LINGUA+ - the combination of host-country language learning and social inclusion tools for immigrants
The project Lingua+ aims at connecting language learning procedure with deeper understanding of economic, cultural and social reality of a host country language to immigrants and refugees. Proven methods of language learning, as well as general principles of intercultural education will be part of this combination, along with respect to cultural and social uniqueness of target groups.
The main piloting of these outputs should be realised within the communities of foreigners in Iceland. This island has not experienced any bigger wave of immigration until very recently; nowadays, however, the situation changes dramatically. An extraordinary economic growth within Europe has manifold consequences. On the one hand, part of qualified workers is leaving Iceland for more pleasant places to live, on the other hand, more and more immigrants are entering the island with the aim to find a qualified job. Currently, immigrants make for about 10 % of overall population of Iceland and it is still growing.
Based on Freire and Don Milani research of the late ‘60s of the past century, language training should be embedded in everyday life, be it linked with family, work, community, culture and leisure. The different experiences of learners should be the starting point toward learning output and outcomes, and here comes empathy: people dialogue better when they are authentic (Rogers 1973) and recognize the other as he/she is, suspending judgement. Learning the host language is a bridge to a new life and migrants can do it with more confidence if they feel their own, plural, identity is recognized.
Language learning goals, therefore, have to be set in context of cross-cultural adaptation and orientation. This approach is even more applicable while addressing learning needs of illiterate and/or learners with no common language of instruction.
There will be two basic outputs of this project, aiming at different dimensions of education process. The Repository of innovations in teaching host country language to migrants and refugees will be the result of a research made by all partners. It will be a collection of entries aiming to bring ideas and practices in teaching host countries’ language to migrants and refugees. Academic sources, as well as practical findings and knowledge of organisations with long-term experience in the field will be used.
Study on existing practices for social inclusion of migrants and refugees and empathy enhancement in adult interactions will be the second basic output of the project. Again, the output will be based on previous experience of the partnership, especially from previous theme-related projects. The Study will serve a three-fold purpose: a) expanding the partners’ knowledge on the subject; b) provide practical examples that can be adapted to language teaching (e.g.: drama and multi-art forms used as practices for social inclusion can be adapted to language learning); c) providing food for thought on the distinctive focus of Lingua+ which is combining language teaching.
Besides these two outputs, the Handbook for language teachers, trainers and volunteers, the Learning Paths Multimedia presentation and the Teacher Training Course Guide will be prepared, the latter explaining, how to prepare a learning bloc in MOOC (Mass Open Online Course) environment. With this output, it will be possible to use other tools any time in the future and to replicate it for various purposes.
In the second half of 2018, the series of workshops in partner countries will be held, with the aim to test new tools for language learning of host-country language combined with social inclusion tools for foreigners. Working versions of both main tools will be handed to the participants for further practical testing. Feedback, advices, recommendations and other insight will become a priceless added value and will be taken into account for further adjustments of the outputs.
The partnership consists of organisations from Iceland, Great Britain, Italy, Cyprus and Czech Republic.