THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Michel Caillard, teacher at the Centre de formation d’apprentis “Les 13 vents” of Tulle, France. Michel Caillard represents the promoting institution of the “Welcome to Tulle” project.
The background of the “Welcome to Tulle” project is represented by the main characteristics of the promoting institution. The “Les 13 vents” is a vocational institute in the field of hotel management. Most of the students consider English language as a minor subject, while the project aims to consider its learning as a major educative objective. Students working in the hotel management (bars, restaurants, hotelier) need to practice English language in a touristic Region, the Limousin one, with a great number of English native speaker. This observation lead to the main idea of the project: to invite English native speakers, asking them to play the role of clients in the restaurants where the trainees and interns carry out their learning experience. This way, two times per month, students have a practical experience during which they have to speak in English. “Fake” clients, on their own, have to express a feedback about the service and the linguistic skills of the students.
The project target groups are the “Les 13 vents” students and interns in the field of hotel management.
The project target language is English.
The Welcome to Tulle project aims to put the English language at the heart of the vocational training, helping students and future professionals to improve their linguistic skills. Secondly, the project has the objective to develop the mobility of the students, giving them the possibility to spend a two weeks stage in England as main complement of the project itself.
The Welcome to Tulle project has been structured upon different levels: the individuation of a specific need (English oral practice), the creation of a network thanks to a direct contact with local associations of English native speakers, the preparation of specific professional sequences, the organization of social meetings.
The results of the “Welcome to Tulle” project may be analysed from different points of view. From a linguistic one, students improved their oral practice and felt more confident in speaking English, discovering a new interest towards this subject. From a social point of view, the project allowed a positive integration between French people and the local community of English native speakers, between young students and adult tourists. From a cultural point of view, the “Les 13 vents” institute and the Limousin Region had the possibility to welcome English tourists.
“Les 13 vents” institute, the “Welcome to Tulle” project promoter, decided to submit the application for the European Language Label in order to support its desire to overcome the national limits and be known at European level.
The activities carried out by the institution obtained immediately an European echo, formalizing the school as a qualitative one. This international recognition lead the school to keep on realising transnational partnerships. From a didactic point of view, English teachers appeared more motivated to develop their standards of teaching.
Once obtained the Label, the school communicated it at local and national level thanks to an official press release reporting the logo of the Label. The same press release was used for all the old and new partners in order to promote the qualitative image of the school.
The main benefits of the Label on the project are in terms of visibility. Thanks to the Label, the project was also assigned with the “Label des Label”, a qualitative national award. In addition, the project was the main objective of two different TV reportages (realised by France 2 and France 3) which aimed at showing how a school initiative may represent an original starting point for a positive cohabitation between different people and different cultures.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the “Les 13 vents” institute advices to underline its innovative and simple aspects. It is necessary to focus on how the project faces the teaching of a foreign language in the most original and simple way.
According to the project promoter, to disseminate the European Language Label it is necessary to consider it as a starting point rather than an arrival. The exploitation is possible through the creation of events linked to the project which can guarantee its sustainability.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “Welcome to Tulle” project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the “Welcome to Tulle” promotes a new approach to language teaching and learning. This innovative approach is strictly finalised to its target groups (vocational students), providing them with the main linguistic skills they’ll need during their professional future. Through this practical and innovative approach, the project enhances the quality of language teaching.
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 project is not too expensive to be carried out. Students are literally inserted in a vivid communicative situation. One of the best results is represented by the satisfaction of the end users (the local community of English native speakers) who accepted to get in the game. Thanks to this positive cooperation, English native speakers felt welcomed in the Limousin Region and discovered a renew social utility.
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