Case study – Multilingual school tournament, Lithuania

Language Rich Europe promotes the sharing of good practice in the area of multilingualism. On our website, you can read and submit your own case studies.

In this blog post, we look at one such case study from Lithuania, where they seek to promote multilingualism and the learning of a variety of foreign languges through a multilingual tournament.

The first multilingual tournament ‘I speak, you speak – we communicate’ was held in Lithuania in 2012. It brought together school pupils (grades 9 – 11) from all over the country, speaking two or more foreign languages. Pupils took part in tasks including impromptu speaking, dictation, jokes and dubbing of an animation film, as well as a general-knowledge round where questions were asked in English about the countries where the main four contest languages (English, Russian, German and French) are spoken. Other languages such as Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian, Swedish, Chinese, polish, Japanese and Armenian were also represented

Initiated by the Ministry of Education and Science, the British Council and the American International School of Vilnius, a committee of 14 partners was formed. The tournament encouraged students and teachers to learn different languages, to develop their individual plurilingualism and to look at different language learning possibilities.

To read more about this and other case studies, and to submit your own good practice example, visit our website!

The LRE Launch hosted by the British Council’s partners in Lithuania

The findings of Language Rich Europe research were presented to the public in Lithuania on 25 May in Kaunas and 4 June in Vilnius. Please read on to find out more about the launches and the findings in the article below, written by Vilma Bačkiūtė, our Project Manager in Lithuania. 

The very first launch in Kaunas was hosted by Vytautas Magnus University, where a selected audience (the research respondents and media) were invited. The audience was 25 participants and the presentations by the project team were followed by challenging questions on the methodology, validity and follow-up of the research.

The second venture took place at the Parliament and hosted by the Lithuanian Association of Language Teachers (LKPA) as part of the Association’s 6th International Conference “Languages, Culture, and Globalisation” on 4 June. The conference audience was 180 educators and all the presentations were filmed and live streamed to the MPs’ offices.

The most beneficial results of the launches so far are new partnerships built. Firstly, two high quality magazines – Valstybė and IQ magazine group – got interested in Language Rich Europe results and plan to publish articles on multilingualism issues in their autumn issues. Secondly, the LRE is invited to be presented at the INTEGRA Project conference on 15 June.

The findings on languages in education were presented by Dr Irena Smetonienė (Vilnius University). The LRE results did not surprise the Lithuanian audience. Lithuania looks moderate in offering four most commonly used foreign languages (English, German, French, and Russian) and supporting four languages of national minorities (Polish, Russian, Hebrew, and Belarusian) throughout education.

Though the Lithuanian law supports and promotes plurilingualism (individual multilingualism), the efficient implementation of the European Strategy for Multilingualism is a challenge which lacks institutional coordination and cooperation as well as well-defined distribution of responsibilities.

Dr Julija Moskvina (Institute of Labour and Social Research) focused on the other sectors – public services and business – where Lithuania scores moderately (again!). Despite the variety of languages used in Lithuania, cities (in terms of public services) and companies (in terms of language strategies) pay insufficient attention to recognising and promoting multilingualism.

Lithuania particularly cares about the status and usage of the Lithuanian language as its state language. Lithuanians constitute the absolute majority of residents of Lithuania (83.9% in 2011) and the population in Lithuania is becoming more and more homogeneous even in the context of increasing mobility in the EU. Lithuania has 4.8% immigrants (as the percentage of national population). Most of the newcomers are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania returning to live in their homeland.

Professor Boguslavas Gruževskis (Institute of Labour and Social Research) offered a wider perspective looking at languages as a target for individuals for being competitive in the labour market and general welfare.

The panel discussion included the international project team members: Naydonova Lyubov (Institute of Social and Political Psychology,Ukraine), Liliana Szczuka – Dorna (Poznan University of Technology, Poland), Irina Sukhinina (British Council, Ukraine), and Aneta Quraishy (British Council, Germany).

Anna Holmén (Belgium) represented the Directorate General for Translation at the European Commission and her presentation introduced the EU multilingualism at practice. Dr Ina Dagytė (Kaunas University of Technology) looked closer at the Lithuanian identity through the SWOT analysis and discussed what role the language has for our national identity.

Probably the most challenging contribution during the launch was by Loreta Senkutė, LiJOT president, who presented students’ opinion and recommendations on multilingualism issues and language education in Lithuania. Their recommendations include:

  • Developing one languages strategy for all language groups in education – the state language, national minority and foreign languages;
  • Investing more of coordinated effort in forming public understanding of the value of languages and multilingualism;
  • Expanding the variety of foreign languages offered in education;
  • Using more innovative methods in language teaching.

The second day of the conference continued at Mykolas Romeris University and provided more time for discussing the LRE findings into the context of teaching practices. The topics included: the Impact of Globalisation on Languages and Culture; Language Policy in Lithuania and Abroad; Languages and Intercultural Communication; Teaching Mother Tongue; etc.

You can read the abridged version of the LRE report in Lithuanian online.

For more photos from our launches, please visit our facebook page

Today’s launch: Vilnius, Lithuania

“Languages, Culture, Globalisation”

Today’s Language Rich Europe project launch is hosted at the International Conference “Languages, Culture, Globalisation” in Vilnius. The first day of the conference is held at the Parliament (lth. Seimas) with nearly 200 participants registered. The patron of the conference is Mr Valentinas Stundys, MP, Chair of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture. The Association of Language Teachers in Lituania (LKPA) are the main organisers of the venture.

There are several individual presentations as well as plenary sessions and panel discussions at this event. Please see the full programme of the event for more information. You can also find more information on the Language Teachers’ Association of Lithuania website.

Europos kalbų lobynas: „Cherchez des sociétés d’affaires“

Today we have a guest post by Vilma Bačkiūtė, British Council Lithuania, who blogs about the recent Language Ambassador Awards which took place in Vilnius.

Lietuvoje „Europos kalbų lobynas” kartu su partneriais šiais metais 2011 Metų kalbų ambasadoriumi išrinko tarptautinę rinkos tyrimų bendrovę „WorldOne“.

2011 Metų kalbų ambasadoriaus rinkimus organizavo Švietimo mainų paramos fondas, įgyvendindamas Europos kalbų ženklo programą, kartu su Britų taryba, įgyvendinančia projektą „Europos kalbų lobynas”. Į titulą pretenduoti buvo kviečiamos įmonės ar organizacijos, vykdančios patrauklią ir novatorišką kalbų vartojimo bei mokymosi skatinimo politiką.

26 įmonės užpildė anketą ir rugsėjo 23 d. buvo pakviestos į Europos kalbų dienai skirtą šventę – metų Kalbų ambasadoriaus apdovanojimus, kur buvo apdovanoti šeši nominantai ir paskelbtas 2011 Metų kalbų ambasadorius.

Šventė pavyko, nes organizatoriai sulaukė daug padėkų iš apdovanojimų šventę  stebėti pakviestų dalyvių, kurie turėjo galimybę išgirsti „Pricewaterhouse Coopers International Limited“ Lietuvos biuro vadovo, Britanijos prekybos rūmų Lietuvoje valdybos pirmininko Christopher C. Butler bei žurnalisto, rašytojo Andriaus Užkalnio pranešimus. Renginį papuošė įvairiomis kalbomis dainuojanti, galybę tarptautinių apdovanojimų laimėjusi merginų grupė Kivi ir populiarus televizijos laidų vedėjas ir aktorius Algis Ramanauskas.

A.Užkalnis akcentavo, kad daugiakalbystė yra vakcina nuo provincialumo ir palinkėjo, kad po 10 metų lietuviai Europoje garsėtų kaip daugiausiai kalbų mokantys žmonės.

„Europos kalbų lobynas” taip pat buvo pristatytas ir Znad Wilii radijo klausytojams. Radijas kalbino Britų Tarybą Kalbų dienos proga. Pokalbio įrašo paklausyti galite čia.


Labas from Vilnius

The Language Rich Europe project partners have gathered in Vilnius (therefore the “labas” of the title which means “hello” in Lithuanian) for two days to discuss the next steps of the project. The British Council office in Lithuania has been organising the whole event and the first day of the meeting on Thursday 2 December took place at the Ministry of Economics. The meeting will end on Friday 3 December and more articles will follow on this blog. In the meantime, here’s a very short update on the first very productive meeting day.

We were welcomed at the Ministry of Economics with the statement of how important multilingualism is for Lithuania and how it can influence global trade. Followed by a warm welcome to “the multilingual city of Vilnius. With only 0.5 % of Lithuanians speaking only one language, Vilnius is a natural habitat for such a meeting!” We then listened to a presentation by Irena Smetoniene, Chair of the State Language Commission. Ms Smetoniene went through the role of the Commission in the preservation of the Lithuanian language, explaining that “Lithuanian language ensures national identity and survival” and that “Its survival depends on policy.” Foreign language learning being part of the Ministry of Education’s role.

Throughout the day, partners had the opportunity to work on the Language Rich Europe index questions and think further about the methodology that will be used to collect data across the different countries.

At the end of the day, we had the chance fo visit the Lithuanian Language Museum where we could learn about the history of lithuanian letters, the “Merry-go-round of words-shadows” and the Lithuanian language dictionary (the dictionary began being written on cards in 1922 and was finished in 2002, it is all accessible online now).

Photos by Kamile Zickyte.