DOUBLE (Y)OUR LESSONS IN ENGLISH

In the Communication Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture the EC sets out the vision of an EEA in which high-quality, inclusive education, training and research are not hampered by borders; spending time in another Member State to study, learn or work has become the standard; speaking two languages in addition to one’s mother tongue is far more widespread; and people 

have a strong sense of their identity as Europeans, as well as an awareness of Europe’s shared cultural and linguistic heritage and its diversity. Multilingual competence is at the heart of the vision of an EEA. With increasing mobility for education, training and work inside the Union, education systems need to reconsider the challenges in teaching and learning of languages and the opportunities provided by Europe’s linguistic diversity (2019/C 189/03) 

Increasing and improving language learning and teaching could strengthen the European dimension in education. Multilingual competence provides a better understanding of other cultures, thus contributing to the development of citizenship and democratic competences. Almost half of Europeans report that they are unable to hold a conversation in any language other than their first language (ibidem). 

The project will address some challenges in the reality of countries where English is not widely spoken as secondary language and bilingual teaching faces significant difficulties. The teachers whose subject is not related to foreign language training suffer from language barriers and lack of practical experience in using a foreign language even in short sections of their lessons. Though most of the teachers teaching subjects other than foreign language have attended various language courses and having respective certificates (as this is the case in Bulgaria, Serbia and Turkey), very often they have passive vocabulary and poor practical experience of communicating in foreign language due to their main workload at school and lack of stimulating contacts. This domain will be the primary area of intervention by the project aimed at diminishing of language barriers of the teachers. 

 

The project will introduce the main elements of the CLIL Framework which will result (as by Dalton-Puffer, 2007) in: development of intercultural communication skills; preparation for internationalism; provision of opportunities to study content through different perspectives; accessing subject-specific target language terminology; improvement of overall target language competence; enhancement of oral communication skills; diversifying of methods and forms of classroom practice; and increasing of learners` motivation. 

In this way through insertion of foreign language in class, the gap in the prestige of the teachers as main source of knowledge currently eroded due to mono-language abilities and the expectations from the students as using growing amount of foreign words will be closed. 

 

HISTORY AND INNOVATION IN PLOVDIV

In April 2022 a team of three students from ELS ‘Geo Milev’, together with our school principal, an English teacher, an IT teacher and an art teacher were warmly welcomed by their partners from Foreign Language Highschool ‘Ivan Vazov’ in Plovdiv. The meeting was part of the national programme “Innovation in Action” and gathered partners from Burgas, Knizhovnik and Plovdiv. The programme is focused on innovative schools, which make a change through the introduction of innovative practices that solve organizational and content problems in the educational process.

This approach in education provides an opportunity to build modern schools in which students can improve their educational outcomes, their motivation to learn, their participation in school life and to develop their creative thinking, different competencies and emotional intelligence through innovative educational processes, teaching methods, school leadership, new learning strategies, etc.

The team of teachers from English Language School ‘Geo Milev’ – Burgas seized the occasion to present the Erasmus + projects it is involved in to specialists in various fields and emphasize the importance of project work in terms of innovative teaching and exchange of good practices.

The presented projects under Erasmus + were: DYLEng (DOUBLE (Y)OUR LESSONS IN ENGLISH), ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING ADVENTURES IN MINECRAFT and EcoPodcasts: Student podcasts on eco conscious and sustainable living, coordinated by the school. The students participating in the meeting managed to bring a different perspective of project-based learning approach, together with raising environmental awareness and relate them to innovative teaching practices. 

 

DYLEng presented in Spain

In February 2022 a team from English Language School ‘Geo Milev’ – Burgas visited Spain, the country of bullfighting and flamenco, an ancient land that has always known the secret of youth. In the city of Benalmadena students from Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Finland gathered together to participate in a transnational meeting of Erasmus + project FETE – From Eurodivision to Eurovision.

The students actively participated in various activities such as board games, sports on the beach and discovering the picturesque city in the Spanish autonomous region of Andalusia, part of the Costa del Sol.

The working language during the meeting was English which raised questions to increasing and improving language learning. Thus, the Bulgarian team had a chance to present another project the school is involved in – DOUBLE (Y)OUR LESSONS IN ENGLISH, and explained the importance of overcoming language barriers while using a foreign language even in short section of the lessons. All of the participants discussed the advantages of this approach and the teachers used it during the implementation the project tasks. This served as a good example of how we should diminish the gap of language barriers of non-native English speakers in school.