Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education in the Global Era (Webinar)

Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education in the Global Era: New Challenges and Opportunities  – A Talk and Mini-workshop by Dr. Barbara Spinelli (Columbia University)


  •  Talk followed by a Q&A: 6:15-7:30pm   RSVP HERE
  • Mini-workshop: 7:45-8:45pm (write to Teresa Fiore to reserve a spot)

Moderated by Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair) with remarks by Dr. Katia Paz Goldfarb (Assistant Vice President for Hispanic Serving Initiatives, Academic Affairs)

An event on language teaching and learning in universities characterized by strong diversity. Linked to the general initiatives for the internationalization of the curriculum at MSU, and, in particular, the new teaching project Italian for Spanish Speakers and MSU’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Changes in society associated with globalization, such as the intensification of communication and worldwide social relations, have a significant impact on the way we conceptualize Language Education. Many scholars in Applied Linguistics and SLA point out that Language Education needs to take into consideration the effects of such global and local mobility processes on language learners’ motivation, investment, and sense of identity. Higher Education in North America has, de facto, been facing a number of challenges posed by the increasingly multilingual composition of language classes in the last few decades. This changing climate calls for curricula innovation and the revision of educational goals. This presentation will explore the organizing principles of re-designed curricula and pedagogical models that can respond to such challenges and implement a change in language classrooms.

Barbara Spinelli is Senior Lecturer in Italian at Columbia University. She worked as Researcher in Educational Linguistics at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. She collaborated with the Centre for Language Assessment and Certifications as a teacher trainer and language tester. She was involved in research projects promoted by the European Commission and the Council of Europe as language expert.  She has published book chapters as well as articles in International research journals. She is the co-author of the Profilo della lingua Italiana: Livelli A1, A2, B1, B2 del QCER (Rizzoli Education). Her main research areas are: Network-based Language Learning, Curriculum Design, Plurilingual and Intercultural Education.

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Further resources:

Video with Dr. Spinelli’s presentation at the 2019 Columbia U Language Resource Center symposium: Language Education in a Time of Crisis: Innovation, Adaptation, Transformation.

Spinelli, Barbara.* “The Multilingual Turn in FL Education: Investigating L3/Ln Reading-Writing.” Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts 3:2 (2017). Amsterdam, NL: John Benjamins, 2017. 184-209.

Spinelli, Barbara.* “Localizing the Global: Exploring Responsive Forms of Inclusive Pedagogy in Order to Preserve Linguistic Biodiversity.” Plurilingual Education Research, Teaching and Language Policies. Ed. Marianne Hepp, and Martina Nied Curcio. Rome, Italy: Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici, 2018. 105-22.

Spinelli, Barbara.* “Costruire competenze plurilinguistiche attraverso il co-apprendimento e l’approccio riflessivo: uno studio pilota negli USA.” Intercompréhension en réseau: scénarios, médiations, évaluations, Travaux du CRTT. Lyon, FR: Université Lyon 2, 2015. 113-24.

** For Barbara Spinelli’s articles, please contact the author via