THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
FEEL started with the small countries (e.g., Lithuania, Malta, Estonia, Slovenia, etc.) accession of the EU, when there was a need to increase cultural and linguistic awareness. Teachers of the less-used languages have always been in need of modern and attractive teaching materials. Thus at the beginning was a calendar that a) functions as a souvenir from a particular country, b) gives some cultural knowledge, c) allows one to learn some language, d) gives some basic ideas about the language and its features. Once created in a funny and “informal” format, teaching becomes more effective. Later on it grew into a big language and culture festivals.
The project aims at providing basic linguistic knowledge (elementary vocabulary, grammar and phonetics) and introducing EU citizens to the cultural processes, products and activities of the speakers of target languages.
More specifically FEEL project objectives are:
• To promote among EU citizens and worldwide the awareness of cultural particularities of the accession countries and the new status of a particular language as an official language of the EU;
• To encourage people to take interest in the study of new official EU languages;
• To satisfy basic linguistic needs of the constantly increasing European mobility;
• To introduce EU citizens and others to the languages and cultures of the accession countries in such a way that the existing (if there are any) stereotypes about the accession countries and their cultures can be avoided
FEEL was evaluated periodically (at each partner meeting, after each product/event being created) internally and externally.
Discussions with partners and experts and feedback from the audience allowed to improve the project material quality and achieve good results.
As for the external evaluation, it was carried out under subcontracting. The partnership followed the external evaluators suggestions for improvements of the project website and further dissemination possibilities.
The outcomes are as follows:
- An informative souvenir-like calendar for each project country/language separately (LT, LV, EE, CZ, HU, MT, PL, SI, SK, CY);
- A European linguistic/cultural souvenir-like calendar presenting all the 10 project countries together;
- Various popular materials, e.g. language survival kits, brochures, posters, language games, bookmarks, leaflets, and CDs with conversations in the project languages;
- A European Language Festival in Brussels (where languages and cultures were presented through main senses such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, etc.);
- Local dissemination events in each country to promote target languages and cultures such as festivals at schools, language and culture days ;
- Project presentation and dissemination of its results (a poster session) at the EAIE conference of 2006 in Basel attended by almost 2000 participants.
As for consistency of intitial plans and results it should be stressed that the partners, external evaluators, the target audience and also other unexpected beneficiaries (including Embassies, international organisations, travel agents and cultural centres) evaluated the project outcomes extremely well. All products have been received with great interest and in many cases with enthusiasm thanks to the originality of the style and content.
The project was well evaluated by external evaluators and received good, however, informal assessment from the end users.
The project reached a very wide audience and did increase its awareness about the 10 languages, cultures and countries as was indicated in the project aims.
The added value of the project is that it over achieved its aims. For example, the European Language Festival was a very successful event where each partner promoted its language and culture through a specially designed stand with local linguistic and cultural “products” (phrases used in the calendar, local music, photos of the country, etc). Short and amusing language courses were well accepted by all participants. The festival was attended by about 500 people and was given coverage by the national and international press.
Local events were also well received by the audiences. For example, the Lithuanian team and the Latvian, Slovak, and Czech partners presented the project results during an international conference “Language, Diversity and Integration in the Enlarged EU: Challenges and Opportunities” (Kaunas, 12-14 May, 2006). Instead of using a traditional presentation or a poster format, the FEEL ideas and products were presented to the conference participants and the local public in the form of a rock concert. Lithuanian and Latvian rock groups sang in their native languages; the concert participants took part in a contest which was based on quiz questions related to and games reflecting the educational ideas of FEEL; FEEL products were given as prizes. People were informed about the event by the local press and TV.
The project built on the European policy of multiculturalism and linguistic diversity in Europe. The project products and events promote the diversity of cultures and languages by giving a possibility for each EU citizen to become aware of the new EU languages and cultures and to learn basic expressions of the language. The project partners themselves, working as a team, have experienced that basic linguistic and cultural knowledge about a country increases tolerance.
The project also facilitates mobility of students and other people. The country/culture promoting materials stimulate people’s curiosity and their wish to learn more by visiting the project countries.
Additional value, we still receive requests for FEEL materials or for sharing experience as how to coordinate, implement and succeed with a project of such a large scale.
The project activities were very well accepted by the audience and external experts The projects’ s success encouraged us to apply for the ELL.
We did not follow any special methodology, but filled out the ELL form with a detailed description and provision of visual materials.
The general expectations were to promote FEEL project ideas and disseminate FEEL materials to a wider audience.
The ELL award increased various institutions’ (schools, language centres, tourist agencies, etc.) interest in FEEL even more. Thus by talking to people, giving advice, sharing our experience we disseminated the project ideas further. However, we did not have the human and financial resources to take any exploitation initiatives or start any other actions.
ELL award gave more visibility to our institutional activities and a chance to disseminate the project ideas to a wider and more diverse audience. It also gave satisfaction and more confidence in what we are doing as an institution and as a team. Thus the ELL award for FEEL triggered the start of other projects, for example, FREPY.
As mentioned before, the more detailed is the description of your project activities, the more it is example-based, the more likely your application will be accepted positively. As for quality language learning projects – language learning should be easy, easily accessed, entertaining, oriented or easily adopted for different learners, related to culture, people’s interests and their basic needs.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
Promotion of LWULT European languages
Innovative and attractive ways of learning languages
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
One of the best projects that promotes LWULT languages and the relevant countries' cultures in an innovative and attractive way.
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