This sentence is taken from a collection of ancient Chinese writings attributed to Xunzi (Xun Kuang) that discusses effective learning strategies, the importance of learning through experience. It could have been adopted as the motto of the SIMELTA project, because we believe in the importance of student participation when learning a language.
We are a team of teachers who believe in the power of gestural movement through theatrical activities when teaching a foreign language. Drama is a powerful binder, which allows the student group, teachers included, to go through this transmission of knowledge in a harmonious atmosphere, where the individual regains his first instinct, that of the group! Having used these techniques for many years, having studied them throughout the project, we all know the positive impact on students, also on teachers.
Throughout the SIMELTA project, we have met men and women who teach foreign languages, in different contexts and for different audiences. We observed and listened to the learners: men, women and children who learn the language of a host country, those who seek to strengthen basic knowledge, those who work to obtain a diploma, degree, etc. At each stage of the project, multilingualism has been in the spotlight, we have never spoken only one language, but many. We have tested our ability to communicate with the unknown, to understand it beyond words sometimes, thanks to gesture or mime. During workshops, many different languages were mixed, sometimes with hesitant steps; the transmission was timid, reticent, or restrained but it was very real, attesting that the communication goes through much more than the verb, it passes through the whole body and the senses. In this interculturality, we have all experienced intense moments of emotion, laughter and even pride.
From our existing investigations and experiences to these new meetings, we took the time to study, reflect, adapt and design aids for all trainers, whether they are teachers, trainers, or independent speakers who want to try out this new practice. This method, explained in our deliverables, is a particularly effective tool if we seek to promote social inclusion, it promotes the feeling of belonging to a group. Whatever the target, whatever the issue, learning by gesture breaks the isolation and brings people closer together. Through language, through gesture, interactions, play, each one is revealed and placed within the reach of the other. Stories meet, cultures exchange, communication is established. Accessible at all levels of education, at all ages of life, gestural movement facilitate start-ups and limits confusion and abandonment. For educators, the heart of our target, appropriating the tool that is “drama” is opening up its teaching to all, living the transmission of knowledge in the sharing of emotions and senses.
The project has reached its end. And so, on our website, you will find video tutorials, testimonials, digital media to download, as well as training offers, advice, contacts. Perhaps the SIMELTA project has not succeeded in revolutionizing the world of language teaching, but it has certainly helped to expand the possibilities.
Do not hesitate to visit us, the partners remain available for any information, aids and training requests.