PLURILINGÜISMO PARA LA IGUALDAD DE OPORTUNIDADES
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2016
I.E.S Ximen d’Urrea is a secondary school where E.S.O., Baccalaureate and Vocational Studies are offered. Situated in L’Alcora – a small location in the province of Castellón – it includes students from different towns in the region. We are 47 teachers for 454 students that mainly come from an average to low socio-economic level families (the school is rated as ISEC - SocioEconomic and Cultural Index - 2 out of 5). These students need all possible institutional support in order to access education and the labour world in the same conditions as the other citizens. Therefore, we always try to participate in several projects which can be useful to motivate the students and give them opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them.
In a framework of globalization and European unity, there is no room to consider language knowledge as something accessory but as one of the pillars of all-round education that schools must offer. For this reason, our project intends to start the implementation of a multilingual program in order to create a tool where students can be taught one or two courses each year with English as a common language. Teachers and students will participate voluntarily thus ensuring higher levels of implication and increasing guarantees of success. It should serve to improve students’ educational and professional expectations, motivate them to remain inside the school system and facilitate their possible future international mobility. Moreover, it represents a professional challenge to the teachers as they will need to learn and adapt to a new way of working in order to begin teaching in English to at least one of the groups that they are assigned to.
All five teachers directly involved in this project have the support of the rest of the faculty and the school management. All of them are part of the secondary teachers’ body including one from the English department; have extensive experience as educators; availability for innovative and collaborative work and knowledge of English required. In addition t their dilated experience, their work is always focused towards innovation and collaboration. Their training needs in this context match the expected mobility activities that consist of 5 distinct but similar courses:
• Three courses on CLIL methodology: One oriented to Information Technology courses, another to science and mathematics courses and the last one dealing with general contents.
• One course based on general study of innovative methodologies in all scopes of education.
• One course on creative activities and innovative materials for language teaching. This course will be carried out by the English teacher.
Initially, the convenience of applying for this project was positively valued and then reported to the whole faculty. This resulted in the direct involvement of the previously mentioned teachers who will take part in the expected training activities. The immediate outcome of this training will be an improvement in their ability to innovate in education and an update in their language skills. The short to medium term focus will be towards encouraging teamwork, promoting the use of new technologies and increasing participation in innovative educational projects. Finally, in the long term the percentage of teachers actively participating in the program may increase thus allowing the original multilingual project to become dramatically ambitious.
Regarding students, the first effect will be their immediate immersion in English as a common language that in the medium term will improve not only their language proficiency but also their motivation towards cultural inter-European relationships. We also expect to encourage their permanence within the school system, which would lead to a decrease in failure and dropout rates. In the long term, the project will facilitate their access to the labor market where language skills are increasingly gaining importance. In addition, it will promote the transition to higher education, open the possibility of enrolling bilingual degrees and facilitate their geographic mobility.
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