Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘teacher training’

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

_

*****

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.

English Learning in Serbia Got Stronger – French Education Ministry Chooses English Attack!

Paris, France – April 10, 2012 – PRODIREKT’s partner in providing innovative language learning in Serbia and the Balkans, company Entertainment Learning, with its product English Attack!, has been named official pedagogical partner and content supplier to English By Yourself, the national online portal for English language learning developed by the French Education Ministry. Tha partnership was announced at a press event in Paris by French Education Minister Luc Chatel.

English Attack! chosen as content provider for new French Education Ministry portal for learning English

The portal has been created and will be operated by the Centre National d’Enseignement a Distance (Cned), the French Education Ministry’s distance-learning unit. Like English Attack!, the Cned is active in the promotion of informal, lifelong education and autonomous learning for a wide audience. Every day, English By Yourself will feature freshly updated content from English Attack!, specifically: the Video Booster of the Day, the Verb Dash learning game, and the Photo Vocab of the Day.

English Attack! has been created in consultation with linguists and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, and implements a novel pedagogical approach to language learning based on cognitive neuroscience.

PRODIREKT expects to launch the first local language versions of English Attack! in June 2012.

About the Cned

The Centre National d’Enseignement a Distance (Cned) is a national public sector organization appointed by the French Ministries of Education and Higher Learning, and is tasked with the promotion and enabling of distance learning, in particular via information and communication technologies.

About Entertainment Learning/English Attack!

Entertainment Learning was founded in 2009, based on the vision of transforming education via web 2.0 principles and the power of online entertainment. It is represented by Marketing Partners in 12 countries covering 15 markets, with offices in Paris, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Prague, Istanbul, Barcelona, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Seoul and Bangkok. Its first online service, English Attack!, was developed in partnership with a range of English-teaching professionals, and delivers a truly innovative approach to language learning, based on cognitive neuroscience and the use of learning concepts derived from the latest language learning pedagogy as well as principles based on learning games.

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.

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

_

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.

_

_

My First Time in London – Testimonial of an English Teacher from Serbia, Studying at St. Giles College

Our student, an English language teacher from Serbia, Dejana Prodanovic, attended a teacher training course at St. Giles in 2010. It was her first time in London and here she is talking about her experience and impressions of the four-week language training at St Giles College.

If you are a practicing language teacher, or think you have an excellent knowledge of a foreign language and consider the option of becoming a teacher with an internationally recognized diploma, than our Teacher Training programs could be the next step up on your career ladder.

PRODIREKT programs are delivered by experienced and skilled teacher trainers in modern and media fluent language schools, with the latest resources and facilities. In the learner-centered environment all students will professionally grow, and after the completed course there is an option of finding work and further developing career with the worldwide network of employment opportunities. Contact us for more info.

_

_

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers