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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana


25 febbraio 2022

The INDIRE report on language learning and CLIL during the pandemic is online

INDIRE has published the report A survey of language/teaching with an overview of activities in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was carried out by Letizia Cinganotto and Fausto Benedetti, INDIRE researchers, and by Gisella Langé (Ministry of Education) and Terry Lamb (Westminster University). The foreword is by Kristina Cunningham, Senior Expert of the European Commission.

The volume, compiled by INDIRE with the collaboration of representatives of the European Commission draws together the main results of the survey on foreign language teaching and learning in Italy, during the pandemic.

The first part of the publication documents the activities concerning teaching/learning foreign languages, including CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) experiences carried out by Indire and the Ministry of Education in Italian schools during the pandemic.

Among the Ministry of education’s activities, some TV programmes (such as “La scuola in tv”) but also international language projects, and research projects aimed to support online language teaching are mentioned in the volume.

INDIRE’s activities concerned webinars, round tables, panels, training activities addressed to teachers and research projects relating to didactic methods for language learning and CLIL.

The vast range of innovative activities, organised during the health emergency enabled the creation of different communities of practice that promote the awareness of the importance of plurilingual education.

In the second part of the volume, the results of a survey aimed at detecting knowledge, attitudes and reactions of language and CLIL teachers are collected, focusing in particular on learning and evaluation of foreign languages in Italian schools.

The survey, launched by INDIRE in the summer of 2020, was participated by 2,805 teachers, of which about 80% were foreign language teachers ​​and 20% CLIL teachers.

The sample was made up of upper secondary school teachers (41.3%) and lower secondary school teachers (31.9%), but also primary school teachers (25.1%).

The main results of the survey are summarized in 6 sections, starting with “Awareness of language policy“. Italian teachers are generally aware of the scarce flexibility of the language teaching offer in Italian school curricula, with the exception of specific initiatives activated on the basis of school autonomy.

This is followed by the section on “Languages ​​of origin” where, despite the various projects conducted in Italy in recent years, the teachers expressed their hope for a wider dissemination in the various school types and levels.

The “Standardized tests on language skills” (INVALSI tests) are generally appreciated by teachers and even the OECD-PISA language tests would be welcomed, especially with regard to the assessment of listening, oral interaction and reading. The results show significant interest in the assessment of oral skills.

The fourth section is dedicated to “CLIL”. It was found that this methodology is more common in upper secondary schools, as also called for by the reform law that introduced it as compulsory in this school grade.

As regards “Teacher training” and continuous professional development, both are generally considered an integral part of the profile of the Italian teacher. However, mobility abroad is not very popular and should be further encouraged by promoting greater participation in European programmes such as Erasmus+, eTwinning, Epale etc.

Finally, the last section is aimed at “Teaching and learning languages ​​in COVID times”. Almost all those who responded to the survey used multimedia tools and platforms for distance learning or integrated digital learning of languages ​​and CLIL during the health emergency, and they were generally quite satisfied with this experience, despite the problems and challenges they have faced.

Oral production and interaction proved to be the most challenging skills to be developed at a distance by students. The use of web tools and platforms, as well as the need for collaboration and online interaction, have led to an improvement in the teachers’ digital skills.


Read the report >>