BarrierFree Language Learning
English without Frontiers was developed during the BarierFree Language Learning project. This project was partially funded under the Socrates Programme, Lingua Action 2 (225713-CP-1-2005-1-SE-LINGUA-L2). It was a 2-year project that started in October 2005. The project had 3 distinct objectives:
- to demonstrate that adult learners with intellectual disabilities can and want to learn foreign languages;
- to develop and evaluate an experimental pilot course to teach English as a Foreign Language to adult learners with intellectual disabilities. The name of the pilot course is English without Frontiers;
- To use the results of the pilot course to outline a common framework and methodology for teaching foreign languages to adult learners with learning disabilities.
Partners in the BarrierFree Language Learning project were:
Svefi Academy (SE), www.svefi.net
Svefi Academy is a Swedish, independent adult education centre, organized as a non-profit making association. Svefi Academy contributes to raising the level of education, the bridging of the gaps of learning level, to broadening the interest in culture and to increasing people’s social commitment. Svefi Acadamy is located in Haparanda, in the north of Sweden.
The tasks of Svefi Academy included the co-ordination of the project; pilot testing of various units of the English without Frontiers curriculum with adult learners at Svefi Academy (see 3.3); and tests of the transferability of the methods and materials to other languages, in specific: to the teaching of Finnish as a foreign language at SveFi Academy in Haparanda.
Pragma - Equal Access (NL) www.pragmaprojecten.nl
Pragma is a small research and consultancy company in the Netherlands, that is specialized in access to information for people with disabilities. Pragma has many years of experience in the development of guidelines for accessible texts, websites and learning materials for learners with disabilities, including learners with intellectual disabilities.
In the BarrierFree Language Learning project, Liesbeth Pyfers of Pragma was the first author of the Teachers’ Guide and responsible for the methodology, the materials, the video and the interactive computer activities.
Biv Integrativ, Akademie für Integrative Bildung (AT) www.biv-integrativ.at
Biv Integrativ is an association that is specialized in development, organization and accomplishment of training programmes for persons with intellectual disabilities and their assistants, in entire Austria.
Biv Integrativ organized a number of pilot courses to evaluate the methodology and materials at the Meining Volskhochschule in Vienna.
School of Languages Leeds Metropolitan University (UK) www.leedsmet.ac.uk
Leeds Metropolitan University is a higher education corporation. It is one of the largest universities in the UK, with over 41.000 students. The academic programmes delivered range from University Certificate to PhD.
The Postgraduate Unit in the School of Languages specialises in materials development for English language teaching. The unit delivers an MA in Materials Development for Language Teachers and various short courses in materials development for teachers.
In the BarrierFree Language Learning project, Dr. Ivor Timmis of the School of Languages contributed to the Teachers’ Guide, the methodology and the materials. The first teacher training course for the English without Frontiers curriculum was organized at Leeds Metropolitan University, in September 2007.
Ulm School of Adult Education (DE) www.vh-ulm.de
The Ulmer Volkshochschule is an institution for further education and training for adults, with a special women’s academy, a night school and a “culture studio’ for children and adolescents. The Ulmer Volkshochschule has about 18.000 participants annually. A large choice is offered in political, general and cultural education, language school, vocational training, health courses and special programmes for specific target groups, such as for learners with intellectual or physical disabilities, summer school for persons with disabilities, especially for adults with intellectual and/or learning disabilities.
The Ulmer Volkshochschule organized a number of pilot courses to evaluate the methodology and materials developed in the project.
Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (EE) www.astangu.ee
Astangu Centre operates under the administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia. The main function of the Centre is to provide social, pedagogical, vocational rehabilitation and physiotherapeutic services to persons with special needs.
The main goal of the Centre is to contribute to the social coping of people with special needs and to support their transfer to the labour market. Astangu Centre is the only organisation providing multidisciplinary vocational rehabilitation in Estionia.