THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
This initiative was carried out during the 2005–06, 2006–07 and 2007–08 academic years as part of a learning partnership Grundtvig 2 Socrates Programme. Five adult education schools from Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Spain worked on the premises outlined by the EU in 2001 — European Year of Languages — aimed at promoting foreign language learning, as well as the conclusions of the Council of Europe (Barcelona 2002) which highlighted that European citizens should be able to communicate in two foreign languages besides their own.
The idea behind this project is to design a course in which trios of students who have studied two foreign languages can collaborate to fulfil intercultural tasks. For each activity, two participants practise their L2 or L3 whereas the third student, who is the native speaker, acts as a Guide on the Side(g-o-t-s), a helper and informant regarding his/her culture. Therefore, the purpose of all the activities is threefold:
1. Developing awareness of cross-cultural communication
2. Improving proficiency in the language skills
3. Focusing on ICT and a blending approach to language acquisition (or picking up a language)
Thus, we deal with three languages, three competences and three learning settings (Face to face, online and self-study) As you must be well aware by now, three is our magic number and this is why the project was named e-tridem in contrast with the more fashionable and popular tandem experiences.
We were committed to use an eclectic methodology. At first, there were initial face-to-face meetings with a local tutor to arrange the trios and explain how everything worked; later the students had to continue their work with the help of an online learning platform and the use of both synchronous and asynchronous devices. However, they were not left on their own. We found it innovative and certainly advantageous for the learners to count on 4 levels of support, namely, the tutors, the other participants from the same institution, the other non-native partners and the Guide on the Side.
As for technology, the Moodle program has been chosen because it is easy- to- handle free software. We also found out that Skype is a very attractive synchronous tool that can add a more personal touch through the use of voice.
The course itself which was piloted twice and proved to work perfectly.
Since the completion of this partnership, the collaboration of the A Coruña EOI with the Volkshochschule Stuttgart in Germany continues and both institutions have since designed courses which are called ‘TandemKurs Deutsch-Englisch’, hosted in our ‘Virtual Learning Environment: www.edu.xunta.es/centros/eoicoruna/aulavirtual/, in which the Spanish and German students work together.
Then we have also begun working with another British centre, MCLS (Middlesbrough Adult and Community Learning Service) in a project with a similar philosophy in which students of English at EOI communicate with British students in English and Spanish. This project is called ‘Friends’ and it is available online at the following URL: www.teeslearn.ac.uk/moodle.
We also worked on another learning partnership, ‘Getting to Know Each Other, Breaking Stereotypes’, in which, taking on the basis of the idea of the awarded project, we organized various tasks for students to communicate in one or several languages which they were studying, so that the students could practice German, Italian, Spanish, English and French.
1. it works with three languages (German, English and Spanish) in collaboration with five institutions from four European countries;
2. the aim is to improve three key competencies (linguistic communicative competence in foreign languages, digital competence and intercultural competence);
3. it emphasises different working methodologies associated with language learning and teaching (three complementary ways of learning: through ICT, promoting learner autonomy and face-to-face learning), while it encourages peer learning;
4. it has involved the creation of a communication network for learning three languages, Spanish, English and German, which has led to increased student motivation of the participating institutions for language learning and improving their communicative competence, cultural knowledge and intercultural communication;
5. it has involved the promotion of teamwork, reflection on teaching systems and language learning and coordination of faculties from participating institutions to develop a common method of learning foreign languages, based on the interaction between students of different countries.
Apart from the collaboration with different European institutions as mentioned above, we mention this project when we talk about participating in the LLP or we take part in any meeting related to this actions.
We talked to the local press and made some interviews.
The fact that we were selected to represent our country for the Label of labels in Cyprus in September.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
This project reflects European policies in a number of areas - the encouragement of language diversity through networking, the emphasis on non-formal learning, fostering intercultural dialogue.
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