Mini spot - EOI Roquetas de Mar

Hi everyone!

The Official Language School "Roquetas de Mar" has prepared a mini-spot to present their institution! Make sure you check it out!


Action research 2 in Girona, Spain

An inspiring  message from Sandra and her colleagues in Girona.

We have decided to try the diagnostic sheets in a different way!! We have given them to our C1 students and we have asked them to diagnose THEMSELVES!! After collecting the sheets, and after the teacher has observed their spoken production and interaction for a few sessions, we have given them feedback and some advice. They feel really guided and they are enjoying the experience!


Transnational meeting in Girona

We had the opportunity to meet the project group in Girona (Spain) for our second transnational meeting in October.

EOI Girona hosted the meeting in their nice institution in the beautiful city of Girona. All the partners in the project were present. As always our meetings IRL are very efficient and filled with both laughter and hard work.

The main focus was to prepare everything for Action research 2, the speaking scoresheets and the six different kind of activities for the toolbox. We also agreed on how to introduce the working process to the teachers and how to evaluate Action research 2.

Our lovely colleagues from EOI, Girona showed us their beautiful hometown and let us taste the catalan food and learn more about history and culture.

We had a guided tour around the old parts of the city. In The Town Hall we had an interesting lecture and talk with one of the politicians in Girona.

Thank you Sandra, Maite, Anna, Cristina and Elisabeth for your hospitality!


Plenary talk (Alcalá de Guadaíra - Seville) - Ana Bueno

Tomorrow, Friday the 14th October, Ana, from EOI "Roquetas de Mar" (Spain) is going to give a talk about our project in the Autonomic Conference for Official Language Schools in Andalucía (Jornadas Autonómicas de Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas de Andalucía). It will take place in Alcalá de Guadaíra (Seville).

Here you have an appetiser!


Fear of speaking? We go for ‘dare to speak’

Our partner Sonja from Encora Talen in Antwerp, Belgium, reports on in-service training.

CNO, University of Antwerp

Date: 7 Oct. 2016

Carmen and I attended this in-service training hoping to get some tips and insights for the project and for our personal development as teachers - of course!

Mathea Simons and Karen Van De Putte are 2 enthusiastic secondary French teachers. Very early on in their careers they realized their students were excellent grammarians (in some cases) but did not even dare to order a waffle in a Brussels waffle stall. So they set about developing a strategy to enthuse their pupils and they came up with the workshop ‘Dare to Speak’.

French is a language that is a lot more problematic to the learner than English, e.g.  there are different sexes in  articles, adjectives and seven times more verb forms. Moreover, the attractive image of French on a  cultural, political and social level is declining.

Foreign language anxiety is a phenomenon that up to 40% of our  pupils experience. It has an enormous effect  on the strategies that learners use to acquire a foreign language. As a consequence of it, learners may limit their output to pre-learned outings and avoid difficult and personal expressions, thus missing out on opportunities to establish social relationships with native peakers.

We, the workshop participants, are given different tasks so we can try and identify the causes of the fear of speaking. Through reading  extracts  and trying to  convey their meaning in a language we do not fully master, we experience this same shyness or even fear. 

Throughout the session we are given more tasks, all designed to  make  the participants realise that speaking in small groups and pairs is less confronting and threatening than speaking in front of an audience. Furthermore, revising and repeating  the same tasks can boost a learner’s confidence.

Although students may enjoy communicating in a foreign language, they may feel threatened when listened  to and fear negative feedback when assessed. Sometimes this fear may even be stronger than other commonly known phobias.

Moreover, speaking tasks can be artificial and threatening when  imagined and acted out (going to the doctor, making a statement to the police after witnessing an accident..).

Some conclusions and tips: 
  • creating a safe and non-threatening environment is essential 
  • always connect a speaking task to pre-taught theoretical matter
  • use realistic, lifelike and motivating tasks (e.g. phoning to the station to know when a train arrives is just not done anymore, pupils use a smartphone for that)
  • gradually move from  familiar to less known or familiar communicative situations
  • use motivating feedback and evaluation strategies, focusing on the practiced structures rather than on the output as a whole
  • give your  pupils’ feedback in writing, rather than oral and make them reread it before they start working on another speaking assignment
  • perfectionist, introvert students need more encouragement (as we all know!)
  • dare to re-evaluate your own strategies and reflect on them
  • do not fear to use your native language when that is justified

At the end we get to ask (and answer) some FAQs on class management, large groups, finding materials, avoiding students learning things by heart, controlling impulsive and impetuous speakers in groups, etc.

Although most of the example activities were meant for lower level learners, I found the workshop inspiring and I will certainly use some of the ideas in my future lessons.

That’s all from Sonja

Boom, Belgium  10 Oct. 2016


Thank you Christina!

Last week there was a farewell party for Christina Erenvidh, the international coordinator in the municipality of Järfälla, North of Stockholm in Sweden.

Christina has been very helpful to everyone interested in European cooperation.
She is very inspireing and an expert in applications and bureaucracy.

We wish her good luck in the future!