THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Kurt Brenner, member of the board of governance at “Maison de Heidelberg” of Montpellier, France. Kurt Brenner is the representative of the “DeutschMobil” initiative.
The background of the “DeutschMobil” project is represented by a 2001 survey concerning the spread of the German language in France. On the occasion of the European Year of the Languages (2001), the number of French students choosing German as second foreign language after English was very low. In order to increase the interest of French students for the German language, the “DeutschMobil” project started. The project was based on the involvement of several language assistants driving a German car, with the logo of the project, and visiting primary and secondary schools all around France. They introduce their language and culture to pupils with entertaining, informative and interactive methods (quiz, games, music) in order to motivate them in learning German.
The project target group is composed by French pupils at primary and secondary schools.
The project target language is German.
The “DeutschMobil” aims to provide a dynamic, interesting and attractive image of the German language, in order to develop the number of French students choosing it as second foreign language after English. In addition, the project offers an innovative pedagogic approach in order to draw up the French students to this significant language.
The “DeutschMobil” was carried out to promote the learning of German by French students. The usefulness of the project was immediately recognised as it went under the patronage of the German Plenipotentiary for the Cultural Relations with France.
From 2001, 553.700 students have been reached by this initiative. The results are well evident: a 50% increase of inscriptions to German classes after the passage of the “DeutschMobil” cars. In response to those data, the number of cars increased from 4 to 10 and, after the German attention, the initiative went also under the patronage of the French Ministry of Education.
“Maison de Heidelberg” of Montpellier”, the “DeutschMobil” project promoter, decided to submit the application for the European Language Label in order to support its European dimension.
“We feel part of a multilingual Europe – said Kurt Brenner - and we would like to give our contribution. English cannot be the only spoken language in so a widely diffused area. Our project has a strong European soul, which was confirmed by the award of the European Language Label”. According to this comment, the initial expectations linked to the candidature to the European language Label were completely confirmed.
First of all, the logo was used for all the official documents and publications related to the project. Then, the project had a national dissemination thanks to an additional award (“Label des Label”), which was assigned during an official event held in Paris on 3 February 2012 and the participation to a French-German event. In relation to the international dissemination, the project went under the patronage of different German institutions.
Obtaining an official recognition for an original initiative and being under the patronage of national institutions: those are, according to Kurt Brenner, the qualitative benefits of the Label. In relation to the quantitative ones, this official recognition allowed the creation of further partnerships which guaranteed the sustainability of the project. In addition, the main idea of “DeutschMobil” was used in other countries for other languages.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the “Maison de Heidelberg” of Montpellier” advices to focus on the linguistic aspect: students should understand the necessity to know several languages, which represent the best way to penetrate the culture of a nation.
According to the project promoter, it is necessary to link the Label to national and transnational events: this is the best way to exploit this official recognition and to underline the activities carried out by the promoting institution.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “DeutschMobil” project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the “DeutschMobil” promotes the multilingualism and supports the historical relation between France and Germany. On the other hand, the project enhances the quality of language teaching, focusing on the development of tools for monitoring the progress of the students.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
The project was selected as case study and best practice by the French National Agency “Europe-Education-Formation”.
According to the French evaluator, as stated in the “Label des Labels – 10 ans de projets” publication, this is an ambitious and innovative project. Created in 2001, during the last 10 years, it showed great pertinence and effectiveness. In addition, the good quality of its partners can explain the reasons why it can be considered a French best practice. It has also been translated in several languages and adopted in different countries, contributing to a relevant revival of the German language.
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