Languages on the Move
The Languages on the Move project showed that language learning does not have to be confined to the classroom
. By taking the project directly to the people that travel between neighbouring countries it showed that a wide cross-section of society can gain real benefits from language learning. The aim of the project, was to reach people who travel between Baltic and Nordic countries (Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark and Finland) and equip them with language learning tools (a DVD with a phrasebook) and promote better communication and intercultural learning processes.
One of the key innovations in the project was the use of a non-traditional environment of public transportation
– including buses and ferries – for language learning. It furthers the idea that learning can take place anywhere, anytime. The idea arose from awareness of increasing volumes of travel between Baltic and Nordic countries and yet minimum level of knowledge of ‘native’ languages, where most people would use English as a lingua franca for everyday communication.
The project targeted a broad group of travellers. Activities included production of a demo DVD for screening to passengers on international transport between the participant countries. This involved piloting the DVD and learning materials on the Eurolines bus route between Vilnius and Tallinn, and ferry routes between Finland, Denmark and Sweden. The production and dissemination of a final DVD and other language learning and cultural awareness resources was then undertaken, learning materials are available through the weblinks listed above.
Key partners were Soros International House (Lithuania, the project coordinator); Vestegnens Sprog-og Kompetencecenter (Denmark); Learnwell Oy / The Language Menu (Finland); Järfälla NT-Gymnasium (Sweden); OÜ Teadmine ja Tarkus / International House Tallinn (Estonia). The partnership was formally proposed and agreed in the application for funding from Nordplus programme. The involvement of private sector transport companies was also essential for reaching the project target audience.
The main project output is the DVD and phrasebook, which offers essential phrases in Lithuanian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Estonian. It includes dialogues spoken by native speakers, to aid successful interaction, and also includes 'cultural tips' to promote understanding of cultural contexts. These outputs have a further impact in terms of providing the initial taster and a basis for communication in the target languages, motivating the users to learn further the target language and increasing cultural awareness between the neighbouring counties.
Furthermore, emphasis was put on project dissemination activities. Leaflets with information on the project and language quizzes, intended to stimulate interest in Nordic and Baltic countries were distributed during various events such as “Vilnius days 2009”, and the "Education. Studies. Career 2010" fair in Vilnius.
The project was chosen as a good practice example by the Nordplus program, and was also selected as a good practice example for the presentation at the “Baltic EXPRO” projects fair in Siauliai, LT. The main idea of the project – to use the travel time to learn few basic phrases and cultural tips of the destination country – is, in principle, replicable in other contexts.
Tel: +370 5 272 4892
Fax: +370 5 272 4839
Daiva Malinauskiene, Violeta Mirinaviciute, Gintare Dauciuniene
Soros International House, Vilnius, Lithuania