Multilingual classrooms

Growing numbers of school children in the EU have a mother tongue different to the main language used for teaching in their school. This raises the question of how to best harness the potential of the EU’s linguistic diversity.

The importance of multilingualism in schools 

Across the EU, migrant children bring a multitude of new languages and their language skills to the classroom. This is a potential asset to the individual, to schools and society.

While figures differ considerably between EU Member States – from 1% in Poland to 40% in Luxembourg – in the EU as a whole, just under 10 % of all students learn in a language other than their mother tongue. 

This raises the question of how to best harness the potential contained within the EU’s linguistic diversity. There is evidence that migrant children generally perform worse in attaining basic skills than their peers. 

Schools need to adapt their teaching methods to engage with children's linguistic and cultural backgrounds in a positive manner enabling students to thrive throughout at school.

What is the EU doing to promote multilingual classrooms?

The Commission is working together with the EU Member States to identify successful strategies for language learning in multilingual settings and to facilitate the sharing of best practices in the field. The results of this collaboration and of comprehensive studies on this topic are contained within the Commission report – Language teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms

In follow-up to this report and as a contribution to the review of the Key Competence Framework for Lifelong Learning, a series of thematic workshops and Peer Learning Activities about the integration of migrant children through school education were organised. 

The group produced two reports, Rethinking language education and linguistic diversity in schools, and Migrants in European schools: Learning and maintaining languages.

What are the next steps?

The Erasmus+ programme offers new opportunities, such as policy experimentation and large-scale partnerships, to develop new strategies for language teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms.

Together with the Council of Europe and its Centre for Modern Languages, the Commission will support the development and dissemination of new methods for language teaching in multilingual classrooms

Resources and support for teachers working with pupils of different nationalities in the classroom will be developed as part of the Commission’s wider strategy for the teaching professions.

Number of events: 21
New Erasmus+ app launch event
Online event
Save the date: January 28 2021
Third European Education Summit: Digital Education Transformation - Building Resilience in the European Education Area
Third European Education Summit: Digital Education Transformation
European Day of Languages 2020

To celebrate the 2020 European Day of Languages, you are warmly invited to join us for an online conference from 10:00 until 12:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time).

European Day of Languages 2020. Education begins with language
New Digital Education Action Plan: public consultation official closing event with EU Executive Vice-President, Margrethe Vestager


    Public Consultation Closing Event - Digital Education Action Plan with EU Executive Vice-President, Margrethe Vestager
    New Digital Education Action Plan: Live chat with Commissioner Gabriel
    Digital Education Action Plan: Live chat
    Young people shaping the future of education in Europe: Video conference on the European Education Area

    On 9 July, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, will host a video conference with youth representatives from across Europe on the future of education.

    Tune into the discussion to discover the vision of young people helping to shape the European Education Area!

    We want to know the views of the European youth on

    12 - 13Nov2019
    Supporting Key Competence Development: Learning approaches and environments in school education
    Hôtel Le Plaza, Boulevard Adolphe Max 118-126, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
    European Universities Initiative
    Brussels, Belgium
    European Universities are transnational alliances promoting European values, and working to revolutionise the quality and competitiveness of European higher education. Through the initiative, the Commission is making a key contribution to building the universities of the future.
    24 - 25Oct2019
    8th European University Business Forum
    Brussels, Belgium
    The Forum brings together policymakers, representatives from higher education, business and other stakeholders to discuss and debate the role of university-business cooperation for innovation and sustainable development.
    03 - 04Oct2019
    DigiEduHack: let’s act together for the future of education in the digital age!
    Europe and beyond

    24-hour contest brings teams from Europe and beyond to solve educational challenges in the digital age.

    As part of the Digital Education Action Plan of the European Commission, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) organises a 24-hour Digital Education Hackathon (DigiEduHack) on 3 October 2019.

    technology, DigiEduHack, digital