Abboh Savchoff, certified translator, language teacher and Director of Linguistic Aid Kit shared with us details about the Language Learning for the Screen Generation project.
Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
At Linguistic Aid Kit we work with clients from various backgrounds, and we are actively involved in teaching literacy to adults on an international scale. We are often contracted and subcontracted on governmental and non-governmental projects such as Grundtvig, Leonardo and Erasmus+.
Our primary target group are language teachers from across Europe. We aim to educate them in the most effective and efficient teaching techniques, which can maximise the benefits for their students and minimise the levels of poor literacy. In addition, we work directly with pupils, students and adult learners from all backgrounds. To date we have delivered our services in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK.
Our mission is to share our literacy with every person in Europe, enabling them to lead a fulfilling life independently.
Can you tell us more about your project Language Learning for the Screen Generation?
As teachers we believe that any material must be relatable for students to be able to grasp it quickly and efficiently. We intended to produce a website, network and toolkit for European teachers, enabling them to share best practice and methodologies.
The techniques are shaped around a new generation of learners whose lives are dominated by technology. For this reason our project focuses on two approaches. We implement software specially designed for educational purposes (e.g. Kahoot!) as well as interactive games with the intention to achieve high engagement and retention levels among the target group. On the other hand we also try to implement activities which do not include technology, underlining the importance of tangible face-to-face communication in the offline world. Both have proven to work well throughout the lifetime of this project.
Why is it important to support learners to access adult language learning programmes?
We strongly believe that any person may acquire new skills if they so wish. Our project supplies a free of charge database, full of references to further available platforms as well as methodologies, some of which adults may implement themselves. Additionally, Linguistic Aid Kit and all our project partners offer specialised adult courses, whose methodologies are deeply rooted in academic research. We commit to adult learners to the best of our ability.
What are some of the barriers faced by adult language learners and language teachers?
We believe interactive and interesting methods must be employed in order to maintain high morale and dedication for language learners. Often time restraints and jobs can be a barrier for learners, so we introduced an online platform which can be self-administered at the leisure of the language learner.
In many cases teachers might only be used to working with one target group. When an outlier is introduced, some tutors find it difficult to adjust; therefore their performance in the classroom decreases. In cases where teachers do not speak the root language they might attempt to teach the target language in the target language. This is a proven technique in long-term educational settings such as a 5-year school course; however it is counterproductive during short-term periods especially for beginners. We aim to always speak one language that all learners understand well.
We strongly believe that it is the learner who has the authority to lead the learning process in the desired direction and teachers must adapt to these goals.
Were there any tools you used as part of this project?
We used online platforms such as Kahoot! and the toolkit produced as part of this project. We collected a vast pool of resources, also available to see on the toolkit from September 2016. These include generic resources for language teaching, as well as specific resources on teaching English, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian, French, German, and Spanish among others.
What were the measurable results of the project?
Our primary goal was the production of the toolkit, and therefore the most measurable result of the project is the number and variety of resources collected. We have evidence of the progress of our students in all 4 countries, which prove the use of IT in the classroom has been a success.
How did you personally benefit from this project? Did you meet anyone influential?
Mr. Helder Carvalho from BragaMob is an extremely inspiring colleague and I feel honoured to have been able to work with him. His dedication and enthusiasm was infectious and his kindness is unparalleled.
How has collaborating with a partner in a different country helped you with your day-to-day work?
As a team and individually we have been working transnationally for many years, however this project was extremely interesting due to the difference in the business traditions between the Baltic states, Portugal and the UK. It was an extremely pleasant and highly productive environment to work in. We have agreed to collaborate on future projects as well.