Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

The Acquisition of English As a Foreing Language in Bilingual and Multilingual Contexts

The Acquisition of English As a Foreing Language in Bilingual and Multilingual Contexts
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff



This course explores the concept of English as a lingua franca in an increasingly globalised world and its acquisition in multilingual and multicultural contexts. We will analyse different theoretical approaches: immersion and CLIL, as well as theories of acquisition in school contexts, types of multilingual education and its connection with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). We will also analyse the CEFRL and its multilingual approaches in the context of the European Community. The course also explores the most common myths about foreign language acquisition.

Pre-course requirements

To follow this course, students are recommended to have at least a B2 level of English, as well as knowledge of oral and written academic English. Basic knowledge of Teaching English as a Foreign Language methodologies is also required: Communicative Approach, Task Based Language Learning (TBL) and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).


The objectives of this course are to: 1) raise students’ critical awareness of the teaching and use of English as a second and third language and as a lingua franca in multilingual and multicultural contexts; 2) enable students to acquire a critical awareness of the variety of pedagogical approaches and options necessary for the acquisition of the language skills required in a global world; 3) provide students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to the design of didactic activities (with emphasis on the development of a “language biography”) linked to non-linguistic content and adapt this knowledge to increasingly global primary and/or secondary school contexts.


Basic and General Competences

CB7, CB8, CB9, CB10, CG1, CG2, CG3, CG4, CG6



To know how to apply the acquired knowledge and problem-solving abilities in new or little-known environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to one’s area of study.



To be able to acquire knowledge and deal with the complexity of formulating judgments based on information that, although incomplete or limited, includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of one’s knowledge and judgments.


To know how to communicate one’s conclusions and the latest knowledge and the supporting arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous way.


To possess the learning skills that allow one to continue studying in a way that will be largely individual or autonomous.



To search for, obtain, process, summarise and communicate information (oral, printed, audiovisual, digital or multimedia-based), transform it into knowledge and apply it to teaching English as a foreign language.


To develop critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making or inquiry skills, and apply these to educational reality with the aim of promoting students’ autonomy, creativity, confidence and personal initiative.


To manage work time based on learning priorities and objectives, promoting self-learning.


To communicate decision-making in the field of teaching English as a foreign language based on solid arguments.


To be able to effectively work as a part of a team in multilingual, multicultural and interdisciplinary professional and/or academic environments.

Transversal Competences

CT1, CT2, CT3, CT4, CT5



To apply pedagogically innovative models and educational research on the acquisition, teaching and use of English as a foreign language to specific cases, to a specific school context and/or contexts related to education, so that the theoretical knowledge acquired is suitably connected to the educational practice.


To critically analyse one’s own work and use appropriate resources and strategies to achieve professional improvement.


To incorporate information and communication technology (ICTs) into teaching and learning activities, teaching management and professional development.


To generate innovative and competitive proposals in professional or research activity.


To express oneself in public and give presentations with digital support adapted to the different interest groups in the school environment (teachers, families, students, etc.)

Specific Competences

 CE1, CE2, CE7, CE10, CE11



To know and reflect on processes of the acquisition and learning of English as a foreign language and its literature and culture.


To know and reflect on the process of learning languages other than the mother tongue at different educational stages and throughout life.


To analyse and evaluate the development of students’ linguistic competence in English at different educational stages, based on the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.


To use the English language for academic and professional purposes related to research in the areas of acquisition, teaching and learning English as a foreign language.


To use academic skills in English, both orally and in writing inside and outside the classroom as well as all the communication techniques typical of teachers of this language.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes that will be required of the students will be linked to the selected competences in each case. Among others, the following stand out:

  • Identify and analyse the different cognitive factors, processes or phenomena related to the teaching and learning/acquisition of English as a foreign language in bilingual and multilingual contexts.
  • Reflect on the process of learning languages other than the mother tongue at different educational stages and throughout life.
  • Use the English language for academic and professional purposes related to the acquisition, teaching and learning of English as a foreign language.


  • English as a lingua franca in a pluri-national world
  • Analysis of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL)
    • Language biography and multilingual approach
  • Bilingual and multilingual education systems
  • Acquisition of a third language (L3)
  • Widespread myths about foreign language learning
  • Theoretical foundations for L3 in school contexts

Evaluation systems and criteria


Presentation of online work: 70% of the final mark

  • Creation of a blog with 3 compulsory tasks and one optional task.

Participation in online forums and virtual debates: 30% of the final mark

  • 3 compulsory tasks in the Virtual Campus Forum.

Evaluation criteria:

To be able to:

- Select, analyse and distinguish information relevant to the topic and theoretical approach and incorporate updated references related to the latest research and publications.

-  Integrate knowledge and make well-reasoned critical judgements based on the information available and with consideration for the characteristics of the context in which work is being carried out.

- Demonstrate an ability to think critically about the pedagogical approaches and different methodologies for teaching English in a globalised world.

- Demonstrate adequate oral and written expression in English.


IMPORTANT: Anti-plagiarism software will be used on all evaluated assignments.

Bibliography and resources

Baetens Beardsmore, Hugo (2009). Language Promotion in European Supra-national Institutions. In García, Ofelia (ed.) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 197-217.

García, Ofelia (2009). Introducing Bilingual Education. In García, Ofelía, Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 13-17.

García, Ofelía and Flores, Nelson (2012). Multilingual pedagogies. In Martin-Jones, Marilyn, Blackledge, Adrian, and Creese, Angela (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism. New York: Routledge, pp. 232-246.

Jessner, Ulrike and Cenoz, Jasone (2007). Teaching English as a third language. In J. Cummins and C. Davison (Eds.), International Handbook of English Language Teaching. New York: Springer, pp. 155-167

Lightbown, Patsy and Spada, Nina (2006) How Languages are Learned. 3rd Edition. Cambridge: CUP.

Nikula, T., Dafouz, E., Moore, P., and Smit, U. (2016). Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters

 Muñoz, Carme (2000). Bilingualism and Trilingualism in Catalonia. In Cenoz, Jasone & Jessner, Ulrike (Eds.). English in Europe: The acquisition of a third language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 157-178.

Sutton, John. (2006). Globalization: A European perspective. In Anthony Giddens, Patrick Diamond and Roger Liddle (eds.) Global Europe, Social Europe.Cambridge: Polity Press, 37-51Pp.

Zentella, Ana Celia. (1997). Growing up Bilingual. Oxford: Blackwell, 322 Pp

Optional Readingl:

British Council Report (2010). Spanish Bilingual Education Policy.

Guasch, Oriol (2011). El tractament integrat de les àrees de llengua. In La Mirada Experta: Ensenyar i aprendre llengües. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, pp. 5-13.

Mollin, Sandra (2006). English as a Lingua Franca: A New Variety in the New Expanding Circle? Nordic Journal of English Studies Vol 5, 2, pp. 41-57.

Muñoz, Carme; Pérez, Carmen; Celaya, Mª Luz; Navés, Teresa; Torras, Mª Rosa; Tragant, Elsa and Victori, Mia. En torno los efectos de la edad en el aprendizaje escolar de una lengua extranjera. [Internal Document of Research Group BCN-SLA].

Noguerol, Artur (2008). El tratamiento integrado de las lenguas en el marco europeo. Textos de didáctica de la lengua y de la literatura, 47, pp. 10-19.

Prats, Enric (2014). L’ensenyament de l’anglès als països de l’entorn. Perspectiva Escolar 374, pp. 6-10.

Pujolar, Joan; González, Isaac i Martínez, Roger (2010). Les mudes lingüístiques dels joves catalans. Llengua i Ús, 48, pp. 65-75.