THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The project was for adult learners who have had an initial introduction in one of the languages (Turkish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian) and who want to progress from a survival level A1 to a greater competency (A2 Common European Framework). Diaspora, businessmen, expats, tourists, as well as people who are interested in languages, are all part of the targeted sector.
One of the main reasons for developing this project was to make available language courses for a series of LWULT languages as foreign languages for which no methodology was available. The innovation was mainly about the teaching format (Blended Learning) and the correlation of the course content with the CEFR.
The courses concentrate on helping students become autonomous learners by providing practice and experience in autonomy, during the course.
Weekly offline classes are included with the course tutor. These will introduce new topical issues connected to linguistic structures, clarify online issues brought up in the previous week and reflect on the process of learning.
The target languages of the Blended Languages Courses are:
The courses are based on
• Authentic situations
• Learner needs
• Culturally specific situations
The course materials focus on building basic survival skills in each language, follow CEFR recommendations to develop student autonomy. Unit by unit students work in class and online through the course. Collaboration in class and online with their tutor and other classmates is a fundamental element of the courses. To ensure effective autonomous learning, students are regularly encouraged to reflect on learning styles and strategies.
• encourage and support linguistic diversity throughout the European Union;
• contribute to an improvement in the quality of language teaching and learning;
• promote access to lifelong language learning opportunities appropriate to each individual's needs.
• Encourage the learning of LWULT languages and facilitate the access to those languages to immigrants, diaspora, students etc.
• Create a methodology for teaching LWULT languages in blended format.
The Four language courses (Turkish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian) have been built by language specialists with skills in:
• Creating language courses and materials
• Technology and online language learning platforms
• Blended learning
Each of the four languages includes a specialist from the country, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania. Their knowledge includes an understanding of the language teaching of their language.
The project has also built guidelines, templates and common instruments for each of the courses so coherent courses are built. In addition, the experts in blended learning have added their knowledge in to the process.
The language course builders have looked to add voluntary collaborating institutions and experts to the process. Each course unit needed piloting and volunteers to help with this. See here.
The courses, in construction and completion, were piloted in the expert's institutions and in the voluntary piloting institutions.
4 Blended Learning language courses for LWULT European languages
A teacher guide and a student guide for facilitating the access to the courses and for familiarization with the BL methodology.
We have applied for the Label as the project has developed a very innovative product – a BL course for Romanian as a foreign language, correlated with the descriptors from the CEFR. We believe that this product shouldn't d be widely disseminated and made available to an audience as wide as possible. Our initial expectations were thus mainly correlated with finding a dissemination channel for the project and the Label gave the project the visibility it needed.
We have disseminated the information regarding the award of the Label at European level – through our contacts database and through the networks of the partners involved in ALL. The project has also been presented in events related to language learning and foreign language methodology, with a focus on the innovation it brought and on how the BL methodology can be transferred.
The main benefit of the project being awarded the ELL was an increase in visibility at national level (as the project was developed with a team of international experts).
In order to develop high-quality projects, we believe that project coordinators should implement projects based on a careful planning, employ diverse teams of experts from relevant areas for the products to be developed and focus on bringing innovation in their field.
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