Last week I organised an ELT picnic in Reading, my first attempt at setting up networking for Reading English Professionals. One of the attendees was Gonzalo Galian-Lopez, Director of Studies at Eurospeak in Reading, and he told us about an event he was organising to share the results of Erasmus+ projects he’s been working on. I found the idea of these projects to be really interesting, and I hope you do too. Thanks for writing this Gonzalo!
I work for Eurospeak, an educational institution based in the UK and Ireland which is currently involved in over 40 EU-funded projects. The Erasmus+ programme makes it possible for language teaching professionals to participate in EU projects funded to develop innovative resources for teachers and learners. First, I’ll provide a brief introduction to the Erasmus+ programme and then presents an Erasmus+ project that has seen the development of resources for grammar teaching. Next, I’ll outline a few other projects that are currently working towards the creation of more tools for teachers and learners.
What is the Erasmus+ programme?
Erasmus+ is an EU programme that aims to support education, training, youth, and sport in Europe. With a budget of over €26 billion, it provides opportunities for mobilitiy and cooperation in the contexts of school and adult education, vocational education and training, and more. Some of the programme’s goals relevant to language teachers include (1) promoting language learning and linguistic diversity, (2) improving the availability of high-quality learning resources, and (3) improving the competences of educators. The programme is open to any organisation established in an EU member state, including such organisations as language schools and higher education institutions.
What does an Erasmus+ project look like?
Erasmus+ projects typically involve several EU organisations working towards the development of resources and products. They last between 12 and 36 months and include four stages:
- implementation of activities;
In the context of language teaching, Erasmus+ projects are often carried out by consortiums comprised of institutions with expertise in language education and result in the development of innovative resources for language teachers and learners.
An example of an Erasmus+ project for language teaching
Second-language learners generally achieve a good understanding of grammar rules, but their ability to use these rules in fluent, spontaneous communication is often very limited. The Teaching Grammar for Spontaneous Communication project is an initiative to address this issue. More specifically, this project aims to help language teachers gain new insight into how to promote the development of grammatical knowledge that learners can use fluently and spontaneously in real-time communication. The project launched in November 2020 and is now approaching its end. Led by Eurospeak, a UK-based language school, the project has seen the development of three innovative tools for language teachers and teacher trainers:
- A handbook on teaching grammar for spontaneous communication [Note from Sandy – I particularly like the grid on p27 as a way of thinking about the demands of a communicative activity, with examples of how it could be used on the following pages]
- A teacher-training programme on the same subject (available soon)
- A handbook on how to design effective CPD sessions
These resources have been informed by cutting-edge research and are packed with sample grammar practice activities. They will soon be available in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Romanian, and Latvian. To access the all the project’s materials and to find out more about the project, you can visit the project’s website or Facebook page.
More Erasmus+ projects for language teaching
There is a vast array of Erasmus+ projects related to language teaching. These range in aims and target audiences, which can go from upskilling teacher trainers to supporting self-directed learners. They also range widely in project results, which can include, for example, e-courses, curricula, handbooks, apps, websites, and games, to name a few. The table below provides an overview of a selection of projects to give a sense of what Erasmus+ projects for language teaching may look like and, in turn, to encourage the reader to find out more about these projects and make use of their results:
|PROJECT NAME||TARGET GROUP||MAIN AIM||MAIN RESULT||WEBSITE|
|Learning Foreign Languages Online||Self-directed language learners||To make it easier to learn a language online||A database of free online resources||https://www.learninglanguages.eu/|
|DigiTise||Teachers in the 50+ age group||To upskill teachers in using digital tools||A handbook and 10 MOOC courses||facebook.com/Toolkitfor50plus|
|Augmented Reality for EFL||Primary School EFL Teachers||To train teachers to use AR||An AR app||https://ar4efl.eu/|
|iCOM||Language teachers and learners||Training about formulaic language||An app to teach formulaic language||www.icom-erasmus.site|
|Professional English Skills for Employability||The unemployed across Europe||To provide professional English training||A professional English e-course||https://pese-erasmus.site/|
|CoCoFe||Female refugees and forced migrants||To increase communicative competence||An e-learning platform||https://www.cocofe.eu/|
The aim of this article was to provide an introduction to the Erasmus+ programme and to share some projects relevant to language teaching professionals. I hope that this article will arouse some interest in the Erasmus+ programme among the language teaching community and possibly create opportunities for future partnerships and collaboration with Eurospeak. I also hope that the projects presented in this article, and the Teaching Grammar for Spontaneous Communication project in particular, will be of interest and useful to language teaching professionals across the EU.
With a background in ELT and EAP, Gonzalo Galian-Lopez is research lead in several language-learning related EU-funded projects. His main research interest is in the role of practice in the development of grammatical knowledge, and he is currently pursuing a PhD in this area of SLA. His main professional aims are to continue working in projects which bridge the gap between SLA research and the needs of language teachers and learners.
Email: dos at eurospeak dot ac dot uk