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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana
Didattica laboratoriale e innovazione del curricolo - Area linguistico-umanistica

Teaching/learning foreign languages in the 21st century school

Tipo di ricerca: Osservativa
Ambito: Ricerca istituzionale

In recent decades, the European Commission has strongly supported early language learning and multilingualism among Member States, encouraging at least two foreign languages to be taught from an early age, with the aim of training world citizens to live, study and work in a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual society. The LLP Programme (2007-2013), which was followed up by the current Erasmus Plus programme, offered teachers, including those involved in early leaning schools in Italy, a wide range of opportunities in the field of foreign languages, including the possibility of attending study periods and internships abroad. The Council Recommendation, which gave rise to this research, relaunches the objective of learning two languages, in addition to the national language. It also aims to enhance multilingualism and “linguistic awareness” as a transversal element of the entire school curriculum, not exclusively the prerogative of language lessons, but as a point of reflection common to each discipline, within the first Key Competence, namely the alphabetical-functional competence. At the national level, the 2012 National Guidelines for the curriculum for nursery schools and early learning education emphasizes that “children often live in multilingual environments and, if appropriately guided, can become familiar with a second language, in natural situations, dialogue and daily life, becoming progressively aware of different sounds, tones and meanings”. The 2018 National Guidelines and New Scenarios on languages specifies that “learning more languages allows foundations to be laid on which to build knowledge, and facilitates debate between different cultures. The ability to use more than one language offers the opportunity to communicate effectively, to understand and be understood in the most appropriate registers for the context, the recipients and the purposes”.


  • To support linguistic and multilingual skills.
  • To promote awareness of the issues of language education and linguistic awareness from a multilingual perspective.
  • To experiment with teaching methodologies on multilingualism.

Research questions

  • Can the introduction of subjects related to plurilingualism and pluriliteracies in teaching contribute to the construction of language courses oriented to develop multilingual skills in reference to foreign/second languages and the native languages of students?
  • Do language courses oriented towards multilingualism and pluriliteracy increase motivation and interest in studying languages?