THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTEXT AND OF THE NEEDS THE INITIATIVE RESPONDS TO
In our educational system, it is unknown students’ cultural and linguistic knowledge, and the teaching of languages is addressed to the acquisition of languages in an isolated way. In the last years, the Europe Council has taken enormous importance to the concept of multilingualism in languages’ teaching and learning.
The objective of our activities is to develop a multilingual competence for the integration of diverse learners’ subcompetences (in L1, L2, L3 …). We have also tried to extend this new didactic approach within the community of students, teachers, and researchers.
REASONS FOR SELECTING THE SPECIFIC THEMATIC AREA, TARGET GROUPAND TARGET LANGUAGE(S)
Educating students as European citizens has been the central reason for selecting this specific thematic area in order to obtain intercultural speakers who will be able to speak other languages and comparing them.
We also help students:
- develop a multilingual and cultural competence
- build a linguistic and cultural identity through the integration of different languages experiences
- develop learning capacities from plural experiences from the contact with other languages and cultures.
The use of the didactic material pursues the development of multilingual competence, so it is expected that students will adopt a positive attitude and an interest towards other languages’ knowledge and cultures different from theirs.
In relation to the chosen languages, we have selected those which are taught in our official school of languages, and the mother tongue of students, relatives, peers, and teachers. The Spanish language can partially appear.
- Establishing an action plan for innovation in the classroom
- Developing, with the help of pluralistic approaches, a methodology that favours the acquisition of multilingual and intercultural competence.
-Raising children awareness of the existence of European languages and prepare them to the linguistic and cultural diversity
-Creating positive attitudes to other languages and cultures among students
- Disseminating new approaches in the teaching of languages among teachers
-Make teachers conscious of the promotion of multilingualism and the intercultural competence on students
- Providing tools to develop multilingual activities in educational schools.
Approach adopted in the planning and development of the initiative
The activity is based on new and innovative approaches. Plural approaches in language teaching, promoted specially by the European Centre of modern arts of Graz, Austria, are characterized by the implementation of several languages simultaneously. We have taken into account FREPA descriptors, the framework of reference for plural approaches.
The project “Despertar a las Lenguas” not only develops a multilingual competence but also students’ intercultural competence and the learning of several European languages.
This experience also emphasizes general competences and especially the “savoir être”, that is to say, the positive attitudes to linguistic and cultural diversity.
Management strategy adopted, identification of strengths and weaknesses of the adopted management approach
Linguistic acknowledgement is essential for students so that they can relate languages and cultures. In this way, we can make students conscious that all languages are similar. The earlier we push them in the world of languages, more tolerant, comprehensive and multilingual they will be.
The awareness of teachers and students is important for the development of students’ multilingual competence
- identifying and comprehend unknown languages
- promoting the development of a multilingual competence
- sensitivity to languages differences
- sensitivity to cultural differences
- reflecting on the use of communication strategies: gestures, use of similar words
- reflecting on the use of comprehension strategies: comparing languages, relating studied themes
- using students’ knowledge in a language to develop comprehensive and productive skills in other languages.
Strategies used for fostering the learners’ motivation
Learners are encouraged to learn languages and they realize they can understand them without studying them in detail, only with the previous knowledge they have from other languages. Students become aware of the proximity of certain languages and the existence of family of languages, etc.
Besides, students play an important role since they talk about their own linguistic experiences, guess the meaning of unknown sentences, provide suggestions, etc.
Teachers are also motivated because they can manage these activities without being a language expert.
Evaluation strategy adopted
Teachers have been asked to continue collaborating after the project with the following activities:
(a) They should frequently involve their student to greet and say goodbye in other language.
(b) In special occasions (birthday, Christmas, parties), students should practice what they have learnt: greeting, saying goodbye, introducing themselves in other language.
In 2011-2012 course, it was elaborated an analysis and assessment form, and our team went to educational schools to evaluate the maintenance of multilingual strategies and students’ knowledge.
Results and deliverables produced
It is an hour activity based on the didactic approach: “Éveil aux langues”
- Dividing children into groups, each group adopts a nationality. All students carry a flag.
- A map of Europe is drawn in the classroom’s floor and children have to recognized countries and languages.
- Children learn to greet and say goodbye in each language.
-Children become tourists and they move around the map visiting other countries and greeting in the appropriate language.
- Classes finish with the introduction of the customs of each country at Christmas and the way birthdays are celebrated. All students sing in six languages.
2. Greeting in different languages
2.1. Distribution of nationalities
2.2. Breaking the ice
2.3. Familiarization with Europe
2.4. Familiarization with the new language and nationality
2.5. Revision of learnt contents
2.6. Travelling around Europe
3. Learning customs
3.1. Christmas in Europe
3.2. Birthdays in Europe
Consistency of the results with initial plans and with the expectation of the end users
Students’ first impression when treading the map drawn on the floor in Salamanca’s official school of languages, is usually the recognition of several languages in the world, and the proximity of the spoken languages. This is the true awakening of languages: we do not want students memorizing greetings and farewells, we better surround them in an atmosphere of sensitivity, and a linguistic and intercultural education.
Although we obtained positive results from the very beginning, the first sessions allowed us to be aware of some problems. So, we modified and improved some aspects thanks to the piloting sessions:
-Students’ reduction in each session:
The ideal number of students should not exceed 6, thereby it is achieved an active participation of students.
-Addressees: learners from the third year of primary school. Better material reception with students from 8 because they have previous languages knowledge and they involve in didactic activities intensely.
Was an assessment of the quality of results carried out? If yes, which were the indicators adopted?
No, it was not.
Originality and innovative aspects of the results reached
Our experience tries to overcome the challenge of bilingualism and others more ambitious, as the development of a multilingual competence by students.
The outstanding feature of this linguistic and cultural work is children’s exposition to different languages and cultures, and the transferability they experience from the well-known language to another unknown.
Not only have we developed linguistic skills but also intercultural and cultural ones, introducing consequently historical, geographical, and sociocultural knowledge about Europe, and thus promoting understanding and different customs and languages.
It is a multilingual activity (German, Spanish, French, English, Italian, and Portuguese) and there is not a superior language. It is worthy of mention that students listen and reproduce language chunks without seeing them on a piece of paper. It is also an intercultural and cross-sectional activity in which linguistic skills are as important as general competences: savoir, savoir être, savoir faire, savoir apprendre (general knowledge takes an important role, and abilities and attitudes are valued).
The project’s aim is to show students and teachers a way to learn languages easily and supported by our mother tongue through original and creative ideas.
Potential transferability of the initiative
The activity could be a starting example for others countries which could adopt it to their contexts.
Impact of the project
Thanks to the collaboration of Salamanca’s school of languages together with “La Fundación de Saberes del Ayuntamiento” of Salamanca, the project was disseminated in all educational schools of primary education of Salamanca. It has been more than 2000 requests which we could only meet 750 until this moment.
It has also been disseminated new plural approaches among the teachers of those students, new teachers and foreign students who have participated in the project.
Thanks to the Prize and its dissemination in mass media we extended the activity over a year. Several teachers requested the materials so that they could apply this activity into their lessons.
Additionally, we were requested to manage projects addressed to the development of a multilingual and intercultural competence in secondary education. From there, a second project emerged in the course 2011-2012 known as “Discover your multilingual and intercultural abilities”
Some schools have put feedback on their webs:
Motivations leading to the application for the European Language Label
We apply the European Label to disseminate our project and the new approaches of language teaching.
Methodology for applying for the European Language Label
Completing the form emphasizing the compliance of the criteria of selection and also presenting a clear and descriptive report graphically documented.
Initial expectations (were the initial expectations met?)
Yes, they were. It was a positive experience
Dissemination and exploitation initiatives
We could not satisfy the high demand (more than 2000 applications). So, we have trained teachers and facilitate the activity to other educational centres since they do not need languages specialists to carry it on.
The experience was presented on 1st October 2011 in a Closing conference from the third programme of the Modern Languages Centre (CELV) in Graz, Austria, in order to expand it around Europe, and in TRICLIL 2012 (9TH May 2012), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Content and Language Integrated Learning (AICLE) and multilingual education: “Despertar a las Lenguas”: from intercomprehension to acquisition.
The activity was extended until 2011-2012
Extension of the project with secondary students (implemented on the course 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) entitled “Discover your multilingual and intercultural abilities”
Benefits for the initiative having received the ELL
Institutions, educational centres, colleagues, and parents interested in this experience
Impact of the initiative following the awarding of the ELL
Feedback in mass media:
Consistency of the impact with initial expectations
Expectations are fitted with the achieved impact
Advices on how to exploit the awarded ELL initiatives
The criteria for the selection of projects change every year, this fact does not help us to obtain the European Label. Those criteria should be published beforehand.
Advices on how to plan and develop quality language learning initiatives that can successfully apply for the ELL
We have to disseminate the experience, giving interviews to mass media, going to congresses, publishing papers on specialized magazines, organizing training courses for teachers, etc.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
Language learning is taken out of traditional classroom -a different way of learning and promotion of new approaches to language teaching and learning.
The project is in consistency with the Europeans policies:
‘Early Language Learning (ELL) at pre-primary level’ means systematic awareness raising or exposure to more than one language taking place in an early childhood
education and care setting in a pre-primary school context.
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