chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up home circle comment double-caret-left double-caret-right like like2 twitter epale-arrow-up text-bubble cloud stop caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right file-text


Elektronisch platform voor volwasseneneducatie in Europa



EPALE Discussion on European Day of Languages 2016

by EPALE Moderator


In honour of European Day of Languages, we’ll be hosting a day-long discussion which will be moderated by language teacher and polyglot Alex Rawlings and EPALE’s thematic coordinator for Quality, Andrew McCoshan. Don’t miss your chance to share your experience in teaching languages to adults, any tips or challenges you’ve faced, learn about best practices from your peers across Europe, and discuss various topics with the EPALE community! We have also gathered interesting case studies, thought-provoking blog posts and helpful resources on the topic of languages and adult education – click here to check them out.

The discussion will start on 26 September at 10:30 CET and it will be divided in two parts:

  • Morning session (10:30am– 1:00pm CET) – How do we make language learning the best it can be?

  • Afternoon session (1:00pm–4:00pm CET) – How do we best meet the needs of different groups for language learning?

**Please note that comments may be over serveral pages. Please refresh the page and scroll to the bottom to click through to comments on other pages.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn
Opmerkingen verversen

1 - 10 van 113 weergegeven
  • afbeelding van Tomáš Bednář

    Co si myslíte o takovém přístupu k výuce slovíček:


  • afbeelding van Eva ALOS MELCHOR

    Thank you for a very interesting discussion.

  • afbeelding van Emile ELIE

    Thanks Rumen, that would be great!

  • afbeelding van Rumen HALACHEV

    Hi Emile,

    The two sessions were not recorded as a video – they were part of a written discussion which took part in this forum. However, a legacy post will soon be published on EPALE giving you the main highlights from the discussion.

    Kind regards,


  • afbeelding van Emile ELIE


    Could we get the links for the video of those 2 sessions?


    • (10:30am– 1:00pm CET) – How do we make language learning the best it can be?

    • Afternoon session (1:00pm–4:00pm CET) – How do we best meet the needs of different groups for language learning?


    Thank you

  • afbeelding van Andrew McCoshan

    We also need to be aware of issues beyond a narrow idea of ‘language’ that affect learning. When I was teaching a German language class for Turkish women with low grammar knowledge in their mother tongue, I tried to explain the meaning of the word “nicht” (negotiation) in sentences like “Er kommt.“ – „Er kommt nicht“ [“He is coming” – “He is not coming.”] with the help of an outline showing a man walking. By crossing out this outline I tried to explain negotiation. It took me several lessons to accept that the women did not understand what the cross should explain. I learned that a “lack” of grammar (in mother tongue) cannot be filled by abstract symbols. Maybe the “reading” of pictures is connected with the kind of abstraction of grammar?

  • afbeelding van Andrew McCoshan

    As mentioned in my other comment, in my opinion the most effective ways of LEARNING languages is the need to communicate. So I assume that the most effective way of TEACHING languages is getting to know and accepting the “language needs” of those who want to learn. This includes the “teacher” being interested in those needs and also being interested to learn about the situation the learner lives in, and being willing to accept what kind of person he or she is (e.g. which way is he or she expressing himself or herself in their mother tongue). For example, if somebody is not interested in talking about himself or herself, a teacher should know (and consider) that he or she won’t very eagerly talk about his or her life experiences in a “foreign” language.

  • afbeelding van Andrew McCoshan

    In general we know that people can learn languages, not only their mother tongue but “foreign languages” as well. And people can learn languages with and without being taught them. We don’t even really know whether it is possible to “teach” languages. It seems that succeeding in “language learning” is most succesful when there is a need to communicate with people who are used to speaking in “another” language than our mother tongue. (As conventional experiences validate: Two people in love with different mother tongues learn the languages of each other the easiest.)

    One of my favorite explanations (and a critical judgement as well) of this allegation is fixed in the aphorism of the Italian Poet, living in Germany: 

    Mit mir willst du reden, und ich soll deine Sprache sprechen.

    [You want to talk with me and I shall use your language.]

  • afbeelding van Jonny Lear

    I couldn’t agree more. I find myself now listening to a popular Dutch radio station in the city of Brussels and have found that just having this in the background has helped me recognise words/sentences quicker. Another few ways I’ve picked up that’s helped me is using post-it notes to for rooms and objects in the house and also writing my shopping list in the language I’m learning.

  • afbeelding van Abboh Savchoff

    Digital technology offers almost infinate possibilities for creation of resources and their use.

    Some older generation teachers, predominantly in Easter Europe, are vocally opposed to technology because of conservative views. However, in the West, IT is very steadily making its way into classrooms.

    Though it cannot fully substitute human interaction, it offers some improvements on it. Take for example Kahoot! (which I have already mentioned in another comment). The competitive nature of the games created there offer students additional motivation. However, it also takes pressure off teachers to adjudicate in situations when students come close to one another's results since all this is done automatically and there is no room for doubt.

    Resources which were considered a luxory a few years ago are now available at the touch of a button. In addition, flipped classrooms are now much more attainable due to the access which most students have to computers and other devices. That is to say, homework can be much more fun than before and it can serve a much broader range of purposes as opposed to the gap fill exercises I had to do twice a week when I took languages at school.

    Even simple software such as skype and email allows students to access penfriends from the target coutries instantly and practice their spoken and written word with native speakers.

    Have any of you employed any IT in the classrooms continuously?

    Warmest wishes,