The Department of Languages represented at International Conference and Final Meeting of Erasmus+ project „Unity in Diversity” held in Croatia (0)
Since 1 September, 2016 the Department of Languages has been an active participant of an international Erasmus+ project„Language skills and intercultural issues in the hospitality industry: Unity in diversity in the EU labour market” (Project No. 2016-1-HR01-KA202-022160). Education institutions from nine countries have been involved in the project implementation: Tourism and Catering School Dubrovnik (Croatia), Turiba University (Latvia), Ekonomska šola Murska Sobota (Slovenia), Primrose Publishing (UK), IPSSA Nino Bergese (Italy), Universitatea Sapientia din Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Vilnius Business College (Lithuania), Provincial Directorate of Education in Turkey Kutahya MEM (Turkey), Vyšší odborná škola, Střední průmyslová škola a Obchodní akademie, Čáslav (Czech Republic).
The aim of the project was to create an interactive blended learning language course „Unity in Diversity” comprising on-line learning materials available on the Moodle Learning platform and face-to-face interactive materials incorporating case studies, games, problem-solving tasks, videos, etc. targeted at developing Vocational Education and Training (VET) learners’ language, intercultural and digital competence, creativity, problem-solving skills and flexibility to adapt to various occupational situations.
In the meetings we not only discussed the project related issues but we also had an opportunity to learn ourselves and to teach our international colleagues.
The Kick-off meeting was organized by the project partners Ekonomska šola Murska Sobota in Slovenia from 13 to 15 October, 2016. During that meeting two workshops were organised by the head of the Department of Languages of Turiba University, Professor Ineta Luka – the workshop on the use of blended learning approach and the workshop on creating and using case studies for language leaning. Both workshops gave an insight in the project methodologies which resulted in versatile language learning materials that not only develop learners’ language competence but also foster the development of their creativity and problem-solving skills.
In turn, the second project meeting was organised by Vilnius Business College in January 2017. The focus of the meeting was introducing attractive and innovative elements in language teaching/learning. We had an opportunity to listen to a wonderful lecture by Marius Kalinauskas “Gamification Applied for Learning. Benefits and Challenges” on using gamification elements in university studies, as well as under the guidance of Dr. Violeta Jadzgevičiene and Dr. Gitana Čechamiriene we participated in a hands-on workshop “Virtual Learning Environment. Moodle plug-ins with Gamification Elements” on how to use them for language teaching on Moodle platform. Consequently, the knowledge gained and skills developed were used when creating interactive games and on-line tasks for learners.
Turiba University were the hosts of the third project meeting, which was held from 27 to 29 April, 2017. In this meeting the focus was on creating video materials for language learning. A workshop on writing scenarios was organised as well as videos were filmed at the premises of Start-up Hotel of Turiba University. These learning materials are connected with the field of tourism and hospitality – welcoming guests in the hotel and restaurant, check-in and check-out the guests, restaurant service, handling of complaints and so on. The created video materials are beneficial for tourism and catering students as they simulate work in professional environment.
From 19 to 20 October, 2017 we participated in the fourth project meeting held in Čáslav, Czech Republic. During the meeting we discussed the A1 level language tasks and analysed the study process of VET institutions in Europe. Vyšší odborná škola, Střední průmyslová škola a Obchodní akademie Čáslav is an education institution that provides secondary and higher (tertiary) level education in economics and engineering in Central Bohemia region. The school has two parts – Secondary Technical and Economic School and Higher Vocational College. The secondary school provides vocational training on secondary level. After three-year study the students get a degree Diploma Specialist. The history of secondary school started in 1930s. Higher Vocational College was founded in 1993 and it offers a 3-year interdisciplinary programme “Production and Managerial Systems in Companies” with four specializations in Management and Human Resources, Accountancy and Finance, Maintenance of Machinery and Quality Control and Metrology. As a part of the curriculum the students from the third class do a 5-month work placement in companies that refers to their specialization. The programme is labour oriented and it is implemented as full-time and part-time studies. Besides the full-time students, Higher Vocational College has part-time adult students employed in various companies. The education of these part-time students combines regular classes and distance education in a form of e-learning, thus Czech partners are experienced in this aspect and could share their best practices of collaborating with industry and implementing e-learning with the project partners.
The project final meeting was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia from June 4 to 6, 2018. On June 4, an international conference was organized inviting local teachers, language specialists, stakeholders from tourism and catering enterprises of Croatia, project partners from 9 countries and international experts from several countries who evaluated the project outputs created:
ü an interactive A1 level language learning course in 16 languages (CZ, DE, EN, ES, FR, GR, HR, HU, IT, LT, LV, RO, RU, SE, Si, TR),
ü an A2/B1 level language learning course in 16 languages, smartphone applications, interactive maps,
ü a blended-learning B2/C1 level English course – on-line tasks, case studies, problem solving tasks, web quests, etc.
ü an intercultural C1 level English course for on-line and face-to-face language learning.
During the Project Final Conference, the participants learnt the main methodologies of the project, the design and creation of the Learning Management System, the curricula designed, the various tasks created, etc. In order to learn how the learning platform functions, have a closer look at the tasks and materials created and prepare for using them in their language teaching classes or for autonomous learning, the conference participants also had hands-on-experience in specially organised workshops.
In turn, in the project final meeting the project partners designed the Project Sustainability Plan that will help us use the materials (courses) created long-term and will promote the teaching/learning of Languages for Special Purposes in Europe.
The learning platform: http://esolams.eu/unity/
The project webpage: http://languages4all.eu/
Dr.paed. Ineta Luka
Professor, Head of the Language department
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.