The plurilingual subject and the learning process

Be aware of one’s linguistic profile is a first step in the plurilingual approach: the learner here reconstructs her/his own linguistic history (How many languages he/she speaks, when he/she learns them, how he/she uses it, etc.) and explores the linguistic and cultural diversity that surrounds it in all the fields: private, academic, professional and social (quarter, city/village, region, country).

Know how to enhance one’s linguistic profile and know one’s linguistic and cultural environment

The intercomprehensive learner-user will be more efficient if he/she is able to paint her/his own linguistic self-portrait: languages known and levels of control, needs, learning aims, etc. The process called “portfolio” and also the tool “portfolio” allows the learner to develop skills to become autonomous in the management of her/his own learning process.

Enhance one’s linguistic profile

  • Identify the languages that we use and determine the different contexts of communication in which we use them, to be aware of the plurilingual and pluricultural dimension of one’s profile.

The tutor can ask to the learners what language(s) they use in these fields: private, social, professional and academic. We could call to visual metaphors (flowers, diagrams, self-portraits of languages, icons, representing different fields used, etc.) that will allow to the learner to have a whole vision of her/his linguistic uses.

  • Organize and present partial skills of languages in one’s profile (comprehension, production, interaction, mediation) highlighting experiences of languages training in school contexts or extracurricular contexts, including during the multilingual and multicultural contacts.

Thanks to a linguistic biography (models present in the European Languages Portfolio validated by the Council of Europe and available in many languages: cf. portfolios), the subject could specify her/his level of skills for each language of her/his repertoire and make differences according to the linguistic activities (speak, read, write…). The tutor will have to insist on the legitimacy of each linguistic knowledge/skill, acquired in a formal, informal or in continuing education context, and on the interest to acquire others. In a way, the tutor will have to provoke a linguistic, mutilicultural and multilingual surveillance.

Know one’s linguistic and cultural environment

  • Recognize languages and cultures present in the environment on which we live, in one’s family, at school, at work, in the mediatised sphere.

The tutor will begin asking to learners what languages are around them, in their quarter, their city in order to acquire a whole vision of the languages with which they are in contact. A more active approach of the notion of linguistic landscape, that involves organizing a survey on the field from the learners that could observe the languages present in the public display (advertisement and institutional communication) in the places of the social life (markets, restaurants, transports…).

Organize one’s learning process in Intercomprehension

The autonomy is a long-term aim that the learner of languages has to acquire all through her/his school education and during her/his training extracurricular experiences. In IC the organization abilities and the management of her/his own learning process are also enhanced: learn to learn.

In IC, a majority of the available tools are digital and give access to resources and features like training modules autonomously. Moreover, ICT allow communicating online with interlocutors worldwide.

Organize autonomously one’s learning process

  • Define doable aims, regarding one’s needs of communication and learning process, taking into account that the specifications in IC change according to: the degree of closeness between the involved language(s) and her/his referent language(s), the type of texts, the contexts of communication.

The tutor will guide the learners to become progressively aware of the aims that they can reach thanks to IC and according to their profile, their needs and on the basis of an initial assessment or a discovery activity (see the sheets BAI/IAB (Interactive Activities Basis of Miriadi).

In self-learning process, the subject will be guided by teaching existing materials.

  • Define a process: choose a work method, locate the available resources (material, tools of reference) and the available contexts of learning (digital platforms, courses in class) and define a schedule.

An important number of tools exist for the intercomprehensive approach to which the learner can have resort to reach their aims. They are differentiated by the audience (children, teenagers and adults); the different families of languages targeted (Romances, Slavs, Germanics, “beyond the languages”); the linguistic activities at stake (comprehension, oral and written interaction). Here is a (non exhaustive) list, on the website Galapro, of IC projects: Proyectos, Intercomprension, Galapro.

Adopt reflexive learning processes

  • Adopt cognitive strategies (spread, association, classification, transfer of knowledge, inference…) and learning approaches (notes taking, memorization, summary and translation) according to the situation and the learning goals.

Each people have their own way to learn. This learning style constitutes a basis resource on which develops deliberately strategies and explicit methods.

  • Take advantage of the previous learning experiences.

The learner beneficiates of the previous learning experiences to anticipate the difficulties and organize her/his work. Otherwise, the intercomprehensive method means also some deconditioning compared to the learning/teaching methods focused on one language.

  • Self-regulate one’s learning process: change one’s aims and choice according to the situation, the intercomprehensive method, the successes and the eventual difficulties.

It is important to know how to change one’s own way to act over the training facing eventual difficulties, unforeseen, changes of aims, to continue one’s process and not be discouraged. This implies to do regular assessments during the training.

  • Evaluates one’s learning process (efficiency of one’s approach, difficulty of the task, progress realized, levels reached).

Learn autonomously means know how to make a final assessment, the tutor will guide the learn to find her/his bearings toward a kind of assessment that is in accordance with the settled aims at the beginning of the process

Take advantage of the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for online intercomprehension

  • Participate to the collective writing of a plurilingual document on a wiki

Many scenarios forecast the collective realization of plurilingual documents that enhance all the work of interaction. The wiki is a tool particularly efficient for the implementing of collaborative tasks of writing.

  • Participate to a chat or a plurilingual forum

The online communication requires the knowledge of some codes of intercomprehensive communication including accept to express yourself in different languages, make the effort to make comprehensible a written message and to understand the message of another (cf. the plurilingual an intercultural interaction). For the observation of the functioning of the online written interaction, examples are accessible in the forums of the Galanet platform, the Galapro platform and de Babelweb platform

  • Produce an audio or a video document: know how to register with favorable conditions to the comprehension of another (ensure the quality of the recording and the image, to sound environment, the position of the face, etc.)

The oral comprehension in IC can be about the continual comprehension of an oral document realized by your own means. Thanks to the given technology i.e. smartphones, technical means are now available to the largest number possible of non professional users. However, it is necessary to make the document clear and comprehensible so that the listener that doesn’t understand the language can understand it. You will find some examples of videos in the self-training area on the Galanet platform. We could begin a video self-presentation of the participants at an exchange.

Develop one’s availability in front of languages and cultures and in front of their learning process

To be confronted to languages that are not necessarily in the range of the most known languages at an international level stimulates the curiosity of the learners and call upon them to be more opened to the linguistic and cultural diversity. The descriptors of this subsection aim to the development of attitudes of thought on one’s own representations and attitudes of valorization of partial viewpoints.

Open up to the linguistic and cultural diversity

  • Identify and make an evolution on one’s presentations about languages and cultures; be aware of the resulting means by the cultural and linguistic ethnocentrism.

A set of descriptors regarding the social skills is available in part A (Attitudes) of the CARAP (CARAP, social skills). In IC the tutor can offer activities in which the learners are confronted to the linguistic diversity to arise their individual and collective representations (for example, Eu e as linguas romànicas).

The tutor ensures that theses representations evolve by specific interventions: we can follow for example the way in which the representations on a language/culture have been transformed in a given context at different eras; confront the divergent perspectives on the same theme in a group culturally and linguistically mixed.

These thoughts will help the learners to put their own systems of reference into perspective and to waver about the nature of universality (cf. The autobiography of the intercultural meeting published by the Council of Europe and especially the Representations of Another. An autobiography of the intercultural meeting through the visual media and for the young learners).

  • Be involved in the comprehension of the whole languages and the varieties of languages present in the communicative situation without being limited to languages of one’s choice.

To bring the learner recognizing the value of all the languages-cultures beyond their institutional and political statutes, the intervention of the tutor is sometimes necessary to ensure the artistic, scientific and cultural heritage that is expressed in languages and the less spread varieties (songs, poems, biographies of emblematic figures…). We can invest on the aesthetical pleasure and on the fun approaches.

Accept one’s learner’s position in IC

  • Accept to be temporarily in an insecure linguistic situation: accept that you will not understand everything, do not be blocked in front of difficulties

The tutor can underline that the comprehension of messages is never total in a communication in first language. In IC, it is about reach an acceptable level of comprehension according to the purposes that we offer. For example, at an initial level the learner can simply recognize the nature of a text and grasp the main theme. We will make the difference between not understand everything and understand nothing to enhance the fragmented or approximate comprehension and not the literal one (cf. Levels of progression in textual skills).