial in many dimensions of a competence-oriented teacher education programme (cf. Hubbard 2002; Fitzpatrick-Davies 2003). The first is cultural: how the virtually multicultural learning environments create linguistic and cultural immersion contexts where future teachers gather a lot of knowledge of the target language and culture studied – as well as an reflective view on their own. The second is intercultural: the emphasis rests on how the topic in focus, too, is always discussed, negotiated and creatively re-constructed with learners (and future teachers) from other European settings, once again fostering key competences such as changes of perspective, a tolerance of ambiguity and critical judgement. Finally, we will discuss how the use of different multimedia tools which future teachers use in their role as learners in the course promises not only a profound insight, but also a reflective use of multimedia tools in their own future classroom – for and with linguistically and culturally heterogeneous learning groups, be it within national borders or beyond.



Transnational learning environments – digital media and multilingual practices – CALL in foreign language education – collaborative learning and virtual tandems.


Chambers, A., & Bax, S. (2006). Making CALL work: Towards normalisation. System, 34(4), 465-479.
Fitzpatrick, A., & Davies, G. (2003). The impact of new information technologies and Internet on the teaching of foreign languages and on the role of teachers of a foreign language. International Certificate Conference, Frankfurt. Retrieved from http://ec. europa. eu/languages/documents/doc495_en. pdf (October 11, 2012).
Hubbard, P., & Levy, M. (2006). The scope of CALL education. Teacher education in CALL, 3-20.

Levy, M. (1997). Computer-assisted language learning: Context and conceptualization. Oxford University Press.



Multiplying interactions: iTILT workshop in Nice, January 2016

The first iTILT multiplier event was held in Nice on 13 January 2016; our workshop theme was interaction in language education with technologies.

Participants included trainee teachers, in-service language teachers, teacher trainers and educators in primary, secondary and university sectors, and from a number of different language backgrounds (English, French, German). The workshop was opened by Christophe Bansart, head of Innovative Pedagogy at the University of Nice, the service which manages the university’s participation in iTILT. The programme included a keynote talk by Euline Cutrim Schmid, our project partner from Germany who outlined the pedagogical orientation of the project and our data collection protocol, providing examples from a video communication exchange involving young EFL learners in German and French primary schools. The morning programme also involved a choice between two parallel sessions, one on iPads with young pupils for learning English (Anita Cvetkovic and Euline Cutrim Schmid), and another on podcasting in university language education using the example of German as a foreign language (Bianka Fuchs).

After a buffet lunch, afternoon participants could choose between a session on smartphones conducted by Ton Koenraad, and one on open educational practices by Shona Whyte. The day concluded with a round table which included Christine Schmider, a University of Nice colleague in the German department, who shared her impressions of the day and contributed from her perspective as head of the German Masters in Teaching (MEEF allemand). Three French teachers who are participating in iTILT were able to share their experience and plans. One of those teachers was also involved in the first iTILT project, and was able to pass on insights regarding general language teaching and the integration of digital tools, as well as advice on balancing institutional, project and individual professional objectives in collaborative projects of this kind.

This iTILT workshop thus offered an opportunity to bring together some forty language students, novice and experienced language teachers, teacher educators, stakeholders and researchers to discuss both principles of language learning and teaching and practical concerns with respect to technology use for foreign language education.