Archive of European Projects

Innovative methods for increasing effectiveness of teaching English of 55+ learners
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Teaching foreign languages, especially English, to seniors, is becoming one of the most crucial elements of education in later-life in Europe. Existing analysis concerns mainly the needs and current state, but there are not enough didactic materials which would support teachers in their daily work with learners 55+. This concerns in particular those materials that go beyond the traditional language course, and include such elements that are emotionally engaging, motivating, and provide new incentives: mental, physical and sensory - so essential in later-life pedagogy. To address this deficiency a partnership was formed which consists of 3 organizations from Poland, Hungary and Italy, possessing considerable experience in senior education, especially in language teaching and represent a complementary approach, including academic. This has enabled the partners to identify the most urgent needs and gaps in language teaching (especially English) to older learners and to propose innovative solutions to address them. The Fullness-of-Life Academy Association from Krakow (non-profit, educational organization working with the middle age and elderly people), the Courses Educational and Cultural Association from Szeged (organization promoting lifelong learning and facilitating the formal, non-formal and informal platforms of learning) and the Italian Federation for Continuing Education - UNIEDA from Rome (an umbrella organisation, whose members are Popular Universities, Third Age Universities and Italian cultural associations) gathered together to realize the Erasmus + Project “Innovative methods for increasing effectiveness of teaching English of 55+ learners” (InMETE 55+). The project was realised from September 2014 to August 2016. The project's goal was to develop tangible propositions of innovative methods for increasing effectiveness of teaching English to 55+ learners. Through well-structured cooperation, researches, discussions, international meetings, three tangible intellectual outputs of the project were prepared: a. resource pack of possible resources: materials, ideas and guidelines which could be used during the English lessons to increase cognitive functions of elderly learners, in particular, their attention, motivation, emotional involvement, memory functioning, senses and body involvement, communication sensitivity and capability, and also their well-being; b. nine detailed lesson outlines together with teaching/learning materials for teachers and students (each for two levels: elementary (A2-B1) and intermediate (B2) including innovative elements taken from external sources like art, historical heritage of our countries, memory rules and methods, music, poetry, body expression and para-theatrical forms, etc.; c. two curricula for a one-year (60 hrs) course for learners 55+, two levels - elementary (A2-B1) and intermediate (B2). These three products are available free of charge for seniors’ educators from the non-profit sector. The dissemination of project results and outputs was a very important part of our project, which multiplies its outcomes and impacts. The dissemination activities were held throughout the entire project using diverse means and channels. The project blog: was created where all current information about project realization and its results was published. The final multiplier events took place in each partner country separately to address local needs and expectations best. Project realisation brought tangible and long term benefits (the three outputs mentioned above) which also served as a starting point for further development of innovative teaching/learning resources for the elderly, and as a source of inspiration for both direct and non-direct project beneficiaries. Thanks to the project realization the attention of local communities and people involved in senior education, was drawn to 55+learners’ educational needs and problems in learning languages. The same time awareness of the ways of increasing teaching efficiency and attractiveness of the courses organised for middle aged and elderly learners was focused on. The project also fostered and expanded partners’ cooperation and pushed it towards a more product-oriented and innovative approach to transnational projects.
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