Eight organisations recognised for innovative initiatives in European Language Label Awards

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A hillwalking group for adults run through Irish; a smartphone app for security and NGO staff to better communicate with refugees and migrants; and a group of Leaving Certificate students discussing racism, the migrant crisis, and Brexit with their French counterparts are amongst the winners of the annual European Language Label (ELL) Awards, managed by Léargas, the national agency for Erasmus+ in adult education, school education, vocational education and training services, and the youth sector.

The ELL Awards are an EU initiative to celebrate the most creative and inspiring communities, organisations, and volunteers at the forefront of language teaching, learning and promotion. The winning organisations will be recognised at an online award ceremony next Tuesday, 13th October 2020.

Eli Babei, Léargas Language Initiatives Officer, said that the awards provide opportunities to network, share best practice, and inspire learners on the important role that language plays in society and the professional opportunities available to them.

Ms Babei said: “Speaking English is an asset but in today’s globalised world, it is not enough. If not for the benefit of cultural and linguistic empathy, speaking other languages will ensure that we can continue to harvest better opportunities for people living in Ireland.”

The eight winners highlight the diverse range of quality language initiatives taking place across the country.

  • The TEAL Project, an initiative at Mary Immaculate College Limerick aims to support the children of migrant families in their language learning journey in schools by increasing teacher knowledge and confidence in the teaching of students whose first language is not English.
  • Na Cnocadóirí, a Dublin-based hillwalking group which is run through Irish. The group welcomes everyone willing to speak Irish, regardless of their level of fluency, to join walks around Ireland.
  • The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad is a contest in which secondary school students develop their own strategies for solving problems in languages from around the globe. Run by ADAPT, the SFI Research Centre for Digital Media Technology, it introduces students to linguistics and to the application of logic to problems of language understanding and translation.
  • The VOCAL IN NEED project aims to bridge linguistic and cultural gaps by providing an online training course and smartphone app for security and NGO staff to better communicate with refugees and migrants who do not speak English. The project is led in Ireland by IT Tralee in partnership with a consortium of Vocational Education and Training institutions from eight countries.
  • ELE in Éirinn, a group who teach Spanish as a foreign language in Ireland based in NUI Galway. The group creates user-friendly, non-commercial and non-native materials developed with the students and for the students.
  • Desde la Perla Esmeralda a la Perla del Mediterráneo partners St Andrews College in Booterstown, Dublin, with a school in Ceuta, a Spanish city on the north coast of Africa. Pupils aged 6 – 12 practice Spanish and English and become acquainted with culture of the different cities using a variety of digital tools. 
  • Auf gut Deutsch gesagt partnersThe King’s Hospital School, Palmerstown, Dublin with The British School in The Hague, The Netherlands, and gives students the opportunity to make friends and communicate with their peers in German.
  • Should borders be abolished?/Faut-il supprimer les frontières? partnersMount Carmel Secondary School, Dublin 1 with a school in France to discuss topical issues including the migrant crisis, racism, Brexit and the Northern Irish border all through French.

Áine Gallagher, Ireland’s only unqualified guerrilla Irish teacher, will deliver the keynote speech at the online awards ceremony on Tuesday.

She said: “I am extremely excited to provide the keynote speech for these innovative and creative educators. As Ireland’s only unqualified guerrilla Irish teacher, I understand the dedication, motivation and resilience required to do this work. I think it’s great that we can share our stories and provide each other with the encouragement needed to keep going.”

Further information is available at: www.leargas.ie/programmes/languages/european-language-label/about/.


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