Living Languages at Museums, part II: insight from Babylonia 2/23 [Podcast]

Language learning at a museum? „Of course“ asserted Laura Loder-Büchel (Zurich University of Teacher Education) and Karine Lichtenauer (University of Geneva) in a podcast to mark the release of Babylonia’s 2nd 2023 issue entitled „Living Languages at Museums“, the second issue on this topic. While the first issue offered a broad overview of work carried out on the subject around the world, this one focuses on concrete experiences that can be reused in language teaching in schools. In our latest podcast (in English) discover why the two authors are so excited about this issue.

Because there was such a wonderful response to the first issue, we decided to have a second issue on the topic! In this issue, we mostly have more concrete experiences of museums from language learning that can be used with school classes and are relatively concrete in terms of instructional design.

Laura Loder-Büchel

Laura Loder-Büchel and Karine Lichtenauer report on projects involving foreign languages typically taught in Swiss schools, including foreign, classical and heritage languages, as well as contributions on multilingual education in the museum context.

The two editors also discuss their experiences and ideas on the many opportunities offered by museums for integrating an action-oriented approach to language teaching in the classroom. They see this type of extramural activity as an excellent complement to regular school activities.

I believe this is important to leave the students a certain freedom when visiting a museum: choose your favorite object among many, choose not to look at everything into detail, choose the exhibit you will want to spend more time with and how you will spend time with it. There is nothing new in saying that you learn better when you are the master of your learning, and museums offer so many opportunities for individual variation.

Karine Lichtenauer

While there are undoubtedly advantages to taking students to museums on a more regular basis, they also note that such projects come with a number of challenges – mainly organizational and financial constraints. And there are also some teachers who have doubts about the value of museums visits for language teaching and if the context is not too open for focused, direct language instruction.

[…] We need to teach learners to learn outside the classroom walls -that is a part of a teacher’s job and should be reflected in the classroom. Going to a museum teaches learners to learn wherever they are, bringing this back into the classroom in the form of a report, a creative task, a reflection individualizes language learning and takes the focus off [knowing the word] “cotton candy” or “donkey” and onto extramural learning.

Laura Loder-Büchel

Here you will find the link to this issue.

This thematic notebook features artworks by Dominique Delefortrie

You can access all podcasts related to Babylonia here: Zeitschrift Babylonia – CeDiLE

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