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Day 2

Thank you for your great level of activity yesterday!

The task for today is to comment on Dee’s and Paco’s presentations.

– What have you learnt? How would you sum up the input from today’s presentations?

– Can you think of similar studies / web sites in your own countries, which you would like to share with the group?

43 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana Bolcs permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:52 pm

    This day was so interesting for me, thanks Dee and Paco for their presentations. It was so useful to hear about different methods and models.

    Dee has strengthen me that how important is the learners cultural backgrounds and their individual needs. Indstead of teacher-centered lessons and different type of textbooks we really need to put focus on our learnens needs and it is necesarry to create content which connect to their everyday life! Her personality was so inspiring!

    Today`s presentations have reminded me again that we should not forget to do our work with heart ­čÖé

  2. julie permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:51 pm

    Thanx Dee for that energizing presentation and thanx Paco for that materials wich is inspiring to create our own material

  3. June 3, 2014 12:49 pm

    Two great presentations this afternoon, thank you. I’d so love to be a fly on the wall in Dee’s classroom, it sounds like a really inclusive learning environment where learners’ identities, cultures and languages are used to break down barriers to learning. The most valuable sources of texts are definitely those generated by the learners themselves and it sounds like Dee uses the everyday experiences of her learners to create engaging and most importantly authentic materials. Learners arrive in a classroom with a lifetime of wisdom and experiences that we’d be crazy not to use as a springboard for our lessons. In this way every learner is valued and even if they are still learning to read, read or communicate in the L2, they feel their story is heard and most importantly listened to in their new community. I’d love to see more of your resources Dee and perhaps start an exchange of materials between Dublin and Glasgow?
    I will be definitely be passing on Paco’s resources and link to our Spanish department back in Glasgow. So many textbooks insist on using English as a parallel text in the foreign language coursebook, but I feel immersing language learners entirely in the target language right from the start is a great way to teach and learn the language. I’d also like to know a little more about the training that was offered to teachers to help them create such visually pleasing, interactive and engaging materials. We are very much promoting our online forum back at COGC and it would be great to get some advice from him.

  4. June 3, 2014 12:48 pm

    Dee’s presentation was very interesting.I like the way we started participants’ presentations at the workshop by looking at a very practical case study. It reminds us that the learners are central to everything we do.

    As a teacher educator, my job is to work with beginning teachers on producing best practice. For us that would mean building on what the learners bring with them and using their funds of knowledge to extend and develop their language and literacy skills. However, Dee reminded us that sometimes what we see as best practice is not what the learners see as best practice. The methods we advise our trainee teachers to use are not always the methods that the learners expect and it is our responsibility to provide education that they want to access. So Dee’s presentation helped us to see how we can tread the line between teaching the way we think they learn best and learning the way the learners think best. It is not an impossible task and it can be achieved when there is respect between teachers and learners.

    Dee talkedabout how one might move (slowly perhaps) towards autonomous learning. We learned more about autonomous learning from Paco’s presentation. There were some magificent materials for learning Spanish that have been used by learners in Andalucia and beyond. I would like to try them myself to improve my Spanish. Although one would have to have some literacy to use these materials, they were attractive and motivating and very flexible so learners could use them in a classroom or at home. Our English Skills for Life materials are not nearly so interesting but you can look at them here-

  5. June 3, 2014 12:48 pm

    I have found IXL maths to be a excellent interactive resource for teaching numeracy to adults in basic education. It allows learners to work at their own pace while the tutor can monitor their progress and provide assistance when necessary. It offers an instant feedback to the learner and teaches new skills allowing the learner to build on their success.

  6. June 3, 2014 12:47 pm

    Dee’s presentation today was a highlight for me. It demonstrated how important it is for tutors to be culturally aware of their learner’s needs. We saw how this heightened sensibility in a tutor can yield such transformative behaviour for the learners. Through utilising the learners existing knowledge and allowing them to be self directed in their learning it created a sense of community within the classroom.

    Paco’s demonstration of the resources available for tutors and learners was excellent. I will certainly be looking further into this and the EXELearning program as a possible tool for developing literacy resources in my own organisation.

  7. Anne McKeown permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:47 pm

    Paco’s presentation of the Aula de espanol open platform for online learning opens the doors to so many possiblities for bringing learning opportunities to adults. This is something I would like at look at in more detail. Not sure if I’m ready to learn Chinese yet.

  8. Florence Foury permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:47 pm

    Thank you for this two presentations very interesting.
    The Dee’s presentation is very closed to my work. The collaborative methods are effective.
    Maybe I’ll cancel my presentation tomorrow, because Dee told mainly in better English than me! (It is a joke!)

    About the presentation of Paco, for those who understand french, here is a link to view an online platform specializing in basic skills in the workplace .

  9. June 3, 2014 12:47 pm

    Dee`s presentation was a big insight for me what really happens in a classroom with adult imigrants in Ireland and in general, specially after study visit there. I could say I had a picture from a visit how it looks like there in the clasroom but Dee gave the sound of it. I admire her work, enthusiasm, tolerence and creativity in learning nonspeakers English. She gave to us a vision how a teacher could have a great feedback from student if the teacher is an openminded one and willing to learn from the students too. Paco`s presentation was very useful since we are planing (in the near future) to have free basic skills courses for adults in Croatia. Paco inspired me to think about making them also free online courses, since it`t firstable cheaper what means that much more people can attend courses, and also, since it`s about basic literacy and people could be less ashamed for taking the course if they could practice at home or anywhere else with smartphone. Great job for Andalusian Department!

  10. Matej permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:46 pm

    Francisco’s presentation is something realy new for me.I have never seen such a good distance learning program for languages in Croatia. Through further developing of basic skills program we’ll look for exemplars like that one in Spain. I hope that we manage to develope similar program for our citizens for mother tongue but foreign languages also.

  11. Solborg Jonsdottir permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:45 pm

    I would like to draw your attention to a free website for learning Icelandic. It was created by the University of Iceland and it very interactive.. You just have to log on – get a username and password but it is free. It is called IcelandicOnline and the website is:

  12. June 3, 2014 12:43 pm

    The 2 projects presented today, Inclusive approaches for mixed literacy – adult refugee and Aula Espanol give us 2 differents pedagogical approaches in order to suport literacy process for adult learners. – and Thanks Dee and Paco for sharing !
    I like the idea of giving the power to learners in order to choose their own interest topics and to create a collaborative learning environment in and out of the classroom. We have seen different blended methods, including socio-cultural approach. The language chain method presented by Dee was extremely interesting because it can be easly adapt with the learners I am working with and it coresponds to the learners needs.
    On the other hand, we noticed that there are many open resources based on formal and non+formal activities, resouces that can be used in order to improve the literacy skills of different types of learners.
    Last but not least, it was great to have exaples from the real life and to understand the expectation and teh results of adult refugee from Ireland

  13. June 3, 2014 12:39 pm

    I enjoyed a lot the presenations! I consider it both very interactive and usefull! I`ve learn the importance of addapting the teaching process to the learner … I loved the Acquisition Model – totally agree with it! Also the presentation from Paco – Hablar espa├▒ol – we have the same resorces for learning romanian- Vorbiti romaneste – all the materials can be access to – don’t cheek it in too may details because on Friday I will also try to present it ­čÖé
    What was very interested is that in my organisation we have colaborated with one teacher that worked on the project presented by Paco and the resorces from that project are available here: – hope you find it useful!

  14. June 3, 2014 12:37 pm

    Question to everybody: did you know LESLLA?

    • June 3, 2014 12:38 pm

      No, never heard of it

    • Margaret Benzahia permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:39 pm

      No, I was unaware of this organisation.

    • Anne McKeown permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:41 pm

      Yes I attended a conference in Finland in 2012 which brought together international researchers in the field of low-level literacy lerarners. A stimulating conference, whcih takes palce each year in different countries. Previous years’ papers are on the website. Search for LLESLA

      • Solborg Jonsdottir permalink
        June 3, 2014 12:46 pm

        I┬Ęve heard this name but a long time ago and had forgotten about it. I will defnitely look at it again now.

    • Els Plessers permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:46 pm

      Yes, I attended a conference in Antwerp and there is one in Nijmegen (The Netherlands) at the end of August. Maybe we can see each other back there?

    • June 3, 2014 12:47 pm

      No, unfortunatly..

  15. June 3, 2014 12:36 pm

    This was a very interesting day and I want to thank both Dee and Paco for their presentations. From Dee’s presentation I learned the importance of using the learners’ own experience/knowledge in the classroom and also the importance of opening up for collaboration, where the learners are helping each other to learn. Connecting the learning to real live situations is probably the key to success.
    The Aula de Espanol, which Paco introduced, is something I will look better into when I come back home and maybe even I will be able to learn some Spanish ­čÖé The work is so impressive and the people giving their free time for producing this have my deepest respect.

  16. Solborg Jonsdottir permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:34 pm

    I have learnt yet again today that it is always important to do your work with heart and soul. It was inspiring to hear and see the great jobs both Dee and Paco are doing in Ireland and Andalucia. I think Dee┬Ęs way of “stepping aside” from the teacher┬Ęs role and not being afraid to use the student┬Ęs own skills in the classroom is a good reminder that what the students learn and use and take with them from the class is always the most important thing, not how well the teacher taught the material!

  17. Dee Doyle permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:33 pm

    We have found that students have certain expectations of what a class should ‘look like’, even if they have never had the opportunity to attend formal school. By putting in hooks from each method, we have found that students’ expectations are met and then they engage and gradually shift towards more autonomous learning.

    • June 3, 2014 12:36 pm

      Dee, I found your concept of “scaffolding” very interesting. Could you expand a bit on that, please? What is your definition of the concept, and how do you use it in the context of this type of training?

  18. Margaret Benzahia permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:32 pm

    Highly rate Dee’s presentation aswell as taking into account literacy levels, she demonstrated the importance of acknowledging cultural sensitivities and she shared very good practice with us and in my opinion she is an excellent role model and facilitator in the classroom. Would love to arrive in Ireland with no English and be in Dee’s classroom.

    I am interested to discover and learn more about the Aula de Espanol course and the work that has been done in Andalucia, I will definitely investigate their site further as I have an increasing number of Spanish speaking students (not necessarily of Spanish origin) who have very little English and thank you to Paco for sharing this information with us. It will also perhaps encourage my team to develop our own online materials in the future.

    • Dee Doyle permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:35 pm

      Thank you, Margaret. I’m glad you found it helpful.

      I was impressed by the effort and commitment of Paco’s teaching team. I think it is very encouraging to find teachers acknowledged and encouraged to produce materials.

      • Margaret Benzahia permalink
        June 3, 2014 12:38 pm

        Yes, I totally agree and as we know text books are not always a teacher’s best friend!

      • June 3, 2014 12:39 pm

        Dee. Did you mean this website when you mentioned the other resources that you use?

        THanks for all the ideas in your talk.

  19. June 3, 2014 12:32 pm

    Dee┬┤s presentation was both deep and practical, based upon constructive methodological approaches and respectful with the variety of cultures and nationalities present in the class, motivating for students and didactically effective as it values the effort and importance of individuals as well as stimulates the student will to learn in a broad sense. And learning for them is a lifesaving boat.

    • Dee Doyle permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:41 pm

      Thank you, Paco. I found your presentation encouraging from the point of view of teachers being encouraged to have such valuable input in to creating materials. Working in class can be a lonely occupation, especially in outreach centres. I believe these on-line resources can also act as a validating process for choices regarding what teachers bring to class, where they can begin, etc. Thank you.

  20. Els Plessers permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:31 pm

    In Dee’s presentation I found the idea of using a lingua franca very interesting. Often we think it’s not possible to use mother tongues because there are so many, but it’s true that many learners speak more than one language and a lingua franca can also help to understand better what they learn. I would like to read more about using mother thongue or lingua franca in literacy lessons.

    • Anne McKeown permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:38 pm

      Yes this was very interesting to me as well. I think it is an approach we could make more use of in the London context where we have very diverse groups of learners. It is not always possible to encourage peer support in the first language, but there are often circumstances where learners have a lingua franca, either from a shared language experience before coming to the UK or shared expereince within the UK, e.g. a comon work context.

    • Solborg Jonsdottir permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:42 pm

      I agree. The use of lingua franca is very interesting and specially to divide the group accordingly to make the most of it. In Iceland we often have the majority of a group from one country and sometimes someone takes over and starts to translate all over the group for a long time.

  21. Dee Doyle permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:30 pm

    The organisation mentioned in my presentation was LESLLA.
    This organisation is committed to carrying out research in Literacy and SLA for initial Literacy/ESOL learners. Policy makers, practitioners, co-ordinators and tutors contribute.

    Another site which my learners enjoy is click on ‘Beginners’ Free resources for learners and teachers.

  22. June 3, 2014 12:29 pm

    I was very interested to hear about this organisation and the different definitions of literacy – pre-literate, functional literate, fully literate, etc. It’s on my list to look at this site more in depth.

    I was also interested to hear about the transmission model and acquisition model. The acquisition model seems very close to the social pracices model in which students dictate what they want to learn.

    I’m also keen to find out more about the Gateway Excellence literacy materials and to have a closer look at using Paco’s Exelearning software for creating interactive online materials.

    • June 3, 2014 12:37 pm

      Other resources that I am familar with: (online, interactive ESOL resources)

      (list of useful teaching websites and websites for students)

    • Solborg Jonsdottir permalink
      June 3, 2014 12:38 pm

      I agree, it was very interesting to hear about the different definitions of literacy. I believe that the terms illiterate vs. analfabetic are also used where analfabetic is someone who doesn┬Ęt know how to read and write in his/her own language but illiterate can be someone who is literate in another form of writing than the western way of writing – but correct me if I`m wrong.

      • Dee Doyle permalink
        June 3, 2014 12:43 pm

        LESLLA has set out to clarify terminology to enable practitioners to speak the same language and compare like with like. They offer useful glossaries, etc

      • June 3, 2014 12:44 pm

        Mmm. My understanding was that illiterate = analphabet. Which language or alphabet you master is irrelevant. We do not consider ourselves “illiterate in Chinese”, we simply say we do not know the language… Am I wrong?

      • Els Plessers permalink
        June 3, 2014 12:51 pm

        In our center we use the terms ‘analfabeet’, ‘zwak gealfabetiseerd’ (which means ‘low literate’) and ‘anders gealfabetiseerd’, which means ‘literate in another alphabet’.

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