THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
Haro (La Rioja) is a melting-pot of cultures and citizens from both, Spain and the whole world. Wine-growing area, several circumstances co-exist for this situation to take place.
- agriculture and industry co-habit, thus workers either settle or pass-by when looking for a job.
- oenotourism is reaching its peak, that is to say, tourists from all over the world come up so as to enjoy the wines, treat themselves to a wine spa, a wine therapy or simply walk around the astounding vineyards.
- borderland city, history, art and gastronomy offer insights into a unique way of life.
Hence, coexistence and union amongst all citizens become fundamental elements for the welfare in the region.
The Official Language School El Fuero de Logroño attempts to join the basic competences established by the Council of Europe together with the self-learning tools provided and the contents the language curricula of the country establish. This way, our students will be prepared to out into the world as well as qualified to face new challenges that may rise in their lives.
The main objectives the projects aims to reach are the following:
- Empower language learning in the region by using the world of wine, worldwide gastronomy and the resources offered by the region.
- Integrate the communicative competence in the language lessons through a practical path.
- Promote the communicative and functional nature language learning has.
- Allow for a better interaction between learners and teachers.
- Contribute to the integration into the labour market through a cultural-linguistic training.
Groundwork started with the publishing of the CEFR. Both, the need and desire to improve the intercultural as well as linguistic understanding amongst our citizens grew in a great number of the teacher’s minds. Some changes had to be done so as to achieve the effective acquisition of the competences needed in our particular context. Thus, the process began with the training of the teachers into several aspects:
- Priorities needed in our area.
- Adjustment of the school curriculum to a new approach in which intercultural dialogue, learner autonomy and transparency in the evaluation system were taken as must dos.
- Assimilation of concepts such as plurilinguism or pluriculturalism.
Various methodological approaches are being followed along the course to reach the longing goals:
- VAKOG system, representation system which acronym stands for visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory. The former three seem to dominate the mental procedures in most human beings, whereas the latter two are a great number of times considered as one for not being so significant amongst human beings. However, and due to the world we live in, most of the students who attend the language school use these two less normally used senses as their primary ones. Then, it is of considerable importance the adjusting of the teaching system to the needs the students have so as to provide them with the best possible learning.
- Individual learning process. The classroom itself becomes a festive room in which the teacher becomes the tutor, moderator, mentor… a person who pays deep attention to the needs, skills and interests of each and every student. The method is centred in the learning process and not so much in the teaching one, thus, the teacher’s role changes radically. By felling relaxed , solidarity arises and all the students make the most of their learning.
- Learner autonomy is promoted with the use of two tools: The European Language Portfolio and the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters.
Two types of results could be seen from the same stepping stone:
- Those achieved in a short term, that is to say, the happiness of everyone involved for the outcome seen in their learning, in the success of the talks, workshops and memorabilia given. The willingness to continue year after year on both parts, learners and teachers.
- Those needed to be seen in a longer term, so as to see whether communicative competence has been reached. Effectiveness in the adult language learning process requires a long non-stopped continuously motivating approach that allows plurilinguism to, step by step, enter everyone’s home.
Two main reasons brought our project to apply for the ELL:
- Motivating the students is one of the main requirements adult language teachers need in order to go on with their work successfully for it is a non compulsory education. Then, when the 2011 call for proposals was published, it was seen that the long-worked on project could fit in. So, why not apply? The ELL could contribute to raising the school teachers’ self confidence when applying the educational linguistic cultural values followed in our school by having an outside body agree with them. And it did!
-Language learners themselves could boost their reliability on their learning process should some outside recognition be given, just like external evaluation does on children.
Human beings and teachers in particular are always in need of support for the undertaken efforts their profession has. Adult learners are also in this constant need. Thus, by attaining this acknowledgement all participants in this learning/teaching process would view that the implementation of less traditional techniques in this process do work out.
The main activities following the award have been the following:
- Participation of the students with their talks and workshops in the XV anniversary of the main language school placed in the capital city, Logroño.
- Training of more teachers in the Council of Europe guidelines.
- Lectures given by the teachers at local, national and international seminars and conferences.
- Eagerness on the teachers’ side to cultivate themselves revolving the world of wine.
- Expanding the principles within this Jornadas to the main language school.
Enormous impact in the world of education, especially among the Inspectors and members of the local Government. Local award given in a ceremony chaired by the President of La Rioja.
Bliss amongst the students, families and citizens of La Rioja Alta, where the Jornadas take place.
Surprise in the teachers’ world: how, why, what… all kinds of questions asked by peers who had not paid any attention beforehand considering this initiative of mixing methodologies as a strange approach never to succeed.
Feel the enthusiasm that having something to present has, be proud of your work and the colleagues, learners and everyone involved in it. Do not break down if no prize is awarded. The fact of having worked on a different project that helps your students in their learning process should enhance your self-awareness that it does work. Believe in your initiative, think of it as an excellent means for your institution to improve its educational purposes, many applicants apply every year and the circumstances keep changing.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The project is consistent with the current policies. It is focused on learning mobility.
According to 2010-2011 priorities, it states language learning in the community.
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