At the beginning of 2018, the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science, appreciating the long-term involvement of the Vytautas Magnus University in fostering multilingualism, proposed to them to consider applying for the Erasmus+ Key Action 3 Project.
The new priority Mainstreaming and further developing multilingual pedagogies in school education and supporting teachers and their training to deal with diversity in classrooms had just recently been announced and it fit the Institute of Foreign Languages at the VMU perfectly.
The main priority of the Institute is the plurilingual and pluricultural competence development among university students. Being a socially active and responsible community, the Institute has also been proposing in-service teacher education courses since 2005. During 2011-2013, they implemented a national project for the enhanced application of CLIL in Lithuanian secondary schools through the integration of English, German and French. That engaged 121 teachers of non-linguistic subjects in courses of language and didactics. Over these years, the experience and interest in multilingual education and the close cooperation with secondary schools grew.
The Ministry’s approach in early 2018 started a chain of successful events. The Institute received the funding to attend an information seminar in Brussels, where they were lucky to meet Professor Mercè Bernaus Queralt – an inspiring and competent expert in multilingual pedagogy. In a moment, like-minded scholars and policymakers from Catalonia, Belgium, Portugal and Slovenia joined the brainstorming group. The rest is, as they say, history – the Listiac project received co-funding from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union in December 2018, and the project (now led by Åbo Akademi University, Finland) officially started in mid-February 2019.
PHOTOS: © Indrė Baltakytė