KA1 Projects – Year 2016-17

We are one of the largest state-run language schools in the country (we currently have 9,500 adult students and a staff comprising 130 persons), and we offer language tuition for 15 different modern languages. Given the size and scope of our school we feel that we still have ample ground for improvement in the areas of pedagogical / academic and administrative procedures, and that a period of observation of two adult learning centres would be a great opportunity for us. Our main goals are:

  • to improve the learning and teaching processes taking place within the classroom.
  • to improve our general school organization and testing procedures.
  • to improve school administration and management.
  • to organize courses for refugees.

We have chosen two public institutions to visit because we feel that they can offer us valuable guidelines and tools which could easily be transferred to our situation. One of the institutions that we would like to visit is Finland’s IUKKY adult education and career advice school, a centre that belongs to the intermunicipal federation of education in the east of Uusimaa. The persons from our school that would greatly benefit from visiting this institution are the following:

  • The school’s headteacher, the most senior manager of our school, top educational and team leader.
  • The head of studies (1), whose duties include the yearly planning and organization of groups, levels, academic calendars, tests and the support and evaluation and evaluating of novice teachers.
  • One teacher of Spanish representing the two departments (Spanish and Catalan) that teach second languages (as opposed to foreign languages).

The other institution we have selected is the state school for adult education CVO Meise-Jette in Belgium, which teaches 13 different languages and can boast an experience of nearly 50 years in teaching and testing CEFR-aligned levels. We would like the following persons to visit this school:

  • The head of studies (2), teacher of Chinese and in charge of the overall testing process and in particular testing standards for non-European languages (including test writing and test administration procedures).
  • The pedagogical coordinator, in charge of designing, planning and evaluating teacher training schemes.
  • The school’s head of the administration department.

Our approach to this project contemplates intensive contact and communication with the partner institutions prior to the visits in order to determine the areas of interest and specific goals. Such objectives will be drawn by visiting teachers and school managers together with the other members of the school board. During our visit, each member of the school’s mobility team will gather all the relevant information and create a portfolio with their observations. Subsequently, these observations and findings will be analysed and contrasted against our own experience and situation with the view of designing and implementing new protocols and activities. These initiatives will be shared with the teaching team and the school’s administrators (the Department of Education).

Within the pedagogical area, what we are hoping to achieve with this mobility program is, first, better training strategies that will cater more adequately to the needs and preferences of our teachers, and second, teaching strategies for second-language learning at beginner levels.

As far as administration and school organization is concerned, we are currently studying new course modalities to curb drop-out rates. We are also concerned with the improvement of testing protocols and level assignment against European standards, particularly concerning languages featuring a different writing system. Finally, we are also currently looking into various technologically-driven solutions to enhance our information-management systems.

We believe that all these steps will greatly improve the school’s performance, not only in terms of teaching standards, but also in the area of administration. Our aim is to offer our students more flexible studying arrangements to suit their needs and prevent dropout.

The results of this experience will be shared with other schools and educational institutions through the Department of Education. Workshops and various presentations will also be present in both regional and state conventions.