Department 11 of Region Calabria, with University of Calabria, University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro and University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria, has organized the following educational actions in order to realize the Regional plan for human resources – Action plan 2008:
Intensive language courses for graduate students, scholarship holders, research fellows and university students aimed at the recovery of the deficits in language skills in (or organized by) the University Language Centers;
Intensive language courses for teachers of primary and secondary schools in (or organized by) the University Language Centers.
The project's starting point is the identification and analysis of the educational needs of the users involved, in particular university students, graduate students, scholarship holders, research fellows, master degree students and primary and secondary school teachers who wish to improve their language skill level and achieve a better familiarity with the technical languages typical of the various topics and of the working contexts.
The courses which will be implemented, therefore, aim at providing the users with tools in support of the study and the deepening of language skills, also through the use of scientific documents in the foreign language, and for a profitable participation in the activities of the Universities which suppose familiarity with a foreign technical language. They also aim at facilitating the obtainment of the certifications, recognized internationally and in line with the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages elaborated by the European Council.
The project is organized in educational paths of 60 hours addressed to the different kinds of users expected. The students will be selected according to the requisites indicated in the 2008 Action plan of Region Calabria.
At the beginning of the course a placement test will be done, aimed at verifying the basic skills of the students and, then, to establish the contents of the educational path. The skills will be evaluated on the basis of the parameters of the Common European Framework of Reference identified by the European Council (2001).
In particular, the project intends to improve the quality of the cultural services and the value of the cultural path. It aims at the promotion and divulgation of knowledge, also in order to increase the quality of life, with expectations of positive effects in a professional academic and, consequently, cultural point of view. In particular, it looks towards the promotion of the innovation in some important fields such as the academic context and the school context, aiming at activating processes able to improve the language skills which will be achieved with the educational offer to be implemented during the academic year 2008-2009 and with an integrated use of different operational methodologies and tools.
The educational actions will be formed by a variety of actions aimed at developing the main language abilities, such as speaking, listening, writing and reading, and most of all they will aim at integrating these abilities with specific operational tasks. The activity of reading and text analysis will be, as a matter of fact, accompanied by an oral production which will stimulate the students to talk about the texts presented, to identify their main message and content, to present them orally, to express their opinions, to say if they agree or don't agree with the point of view proposed. We will aim at improving the written production, too, by writing short documents, reports, projects created on the basis of precise contexts and topics. We will also give wide space to the technological educational support. The class educational activities, as a matter of fact, will be integrated by on line activities, trying to create a blended learning between teaching in class and multimedia learning. A relevant element will be the use of the Portfolio of the Language Skills elaborated by University of Calabria and validated by the European Council (2003), which will allow the students to measure, self-evaluating, their skills reached during and at the end of the course.
Peculiarity of the project
The project can be considered transferable because it proposes to produce educational material online, which can be used by any student, at the end of the modules, in order to continue improving the skills achieved.
There also will be accompanying actions which will include:
- The possibility for students to continue studying and deepening the skills achieved through the self study (material CRUI-B1 online),
- The publication online of material in the technical languages, which will be made available on the website of the Language Center and on the project's website.
- The publication of a textbook with the material used in class,
- A series of seminars/stages for some kinds of course (e.g. the ones that involve graduate students and the teachers of primary and secondary school) with expert teachers coming from British institutions,
- The international type of certification the students will undertake at the end of a wide set of courses and the certification on behalf of the Language Center for the courses of elementary level (level A2 in entrance), which will be considered "in preparation" for the international certifications.
The project will have, both ongoing and at the end, a process of dissemination aimed at presenting and spreading the educational design, the elements of innovation of the project, the approaches used, the activities implemented. This will be presented, during the project, through the press, in order to allow people to know about the actions of the project, and, in the final stage, through final reports, publications on websites, articles on specialized journals.
The progress of the stages will be supervised by the presence of a Scientific Technical Committee, formed by the Coordinator of the project, an administrative coordinator, a contact person for the project with the Region Calabria, teachers of the University, the Rector's delegate for ongoing counselling, a person in charge for the evaluation and a delegate of the Regional Office of Education. This group will take care of the specific planning stages and of the progresses reached in the courses. There also will be a monitoring and evaluation team, which will supervise the quality of the services offered. In particular, as far as the evaluation is concerned, there will be an external evaluator from Cambridge University who will offer to supervise the certifications aspect.
Finally, it is important to highlight that the most important target of the project, reflecting the motivations of the Department of Higher Education and Research of Region Calabria, is to create a substantial long term effect on the students. As a matter of fact, improving the language skills of a group of people also means to enlarge their culture, because the study of a language cannot exclude the achievement of cultural aspects transmitted by that language. Developing language skills in a region, Calabria in this case, where a traditional "linguistic lethargy" is finally starting to leave space to a growing awareness of the importance of knowing a second language, can only increase the culture of who lives in this region. In particular, the awareness of the importance of being able to communicate with people of cultures and languages different than their own, can open a window on what exists beyond the usual social context. This can only create important foundations, which Calabria still needs, for a local development also intended as development of the people's "culture and thinking".