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Posts tagged ‘Bosnia’

ELTA in Serbia, English Language Learning through Social Media and Entertainment

English Language Teachers’ Association in Serbia Features the Network Verbalisti in the IT for ET

In recent years social media has become a predominant factor in our daily communication, especially among young people, who ‘hang out’ on Facebook or Twitter via their laptops or mobile devices almost around the clock. We update our status on (un)usual events in our lives, write on our friends’ walls or just tweet an interesting link from any imaginable sphere of life. Such is the power of social media that the rumour has it that if news/information is not on Tweeter, Facebook or LinkedIn, it literally did not happen.

So, why not use this trend of massification of online communication also as a means to attracting (young) people to learn languages in a funny, informal and laid-back way? Prodirekt company has recognized the power of social media as a tool to reaching out to potential English language learners by creating a language network Verbalisti. Our co-editor, Marija Ivanovic, has spoken with Prodirekt’s director of educational programmes, Jasmina Saric, who explains the ideas behind their work as well as the latest trends in English learning in Serbia when it comes to social media and entertainment.

Tell us more about the social language network Verbalisti – what inspired its concept and how it develops?

It all happened three years ago after the prolonged talks with our educational partners – major European language schools and colleges, about how we could raise the standard of language learning in our region. We wanted to offer students in the region a social media that will be a motivating factor to learn foreign languages. Consequently, we created the social media and language network Verbalisti that quickly changed many things in our region. Probably the most significant result is that Verbalisti language network diversifies the language learning practice in Serbia by introducing innovative and up-to-date approaches, such as learning through social media and entertainment. The network features various online language learning tools and YouTube videos. Additional educational content can be accessed through the two language specific blogs of Verbalisti - stranijeziciblog.com (Serbian) i stranskijazici.com (Macedonian). Last year, in partnership with Pearson and Kings Colleges London, Verbalisti conducted the language competition Verbalizuj se!, with a two-week language course in Kings Colleges in London as the main prize. The competition generated 432 entries and more than 34,000 visits to the site in just one month.

Verbalisti London young language learners group 

What in your opinion makes Verbalisti so special and different?

Perhaps it’s the fact that we offer students an accessible and attractive way of finding out everything they need to plan their language education. We have recognized the importance of the social networks, Facebook and YouTube in particular, as the main environment for opinion exchange. There was no doubt about it. Languages are live organisms, they change and evolve as we speak… communication and opinion exchanges are essential. Facebook is the one that probably enables the highest interaction levels. The other important thing was to create a platform for students to view and exchange photos, video clips or simply start a discussion. We further spiced things up by interviewing celebrities, because our motto is learning through entertainment, especially when it comes to the young. The result of our efforts is more than 12,000 Verbalisti language fans on Facebook.

Now that you’ve mentioned the interviews with the celebrities in your media, tell us how important was their support for Verbalisti popularity and how can social media be used in the classroom?

Very important, I’d say. Since the very beginning we’ve made a point of “opening up” celebrities to tell us more about their education, their language competencies, about their travel. All of them supported the project we dubbed “Speak Your Mind!“. The most significant of all, however, was to show the young how important it was to speak languages in our times, by sharing the experiences of their favourite singers and actors. English teachers can use these clips as a tool to motivate students to learn the language. If teachers don’t have access to internet at schools, they can, nevertheless, recommend the links during class and in this way give students the freedom to explore them on their own at home while on Facebook or YouTube. As feedback exercises, teacher can, then, after a few days re-initiate the discussion in classrooms. This can be done either through group discussions or as a part of a writing exercise.

 

Social language network Verbalisti - Speak Your Mind!

Speak Your Mind!, featuring celebrity interviews, is the most popular on Verbalisti YouTube channel

 

We talked about students’ preferences, especially the younger ones, for the digital media and social networks. It explains to a great extent the fast growth of the language network Verbalisti, but what is the situation like when it comes to the foreign language teachers? How trained and how prepared are they for the advantages of the digital media and the latest teaching tools?

Well, here the situation is not so rosy, although we have to be honest in realising that the poor use of the digital media in our schools has come as a result of many different factors, most of which are out of the teachers’ hands. For instance, the economic crisis is to blame for the lack of funds – therefore, no money for the speedy internet connections, for computers at the students’ disposal or acquiring new, powerful teaching tools, such as, interactive whiteboards. We need more significant help in financing teacher training, educating them to incorporate new media and tools into a class, and last but not least – we need to come up with the compensation system which would motivate teachers to evolve and improve with the times. This is the core reason why our teachers should seize every opportunity for additional training, especially those organised abroad and supported by the foreign colleges, the British Council or other institutions. The overall implementation of the digital media and the improvement that comes with it have forced the western countries to transform their teaching, and I honestly hope we’ll follow in their footsteps.

PRODIREKT, with its language network Verbalisti, recently signed the regional partnership agreement with the Paris based Entertainment Learning, the creator of language learning service – English Attack! In line with the importance of adopting new media in our teaching, we will in the next issue discuss with Jasmina Saric the power of social media and how digital entertainment can be applied to help people learn languages.

ELTA Serbia Newsletter

Read the whole article at: English language learning through social media and entertainment, By Marija Ivanovic

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Marija Ivanovic is a MELT co-editor, an educational consultant and an English teacher. At the moment, she is setting up a project on harnessing teacher and student emotional intelligence called ‘Cool Fire’ in Denmark with partners from the UK. Her professional interests include Reflective practice, Teacher development, School leadership and Emotional intelligence. She received her BA degree in the English language and literature from the Faculty of Philology, Belgrade University and her MA in Lifelong learning from the Danish School of Education, Deusto University and London University respectively.

About ELTA
ELTA is a non-governmental, non-profit association of teachers of English in Serbia, affiliated to IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). It was founded in 2003 by merging of two, at the time, biggest teachers’ associations ELTAB (English Language Teachers’ Association of Belgrade) and YELTA (Yugoslav English language Teachers’ Association). ELTA brings together primary and secondary English teachers, teachers working in higher education, language schools, students of English, all language professionals and professionals-to-be interested in ensuring excellence in English language teaching.

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group, with the communication network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies, professional training, translation and interpreting services, helps young professionals and corporate clients achieve their objectives in international communication.

German ICEF Features Prodirekt Language Learning Poll and Analysis

The leading education organization in Europe ICEF features Prodirekt poll and analysis, relating to young language learners, in the Monitor.

Job opportunities have been shrinking with the global crisis and employers are becoming more selective; therefore, speaking English as a second language has become more important. The Verbalisti survey points out that in developing economies the need for language education amongst young learners is perceived as a must, and that parents are willing to continue spending on their children’s education abroad even in harsh economic times.

Balkan poll follows Berlitz study showing strong demand for language learning

Balkan poll follows Berlitz study showing strong demand for language learning

“Prodirekt, provider of education and training in the Balkan region, and its language-focused social network Verbalisti recently announced the results of a poll designed to discover how parents in the Balkans feel about the language education of their children. The survey polled 1566 people from 4 countries: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Resultsclearly showed that parents place a high regard for foreign language education”. Entire story can be read at Balkan poll follows Berlitz study showing strong demand for language learning

ICEF Monitor features Prodirekt Language Learning Poll

 

 

 

 

 

About ICEF (International Consultants for Education and Fairs)

ICEF‘s roots in international education go back to the 1960s, when Karl Badde, a linguist and pioneering educationalist, established a chain of language schools in the Middle East. This chain included centres in Bonn and London by the 1970s, with a specialisation in Arabic language training for diplomats and business executives. Since 1991 ICEF has counted as clients thousands of educators, student recruitment agents and industry-related service providers. Renowned as the most important event for international educators, premium agents, work & travel professionals, as well as leading industry service providers, the ICEF Berlin Workshop is the world’s largest and most comprehensive international education-focussed networking event of its kind.

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)

PRODIREKT (www.prodirektgroup.com) provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

Foreign Languages and the Social Language Network Verbalisti Show a Shiny New Internet Face in Serbia and Montenegro

Belgrade, Serbia – 9 April 2012 – Verbalisti, the best known communication and social language network in southeast Europe, owned by PRODIREKT LLC, today has officially promoted its brand new website in Serbian at www.verbalisti.com. The social language network Verbalisti is created for language aficionados and people wishing to improve their communication skills.

In line with the network philosophy to actively use new media and entertainment in attracting, connecting and educating its users, the Verbalisti website offers multitude of photo galleries and video clips. It also stands out from many other websites dealing with education and communication by the clarity of its design, user-friendliness and transparency in presenting terms and conditions of booking a language course abroad. Users can easily research and compare the prices and content of various language programs, the information given is clear and complete, while video clips offer additional insight into colleges, accommodation facilities and other students’ testimonials.

And last but not least, Verbalisti have made sure we would happily visit their cyber corner repeatedly by featuring two branded media categories InSpotlight and Speak Your Mind! Here you’ll find the Verbalisti interviews with the famous actors, singers, directors local and international, interesting experiences of the leading businessmen, film and concerts announcements and reviews, as well as excellently produced video reports on the latest developments in foreign languages, communication and media.

Review by Aleksandar Jovanovic
Editor-in-Chief of Programs AKTUELNO and Automedija
Source: AKTUELNO
B2B Interactive Media Group

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT (www.prodirektgroup.com) provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti (www.facebook.com/verbalisti) has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

Young Learners Language Education Tops Family Budget Priorities, Shows the Verbalisti Survey in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia

Belgrade, Serbia – March 6, 2012 – PRODIREKT and its language network Verbalisti today announced the results of the poll designed to discover how parents in the Balkans feel about the language education of their children. The visitors of the Verbalisti Facebook page were asked “How important is it for your children to learn a foreign language in the native speaking country?”. The survey was conducted in four countries – Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, during two time intervals – from 21st November to 21st December 2011, and from January 6 to February 6, 2012, and it generated enormous interest among the Verbalisti network fans and other Facebook members alike. The poll reached 247,757 people, while 1,566 participants cast their vote, with 1,226 of them saying that they would send their children to learn a foreign language in a native speaking country, regardless of the family budget constraints.

Verbalisti Poll: Young Learners Language Education Tops Family Budget Priorities

The Verbalisti poll reached 247,757 people, while 1,566 participants cast their vote

The Prodirekt poll was inspired by the similar one Berlitz Corporation conducted in Japan, Germany, the USA, Mexico, China, Brazil, France, Poland and Italy earlier in 2011. The purpose of the Berlitz poll was to determine how parents of children between the ages of 4 and 17 perceive the importance of foreign language learning. Their key findings show that almost 90% expressed interest in foreign language learning for their children outside regular school hours. Countries with recent strong economic growth, such as China, Mexico and Brazil, showed especially high interest in language education abroad. The lowest interest was in developed countries such as USA, Japan, France and Germany.

“It was interesting to find out from the Berlitz poll how parents in those 9 countries feel about language education of their children, but it is also helpful to see how Berlitz findings relate to our poll conducted in part of Southeast Europe. Furthermore, we wanted to determine what the parents’ opinion about learning a foreign language at home and abroad was”, said Jasmina Saric, director of educational programs, Prodirekt.

Verbalisti (attending My London program) about to leave for LondonThe Prodirekt survey polled 1566 people from 4 countries: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants were asked “How important is it for your children to learn a foreign language in the native speaking country?” There were 4 answer options:

a)    It’s extremely important and I will provide it for my child regardless of financial constraints in the family budget – voted by 78% (1,226 votes)

b)    It’s very important, and I’ll provide it for my child if the family budget allows it  – voted by 16% (246 votes)

c)     It’s not that important, a local language school is good enough – voted by 2% (34 votes)

d)    It’s not important at all – voted by 4% (51 votes)

The Facebook members can access the poll here.

The poll results clearly showed that parents in SEE regard foreign languages as extremely important part of their children’s education:

  • 96% of them would send their children to a private language school – 94% to a language school in a native country, plus additional 2% who maintained that a local language school was good enough for their children’s language education;
  • 78% of the poll partakers uphold that improving a language in the country where its spoken is so important that they will provide it for their children regardless of the financial constraints in a family budget
  • Only 5% maintains that learning a language abroad is not important – 2% believes a local language school will do the job, and 3% claims that language education abroad is not important at all.
Jasmina Saric, Director Educational Programs, PRODIREKT

Jasmina Saric: "With the economic crunch and high unemployment rate among young people, parents perceive their children's language competencies as a key factor in getting a job, or at least as a necessary requirement for further education options abroad"

Jasmina Saric from Prodirekt further commented on the poll results: “The prolonged and severe economic crisis apparently does not affect, at least declaratively, the parents’ willingness to spend on their children education. This makes perfect sense: with the economic crunch and high unemployment rate among young people, parents perceive their children’s language competencies as a key factor in getting a job, especially in the local offices of foreign companies, or at least as a necessary requirement for further education options abroad.”

This high percentage of parents in Southeast Europe who perceive foreign languages as key to their children’s success ties in with the analysis about the boom in the junior language market, published by Dan Thomas, of The Pie, an online publication for educators (Is the junior language market seeing a boom?”, January 12, 2012). In an ever more competitive job market parents recognize a second language – and having studied abroad – as a distinct advantage. The Pie analysis also shows that the demand is not only for English courses, but for other world languages as well.

Job opportunities have been shrinking with the global crisis and employers are becoming more selective; therefore, speaking English as a second language has become more important. The Verbalisti survey confirms the Pie findings, but also points out that in the developing economies the need for children language education is perceived as a must, and that parents are willing to continue spending on their children’s education abroad even in the harsh economic times.

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About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

English UK, the World’s Leading Language Teaching Association, Recognized PRODIREKT as a Partner Agency

Belgrade, Serbia – January 25, 2012 – English UK, which works with the British Council to operate the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme, recognized PRODIREKT as an educational consultancy that successfully promoted the UK as an English language teaching destination in the past years. The recognition and accreditation of PRODIREKT as an English UK Partner Agency came as a result of PRODIREKT’s strictly adhering to the principles of the agency code of conduct, while providing language education services since 2002.

PRODIREKT has been recognized by the English UK as a Partner Agency

PRODIREKT was the first in the region to be recognized by English UK as a Partner Agency

“We are delighted to be the first company in the region to be recognized as an official Partner Agency by English UK, which is known for its independence, reputation and strict monitoring of its members’ work in the local markets,” commented Dejan Trpkovic, Managing Director of PRODIREKT. “This recognition is a great reward for our hard work during the last three years, the period that was also marked with the regional success of the communication and language network Verbalisti. The English UK partner membership will certainly be viewed by our clients and partners as an extra mark of quality of PRODIREKT services, and is a good start in the regional standardization of foreign language studies and recognition of high quality local agencies,” said Dejan Trpkovic.

Review the English UK media release in January 2012:  English UK’s newest Partner Agencies

English UK web site PRODIREKT profile:  PRODIREKT English UK Partner Agency

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About English UK
English UK is an independent organisation which works with the British Council to operate the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme. As the world’s leading language teaching association,  English UK has more than 450 members – all accredited by the British Council – including private language schools, educational trusts and charities and language centres in further education colleges and universities.

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