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Teaser, summary, work performed and final results

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIALLS (DIalogue and Argumentation for cultural Literacy Learning in Schools)


The plurality of voices, cultures, and identities in the current European landscape has been intensified by migration in and beyond Europe due to economic crises and refugee movement. Consequently, a homogeneous European cultural identity, is neither a reality, nor an...


The plurality of voices, cultures, and identities in the current European landscape has been intensified by migration in and beyond Europe due to economic crises and refugee movement. Consequently, a homogeneous European cultural identity, is neither a reality, nor an appropriate goal for youth development. Educational research, policy-making and practice can, however, support young people to develop a deep awareness and understanding of European multiculturalism and diversity of heritages, integrate this in a pluralistic view of European identity, and help them enact this awareness in their own dispositions and behaviours.

DIALLS is a 3 year project which will centralise co-constructive dialogue as a main cultural literacy value, with the aim of promoting tolerance, inclusion and empathy. It moves beyond a concept of cultural literacy as being about knowledge of culture (through exploration of literature and art for example) into a consideration of the disposition to explore different interpretations of it. It innovates by also viewing cultural literacy as enabled by the response to and creation of cultural resources, thus positioning young people as the users and producers of culture. This will be achieved through teaching children in schools from a young age to engage together in discussions where they may have differing viewpoints or perspectives, to enable a growing awareness of their own cultural identities, and those of others. Comparative analysis of students in and across eight European countries will highlight the potential impact of social factors including gender, socio-economic context, age, and ethnicity on how young people negotiate and construct their European identities.

The novelty of our proposal lies in our goal to establish educational face-to-face and online environments as dialogic spaces of tolerance, inclusion and empathy where students can share their perspectives and their own created cultural artefacts as they make sense of Europe and its different cultures. Our teaching and assessment tools will form the basis of guidance to support schools in their development of a dialogic pedagogy for cultural literacy in tomorrow’s Europe.

The DIALLS consortium comprises nine universities from across Europe and one in Israel which have close networks of partnership schools (pre-primary, primary and secondary) in a range of urban and rural contexts.

Work performed

DIALLS has progressed very well during the first year with all activities on track as planned and having thus far achieved their intended objectives. At this stage, we are unaware of any major obstacles ahead during the remaining two years.
The first step of the project was to analyse a wide range of European and national education policies dealing with intercultural dialogue and to understand the meanings, uses and interdependence of their core culture-related concepts. The analysis found that the language of education policy documents is extremely broad with ambiguous concepts and flexible meanings.

On the basis of this work, the Cultural Analysis Framework was developed with four core themes for promoting and practising cultural literacy and making sense of Europe. See CAF wheel, attached.

DIALLS defines cultural literacy as a social practice that is inherently dialogic and based on learning and gaining knowledge through empathetic, tolerant and inclusive interaction with others.
Based on these core themes, a systematic review of wordless picturebooks and films identified 145 cultural texts from across Europe to be included in the Bibliography of Cultural Texts. These texts are online as the DIALLS Library (

Of these texts, following a rigorous selection process which included teachers, students and researchers, 45 were then chosen to support the Cultural Literacy Learning Programme (CLLP) which will take place in schools in seven countries from September 2019 to May 2020. It includes 15 lesson sequences for three age groups (5/6 years, 8/9 years, 14/15 years) and has been co-designed in collaboration with researchers and teachers from four DIALLS partners. Each partner recruited teachers with expertise and/or special interest in dialogue, argumentation or cultural literacy, whose pedagogical practice was known to be exemplary. At the end of the first year, the CLLP is almost complete and is in the final stages of testing. Recruitment of schools and teachers has started in order reach the target of 300 classes across the seven countries by September 2019. Partners are using different recruitment strategies, specific to their context, to recruit schools, classrooms and teachers and we are currently on track to achieve this target.

One of the innovations of DIALLS is the creation of an online educational platform to allow students to engage in dialogue about the core themes with students from other schools and other countries. A functional analysis of the user requirement inherent in the project has been carried out, taking into account all teaching materials and lesson plans under development as well as a systematic and critical review of the existing online tools available for collaborative argumentation-based learning.
Based on these recommendations the DIALLS platform has been built to afford the various online pedagogical scenarios envisaged during the CLLP and to provide an age-adapted interface to meet the various pedagogical requirements of the different age groups that are about to use the system. Usability testing is currently being carried out by teachers using the lesson sequences and wordless texts.

An unexpected success of the project in its first year has been dissemination, given that there are few results at this stage, with more interest in DIALLS than anticipated. Team members have attended 10 events, had four academic articles/publications accepted, submitted a further four articles/publications and featured in five media interviews. Of particular note is a double page spread in Publico, one of Portugal’s most widely read newspapers and articles in two Lithuanian newspapers. The innovative online searchable Library of cultural texts (see above) has been very well received and quickly became the most visited page on the website following its launch.

Final results

Developing a platform where students (sometimes with their teachers) can respond to each other’s cultural resources and interpretation of visual text is beyond the state of the art, as is the analysis of the 145 bibliography of texts, and the use of an interactive searchable library to curate them.
DIALLS is ground-breaking in its synthesis of literacy, cultural heritage, policy, dialogue and argumentation and its productions of resources that enhance the relationships between them. We move beyond current innovative and dialogic pedagogies by focusing on collaborative response to and production of cultural artefacts by younger generations. Our work effort in this first year has progressed significantly towards these ‘beyond the state of the art’ goals and we are track to deliver these outcomes as expected.

Website & more info

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