It has become impossible to imagine intercultural education of youngsters without language animation. In many international contexts, we frequently use different methods in order to make participants less apprehensive of the foreign language and to bring them to recognize its value. Thanks to language animation, the participants’ natural communication strategies are supported and their curiosity toward partner languages can be stimulated.
For many organisers of intercultural seminars, implementing at least one hour of language animation a day is a guarantee of the quality of their bi-, tri-, sometimes multilateral programmes.
In our projects, we are confronted to situations where communication via language is disrupted, although participants often come with a language background resulting of several years of learning the language at school. The use of the partner language(s) is often linked, in their minds, to a negative academic evaluation, they are afraid of making mistakes and are often completely blocked. We observe this language block not only in participants, but also very often in the teachers who come with their students or with the non-formal educators.
In our short-term educational context, language animation isn’t fundamentally a tool aiming to teach foreign languages in a systematic way, but it helps deconstruct blocks, learn a bit of vocabulary, and systematize what has been learned. Furthermore, it can reveal hidden language skills in the participants and help them recognize and appreciate them.
Luckily, our youth exchanges nowadays are rarely purely bilingual; there are always participants who speak other languages: Serbian, Turkish, Latvian, Arabic, Chinese, etc. Unfortunately, these language skills often go unnoticed; languages are often ranked between important idioms such as German, French, Spanish, or English, and minor idioms such as Urdu or Farsi. Language animation can awaken a sincere curiosity for the other, for their culture and language.
The French-German Youth Office (FGYO) and its partner organisations lead research regarding the development of language animation since at least 1991, and a certain number of methods has been created. In the frame of the FGYO, but also the German-Polish Youth Office (GPYO) or the binational coordination offices and the IJAB (International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany), several very high quality brochures have been published over the last years in the field of theory and methodology. These brochures appear in our bibliography.
Unfortunately, there are still very few basic intercultural trainings for language animation which run over the course of several days. These are offered by civil organisations and the previously mentioned Youth Offices, but they only touch a relatively small circle of interested persons. Multipliers in many partner countries have no access to training programmes in this field.
Furthermore, we know that these very complex methods can’t be understood only by reading a description. During our training seminars, we often observe that participants present activities they found in compilations, without knowing them, and fundamental mistakes take place, which can completely divert the meaning and aims of these very methods. Only direct experience of an activity can enable its appropriate reproduction.
This is why an international team of trainers in language animation has launched this Erasmus+ project. The aim is to offer videos transmitting a theoretical summary of this methodology, as well fifteen important language animation methods.
Our goal wasn’t to reinvent new applications, but to offer a peek inside the diversity of language animation methods. These are provided in German, French, and Polish, and some also have English subtitles. A follow-up project in Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese will present its results on this website by the end of 2020, and other languages such as Arabic and Serbian are planned for the future.
We will be happy to see our films and game descriptions being used, thanks to links to the existing webpages! References to other methods and texts for our bibliography as well as suggestions and criticism can be sent in any of the website’s languages to the following email adress : firstname.lastname@example.org .
We expressly invite you to learn the methodology of language animation via a training provided by an experienced team. Offers in French, German, and Polish, are available respectively on the following websites :