European Projects in University Language Centres

Creativity, Dynamics, Best Practice

by Carmen Argondizzo (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection 371 Pages
Series: Linguistic Insights, Volume 204


This volume offers a collection of best practices carried out in university contexts with the aim of highlighting the relevant role that Language Centres play in the field of language learning and the benefit they receive from European project planning. Issues such as intercomprehension, integration and diversity, interlinguistic models in disadvantaged migration contexts, audio description, cinema and translation as well as crosscurricular studies for university students, learners’ assessment, the promotion of plurilingualism in enterprises and in the legal field are tackled with special attention on the theoretical and practical dimensions that projects need to consider during the planning, implementation and dissemination actions. The variety of topics shows the daily liveliness that University Language Centres experience and the energy that they offer to the national and international communities. Thus the final chapter attentively explores strategies of Quality Assurance which further enhance the value of team work and project work within and beyond the academic context. This has the aim of promoting both cooperation that crosses geographical boundaries as well as quality in project dynamics which encourages a wide-angled multilingual and multicultural perspective.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Prefaces
  • Section 1: European projects in Language Learning: creativity, multiculturality and intercomprehension
  • The LUCIDE project and network: Languages in Urban Communities – Integration and Diversity for Europe
  • Intercomprehension teaching: devices and proposals
  • Intercultural and Inter-linguistic Models in disadvantaged migration contexts
  • Italian for specific jobs and purposes in prisons: The experience of the I.D.R.P. project in the jail of Siena
  • Uni.Italia: didactic procedures and innovative proposals for teaching Italian L2 to foreign university students
  • Italiano in rete: a participatory project
  • Section 2: European projects in Language Learning: creativity, technologies and language learning for special purposes
  • Promoting plurilingualism and intercultural communication in European enterprises and academic contexts: a European Winner Project
  • The EFLIT participant profile: customising the course to the needs of Legal English users in Italy
  • ADLAB: Audio Description – lifelong access for the blind
  • Cinema and translation: Research and didactic applications in a three-stage project
  • International Mobility in University Language Centres: the Erasmus IP Project “Crosscurricular Creativity”
  • Making communication more creative and learning more effective with an innovative use of linguistic aspects
  • Section 3: European projects in Language Learning: creativity, assessment of learners’ competences and Quality Assurance in Language Centres
  • Certificate of English for primary teachers (CEPT): Exam format
  • Test Writing: creative thinking in action
  • Assessing language proficiency: comparing in-house language exams with international certifications
  • A Conceptual Model of Quality Assurance
  • Series index

← 8 | 9 →


My thank you goes to:

Maurizio Gotti (General Editor of the Peter Lang series Linguistic Insights) for accepting the manuscript of this volume and for his precise and attentive editorial work.

Adrian Stähli (Peter Lang Commissioning Editor) for his friendly attitude which makes authors feel at ease when dealing with the so many aspects of publication.

Natalia Guido, Monica Lippolis (Ministry of Labour and Social Policy) and Michela Volpi (ISFOL) for their pleasant professional support and precious advice that they have always given me during project planning, implementation and dissemination.

Manola Peschieri (Policy Officer in DG Education and Culture, European Commission) for her support and her convinced commitment to language policies and education.

The European Commission for Awarding the Language Label of Labels to the CMC_E Project as one of the five Best Practices in Europe from 2002 to 2012 (Limassol Cyprus, 2012).

Miguel Angel Martinez Martinez (Vice President of European Parliament until 2014) for the pleasant words of encouragement he gave us when receiving the Award.

Jean Jimenez (Università della Calabria), for sharing project work experiences and for ‘being together’ when the European Commissioner (until 2014), Androulla Vassiliou gave us the Award.

The AICLU (Associazione Italiana dei Centri Linguistici Universitari) Executive Board and Members for trusting me in my capacity, as President, to encourage people to promote their ideas among the community of language scholars and beyond. ← 9 | 10 →

Friends and professionals in other University Language Centres who, by sharing their interesting project ideas, have given their precious contribution as authors to this volume.

My students who constantly give me feedback on language aspects that interlink my teaching with their, hopefully pleasant, study and learning experiences.

← 10 | 11 →



Creativity is a quality that is highly considered in University Language Centres, all over Europe, and constantly highlighted by the European Commission in European calls for multicultural projects. European Projects in University Language Centres gives an overview of a lively show and tell Seminar1 where language professionals shared ideas worth-spreading on in-going international projects they were participating in. As an in-depth follow up, this volume offers a collection of results of such best practices that allowed the realization of creative ideas and activated a multitude of language and cultural dynamics for the benefit of university contexts. The dual aim of the volume is to highlight the relevant role that University Language Centres play in the field of language learning and the positive outcomes they can receive and offer through European project planning, implementation and dissemination. The volume opens up to a variety of topics, thus showing the daily liveliness that Language Centres, most of them based in the Italian University context, experience and the energy that they transfer to the national and international communities. Moreover, the projects described in the sixteen chapters all widely underline the great value of team work and project work, within and beyond the academic context, which both entail invaluable concepts such as cooperation among partners, socialization and often friendship. Indeed, Language Centre Directors should strongly encourage the exchange of ideas as a daily practice, thus promoting cooperation that crosses geographical boundaries as well as encouraging a wide-angled multilingual and multicultural perspective. ← 11 | 12 →

The volume begins with Prefaces which focus on the role that European projects play in achieving the objective of multilingual and multicultural cooperation. Reflections are offered by three professionals who have different roles in the European projects sector: MANOLA PESCHIERI (European Commission, Brussels), NATALIA GUIDO (ISFOL, Italy2) and MONICA LIPPOLIS (Ministero del Lavoro e della Politiche Sociali3, Italy).

The volume, thus, develops through three interrelated sections. Section 1 ‒ European Projects in University Language Centres: creativity, multicultural dynamics, intercomprehension ‒ collects contributions related to the growing needs of societies that are increasingly developing into a significant number of multicultural contexts. The challenge of giving meaningful language and cultural support to such contexts is an aspect that Language Centres openly promote.

The section is introduced by MICHELA MENGHINI who presents The Lucide Project, which, as the very recent project outcomes demonstrate, created a comprehensive picture of how communication occurs in multicultural urban world communities, in particular the EU, Australia and Canada. The project developed language policy ideas suitable for the management of complex citizen communities, such as multilingual cities. Moreover, the project, with its related website, provides policy directions and examples of good practice as a supportive tool for institutions and, therefore, policy makers who have the role of creating integration through diversity in Europe and beyond. This vision of a possible city of the future is of great interest to, among others, researchers in the field of urban development.

ELISABETTA BONVINO, DIEGO CORTES VELASQUEZ, SERENA FAONE and GIULIA DE SANTIS present devices and proposals for meaningful applications of Intercomprehension (IC) teaching, an approach that is becoming of frequent use in plurilingual communication. Considered as a field of study and as a communicative praxis among speakers who talk with each other by using their own language without inhibiting the communication flow, the authors invite readers to reflect on the issue ← 12 | 13 → by presenting the Redinter Project ‒ European Network for Intercomprehension. The project gives the opportunity to deepen into the peculiarities of simultaneous learning of several languages supported by the socio-pragmatic aspects and variables that speakers unfold when engaged in communication. The chapter offers examples of a training program, based on the principles of IC, which describes blended learning activities carried out through an online Moodle platform.

ANTONELLA BENUCCI touches on intercultural and inter-linguistic models in disadvantaged migration contexts by presenting a set of Language-Label-awarded project actions4, the Deport Project among others, aimed at examining the population of detention centres and at reinforcing communication between foreign inmates and prison personnel. It is indeed an action research that analyses the modalities of interaction and the modifications of communication rituals which spontaneously emerged in the new multilingual and multicultural contexts of many Italian prisons. The analysis proved the necessity of supportive intervention for both administrative and teaching personnel. Master classes in didactics for instructors of Italian as an L2 and intercultural communication classes for operators and educational linguists are described in details. Such intense pedagogical actions have the double aim of facilitating inmates’ language development for daily routines as well as providing them with language professional training in the language of the host country which, in the long run, could hopefully pave them the way for a better life.

GIULIA GROSSO and SERENA CARMIGNANI go further into the issue of foreign inmates in Italian prisons and the world of work by describing the I.D.R.P. Project – Immigration, Deviance, Reinsertion and Profession ‒ which involved both the university context and entrepreneurial sectors. Once again, the challenge of integration of social groups of people who belong to different cultures and speak different languages is tackled with the aim of a potential reinsertion for them in society. The creation of profession-oriented language training courses, ← 13 | 14 → the tools specifically designed and adopted for prison contexts, the collaboration between the university, local prisons and companies are all approached with the support of the scientific foundations that inspired a project with the long term objective of facilitating re-socialization of disadvantaged people.

ANNA TOSCANO presents a participatory project, Italiano in rete, that involved several institutions ‒ the university, public administrations, social cooperatives ‒ which wanted to cater for language and cultural needs of disadvantaged people. The author describes the various steps of the project by offering practical examples of project planning activities, roles and numbers of the people involved. Then she moves on by providing the description of didactic materials and language courses which took place in different city contexts and were commonly designed for the various target groups that included women, children, newly arrived adolescents and adults and illiterate people. The objective was to improve their language skills and their knowledge of the territory. She finally analyses results by reporting figures and practical feedback collected through a survey carried out among the beneficiaries. Once again, the chapter highlights the strength that harmonious team work can give to projects and how this cooperation aspect smoothly leads to successful outcomes.

ELEONORA FRAGAI, IVANA FRATTER and ELISABETTA JAFRANCESCO, by presenting the Language Label winner Uni.Italia Project, focus the readers’ attention on the mobility of university students who need to develop a high sociocultural, linguistic and motivational profile. The project proposes learning tools leading towards the development of communicative competences in study and work contexts aiming at promoting knowledge of the language and culture of the host country, thus encouraging the mobility of university students and professionals. The autonomy of language learners, considered in a European and intercultural dimension, is highly promoted by the project, together with their metacognitive reflection on learning strategies which can facilitate learners’ development of pragmatic-textual competences so often required in university courses. Practical examples of language activities geared at developing competences in various academic textual genres, such as university seminars and essay writing, are described in details. ← 14 | 15 →

Section 2 ‒ European Projects in University Language Centres: creativity, technologies and language learning for special purposes ‒ offers contributions which highlight the importance of using technological tools when developing didactic materials for special purposes. Technologies can indeed allow learners to study autonomously, while respecting their personal needs, paces and professional purposes. As a consequence, there has been a gradual integration between technology and didactics which has become, over time, a natural connection of technologically planned language materials, which Language Centres strongly need.

The section begins with CARMEN ARGONDIZZO and JEAN M. JIMENEZ who, while presenting the European Label of Labels winner CMC_E Project, focus the readers’ attention on the different steps of a survey carried out among a group of Business English students. The aim of the study was to measure students’ satisfaction of the efficiency of the open access online program offered by the multilingual project. In particular, students were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the ICT based material on their development of professional language skills, English in this context, and on the motivational impact that such material may have in terms of student and professional mobility. The authors also intended to investigate learners’ approach to the material by observing the choices that they autonomously made in the selection of the activities they decided to carry out. The results of the survey should lead to an awareness of how the material, which invites learners to improve language competences in the world of enterprise, meets both present and future learners’ language needs as well as to what extent it can be considered a meaningful multilingual lifelong learning tool.

ANILA RUTH SCOTT-MONKHOUSE, while still focusing on language learning for special purposes, draws our attention to the needs of Legal English users by presenting the EFLIT Project. English for law and international transactions is the field of study in a postgraduate training project, which combines English for law (linguistic input) with Law in English (content input). The aim is to encourage the development of both language and legal skills within the large community of nationally based participants who belong to different professional associations. The author describes the several course formats which are designed accordingly to ← 15 | 16 → customers’ requirements and expectations elicited on the basis of a survey that helped create, firstly, the EFLIT participant profile and, as a follow up, the criteria for syllabus and class activities design.

CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR presents the ADLAB Project, a three-year project aimed to create reliable guidelines for the practice of lifelong access audiodescription for the blind and visually impaired community. Once again, this European project shows how the specific linguistic and cultural competences of language academics (integrated with professional operators in the field) create meaningful technological and cultural paths which can have powerful social outcomes. Indeed, the insertion of short verbal descriptions which illustrate the essential visual elements of audiovisual products and phenomena ‒ such as films, television programs, documentaries, advertisements, art galleries, museums, dance performances, city tours, live events ‒ can provide an incredible socio-cultural impact in modern society. The author, by analyzing figures showing the growing demand in the European population needing varying degrees of assistance, strongly underlines the necessity to find norms at a European level that could guarantee the provision of quality audiodescription. This would lead to a mainstream professional service for which the project has created solid roots.

CLAUDIA BUFFAGNI and BEATRICE GARZELLI draw the readers’ attention to the didactic use of films by introducing research and teaching applications implemented for a three-stage project entitled Learning languages on the screen. The project involved ten modern languages, both European and non-European. The authors attentively describe the three stages by starting with the kick off experiences realized during an international seminar that paved the way for the next project actions. This is followed by the description of a publication dedicated to film translation strategies, such as dubbing and subtitling. The authors finally offer a clear outline of the organization and implementation of a course aimed at training teachers for continuing education in the field. The overall aim of the chapter is to reflect on the multiple possibilities of film translation which, if carefully integrated with new technologies, can provide flexible opportunities for didactic use at any level of competence and for different audiences. This demonstrates the enormous potential that this linguistic, cultural and technological ← 16 | 17 → approach offers to lifelong learning aimed at reaching out to a large variety of target groups.

ADRIANA TERESA DAMASCELLI draws the readers’ attention to international mobility in university Language Centres by presenting the Erasmus IP Cross-curricular Creativity Project. The author firstly focuses on the concept of creativity considered as the key competence that helps trigger cognitive processes leading to modern needs such as flexibility and adaptability to new educational and work contexts. She then outlines the major concepts and practical steps that this project, promoted by ten European partners, wanted to enhance and go through. In particular, the chapter highlights the benefit that creativity, wisely integrated with the CLIL methodology, can offer to the educational system. The overall aim is to sensitize European governments and language professionals to the need for learners’ special language competences in the various disciplines. These can be acquired through technological and learning resources which deal with social and work environments where interdisciplinary competences are needed.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Language Learning Language teaching L2 Intercultural communication
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 371 pp.

Biographical notes

Carmen Argondizzo (Volume editor)

Carmen Argondizzo is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Calabria (Italy) where she teaches students majoring in Economics, Business Administration and Political Science. She is President of the University Language Centre where she coordinates European projects aimed at enhancing students’ autonomous learning in the academic and professional sectors. She is currently President of AICLU (Associazione Italiana Centri Linguistici Universitari), which has the objectives of both fostering research in language learning and teaching as well as presenting such research in national and European contexts.


Title: European Projects in University Language Centres
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
390 pages