voXmi and its references to the global world
voXmi is an Austrian educational network that has existed since 2009 and has been expanding ever since. The acronym voXmi means „learning and experiencing languages from and with each other“. One of the main foci is to use digital media consciously and constructively for this purpose. The motivation for founding the network in 2009 was to contribute to a culture of peace and social cohesion in society by valuing and integrating all languages that children bring to kindergarten and school in a multilingual society. voXmi educational institutions actively counter all forms of exclusion, racism and linguicism and make human rights an issue.
Currently, 50 schools and elementary education institutions throughout Austria are active members. Kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and vocational schools in Vienna, Lower-Austria, Upper-Austria, Styria, Salzburg, Burgenland and Vorarlberg are united by the goal of strengthening the plurilingualism of their learners through a whole school approach.
The network is coordinated by three University Colleges of Teacher Education (and possibly more soon) and offers educational institutions the opportunity for a regular exchange on good practice, topic-related webinars and further education.
Together, concepts around multilingualism are further developed and annual themes for educational and school development are formulated. Last year (2020), the central themes were children’s and language rights.
Global Citizenship Education has been in the air already for a few years in the work of voXmi institutions. Some of the voXmi schools are also UNESCO schools and more research is now focusing on Global Citizenship Education at the university colleges of teacher education. The direct connection between voXmi and Global Citizenship Education is vividly illustrated by the videos on the voXmi YouTube channel: feeling accepted in a society with everything I am and everything that makes me special is the basis for a sense of belonging and the foundation for taking responsibility for society myself. Identities can no longer be reduced to national belonging. Language is an important part of my identity, my history and the history of my family. Even more, in a global world it is important to be aware of the many perspectives and interpretations of common goals. An appreciative engagement with the world knowledge that each language carries contributes to this.
Working together in a network is an ongoing, democratic process of meeting each other at eye level, of discussing concepts and goals. voXmi has a wealth of experience in this and would like to share this experience beyond Austria’s borders. We already have a first wonderful partner in the Language Friendly Schools, an initiative of the Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education. Learning from and with each other is the comprehensive motto of voXmi. The exchange on good practice in language friendly schools is always at the centre of discussion.
About the voXmi educational institution in the voXmi network
A voXmi educational institution is language-friendly. All languages are equal in the eyes of voXmi and every language is a building block towards a comprehensive language education for learners.
This is how we define voXmi:
- Valuing and fostering all of the languages used by our learners, e.g. their language at home, second languages, foreign languages.
- A rich offering of language instruction.
- Carefully planned and accessible lessons that are ‘language-aware’ in all subjects in order to develop the linguistic competences of all learners.
In order to achieve these aims, voXmi uses innovative, forward-thinking methods and digital technology, supported by a wide-ranging network that transcends linguistic and geographical boundaries.
The educational network voXmi unites and supports elementary educational institutions and schools that are united in their determination to build an inclusive, multi-lingual learning environment. Here are the four fundamental aims which define their vision:
- voXmi–institutions hold all languages to be equal in value and consider linguistic diversity to be a treasured resource.
- voXmi-institutions provide learners with a wide range of possibilities to learn languages from and with each other.
- voXmi-institutions employ ‘language-aware’ teaching and learning strategies in all subjects to ensure that all lessons are inclusive and accessible.
- voXmi-institutions take full advantage of the language-learning opportunities resulting from digital media and ideally use them to overcome language barriers and communicate with other young people online.