Final meeting in Guadeloupe (29th June to 3rd July 2015)

The Guadeloupean team, LGA (Administration and English teachers) and the Mairie de Morne-à-l’Eau are now preparing for the final meeting in Guadeloupe.

They plan to invite as many language teachers as possible from vocational high schools, and also secondary schools, to continue the dissemination process. Some members of the Academy of Guadeloupe (School Inspectors and Academic Representatives for the Mobility Program) will be invited in order to promote the Methods Project and its impact for the Academy (preparation of mobility programs for students). We will also focus on Tourism and invite the different representatives of the Touristic field, advertising a new type of tourism called EDU-TOURISM. This is based on the opportunity to incorporate familiarisation to the culture into the touristic discovery process. In other words, tourists can learn not only about the country, but also about the culture and its specificities by using the different methods. The Guadeloupean team will be pleased to implement the concept of EDU-TOURISM when welcoming the partners, thus combining the pleasant to the useful.

Images Final Meeting

Dissemination in Guadeloupe

Dissemination started with a Pilot course held on 16/10/2014. The language teachers of LGA invited all the teachers (only a few were available but from different fields: French, History, Design Art, Technical teaching, Maths,…), the administration members and also the English assistant to participate in the Pilot course. They presented the different methods and did a practical workshop for the occasion. The session had very positive feedback since all the educational staff tried to find how they could practically adapt the methods to their specific field. Eg. A maths teacher suggested the creation of a number search using Hot potatoes (CALL method) instead of a word search.

As a result, almost all the participants asked the English teachers to teach them English for their personal use at the end of the pilot course using the Methods they liked best.

Images Dissemination in Guadeloupe

Using Simulations for linguistic and cultural preparation for mobility

One of the main features of simulations is that they provide rich communicative environment closely related to real life situations. As such they are an optimal language teaching method for preparing students for mobility. The topics can be selected according to the sequence of events as they occur in the actual mobility process, covering situations where students are most likely to be confronted with a problem eg: lost baggage during the travel, finding different places in the host town (accommodation, language school, host company, medical help etc.), first contact/ interview with the host mentor, complaints regarding the work placement, losing a personal document or reporting a theft ( loss of money/credit card, document) – at the police station, emotional problems emerging from homesickness, cultural differences, socializing etc .

During the linguistic preparation the situations above can well be simulated and the classroom adapted to the student’s future environment- his/her host country (e.g. posters, notices, city maps, photos, links to websites, information about stereotypes…). While doing the simulations the students have the opportunity to check their skills needed in such situations and identify the gaps in their language and/or intercultural skills which might slow down the communication and even make solving the problem very difficult or impossible.

The feedback from such simulations can serve as a basis for creating additional supporting materials to fill the gaps and  improve the communication skills thus preparing the students to face problem situations with self-confidence.

For more support  you can download the Simulations manual from :

http://languages.dk/methods/index.html#Manuals_and_guides

The 21st Century Student … and Teacher!

We often hear teachers bemoaning the fact that students often ‘do not learn’ what they have been taught. Sounds familiar?

Unfortunately, many teachers still equate teaching with learning!

But ….. there is no one-to-one mathematical relationship between teaching and learning!

So what can we do as teachers?

To use a quote from Von Humboldt, which is still very valid over a century later:

“You cannot teach a language. You can only create the conditions under which it can be learnt”.

The conditions could be a number of things – the affective environment, the type of tasks set, the perceived value of the language context, or the principled eclectism approach adopted by the teacher.

The METHODS Project highlights the need for students’ involvement and engagement in order to increase motivation and create better learning environments. It also provides concrete ways in which this can be done, in the 5 downloadable Guides and other resources.

We hope that by focussing on these 5 methods, teachers will be more open to teaching in ways that target the learners of today, either by:

  • focussing on them as individuals with their own styles and needs
  • seeking to lower affective barriers to learning
  • By using materials that engage and stimulate them, resulting in greater motivation
  • By using technology in their teaching, and bringing their classrooms into the 21st Century

Technology has become a must for teachers.

“Technology will never replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace teachers  who don’t”

Dr Ray Clifford (1983)

The 21st Century student is a digital native. Even young kids often own mobile phones and/or tablets and have access to computers and the internet. Computer-mediated communication is a way of life. To them, a world without computers is like watching a silent movie in black and white.

In recent years the rapid development of mobile computing devices has seen technology enter the classroom in ways that 20 years ago we would never have dreamt possible.  Schools are investing in computer hardware, but even if not, it is worthwhile checking whether everyone in the class has access to the internet. If so, the teacher can extend teaching outside the classroom walls.

A question many teachers ask is:

Where do I start ….. and how?

The CALL Guide offers the language teacher advice on a number of tools and activities that, when carefully planned as part of the pedagogical classroom, will assist in the learning process.

CALL is not intended as a replacement of existing teaching practices.  Students should not sit at a computer to learn a language, but they should learn a language which occasionally requires them to sit at a computer as a complement to their communicative development. Therefore, CALL is a tool which facilitates learning.

And remember ….. CALL engages learners in a way familiar to them. This can lead to higher levels of motivation, as learning should no longer only be the old-fashioned paper-and-pen learning, but should encompass a variety of technology tools which are part of students’ everyday life.

New Training Opportunities for Educators in Malta

MCAST participants from the Pools – Methods project will be running Volunteer In-service Teacher Training Courses, provided by the Department of Education, and will be held over three days in July and September 2015.  These courses are designed to engage educators in different method workshops that will help engage students in more autonomous learning.

We are exciteMethodsLSUd to have an opportunity to provide hands on workshops to educators at all levels interested in up-skilling and becoming familiar with new teaching methodologies that allow for integration of language and content.

The MCAST team is also preparing workshops for Profession Development days and are looking for schools interested in hosting such training courses. The participants will experience different teaching methods by doing activities, instead of just hearing about them.  This is a move away from traditional training courses and invites the educators to participate in developing their skills by actually experiencing various new methods in use.

Methods to be disseminated in Padova during the Eurocall 2015 conference

Let’s meet in Padova (near Venice) where METHODS partners will present the project results with newsletters and brochures during the Eurocall 2015 conference 26th-29th August.

Padova, Basilica di Sant'Antonio

The theme of Eurocall 2015 is Critical CALL, fostering the notion that we now want to step back and critically appraise the field of CALL, to unpack and examine some of the assumptions that may have become ingrained in our practice, and also to reflect on the current state and the future of CALL, language pedagogy and research.

The University of Padova, established in 1222, is one of Europe’s oldest universities and has over 60,000 students. Most of the university buildings are to be found within the beautiful city of Padova, in the north-east of Italy, just half an hour from Venice.

Conference languages: English and Italian  (Plenary sessions will be in English, some parallel sessions may be in Italian)

Read more about the conference here: http://www.eurocall2015.it/en/sistemacongressi/eurocall-2015/website/home/

In the event that you cannot participate in person then you may still join us through the Eurocall virtual strand: http://www.eurocall2015.it/en/sistemacongressi/eurocall-2015/website/virtual-strand/

Newsletter from ETI Malta, September 2014

These last 6 months have been very busy for ETI with regard to Methods.
After finishing the CALL handbook in March, the ETI team was tasked with peer reviewing and language-editing the other 4 manuals comprising METHODS:
• Simulations
• Task-Based Learning
• E-Tandem
• PhyEmoC

For the PhyEmoC manual, ETI wanted to bring in their own expertise in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and after discussion with the Project Leader, decided to re-write the manual completely, bringing it up-to-date from its original form. Some of the techniques originally used had dated, and were replaced by other areas.

A wide range of activities was supplied for each section, and other worksheets for activities were added to the appendices.

Moreover, an introductory sector linking the theory behind the use of Physical, Emotional and Cultural activities to learning was explored and covered in some depth.

The other main area ETI has been heavily involved in is dissemination of METHODS to the teachers attending the ETI training courses. A large number of teachers from all over Europe, and outside Europe (Russia, Chile, China and Canada) were shown the Methods webpage, and the 5 Methods were explained. All the teachers were encouraged to follow the Methods Facebook page to be kept informed of any updates to the website. The number of teachers who listened to the talks since April, and received a Methods brochure totaled 220.

A busy summer for Methods partner ETI in Malta

ETI has had a very busy, and highly productive, summer so far. Summer has always been, and will continue to be, the busiest period in the EFL industry. From May until September, the onslaught of trainees is like a tsunami continuously bringing more and more people to our little island for some form of personal or professional development. Summer in Malta also continues late into the year in comparison with the majority of Europe, but now our ‘Summer Period’ is beginning to draw to a close.
And what a summer it has been! Prior to, and following from, the conference in May ETI have been continuously running teacher training and development courses for teachers from around the globe. We have had teachers from all over Europe, and even from as far as Chile, and all of these teachers have been duly informed about Methods. Hot feedback has shown keen interest from the trainees and, although they may not yet be back at school, a willingness to try some of the ideas mentioned within the various manuals. Many of our trainees have promised to contact us with some constructive feedback – both positive and negative.
We have also completed the updated versions of the CALL and PhyEmoC manuals, which have proven to be of key interest to our trainees on our Methodology and our ICT courses.
At present we are working towards our pilot course to be conducted in-house. We are arguably in a unique situation where our participants are from a communicative background which makes use of a number of the techniques presented in the manuals; therefore the feedback will be very valuable.
On the other hand this is going to be quite a challenge for ETI as our participant group is very used to communicative language techniques in teaching English as a foreign language. If the Methods manuals are perceived as useful by this group, then that will be an achievement in itself. More about that in a future post!

ETI dissemination 2ETI dissemination 520140207_095214

METHODS activities in Slovenia

The second quarterly period of the project was very intensive. The Slovenian team adapted the Simulations Manual and implemented the first pilot course with the colleagues-language teachers at SŠGT Celje. The feedback was encouraging and new ideas for sample lessons emerged from the workshop. Simulations and Task Based Learning were our favourite methods because they suit best for teaching workplace-related language learning in secondary vocational education and promote cross-curricular teaching and learning. The project was successfully disseminated and promoted on the school webpage and at different events like: national conference »Languages in education«, presentation of the Leonardo da Vinci mobility project on the national level, international meetings with partners from other projects, visits of partners from Germany and Hungary etc. The National Education Institute of Republic of Slovenia was contacted for support in further piloting activities which are starting in autumn 2014. Our team has also started translating the adapted manuals for the pilot Methods courses. We look forward to the next project meeting which will be held in Slovenia.

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