THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Francesca Benedetti, teacher in charge of European Projects at the Technical and Vocational Institute “Enrico Tosi” of Busto Arsizio. Francesca Benedetti represents the promoting institution of the “It’s in the bag” project.
The background of the “It’s in the bag” project is based on the international vocation of the institute, which cultivates different transnational relations. The main idea is to let a class work with the CLIL method on a concrete project which can be effectively realised. Once chosen the class, students and teachers had to create a simulated company, to design a product with the help of a tutor external enterprise, to respect the normative duties, to realize the final product. All those activities had to be carried out in English language and in close partnership with an English institute of design, which hosted the Italian students for a full time week of courses.
The project target group is represented by a class composed by students attending the 4th year of the “Enrico Tosi” Technical and Vocational Institute.
The project target language is English.
The “It’s in the bag” project has different objectives. From a didactic point of view, it aims to provide students with the basic linguistic skills within a real economic background. From a cultural point of view, it aims to support the dialogue and the interaction between students belonging to different social and cultural realities.
The project is the result of two existing initiatives. The first aimed to develop students’ skills in key-subjects like English, History and Business economics. The second was based on a “learning by doing” method, obliging students to deal with concrete exercises in order to improve their competences. From the union of these two initiatives, the “It’s in the bag” project aims to improve the linguistic and economic skills through a direct contact with a concrete theme, the realization and the production of a bag.
The “It’s in the bag” project attained different results: the manufacture of a bag prototype, the writing of a business plan, the realization of different power point presentations, the mutual exchange with English students, the creation of a simulated company, the participation to the International Fair of Lodi, the production of promotional material.
“Enrico Tosi” Technical and Vocational Institute, the “It’s in the bag” project promoter, decided to submit the application for the European Language Label with the aim to officially recognise the activities carried out by the students and the teachers.
The project obtained a European visibility thanks to its presentation in the framework of an important national event (i.e. the language Label award ceremony that was held in Rome on 3 October 2011). Also, this official recognition allowed the promotion of other successful initiatives carried out by the institute.
The institution put the Label logo on its portal. Then, the “It’s in the bag” project was presented on the occasion of an important international seminar “Competences and certifications in the internationalisation of curricula”, that was held on 23 April 2012 (http://w5.itctosi.va.it/convegno23aprile2012/programma.htm). Finally, the ELL logo was put in the informative documents accompanying a successive project carried out by the school and concerning the textile material.
The European Language Label had a motivational effect on the institute and its activities. Students saw it as an official recognition of their work and appreciated the international dimension of the initiative, teachers began to look for other successful ideas and positive partnerships in which they could express their own competences.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the “Enrico Tosi” Technical and Vocational Institute” advices to focus on the motivating aspects. A project should allow a more collaborative and motivating relation between students and teachers: this is the key aspect to explain the success of a project.
Dissemination is indispensable to “exploit” the European Language Label. According to the project promoter, thanks to these activities, the project will be well known and the promoting institute will emerge in terms of quality and efficiency.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “It’s in the bag” project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the “It’s in the bag” project has been chosen because it promotes a new approach to language teaching and learning: it aims to give a real dimension to the study of a foreign language through the creation of a simulated business company and the production of a bag prototype. Also, the project faces to specific linguistic purposes, aiming to provide students with the basic economic know-how of a business reality. Finally, the “It’s in the bag” project enhances the quality of language teaching through a constant and positive relation with international partners.
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