Pedagogical Innovations: Can we bridge the gap between the world of arts and culture and the world of training and teaching?

We *

English Com’Eddy Theatre (Bordeaux-France)
Athens Lifelong Learning Institute (Greece)
University of Zadar (Zadar-Croatia)
Balamo’s Teatro APS (Ferrara-Italy)

Is there a way to teach languages effectively? How can we attract students’ interest and maintain motivation? These questions are regularly raised in debates related to language learning. At the same time, the world of culture remains alert, as this sector must come up with solutions to resolve the problems posed by the health crisis the world is currently facing. Is it possible to connect the world of training and teaching with the world of arts and culture?
We* do think so

In a world grappling with a major health crisis, the first thing that each country’s government believes to be the best solution is the closing of borders and self-preservation. Despite Europe’s going through a serious migration crisis that awakens the old demons of protectionism, it is not a good time for sharing. But the pandemic is not the only challenge Europe is facing. What happens to the teaching methods when society and standards are constantly changing? How does the increased use of digital technologies affect social interaction? Will inequalities in education continue to exist or even widen? These are just a few issues that have to be addressed and what seems capable to provide answers to these questions is dialogue and networking. Yet, in such hard times when there is continuous use of the word “distance” the term network is rarely mentioned.

Going against the rules, we seek to develop our network in order to accomplish our goal:

We promote social inclusion by building a network of artists and teachers and by bringing education and culture together. At the same time we offer trainers the opportunity to involve their learners in a collective project.

Language learning, the focus of our project, is fundamental in education. It begins in a person’s early life, it is one of the child´s first teachings and also one of the first teachings offered to migrants.

For many years now, we have been observing the implementation of innovative methodologies and action plans suggested by the CEFR¹ as well as more recent contributions of educational movements such as ‘New Education.’ To escape form the teacher-centred learning, it is necessary to include the learner in the teaching process. By arousing curiosity, the individual becomes more accessible and open to learning. In this way, knowledge is easily transferred and assimilated.

Cultural actors are those who hold the key to helping trainers adapt to increasingly heterogeneous groups of learners, who sometimes do not speak the host country’s language or other European languages. Culture is a foundation upon which to unite people and restore their strength, their desire for openness and their thirst for enterprise:

  • Cultural issues referring to the shared history of humanity contribute to the development of pedagogical contents. Culture alone is a significant motivating factor for learners.
  • The artist inherently has a creative perspective that enriches the development of new content as well as new ways of teaching. With each creation, the artist seeks to awaken the emotions of the audience through communication techniques other than verbal.

How can we capture learners’ attention? How can we stimulate their senses, their dreams and cultural awareness in order to help them develop their language abilities? Methods that directly involve the student through scenarios and experiments allow them to open up themselves and connect with the whole group. Thus, in an environment where the trainer collaborates with the artist, creativity may reveal the ability of each one to communicate with the unknown, by going over the meaning of words, through attractive, lively and effective educational content.

If you are interested in our project and want to join our network and share in our thoughts, reflections and experiments, we are waiting for you!

For more information please contact us at info@athenslifelonglearning.gr.

[1] Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment

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