Strategies Towards European Plurilingualism
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 août 2017
The project STEP (Strategies Towards European Plurilingualism) draws its strength from the fact that the advantages of knowing more than one foreign language are multifold: students and teachers not only increase their knowledge about cultures and about languages, they also enrich their own lives and surroundings, they increase their job chances and their mobility, and they promote tolerance and understanding.
Our project partnership is composed of secondary schools from five countries:
Vammalan Lukio (Sastamala, Finland), Ühisgümmnasium Lähte (Lähte, Estonia), Peebles High School (Peebles, Scotland), , Istituto Statale di Instruzione Superiore F. Enriques (Castelfiorentino, Italy) and Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium Ostfildern (Ostfildern, Germany). It is aimed at general and vocational students aged 15-18.
We see the need for increasing the speaking skills and oral proficiency of our students so that they are enabled to prove their qualifications in European standardised tests. Test results have shown that foreign language classroom teaching often enables students to achieve adequate levels in the understanding and in the writing part of standardised exams, but that they fall behind in the speaking part.
We want to achieve higher language proficiency in cooperation with language test institutions and with members from The English Academy (TEA), a language educator think tank in Giessen. We will work together via the e-twinning platform, in online video conferences and in intercultural project meetings.
We will adapt existing didactic material, but we will lay emphasis on our students creating material like games, phrase cards and 'speaking prompts' for each other because this makes them personally involved in the topics. They identify more closely with the speaking situations and their context.
When creating a pair of 'speaking prompts' for the topic of 'health vs. drugs, alcohol, smoking', they will follow the requirements for the Speaking Part of European language exams, and create two A4 sheets with their own photos presenting different situations, and with opposing statements/quotations. This material will be used in the foreign language classrooms in our schools and will prepare the topics for the meetings.
In order to create plurilingual speaking opportunities in CLIL-like surroundings, the students' meetings are organised as workstays. The first day of each meeting will be consecrated to a language workshop so that students are familiarised with the host country's language and introduced to the workstay. English will be the communication language in this project and the language used on e-twinning and in publications.
The level aimed for in the final language tests depends on the years of teaching and ranges from B1 to B2/C1, whereas the other country languages reach levels from basic/A1 to A2/B1/B2. During the workstays English will be used at B1/B2 level, with specific terms (Fachsprache English).
The workcamp in Germany, at the industrial control and automation company FESTO in Esslingen, will deal with mechanics, electronics and engineering; the work stay in Finland will include schools and sports facilities enlarging the topics of education, sports and health. The science work stay in Scotland deals with sciences and ecological topics like pollution and global warming; the workstay in Italy with agriculture and tourism. The final workstay in Estonia deals with media, surveillance and future work places.
All these topics are relevant for the speaking parts of European standardised exams at B1, B2/C1 levels and should be achieved in English. The aim for the other languages is that students can speak about themselves, their family, their hobbies, favourite food, holidays and plans for their future to various degrees (basic to A1/A2), so that they feel confident to take language exams and feel at home in intercultural surroundings, and feel prepared to work in the EU-wide job market.
We will document the speaking situations which we create with the help of the experts from The English Academy (TEA).
In order to experience the learners' viewpoint and to live lifelong learning, some of the teachers will prepare for language tests alongside with students and take them.
We will evaluate the project and publish our findings in the DVD "STEPs taken - What we have achieved". It gives insight into the language situations created. It will be accessible on the e-twinning site and on the Erasmus+ dissemination platform. The material and the methods applied will be made available in a methods guide published by Diesterweg, and as Open Educational Resources material.
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