Sunday, October 21, 2012

A School Project

In February a colleague of mine from Uruguay Claudia Carril sent me a message on Facebook asking me if it would be possible to start a project for 12-13-year-old learners from Uruguay and Armenia. I really liked the idea and agreed to it straight away. The only problem was that I didn't have any young learner groups and asked one of the teachers at our centre to involve her students. Diana agreed happily and it was time to decide what we were going to do.

Initially Claudia suggested having a skype question/answer session , but then I offered to start a blog project and Claudia added the idea of creating a voxopop talkgroup and this is how it all started.

Claudia and I got on skype to discuss the details of the tasks and the length of the project. We thought 5 weeks was long enough for the project but we were a bit too ambitious with the timing: the tasks took a bit longer than expected but we didn't mind that and the learners were happy for it to go on.

The project started on 09 April 2012 and for the first two weeks our teenagers were busy recording their introductions, listening to the introductions of their peers and recording their questions and answers to each other in the Voxopop talkgroup. After that the work moved onto the blog created for this project.

As the teenagers from both countries attended the lessons 3 times a week and some of them, at first, were having problems using the technology, Claudia and Diana asked them to script their replies on paper and typed/posted their learners' replies to the blog themselves. Later some of the learners became really confident bloggers and started posting themselves. The screencast that I prepared and posted to the blog might have helped with this.

So I assume with this project we achieved many things: the learners were involved in a project which required to write, read, listen and speak in English because that was the only language they could communicate in; the teenage participants learnt how to use blogs and voice-based tools (Voxopop); they learnt about a culture they knew nothing about and they made friends who they still keep in touch on Facebook (which means they still have to communicate in English).

Claudia shared our blog with some other teachers and posted their comments on the blog. All the comments were positive. There may have been some mishaps but I will let you be the judge of that. Any comments are welcome!

Below is the Prezi that I prepared to present this project at a conference in Yerevan.


  1. Dear Anna and other great members of the project,

    First, I want to congratulate you on such a great success. Your idea about finding a space where students can communicate with each other and know each others' cultures is a wonderful one. Listening to their voices, I noticed how involved they were. Your way to integrate all the language skills is another powerful feature of your project. Your students got involved in a chain of listening, speaking, writing and reading activities. This helped them to develop their proficiency integratively.

    In addition, you selected very empowering tools to do so; voxopop and blogs. I know this need more efforts and time to teach students how to deal with them. However, once they use them, you can't stop them. I always notice that with my students.

    To sum up, you managed to create an environment where students can see themselves as innovators and self-learners deciding their own way to express ideas and feelings.

    Big Congratulation to you and your team!
    Wish you the best luck in your presentation!

  2. Dear Azhar,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I value your feedback really a lot. :)


  3. Great my friends! So proud of you! Great initiative =)

  4. Dedication & love made this project a complete success where your students profited L2 at the most. Congrats =)

  5. Thank you for your comments dear Barbara and MAche! You are very kind. :)

  6. Dear Anna,
    First of all Congratulations on your work! It's an amazing project, which shows and empowers our belief in networking and the benefits it brings. Both students and teachers grow as learners and human beings. I see this project not only as a way to expand the use of our target language, but also as a way to get people from different corners of the world together, and this is working to make our world a better place.
    And I'm sure this is just the beginning, it must go on.
    I am so proud of you my dear friend!
    I also want to congratulate Claudia. You made a great team.
    Hugs my Annita

  7. My dear Debita! Thank you so much for your comment. I agree with you that while teaching a language we should also make our learners aware of other cultures. This way we may be able to reduce if not eradicate the tension and the misunderstanding between cultures.
    Hugs Deb!