AimThe aim was to find answers to the new needs of older people and to their ongoing training to be prepared to face the challenges that today's society places in an intercultural framework. In fact, in Europe language teacher studies focus on methods. Language teaching for adults and older adults focus on communication. Adults want to be understood by native and non-native speakers. In this project it was essential to study specific teaching methods and train the teachers of English how to transmit basic linguistic skills to adult students who live in the United Europe and therefore need the knowledge and skills of English:
- to overcome the barriers that older people face when communicating with other people;
The LUETEC, associated FEDERUNI, has realized the project “Live English” beacuse everybody knows that the knowledge of other languages besides one’s own is an important instrument to widen one’s own perception of reality.
The need of the beneficiaries (of the group involved) is to become able to communicate in a simple and direct way also in the workplace, to use the network, to receive information through the web and simply to travel independently in the world.
The use of dramatization and the computer in the learning process is a great help, although language acquisition depends above all on the relationship between teachers and old students.
In each participating institution a careful analysis was carried out on the needs of the older students from which it emerged that there are several reasons why adults may feel the need to learn English:
- developing professional skills;
- improving specific skills;
- enjoying one’s own free time in a creative and intelligent way
- using it as an instrument to be able to know and understand the traditions and culture of other countries and people.
After a careful analysis, the partners set the minimum standards to learn a foreign language satisfactorily and through a questionnaire on 10 teachers has been possible to establish that an individual must achieve a standard about basic linguistic functions such as:
- ask and answer about time, date, weather, etc.;
- describe oneself and people;
- talk about what one has.
From the interviews made and the questionnaire administered to adult people it emerged that on a sample of 10 teachers for each partner institution, their preferred teaching method was not based on a “grammatical approach”, but on a “communicative and functional approach”. We must not learn an abstract language, spoken only in books, but we must develop a communicative competence, which enables us to communicate and create bridges.
We must not forget the importance of the use of a common language in transnational relations in order to develop union among people of different countries, because this also contributes to create bridges and demolish walls in order to foster a European identity and awareness. And this is, according to us, the value added to this project that makes it a good fit for BBE. The result of this project and work was collected in a publication of a text composed of 10 teaching units, realized in the number of two for each participant partner, which was realized according to the strategies and methods researched, discussed and considered most suitable for the achievement of the objectives set at the beginning of the project.
- Federazione Italiana tra le univesità della Terza Età – Project coordinator
- The University of the Third Age of Mola di Bari associated with Federuni, Italy
- U3A of Campania, Italy
- Vilnius Women’s Training Center of Lithuania, lithuania
- Varkaus Senior High School, Finland
- The center of continuous formation of Arles, France
Step by Step Explanation
Meeting of the partners to define a course of action
Fixed 10 teachers for each partner institution
Interviews to teachers
Questionnaire to teachers and adult learners
Data evaluation analysis
Reflection on results
Compilation of 2 units for each partner institution
Publication of a grammar for adult learners
The input lecture served to illustrate the essential purpose of the project: to create teaching units to teach English in the simplest way for adults and older people. After extensive debate, working groups were formed to examine the known teaching methods and set the guidelines to be examined in group discussions.