KA1 Projects – Year 2015-16
Our school is a public institution with 9550 mostly adult students of 15 languages. Due to recent social changes, we have found it necessary to adapt the typologies and levels of some languages to existing needs in order to improve the quality of our teaching in coming up to the European level. What follows is a brief account of two of the aspects that we considered had to be improved:
1. Improving methodology, management and assessment of blended courses in English.
Our school started to teach blended courses in English in 2010, responding to a growing demand from adult students. Those courses imply a methodology and content management different to face-to-face courses. The face-to-face/online combination requires designing suitable online material and organizing face-to-face sessions that optimize the work of the blended student.
Currently, there are no courses in our country to train English teachers for a methodology and content management that is specific for blended courses. There are courses that focus on the use of new technologies and online resources but that do not offer a methodology that focuses on the students’ learning process and the pedagogical resources that are most appropriate for a blended course.
Bell School in Cambridge offers a course for English teachers in methodology and management (design of materials and assessment) of blended courses, called “Blended Learning for Adult Education Staff: Combining Online and Face-to-Face Teaching”. Bearing in mind the growing demand for blended courses and our teachers’ little experience teaching them, we found it necessary for them to receive this training in order to improve the quality of their teaching in this respect.
The participants in this training course were two teachers who are currently teaching this course.
The activities in the course aimed to:
- Improve the knowledge about designing a blended course.
- Improve the methodology and competence in education technology.
- Know other virtual learning environments and assess which one meets our needs best.
- Analyze the features and quality criteria of the materials to be used in a blended course.
2. Implementing level C1 in Italian.
Our school has one of the largest Italian departments in the country. As a reference school and in view of the growing demand, we saw it necessary to open C1 courses in Italian as established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Teaching such a level demands a suitable methodology and content management from the teacher. We do not have a curriculum from which we can design a suitable syllabus, nor do we have a suitable methodology for that level. We therefore needed our teachers to receive training on those points, also bearing in mind that we are a reference school for Italian courses in our country. Professor Berucci and her team at the University of Siena offer a specialized course in methodology and design of the curriculum for level C1 in Italian.
The selected participants were the Head of Department and a teacher from the Italian department.
Planned activities included:
- Analyzing the C1 curriculum in Siena and its implementation in our school.
- Observing classes in order to analyze the methodology and class management.
- Aspects to bear in mind in order to create a syllabus.
Methodology to use and impact of the project:
In both cases, participants took a look at bibliography on the subjects as preparation for the activities. The ideas taken from their readings and the school’s particular needs were collected. Participants travelled to both training institutions and transmitted their knowledge when they returned, not only to teachers region- and nation-wide through work groups and training workshops, but also internationally at different conferences and through a digital platform (Moodle) in order to share it. They will also write in two national publications and an international one.
In the medium and long term, a methodology will be developed for blended courses in English that could also work for teachers of other languages, given the growth of blended courses. Level C1 in Italian will have a suitable curriculum and syllabus so that it can be taught in other schools in Spain.