Christian Goethals – 57 – Belgium
Vocational Education and Training – Belgium – 2010-13
‘[Developing a language-learning website] has changed my view on teaching languages. I now think that it should be more practical rather than theoretical. … I have noticed that students [who] take our course are afterwards more open to that language and more secure in it.’
During a training seminar, language teacher Christian and some colleagues realised that catering trainees were unprepared for work abroad because they didn’t possess the necessary basic linguistic skills. The group soon secured funding from the Erasmus+ programme to develop Eurocatering, a free web-based language course for catering staff. Available in 12 languages, the website is considered a vital tool for training staff working in foreign kitchens, restaurants and receptions.
‘After using our website, trainees go abroad and feel more confident. They start speaking with the chef in the foreign language when they arrive. Before, they used to wait 2 weeks before saying a word,’ says Christian.
The experience has also helped Christian in his career. He now feels ‘more motivated’ and wants to ‘help the students get something more out of the language, not just teach them the rules.’
And it’s not just the students who are benefiting from the experience. ‘Many chefs have told us that it’s now so much easier to have trainees that have some confidence in the foreign language.’
The project has won 7 European Language Label Awards. Future plans include developing a tailor-made app together with exchange students from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland.