THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
Working with groups where age, ethnic background and skill varies immensely makes it hard to choose one specific concept of ordinary study books to work with. This way of working makes it possible for the individual to work on his or her level and to develop at their pace.
This method enables the pupil reading texts on their level, writing, talking spontaneously, practicing talking in front of a group, learning new words and they are learning something about an English speaking country at the same time.
The students work in pairs and choose an English speaking country. Every lesson is started by reading newspapers from their chosen country with the help of the computer. They read for 15 minutes and then they take turns telling the class what they have read. Then they start working with the assignment for the week e g: “Traditional food from your country”, “school system”, “governing”, “ a famous person”, “plan a week’s holiday for a family of four” etc. Since they work in pairs they have to plan everything together, they gather information and write. At the end of the assignment they make a performance in front of the class where they speak and perhaps show pictures, maps or play music. The written material is handed in to me and contributes to a grammar session the week after. Next week a new assignment, and so on. I see my pupils twice a week for an hour and a half. The project lasts everything from six weeks to a whole semester.
An evaluation among the students said that they felt better at talking and this way of working was less stressful. They also pointed out that it was a new way of learning and that they had a lot of fun during the lessons. The students were more active and I, the teacher, wasn’t taking so much space. All communication takes place in English and it’s very rewarding listening to a whole group of pupils talking English. A side effect is that they even speak English to me outside the classroom. On the national tests I found that their reading comprehension was good in average and I had less drop-outs.
I think my method is easy to perform and could be adapted to any language. Instead of countries you can have cities, provinces or, as I also tried, states in the USA. You can also use the same method on different levels or ages of students by adapting their tasks to their level. Computers are helpful, very much so, but you could do without them.
: We have started a net work for English teachers who are teaching adults among ten municipalities in the province where I work where I’m the coordinator.
I’ve been invited to schools to inform about my project.
My colleagues teaching English and I are planning a trip to Dublin this autumn.
I have started studying English at the University of Lund, encouraged to improve my English further and get new inspiration.
I’ve attended more seminars about English and language learning than before and I think it’s catching because more colleagues at my school are doing the same in their subjects.
And finally: my method is still in use and is changing and improving every semester.
At the school where I work my colleagues are made aware that you can do things differently and the demand for courses and seminars has increased.
For me personally, my self-confidence in teaching increased and I think it has made me develop further both in methods of teaching and improving my English. I feel as if I’m in the beginning of something which I want to develop further.
Simplicity in a method is nothing bad. It makes it easier for others to take after and use in their own ways.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the project Language - not just empty words because it is consistent with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. Specifically, the project has been chosen because it contributes to the enhancement of quality of language teaching among adult students as it promotes a new method in comparison with the teaching methods they are used to. It aims at meeting the students’ needs. Working with up to date authentic material motivates the students and teachers to improve their language skills. The project might easily be a source of inspiration for other language initiatives.
The project aims at making learning attractive to learners. The method is creative and transferable in other fields of language learning as well as in other contexts and subjects.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
Futurum Adult Education in Bjuv receive the ELL award because of their successful work with English at an advanced level in heterogeneous groups. They focused on the use of authentic materials in teaching such as web news from around the world. Realia teaching on target language countries has thus been integrated in a successful way. Pupils' own production is used for grammar support. Students' motivation has increased as well as the level of ambition. A key factor has been the support from the school management to the project.
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