Birth of the IdeaThe whole idea started when in 2016 young enthusiastic students from Prague decided to organise language courses of Esperanto. Once the challenge accepted, they had to make them for free and without any strong background in language teaching. Several questions rose in their minds – How to find the right place? When and where to advertise it? Where to find the right material? Even if there actually exist diverse websites with teaching material, some quality overview and experience in that kind of activity was missing.
When looking at the news of the World Organisation of Esperanto Youth (TEJO – tejo.org), we found out, that there is a call for National Sections interested in participating in some Erasmus+ project. As the topic of Best Practices in Language Teaching was one of them, we quickly contacted the organisation to get more info. After several discussions between the board members of the two organisation we started to work on a new and ambitious project description and plan.
Turbulent startOnce the project description sent, we in high patience waited for the results. Suddenly, while being in the Esperanto Youth Festival in Italy, we got an e-mail where the Czech National Agency informed us, that the project was accepted even if we knew, that the true work is only starting.
After sending all the relevant documents and subscribing diverse contracts and agreements (including those with the partner organisations), with great pleasure we accepted the funding at the transparent account of the coordinating organisation (Czech Esperanto Youth).
An intense kick-off meeting in TrentoIn order to be effective in project implementation, we had to organise an “intense” weekend full of meetings and working groups.
The spirit was perfect, and also thanks to it we managed to plan finances, future events, trainings’ topics, how we will communicate and divided diverse tasks. It was really a big surprise for us, that we had not to postpone any of the important decisions.
Tired after the weekend, but full of new ideas, we came back to Prague and started to work on the project activities.
Foto: Felicxaj post kunsidoj (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
Additional Project Activity during the Youth Esperanto Week in PolandOne coordinating and seven partner youth organisations posted as soon as possible a public call in order to find the best youth workers interested in the topic of volunteer language teaching. The purpose of the meeting was to develop the basic skills needed for the project and also to plan future activities and the training session which took place in Toulouse, France. Except of covering topics like basics of language teaching and what it means, the participants had also the opportunity to try on their own to create an audio-visual teaching material. Thanks to that they quickly realised how hard it is to do it high quality and also could understand why the “Esperanto World” is missing them. A big surprise was, when one of the working group delivered by the end of the meeting a funny teaching video, even with exercises linked to it.
Foto: la du trejnistoj dum JES - Jana Kamenická kaj Szabolcs Szilva (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
Foto: laborgrupoj dum la trejnado (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
Foto: la trejnatoj kaj partoprenintoj de laborkunsido kune fotis sin antaux emblemo de Erasmus+ (Fotis: Ariel Palmer)
Interproject workErasmus+ is not only work related directly to the meetings, but also work that should be done in between of them. That is why, besides administration tasks, the trainees received diverse “home works,” which then were controlled by the trainers in order to have them ready for analysis during the training session in Toulouse. The trainers additionally also had to work on and deliver their training handouts based on theory presented and results of diverse workshops.
Training Seminar in Toulouse
Foto: trejnatoj rapide alkutimigxis al aldonaj trejnistoj (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
The 14thof March 2018 we all with big pleasure met once again at the Airport and some of the members of the hosts brought us to our hostel in the city centre of Toulouse. The project participants consisted of: 14,4 trainers and of course members of the hosting organisation which were responsible for training rooms, meals and accommodation (and partly also after training programme).
Foto: fulmleciono en rifugxentejo (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
There is no doubt, that the hosting organisation (The Cultural Centre of Esperanto in Toulouse) made a great work and besides more than 30 hours of trainings, we had also excursions, evening programme (consisting of debated and concerts) and many other.
One of the highlights of the whole event was, when theory had to come to practice and the trainees had to deliver their first short language courses to young Africans in a refugee camp. They not only had challenging workspace, but they also had to improvise and think well in advance which method of teaching to apply, considering that the young refugees where not speaking other European languages except of French. It was a big achievement when finally, all went well, and the young teachers and students enjoyed their lesson with high interest and an unforgettable discussion at the end of the lessons.
After the week full of fun, work and new experience, we came back to our home countries ready to deliver follow up tasks (and to rest a little bit).
Foto: komuna foto de la trejnatoj kaj iliaj lernantoj (Fotis: Przemysław Wierzbowski)
Before the Last MeetingTo accomplish all the goals set at the beginning, it was very important for us, to check which tasks are still not elaborated. It turned out, that the creation of audio-visuals is very challenging and that a one-year project is not enough to find time for it. Therefore, we redefined it and our new goal was to create one high quality audio-visual teaching material, that will be used as an example in future to follow-up on it.
However, the main priority remained to create quality online trainings, organise the last Transnational Project Meeting and to give the opportunity to the participants to use their newly acquired skills. That is the reason, why the participants selected for this meeting consisted of those ones, who or participated the training session, or in another project activity.
Work, work and more work during the Summer Esperanto SchoolAs the Summer Esperanto School was our last opportunity where to interact in person, we decided to divide our work in nine days. Every day consisted of morning working groups (with the purpose to work on the preparation of the material for online courses, creation of interactive quizzes, cover some basic theory about didactics and pedagogics), as well as afternoons’ organising of conversation lessons. All these were made under the supervision of those, which trained most of the participants in Toulouse.
Foto: laboremuloj dum SES (Fotis: Léon Kamenický)
Foto: komuna foto de laboremuloj de SES (Fotis: Jana Kamenická)
ConclusionIt was a very nice moment when we had the opportunity to provide the participants with certificates confirming their high involvement in the project. After collecting diverse feedbacks, we all agreed that it was a fruitful year with a lot of valuable achievements. We also realized that we are very motivated to implement again a similar project and would try to request for some grant that could help us to finance it.
We additionally believe, that the online courses that we created would help to someone to rise awareness about language teaching. We are very happy, that the Czech National Agency trusted in our capabilities and gave us the opportunity to realise this project. We hope, that they will also enjoy the outputs of the project, considering that we are translating some of them into English to target also audience outside the Esperanto community.