THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
•DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTEXT AND OF THE NEEDS THE INITIATIVE RESPONDS TO:
Adult learners (intermediate upwards)/inhabitants in the area wished to learn and/or practise Welsh not just in the classroom – main focus on attending events and joining in the activities of various societies. The impetus came from an actual group of learners wishing to carry on socialising in different ways in Welsh. One third of people are studying in class, one third are ex learners, and one third local speakers of Welsh.
•REASONS FOR SELECTING THE SPECIFIC THEMATIC AREA, TARGET GROUP AND TARGET LANGUAGE(S):
The trigger was the national Eisteddfod held in the Mold in 2007. More people in the region felt the need for Welsh, and funding was available. The project was/is based mainly on volunteers - about 150 learners involved – plus Welsh speakers (people attending Welsh summer school + volunteer).
To bring Welsh learners and speakers of Welsh together for social and cultural activities in order to use Welsh in normal social situations as well as in the classroom, or to continue learning after a formal course (estimate: only about 20% of Mold inhabitants are Welsh speakers).
•APPROACH ADOPTED IN THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INITIATIVE:
Publicity within a group of enthusiastic learners and identification of willing speakers of Welsh in order to ensure effective out-of-class/after class communication
•PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND APPROACH ADOPTED - IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THIS:
Clear project concept, which has not changed: the project manager is allowed time within her university post to manage the project and lead certain activities. The main requirements was/is the ability to network in the area and form a community of willing Welsh speakers and learners; dependent on individual voluntary arrangements and keeping track of local events and societies.
•STRATEGIES USED FOR FOSTERING LEARNER MOTIVATION:
Mainly focused on ensuring that Welsh speakers and learners interact well by getting them to communicate in mixed group – proactive intervention is used to ensure this happens. Also use of regular review and discussion activities to identify how the out-of-class interaction has helped.
•SYSTEM OF PROJECT EVALUATION USED:
A questionnaire is sent each year to every learner of Welsh involved in the programme asking about how many and which events they participated in, and each term they are asked how they have used Welsh outside the classroom.
•OUTCOMES AND ‘DELIVERABLES’ PRODUCED:
In a given year, about 100-150 learners of Welsh are involved, of which half are adult students of Welsh and the remainder ex-students. 50 or so speakers of Welsh are also involved. The project revolves around 10 or so community based activities a year, but there are a further 40 additional events which are brought to the attention of project participants via e-mail notifications, websites etc.
•CONSISTENCY OF THE OUTCOMES WITH INITIAL PLANS AND WITH THE EXPECTATION OF THE END USERS:
The outcomes have met or exceeded expectations. The focus is now more on the quality of events, attracting new people. Promotion via word-of-mouth and publicity is important to ensure the network continues to grow.
•WAS AN ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF THE OUTCOMES CARRIED OUT? IF SO, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING INDICATORS WERE USED? No formal assessment has been made but:
o Originality and innovative aspects of the outcomes – the project leader is not aware of similar initiatives for less widely used languages elsewhere but would like to know of any
o Potential transferability of the initiative – She believes there is good potential for cross-fertilisation among such project.
o mpact of the project – the impact has been significant in terms of promoting lifelong learning of Welsh in the Mold area.
•MOTIVATIONS LEADING TO THE APPLICATION FOR THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE LABEL: the idea was mentioned by a national agency staff member.
•PROCEDURE USED FOR APPLYING FOR THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE LABEL: this was relatively easy and non-bureaucratic.
•INITIAL EXPECTATIONS (WERE THE INITIAL EXPECTATIONS MET?): as the ELL was not really known, there were few expectations, but it was gratifying and useful to receive the ELL.
the logo has been used and articles written for the local press and newsletters. It is also mentioned in the project leaflet.
•BENEFITS FOR THE INITIATIVE AND THE ORGANISATION(S) INVOLVED OF HAVING BEEN AWARDED THE ELL: useful for awareness-raising among students and the local community – it provides some kind of ‘seal of approval’.
•IMPACT OF THE INITIATIVE FOLLOWING THE AWARD OF THE ELL: no additional impact
ADVICE ON HOW TO PLAN AND DEVELOP QUALITY LANGUAGE LEARNING INITIATIVES THAT CAN EXPECT TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR APPLICATION FOR THE ELL
The award could lead to links and cross-fertilisation among similar kinds of projects – the project co-ordinator would like to find out more about such opportunities. Such networking among projects in different countries could lead to interesting developments within existing projects, as well as new collaborative projects.
ADVICE ON HOW TO EXPLOIT THE AWARD FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE INITIATIVE
Network proactively – use the ELL database to search for potential links.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
"EU language policies aim to protect linguistic diversity and promote knowledge of languages – for reasons of cultural identity and social integration, but also because multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the educational, professional and economic opportunities created by an integrated Europe. The goal is a Europe where everyone can speak at least two other languages in addition to their own mother tongue". This project has a clear basis in a community where two languages operate side by side. By promoting the maintenance and development of Welsh as a less widely used language it strengthens the sense of cultural and lingusitic identity.
EU priorities for 2010-2011 were: a)language learning in the community and b) language skills as preparation for work. This project is mainly concerend with the first priority, though a knowledge of Welsh is no doubt very useful in the workplace in this part of the country.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPRESSIVE ASPECTS OF THIS PROJECT?
• The confidence that the project’s activities has developed amongst the Welsh learners.
• The commitment of the organisers who leave no stone unturned in finding new and varied opportunities for learners to engage with the local Welsh-speaking community.
• The wide variety of activities and the way the project has clearly become embedded into the local community who are pleased to be involved.
HOW DOES THE PROJECT MEET THE JUDGING CRITERIA?
• Innovative: Usually, when native speakers are asked to help adult learners, they come to the classroom. C3 has turned this on its head and taken the learners out of the classroom and proactively sought opportunities for them to join the local native-speaker community in informal social situations. It has done so in such a way that both learners and native speakers gain from the experience.
• Replicable: This project is replicable anywhere where there are groups of native speakers of the language being learnt. The organiser of C3 is already in talks with groups from within and outside Wales wishing to emulate what is happening in Yr Wyddgrug, and it is likely that it will be replicated in the foreseeable future.
• Effective: Because learners have opportunities to leave the classroom behind and use their language in the ‘real world’, they have gained fluency and proficiency in language that goes beyond the topic-based nature of the classroom. The boost in confidence was very evident.
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