Pluriliteracies – Teaching for Deeper Learning

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What is Deeper Learning and What Does it Mean for Teaching English?

Plurilieral Learning is a didactic approach for the promotion of Deeper Learning and twenty-first-century skills through the acquisition of subject-specific literacy in more than one language and, moreover, presupposes subject-specific (language) actions. The development, expansion, and internalization of pluriliteral and pluricultural competence, communicative language competence, communicative language skills, and communicative strategies (Council of Europe, 2018) are prerequisites and outcomes of deeper learning. They also include general competencies and skills such as critical thinking and creative problem solving, effective communication and collaboration strategies, and a sense of responsibility and willingness. Deeper learning and transferable knowledge in the foreign language classroom occurs when learners are given opportunities to systematically acquire, network, internalize, and apply subject-specific linguistic knowledge, which includes facts, concepts, skills, and strategies.

Which Concepts are Linked to Deeper Learning in English?

The discussion about successful foreign language learning in the school context is dominated by principles and demands from language acquisition research, such as the central importance of learner autonomy, motivation and engagement, individualization and differentiation, as well as efforts to provide meaningful content, authentic materials, and task formats that follow the principle of competence and output orientation. Deeper Learning requires subject-specific (language) action as well as the development, expansion, and internalization of conceptual knowledge for learners' knowledge construction. However, knowledge transfer in learners does not occur via generic problem-solving routines, but exclusively via domain-specific methods and strategies. Therefore, Deeper Learning is inextricably linked to the subject culture, subject methods, and subject content of foreign language teaching. Thus, the development of subject literacy becomes the focus of lesson planning and design since this process is defined as the ability to communicate knowledge adequately for the required purpose and addresses, taking genre conventions, modes, and style.

How can Deeper Learning be Initiated in the EFL Classroom?

Deeper Learning in the foreign language classroom relies on learning partnerships between learners and teachers, who mentor their learning processes and progresses, thus, transform traditional classrooms into complex and dynamic collaborative learnscrapes. This can be achieved if teachers consider all four dimensions of the Pluriliterales teaching-learning model equally in their lesson as they plan, implement, and evaluate learning and development processes as they continuously align learner and teacher perspectives and adapt the design of their lesson, scaffolding, feedback as well as the measurement of learning outcomes accordingly. The Lehr-Lern-Forschungslabor (LLF), a teaching and learning research lab, focuses on the question of how can be used and incorporated in order to initiate deeper learning processes and how integrated competences can be promoted among students of teaching for their development of digital learnscrapes in foreign language teaching.


How can Deeper Learning be Achieved in EFL Classrooms?

In order for students to be able to achieve a level of Deeper Learning, lesson phases with subject-specific action, subject-specific methods and strategies of knowledge construction must be intertwined with phases in which students communicate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in a subject-approprioate manner.

Following the approach of systemic functional linguistics, language is understood as the central tool for the acquisition of world knowledge, since concept development is unimaginable without language. However, Deeper Learning also requires a Deeper Learning Mindset from learners and teachers, which includes the factors engagement, reflection, well-being, and self-efficacy expectations, since emotional, cognitive, and social engagement correlate and have a significant effects on academic performance and the development of learners' self-efficacy expectations. Therefore, it is important to place learners and their enduring values, beliefs, positive self-concept, and well-being at the center of considerations for designing learning environments. Therefore, awakening and maintaining learners' readiness to learn and perform is an indispensable precondition for Deeper Learning in the foreign language classroom.