THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The River Neisse is the border between the cities of Görlitz and Zgorzelec, and at the same time it is the frontier between Germany and Poland. The inhabitants of the two cities cross from one to the other regularly in their daily lives and this gives rise to a clear need for learning each other’s languages. The Dietrich-Heise-Schule is a primary school and thus our project is focused on our primary classes one to four, and the equivalent classes in our partner school, the Szkoła Podstawowa im. Jarosłąawa Iwaszkiewicza in Zgorzelec.
Content objective: authentic language learning and training in the development oft he children’s first language (speaking clearly, awareness of the first language)
Methodological objective: partners teach their own language and learn the foreign language.
Educational objective: promoting and develop increased intercultural and social competences, together with motivation to learn and a sense of responsibility through taking over the role of teacher. In addition to promote the ability to carry through tasks over a period of time.
By means of communicative and intercultural application of „learning through teaching“ schoolchildren have an opportunity for daily international encounters.Tandem learning enables durable social contacts to be established, and methods of learning and using languages are assimilated and becoem transparent. learning and . The process of establishing confidence in contact with otherness is supported by direct contact with a new language and culture. The action orientation that the children’s self reliance in the task develops corresponds to their educational needs and leads to sustainable learning.
•PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND APPROACH ADOPTED - IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THIS:
The project is based on cooperation between a German free (private) school and a Polosh state school. The common teaching days (Gemeinsamen Unterrichtstage - GUT) are held alternately in Görlitz and Zgorzelec and they are organised by the respective host schools. The close cooperation between the schools made it possible to run the project on both sides oft he border and one oft he project’s strengths was the thorough preparation of the common teaching days by the respective institutions. One of the challenges was identifying partner classes of equivalent levels.
•STRATEGIES USED FOR FOSTERING LEARNER MOTIVATION:
The children’s motivation fort he projects was reinforced by the way the Tandem approach enabled them from the outset to establish communication and task and objective-oriented sutuations. All the procedures in the classes were based on clearly defined communicative tasks using a consistent methodological approach, so that the children became confident and immediately experienced successful carrying out their tasks.
•SYSTEM OF PROJECT EVALUATION USED:
There were regular evaluation meetings between teachers and the project coordinators, as well as the schools‘ managers at the beginning and the end of each school year. Continuous exchanges of ideas during the school year provided opportunities both to monitor the project and to broaden its aims.
•OUTCOMES AND ‘DELIVERABLES’ PRODUCED:
Over the years we were able to assemble a valuable collection of teachign materials for tandem learning, and these are now used by the teachers in both partner schools. The success of the project has been described in numerous newspaper articles and in professional gatherings
•CONSISTENCY OF THE OUTCOMES WITH INITIAL PLANS AND WITH THE EXPECTATION OF THE END USERS:
The original aim oft he project was to develop a new kind of channels for interpersonal communication in the border region for younger generations on both sides of the River Neisse. The results have in fact gone far beyond our expectations: the continuously high level of motivation of the learners, who looked forward keenly to the common teaching days; the continuous increase in the number of children wanting to learn Polish when they move on to secondary school, and choose their further schooling according to the opportunities for doing this.
•WAS AN ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF THE OUTCOMES CARRIED OUT? IF SO, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING INDICATORS WERE USED?
The methods were assessed throughout the project and changed where a need for doing this became apparent. Some phases of the approach were adapted to fit better needs o specific target groups. Teachers met in annual German- Polish tandem training workshop, which was also attended by parents.
•MOTIVATIONS LEADING TO THE APPLICATION FOR THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE LABEL:
The project made it possible to use personnel resources to good effect in building bridges between two languages, two cultures and two neighbouring communities in Germany and Poland. The geographical proximity helped promote the learning of each others’ languages and the development of intercultural and metacommunicative competences. In this way the project corresponds exactly to the annual priority of the European Language Label –Languages in the Community – using resources and developing skills.
The award was marked by a celebration to which all the children participating in the project were invited. It received a considerable amount of publicity in local media. It emphasised both the European and regional importance of its work. As a consequence of the project the teachers gained access to international professional networks.
It was a recognition of the quality of the project and rewarded the teachers involved - placing their work in an international context, and giving opportunities to present it in local and Europe wide contexts. The quality branding of the project by the lable is an important factor of motivation for continuation.
It is really important to define the target group - its educational and social needs - very carefully and to ensure that the project contributes in a practical way to meeting these needs.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
It is a good practical example of promoting language learning in a practical way which brings people together and helps European integration in a concrete way.
It corresponds exactly to the annual priority of using resources effectively to promote languages in the community and tpo develop a range of competences.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
See above - the practicality and replicability of the project was a reason for the award, together with the contribution to better understanding between neighbouring cultures in an area where this has not always been the case.
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