THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
In 1997 a survey was conducted in the municipality, which showed that youth in ninth class dared not apply to schools and work in the city. The main reason being that they felt uncertainty because they had not mastered the language and perhaps Swedish social skills. Students in the two schools Askebyskolan and Rinkeby school are predominantly immigrants. The management group together with parents formed a working group whose task was to find solutions to improve young people's language skills and at the same time could strengthen their self-confidence. The result was a focus on languages - Swedish, English and their mother tongue languages - social sciences and IT.
The goal of the schools was to impower the students and give them a greater sense of self. This would be done by increasing their language skills in their native language, Swedish and English. It also prioritized social studies subjects and computer skills. The importance of learning several languages emphasized.
As a complement to mainstream education different workshops were created from kindergarten to year nine. All teachers in the English workshops are native English speakers. A consistent factor for all workshops is that learning should be fun. In preschool, they start to learn English from the age of 3, beginning with simple songs and rhymes. For 4-6 year olds one adds games, and read- along books using the educational material Big Books - Little Books from New Zealand. With this material children are encouraged to ”read” with the aid of colorful images and text, making it possible for them to create full sentences that they otherwise would have difficulty producing. Much of the material used is in English, Swedish and the children's native language creating support in understanding the text. To ensure the continuity the same teacher follows the preschool children to kindergarten and early school years. Working on the computer is introduced in nursery school where they use both web sites and PowerPoint presentations working with EU projects. As early as the forth grade, children who advanced in their language skills have the opportunity to choose another foreign language. Furthermore, it is possible to choose a subsequent foreign language in grade 6, which means that Rinkeby children can have five languages with them when they leave primary school.
The prioritized subjects and languages, Social sciences and computer skills are integrated into the subject matter to clarify context and social affiliation in Swedish society.
Working with native speakers, Swedish and English inables language learning and helps the children / students see the connection linguistically, culturally and socially. The very early language learning has been shown to give children a better and more natural pronunciation.
We were proud of our language work and what we achieved. We also wanted to share our ideas and experience so that other schools could implement similar programs. We were one of the first pre-schools to introduce English at the pre-school level. Now, English at the pre-school level has become very popular.
Participation in a language conference in Poland.
An important aspect was that the teachers were aware that their good work was recognized and appreciated, as well as the students felt proud of their school and activities.
As young people have acquired better language skills and social awareness Rinkeby school's reputation has been increased which is important due to the extremely high proportion of young people with immigrant backgrounds. Working with these students has been an exciting and engaging challenge for educators.
Applying for ELL as soon as you know that what you are working with is positive for students and learning. It is important that good teachers and teaching methods get confirmation and encouragement. It is also important that these methods are shared with others.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “Learn and develop for the future” project for its consistency with the priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the project workshops focus on very early language learning and the learning of two or more foreign languages. Interdisciplinary learning improves understanding between cultures by promoting language skills. Furthermore the project promotes a new approach to language teaching and learning using modern technology as a tool to teaching activities. The workshop concept with fun and creative activities motivates and encourages the children/pupils to improve their language skills. The methodology can easily serve as a source of inspiration for other language teaching institutions.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
The initiative “Learn and Develop for the future” works from a holistic perspective. Language education ranges from pre-school to year nine. The aim of the school is to improve young people's language skills and at the same time strengthen their self-confidence. The linguistic development is made a mutual goal throughout the school years.
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