MBE has clearly been identified
in The White Paper on Education as a means of raising the standard of foreign language
competence in the EU to a point at which citizens can communicate in at least three
community languages: "It could even be argued that secondary school pupils should
study certain subjects in the first foreign language learned" (European
Commission 1996, p.67). Some European countries are well on their way as far as MBE is
concerned, others are still toying with the idea. In order to promote a greater coherence
between individual initiatives and a greater partnership between EU countries, the Tel2l
Project was designed. By bringing together practising MBE teachers on the one hand and
teacher training institutions on the other, it aims to train student teachers to operate
in an MBE setting whilst responding to the increasing demand of MBE-specific classroom
material. With a fully trained and practised cohort of teachers, MBE is finally coming to
a stage when it is accepted, highly valued and, it is hoped, proves to be a useful tool
for integration and better understanding of European languages and cultures whilst
preserving national and regional identities.
A crucial assumption in this
statement is that there exist teachers able to provide this type of education. The
Tel2l project seeks to create ITE programmes in four EU states, which will educate
teachers specifically to be both subject experts and modern languages experts and will
receive MBE-specific training.
The programme covers both upper
primary and lower secondary school levels, thereby responding to an increasing demand for
trained teachers in both sectors.
Another crucial issue is that of
resources. A common complaint from practising MBE teachers is the lack of
specifically created teaching material.
It is envisaged that the student
teachers involved in the MBE programmes to be taught in the four partner institutions will
develop material as part of their training. This in turn will lead to greater co-operation
between subject and language experts, which will form transnational teams with the aim of
creating dedicated school material for specific MBE needs.
Thus, the project aims to
achieve a two-fold objective: the training of a cohort of newly qualified teachers who
have a dual subject + language competence and are trained to teach in a MBE setting, and
the creation of resources and material for the MBE classroom