DiCE.Lang – Digital Citizenship Education and Foreign Language Learning

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The first crucial activity of the project is to construct, implement and evaluate a survey on pre- and in-service teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes related to the teaching of Digital Citizenship Education in Foreign Language Learning settings.

Why do we need a survey?

Such a survey is necessary because the implementation of Digital Citizenship Education in Foreign Language Learning presents researchers with the novel challenge to develop programmes, resources and solutions that are directed at teachers for implementing DCE in subject-specific ways. Indeed, the European “Digital Citizenship Education Handbook” identifies teachers as central transmitters for bringing DCE into FLE. According to this handbook, they play a major role in the level of success achieved when implementing strategies and practices that enable learners to develop their full potential as digital and critical citizens in today’s and tomorrow’s societies. Hence, it is crucial to get insights into teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes related to DCE in FLE – and in what ways these can facilitate or impede the educational progression towards Digital Citizenship in the specific context of FLE.

The Handbook clearly addresses the need to support teachers in increasing their knowledge, teaching practices and competences required for implementing DCE, and the need to guide teachers in rethinking their role as teachers in the digital era. Since little is known about the implementation of DCE in FLE, and before one can begin to respond to the needs articulated in the Handbook, what is needed is a deep understanding of the following questions, which the survey will obtain:

  • To what extent do teachers already implement DCE practices in their FLE classes, and to what extent are teachers not yet informed about DCE in their professional scope?
  • What are the attitudes of teachers towards DCE in particular, and the digital transformation of education in general?
  • What are teachers’ needs and wishes when it comes to implementing DCE in FLE?

The survey results will be innovative in several ways. First, they will allow us to understand in-depth in how far knowledge of DCE is already wide-spread among FL teachers and what can be done to bring this knowledge to teachers. Second, the survey will help us to identify the readiness or concerns of teachers to embrace DCE, to develop practical resources for teachers that mirror their didactic needs and wishes, and to establish interventions that also address their possible scepticism. Furthermore, the survey will give insights into best- practices of DCE in FLE that teachers are already using, which we can then employ to multiply such best-practices through educational resources and teacher training programmes.

What will result from the survey?

With the survey being carried out in all project partners’ contexts, its detailed insights into the status quo of DCE in FLE will become a substantial basis for us to develop the other intellectual outcomes of this Erasmus+ project. This way, we can adjust the development of OER, teacher training programmes and the policy framework for DCE in FLE to the exact needs, wishes, professional gaps and best-practices articulated by teachers.

In addition, the survey itself will be made available digitally as a tool for self-reflection. This way, the survey is not just valuable for the immediate context of this project. It can also be transferred to other educational contexts and institutions (e.g. schools and teacher training centres), where it can be used to determine the status and progress of DCE in FLE among teachers and to understand – with a fine-grained local view – what needs to be done in a specific educational setting to bring DCE into FLE. For this purpose, the survey will be translated into other languages of the European Union.

Who is the target group?

The target group of this survey includes pre-service teachers at university level, and in-service teachers at schools. The inclusion of pre-service teachers is necessary because they will be the future transmitters of DCE into FLE, so their existing attitudes, knowledge (and possible also skills) towards DCE and Digital Education are crucial to understand what the ‘next generation teachers’ will transport into schools. The inclusion of in-service teachers helps us to understand and reconstruct the current situation – and related needs – of DCE practices already carried out in schools.

All in all, the survey is a key intellectual output of this project that will allow us to respond to the supranational curricular demand of bringing DCE into specific school subjects (in our case, the teaching and learning of foreign languages) vis-à-vis existing attitudes, needs, concerns and best-practices that are prevalent in the population of pre- and in-service foreign language teachers. This way, we can strengthen the profile of the FLE profession by offering trajectories and interventions for practitioners to confidently integrating Digital Citizenship Education into their subject.