The study of a foreign language is becoming increasingly important in a multilingual Europe. The command of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is widely considered a key competence and requirement for equal opportunities in education, at the workplace and life in general. The exclusion of persons with Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) has been widely recognized and educational policy in the EU is increasingly reflecting this. Various projects have been initiated to improve the professional development of EFL teachers so that they can adapt their teaching to the special needs of individuals with SpLDs.
We are a consortium of 7 partners that worked on a project entitled “Supplemental Self-Help in English as a Foreign Language for Learners with Specific Learning Differences” (SupEFL) which was funded by the Erasmus Program of the European Union. We developed self-help learning materials as Open Educational Resources (OER) for learners with special needs in or more of the following areas: reading, writing, speaking, listening, memory, motivation and/ or learning in general. The objective was to provide learners with specific tools and techniques that they could readily implement to improve their skills and overall competence in the specific area of need. While our project is directed at learners we believe that the materials we have developed are also relevant for EFL trainers and the general population.
English at Work GmbH (Project Coordinator)
English at Work was founded in 1997 and provides training to adult professionals in 39 branches throughout Germany. The head office of the company is in Dresden. English at Work has created training materials for different communication skills and has participated in various EU projects. In addition to English language training, the company also offers skills training, translation services and training in other foreign languages.
E-Training Solutions UG
e-Training Solutions (eTS) is a private company founded in 2012 in Germany. The company develops innovative on-line and off-line synchronous and asynchronous training resources. Its main areas of expertise are multimedia production, writing and developing instructional materials and conducting needs assessments. eTS develops and supports a proprietary content management system for websites and electronic books.
GNW was founded in 1995 and is a SME engaged in several related fields and activities, including counselling services for special learners, providing training and e-learning development for teachers, research in the area of education psychology, translation services as well as software innovation, development and creation.
Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
With 6.000 students every year, the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU) is the biggest teacher-training institution in Lithuania, education over 70% of the education specialists. The Lithuanian Language and Culture Center which participated in the project implements a number of initiatives to support language teaching and learning.
University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra (UC) was founded in 1290. The university has 8 faculties – Letters, Law, Medicine, Sciences & Technology, Pharmacy, Economics, Psychology & Education Sciences as well as Sports Sciences & Physical Education). UC is among the major science and technology hubs for applied and fundamental research in Portugal. UC has received national and international funding for hundreds of projects.
Infoart was founded in 2004. The company focuses on IT services and is specialized in knowledge management, research and development of digital libraries and knowledge repositories as well as integrated management systems. The company also has expertise in E-learning and provides publishing services.
Learnmera is a private adult education provider. The company has expertise in creating educational resources and apps and provides online vocational courses. One of the websites they have created has a member base of over 27.000 teachers worldwide. The company has worked on dozens of international projects.
Self-Help Learning Resources
Reading and Listening – The Bite-Sized Idiomatic Approach
This module has been designed for learners who want to improve their reading and listening skills in English. It is based on very short stories revolving around idiomatic expressions that can easily be read and listened to. The narrators use different accents to help learners retain the material.
Plain English Writing
This module is aimed at learners who want to improve their writing skills. It helps persons who have difficulties in writing and organizing their thoughts to express themselves clearly while organizing themselves better. It also enables learners to select the appropriate format and style and to use editing to get their message across.
Intercultural Communication and Motivation
This module will increase motivation because intercultural interest is one of the key drivers of learning English as a foreign language. It enables learners to understand key cultural differences and be able to apply key cultural dimensions to any target culture. It will prepare them for the art of style-shifting.
Strategies for Better Learning
This module is aimed at learners who struggle to focus and have difficulties getting started with learning. They will acquire tools, techniques and strategies to track their learning progress, discipline themselves and structure their learning. Learners will be empowered to be more self-driven and motivated.
This learning module has been designed for people who want to improve their interpersonal communication in English and/or their native language. You will understand yourself and others better. It will enable you to become a more accomplished, effective and versatile communicator.
Speaking in public is an activity that often causes anxiety in one's native language. In a foreign language such as English the fears may be even stronger. In this module, learners will acquire tools and techniques to structure their presentation, involve their audience and deliver a persuasive presentation incorporating their body language.
Memory: Vocabulary Acquisition
This module is directed at learners who want to improve their memory and range of vocabulary in English. It helps learners discover what words to learn and which resources to use. Learners are enabled to select and apply the best techniques and strategies for vocabulary acquisition and retention.
Vocabulary in English
Repetition is a powerful way to learn new words in a language. Flashcards are a tried and tested way of learning a new language. Our set of flashcards containing the 800 most common words in English make language learning for beginners more intuitive. The explanatory pictures and key words make language learning easy.
The module is available here.
EFL.training learning platform
The platform is available here.
We have created a Guide for Trainers with additional ideas for exercises to complement our self-help training programs. You can download it here.
We have created a Guide for Learners who need help in the 4 language systems (reading, writing, speaking and listening) as well as with memory retention, motivation and learning in general on how to use the self-help modules on the platform. You can download it here.
We have compiled a list of useful links and applications. You can access it here.
As part of our project, we conducted extensive research:
Includes a comparative analysis of the legislation and policies, the results of our initial survey of learners and trainers in the member countries of the consortium, as well as conclusions and common approach at European Level.
Outlines the guidelines for the development of the training materials based on the comparative national research analysis report.
Outlines the design of each of the self-help learning modules, including a summary, an overview, suitability, required level of English, content, estimated time for completion, objectives and methodology for each of the developed modules..
Includes the concept, design and elaboration of the self-help training methodology.
Outlines the methodology used and includes a comparative analysis of the results of our final project testing and validation phase.
Please contact us for more information.