THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Sophie Tardy, secondary education inspector of Arabic, in charge of mission at the “Institut du Monde Arabe” of Paris, France. Sophie Tardy represents the promoting institution of the “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” project.
The background of the “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” project is represented by the necessity to develop the knowledge of the written Arabic language in adult and young target groups and to put it in real practical situations.
The project target groups are different: French and European people who need to learn the Arabic language because of practical needs (work, abroad stay, etc.); young French people with Arabic origins and no knowledge of their relatives’ language; school target groups who need to improve their linguistic skills in order to pass specific examinations; teachers in charge of Arabic language as a medium of teaching. The interactive approach allows to quickly gain skills in reading and writing learning.
The project target language is Arabic.
The “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” project has several objectives.
From a linguistic point of view, it aims to approach the Arabic language in a non-conventional way, focusing on the teaching materials coming from everyday situations (iconography, newspapers, video, audio) and on the different kinds of writing that can be found in Arabic modern cities. According to this approach, three destinations have been chosen: Morocco (described by a student visiting the country with her family), Lebanon (explained by a journalist) and Egypt (illustrated by an archaeologist). From a cultural point of view, the project aims to develop a deeper knowledge and acceptance of a language and its cultural products.
The “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” is the main result of a close cooperation between the the “Institut du Monde Arabe” of Paris and the “Centre national d’enseignement à distance”.
The CNED was in charge of the teaching engineering and the technical part of the project. The “Institut du Monde Arabe” edited the contents of the project. The main work has been realized in work teams supported by specific technical providers.
The main result of the “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” is represented by the realization of an innovative method which has been used by the “Institut du Monde Arabe” with outstanding results and positive learning performances. Students, belonging to different categories, had the possibility to develop their language skills in a dynamic way. From a cultural point of view, the project approached two apparently distant languages, united by the strong bond of immigration.
The “Institut du Monde Arabe”, the “Marahil: lire et écrire le monde arabe” project promoter, decided to apply for the European Language Label in order to share the innovations offered by a similar teaching and learning methodology.
The award of the Label confirmed the reasons linked to the submission. Thanks to the visibility offered by the Label, the “Marahil” project had the possibility to be better known and shared at a national and European level. The practical approach used by the “Institut du Monde Arabe” has been shared by other institutes with positive teaching and learning performances.
Some of the activities following the award of the European Language Label were directly carried out by the “Institut du Monde Arabe”, with the presentation of the Label in a public ceremony held at the institute. Other activities were carried out because of the great success of the project, which obtained an additional award (“Label des Label”) and was presented on the occasion of the 2008 edition of Expolangues.
According to Sophie Tardy, the “Marahil” project promoter, the benefits offered by the Label are more qualitative than quantitative. Thanks to the Label, the project gained a greater visibility and obtained a qualitative recognition: two main benefits which are not very common for a less widely spoken language like the Arabic one.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the “Institut du Monde Arabe” advises to focus the project on its innovation aspects and the transferability it provides.. From a technical point of view, Sophie Tardy advises to hand over the various tasks involved to specialized teams work in group with specific competences and to let the project be certified by language and teaching experts.
According to the project promoter, it is necessary to present the Label through all the possible channels of communication (internet, press, conferences).
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “Marahil” project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the “Marahil” project develops teaching material for the learning of less widely spoken languages. The Arabic language is a difficult one: in order to overcome the natural difficulties, the “Marahil” project focus on new approaches to language and learning and promotes the validation of language skills through non formal and informal education.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
The project was selected as case study 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 offers a first complete approach to the Arabic language, thanks to a relevant cultural dimension. In addition, its simple structure allows a direct contact with a large scale audience.
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