THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Carmen Argondizzo, professor at “Università della Calabria”. Carmen Argondizzo represents the promoting institution of the “CMC_E: Comunicare in contesti multilinguistici” project.
The background of the “CMC_E” project is based on the academic activity of the University. The main proposal comes from the Language Centre, which previously worked on another project (CMC), which is still online. This first project had different academic subjects and was addressed to “in mobility” students. The CMC_E project is the main follow-up of the first project and is based on the economic and corporate context. The project starts from an EU survey (ELAN report, European Commission 2006: http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lang/doc/multireport_en.pdf ) underlining the amount of business occasions which are lost because of the lack of linguistic skills. The CMC_E project attempts to approach the business world, providing students with the necessary language skills.
The project target groups are: university leavers who are preparing to enter the labour market, in-service workers. Moreover, the Project is specifically addressed to language researchers and teachers in higher education institutions and personnel working in the Lifelong Learning Programme.
The project target languages are: English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish.
The “CMC_E” major objectives are:
a) the reflection on a Survey carried out within 302 enterprises and local institutions in six European countries. The survey has highlighted specific business language competences needed and fields of interest (http://www.cmceproject.it/portale/survey.cf)
b) the creation of a CMC_E Professional Skills Module, addressed to students and in-service workers who need to master essential business language skills (www.cmceproject.it)
The CMC_E project has been built on different levels. First of all, a survey carried out within enterprises, social enterprises and local institutions located in the countries of the six partners, realised in order to identify the specific language competences needed. Then, the realization of
5 Units on Training in the workplace, Administration, Business and Finance, Marketing, Technology and Environment. Each Unit consists of 5 activities – each composed of 3 sub-activities - which, while integrating the 4 language skills, focus on communicative competences linked to the workplace. In particular, each unit encourages the development of those skills which, as highlighted by the Survey outcomes, tend to be more difficult to master such as: writing a business plan, participating in a call for tender, communicating by telephone, writing e-mails, using technical lexicon appropriately, participating at exhibitions, describing products. Online techniques offer enjoyable activities which encourage users to “play with the language” by, for example, dragging and dropping language items, matching sentences, re-ordering jumbled conversations ‘watched’ on videos, selecting the appropriate word. Moreover, online feedback is provided in a pop-up window whenever the user needs it. This is a peculiarity of the project materials which is rarely found in online materials and which, above all, offers meaningful support to the learners. Moreover, those who want to master academic language skills strictly related to the issues covered in the CMC_E can refer to the CMC Project (Socrates Programme, Action Lingua II, available on www.cmcproject.it, awarded with the European Label 2007) from which the CMC_E stems out. The CMC offers 2 Modules covering issues such as Meeting on campus, Study-skills, Academic courses online, Curriculum vitae (Module1) and Oral presentations, Academic seminars, Off campus, Jobs online (Module 2) tailored for mobility students’ needs. Globally speaking, CMC_E promotes linguistic and cultural diversity by offering authentic language materials in 6 languages (IT, PL, PT, SK, ES, EN), developed according to common outlines and aimed at fostering learners’ awareness of how linguistic diversity stems from the contact between less used and widely used languages and at encouraging the knowledge of the culture of other countries among university leavers and in-service workers. As for pedagogical approaches, the CMC_E offers Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) input, through blended learning experiences (the presence of a tutor at the Language Centre or an online e-tutor/e-mentor) and learner-centred materials.
The main result of the CMC_E project is an internet website, which is deeply used by students and workers who can autonomously work on their own, developing the micro-linguistic skills required for a specific context. Users also receive an online feedback, helping them to understand the most common mistakes and to overcome the normal difficulties they usually meet.
The University of Calabria, the CMC_E project promoter, decided to submit the application for the European Language Label considering it an opportunity of growth and a testing ground.
The University of Calabria initial expectations were completely met. The “European Language Label” represented a good occasion to improve the institute skills in project management. The European context is an important showcase universities rarely face to: the European Language Label is the best way to compete with it and to highlight the activities carried out by an institution.
The University of Calabria realised different activities of dissemination, putting the European Language Label logo on all the informative brochures, documents and bookmarks expressly created. All those materials were used in order to present the project on the occasion of national and international seminars. The ELL logo is well evident on the project portal and on the homepage of the University. Finally, the initiative was presented in the framework of important national (Torino and Bolzano) and international (Luxembourg) events.
The European language Label guaranteed a greater visibility to the project which was selected by the Isfol National Agency in order to present the Italian activities awarded with the label on the occasion of the European Day of Languages (26 September 2012). This year, this celebrative event will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Lifelong Learning Programme.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the University of Calabria advices to focus on the description of the project, which should be simple and as “personal” as possible. An informal style, describing the project promoter, its activities and points of strength, may represent a winning strategy.
Once obtained the ELL, it is necessary to communicate it on the local and national level and to keep on pushing on the project, supported by a similar recognition. Then, if the main idea evolves in further projects, a greater motivation is indispensable to obtain a second label.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the CMC_E project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the CMC_E project promotes multilingualism, being structured in 6 languages, and language learning for specific purposes, being addressed to a specific target with the attempt to develop its linguistic skills. The CMC_E project is one of the four project that were awarded the first “European Language Label of the Labels Awards” during an official ceremonial held in Lymassol (Cyprus) on 27 September 2012.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
According to ISFOL, the CMC_E project is to be selected both as a case study and as an Italian Best Practice.
First of all, because it is consistent with the European political priorities in the field of language learning, that is supporting mobility for language learning.
Secondly, the project promotes multilingual classrooms and it enhances multilingualism, being structured in several languages, included those which are less spoken (Polish, Portuguese and Slovak). In addition, the project portal is currently used in 73 different countries.
Another strength is represented by the heterogeneity of the target groups: the CMC_E portal is used by both students and workers, because of the specific contents it promotes.
The success and sustainability of the project is confirmed by the fact that the project portal is currently used in 73 different countries.
The project has been chosen to represent Italy at the Label of the Label ceremony held in Cyprus on 26-28 September 2012.
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