This post is part of the dissemination plan of the EC grant GRU-11-MOF- 93 – MS – IT, on the 28th edition of European Project Planning that took place in Florence, Italy on October 10-16, 2011.

Several funding opportunities are offered by the European Union in the fields of education, training, culture and innovation, opportunities that are addressed to Public Authorities, Universities, Associations and Training Institutions. Such funding opportunities aim to support the development of actions based on transnational cooperation.

I was the succesful applicant for such funding from the  European Commission GRU-MOF action and had the opportunity to attend the 28th edition of the European Project Planning course run by Pixel Associazione  from Florence, Italy.

The target groups of the  In-Service Training course on European Project Planning are: School teachers and directors; university professors; managers of training organizations; managers of adult education institutions; managers of public bodies. The course’s programme  is organized in 5 main modules and it aims to provide participants with the skills to enable them to:
• Understand the funding opportunities managed by the European Commission
• Interpret correctly a call for proposal for funding
• Develop effective project ideas
• Collect all necessary documents for the application’s submission
• Create an appropriate transnational partnership .
• Fill in the Application Form for submitting a Project
• Planning of Financial Aspects of the application
• Carry out the procedures necessary for the presentation of the application

The course consisted of 30 hours of classroom-based learning in Florence. The theoretical presentation was paralleled by a practical simulation carried out for each topic in focus and is based on the use of the services, database and documentation made available online. The objective of the practical activities is the simulation of the development and presentation of a project.
After the face-to-face course, 2 virtual meetings were organized in two successive weeks. The participants had, therefore, the opportunity to meet again with the other team members and their tutors in order to further analyze and discuss the contents learnt at distance. Likewise, an online forum is available for all course participants to ask questions and share the answers with their colleagues. Assessment was based on a comparison between the pre- and post- distance course multiple choice tests. All the materials are online and ex-participants continue to have access to the Pixel portal for information or involvement in future projects.

Why consider applying for European Project Planning – Personal Reflections

Below are some further reasons why you may choose to apply for this course:

– genuine information not otherwise accessible: the knowledge you will acquire during the course comes from the tutors’ extensive experience and results from their participation in dozens of projects in the LLP (Comenius, Grundtvig, Lenoardo da Vinci, Erasmus) for over 15 years;
– I appreciated the effective integration of theory with practice. Personally, I was interested and appreciated the large range of language learning projects that Pixel participated in, such as European Languages for Secretaries, whose objectives are to develop and manage a portal for language learning in the business context (Leonardo da Vinci).

Working on an Erasmus Project at Pixel

– Working together for a week within a team, you meet people with similar interests, so it’s important to have an idea as to what type of program you are interested in long before you start the course/project. This means that when the practical part starts you will be able to focus on it and develop a viable idea. I worked in the Erasmus team.
– The two trainers – Dr. Elizabeta Delle Donne and Dr. Andrea Peraldo are highly motivated and motivating, flexible in insisting on certain issues other than those envisaged beforehand whenever it is the case and last but not least they are very nice, open and hospitable. Unlike other courses that I attended and  here I always felt the tutors’ availability and willingness to assist me with relevant information, even when it came to transport arrangement and that because I had to choose one of the most complicated transport route, including a plane, train and bus. Their care and support offered me a feeling of safety and certainty that reinforced my conviction that I was on the best track and Pixel was serious and reliable.
Authenticity of project planning simulations is given by the international character of the teams, which ensures a more comprehensive and colorful perspective on the project than it would have been in the case of a local team’s limited point of view;
– All the activities, courses, hotel accommodation, even major sights are within walking distance (20-30 min on foot). We had lunch at Pixel, with excellent typical Italian food. The participants who had chosen the dinner-included package received Ticket Restaurant vouchers – an invaluable opportunity to dine out and spend the evening together in the lively Florence atmosphere with music and tourist bustle.
– Finally, Florence itself is a tale.

I do not know why ancient people said: Vedi Napoli e poi mori. I would say Vedi Florence e poi Napoli. Walking on its narrow streets I was trying to revive and re-live the Middle Ages and the Renaissance from the perspective of the 21st century. David, Piti Palace, Ufizi Gallery, Ponte Vechio,

Piti Palace in the background

The Dome, are just some of the highlights that make Florence a capital of art, always under the hectic steps of thousands of tourists from various corners of the globe.

I learned a lot of spicy details about Florence during the evening tour of the city. Elizabeta, who was our guide on an afternoon tour of Florence, gave us a Florentine’s unique perspective of the city and details that one cannot find in any tourist brochure or booklet. She explained how the Paradise Gate was designed and built, how the statue of Neptun came to be disgraced and called “the White thing” when compared to the perfection of David, what the emblems on Palazzo Vechio meant, what information can be “read” from the facade of Santa Maria Novella cathedral and how the small plates on the walls of the old city hide a small window that used to serve as counters for the Renaissance wine merchants.

It was a wonderful week. I have acquired new skills and I have developed new ideas for future projects and partnerships. I worked with wonderful people from Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Slovakia. I felt at home because I was with two Romanian colleagues Gratiela and Alina.

Among so many other experiences I explored Pisa with Ewa from Slovakia one afternoon.


YOU can do even more. It’s worth trying.

With all my gratitude for the European Commission and the National Agency for the grant, and my heartfelt thank you to the Pixel trainers and all the participants without whom this wonderful experience would not have been possible.

Posted by: anisoarapop | August 23, 2011

Embedding from UTube

Posted by: anisoarapop | August 23, 2011

Brighton UK – IATEFL April 2011

In front of Brighton Centre – IATEFL April 2011

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Posted by: anisoarapop | September 3, 2010

Report: Teaching Business English – Grant GRU_10_MOF_48_MS_UK

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

During 18.07-31.07.2010, I attended a two week residential teacher development course:

Teaching Business English

organized by the Bell Trust in the Bell Teacher Campus of Cambridge Homerton College as a result of my enquiries with the BESIG yahoogroup and successful application with the National Agency. The BE course I chose to attend was a rich and professionally rewarding experience and since everything was excellent, I find it hard to pick up the most exciting aspect to start with.

Bell is one of the most appreciated providers of teacher professional development courses worldwide. Anually, during summer holidays, series of hundreds of teachers choose from a large variety of courses Bell offers: Refresher Language and Methodology for EFL Teachers -Young or Adult Learners –  Contemporary English, From Shakespeare to Harry Potter (teaching literature), Creativity in the Classroom, New Technologies in the Classroom, CLIL, and of course Business English, etc. (http://www.bell-centres.com).

Around Cambridge and the College

Although virtually familiar with Cambridge, visiting the real Trinity College, Cambridge University Press Bookshop, Newton’s apple, King’s College Chapel, Christ’s Church and Christ College where Darwin studied, is a unique, maybe once-in-a-lifetime experience. Cambridge gave so many personalities to the world that someone rightly said that if you shake a tree in Cambridge, a famous philosopher, physicist, or astronomer will fall out.

King's College

Walking around in Cambridge

I was impressed by the mix of medieval and contemporary architecture, large sweeping lawns and cobbled courts, the bikes, punting on the Cam behind the colleges and below ancient bridges, the pubs such as The Raven, shrouded in fantastic legends.

punting on the Cam

Homerton Campus is equally impressive and peaceful, with red brick ivy-covered buildings, lavender bushes and a Tree of Knowledge in the middle, the buttery, the magic “sesame” door leading to a local variant of the Harry Potter Dining Hall.

My first day in the campus

As usually, this summer a group of about 250 teachers from all over the world, including Quatar, Vietnam, and more exotic countries such as England (!), gathered in the splendid Homerton College campus to become students again, diligently attending courses, competing, networking, learning Salsa and cricket (besides English methodology, of course!).

The BE Group

There were 19 of us in the BE group from different European and world countries: Germany (4), Poland (3), Switzerland ( 2), Vietnam (2), Hungary (1), France (1), Slovenia (1), Romania (1), Austria ( 1), Italy (1), Quatar (1), UK (1).

The Business English class

Thanks to our tutor’s ingenuity, every morning we re-grouped according to a new rule or game, thus having the opportunity to work, network and know better another colleague from the group. We competed and negotiated, played games, applied and evaluated materials, discussed – everything while having a great time.

Curriculum and Other Lessons

The  curriculum was focused, well structured and relevant including BE core methodology (Needs Analysis, Presentations, The Role of Authentic Materials, Using Case Studies Effectively, Meetings, Role plays, Networking, Writing for Business, Negotiating, BE Vocabulary, Teaching one-to-one/ESP, Syllabus Planning and Course Design, Games) and BE Content (Corporate World, Intercultural Competence, Finance, Marketing, Management/Leadership). 

Interactivity and professionalism marked the two week sessions while the working atmosphere was motivating and pleasant, with enthusiastic and competent trainers.  Besides the variate content and methodology which will model my future classes, I have learnt more or less off the record: to try to lift activities off the page as much as possible; that grammar is second in BE, BE is about communication; that being aware of one’s favorite means of communication (i.e.: emailer, texter, twitterer) can/should be exploited; that to know another’s language and not her culture is a very good way to make a fool of oneself; that Tesco is the supermarket that “ate Britain” (we had  a vey impressive case study); that “there are three things you can predict in life: tax, death, ane more meetings” (Mike Moore) , so I must give students functional language and skills about meetings, even if I dislike meetings myself; that there’s no stupid question except for that which is not asked and many others.

Plenary/cultural talks and workshops

I have learned immensely from the plenary/cultural talks and workshops included in the programme, on themes others than BE. George Pickering reminded us and demonstrated in his cheerful and authentic style that the English people and the Americans are two nations separated by a common language while Jim Scrivener recycled an old but very effective method in teaching grammar: The Situational Grammar.

Of the 4 workshops I attended, I also remember with great pleasure Francoise Votocek’s   Idioms and Their Origin. Each workshop participant (about 16) had to read silently and bear in mind the story behind one idiom (e.g.: to button-hole someone, peeping Tom, his name is mud, by and large, a dead ringer, mad as a hatter, to flog a dead horse, etc)  and its link to the current meaning. Then in pairs each participant had to retell his own story to all the other participants while learning theirs’  so that in the end each of us had their story told  about eight times and had listened to other eight stories. From a teacher’s perspective, this was an instructive and memorable experience considering how difficult it is for our students to remember and use idioms.  

Enjoying a cuppa in The Orchard Tea House

On the first Friday afternoon I decided to follow in the footsteps of generations by sharing in the great English tradition of afternoon tea with real scones, jam and clotted cream. Therefore,  three of us set off for a  ‘nice’ walk from Cambridge to the idyllic Orchchard Tea House of Grantchester. We soon realized the meaning of ‘nice’ as our walk turned out to be an adventure trip involving a local bus with construction workers giggling and throwing glances at three seemingly lost ladies, and finally a free taxi ride to get to this recluse corner of England, where “time stands still as the outside world rushes by”.

It was a relaxing and most exquisitely English experience in a genteel setting “where more famous people have taken tea than anywhere else in the world”, Virginia Woolf among others. We walked the whole way back to Cambridge along the meadows and while passing through a small village we met a smartly dressed old lady trimming her garden whom we asked about our way. She confessed of having come to Cambridge from Switzerland about 50 years before, never to return, of feeding the wild ducks a loaf of bread on her daily strolls and of having escaped from the envious wild he-swan’s attack, and so on.

Imbued with culture

The social programme was so complex and varied that it was almost impossible not to miss something special. Besides the Saturday trip to London and a guided tour of Cambridge included in the course fee,  Friday afternoon trips to nearby highlights such as Ely, Bury St. Edmund’s were organized.

Rediscovering London with Kate: 2:45pm, July 24th 2010

On Sunday I took the opportunity to rediscover the English country-side (Woodbridge in Sufflolk) and spent the afternoon at the sea-side with newly-made friends, while others chose to visit Oxford.

It's 4:52pm, July 25 2010 at the English Seaside

Theatre lovers were offered a special second week night to London musicalls and plays including the Globe, among other regular evening outdoor Shakespeare plays in Cambridge.  The organizers made every effort to entertain us with regular night buskers’ and  jazz music, not to mention the Pub Quiz, which under the skill of the grand master of ceremonies, Mr. Jim Scrivener, incited the spirits and everyone strived to win either the grand prize or the last (a wooden spoon!).

Back home

Time flew and I still can hardly believe I used to walk around the same grounds as famous  Newton, Maxwell, Thomson, Rutherford, Eddington and Bragg did many years ago.

I learned a lot from all points of view. I  accomplished myself professionally, made new friends and met some older ones,  spent a hectic time in one of the world’s greatest capitals of knowledge, learning, and history.

I consolidated my conviction that learning through application is sustainable, collaborative and cooperative, that learning in a group is memorable, and learning through cultural immersion is both memorable and sustainable. 

Cambridge will remain a place that has enhanced me professionally, culturally and humanly.

I highly and warmly recommend this course to those involved in teaching Business English. They will definitely not regret it. 

Acknowledgements

My gratitude goes to all those who made this unique experience possible: the European Commission – LLP Grundtvig, The  National Agency, Andreea Samoila, the tutors at Bell Teacher Campus, my university and my family for their constant and unconditioned support.

Posted by: anisoarapop | May 27, 2010

International Symposium:Research, Education and Development

“DIMITRIE CANTEMIR” UNIVERSITY of TARGU MURES – ROMANIA

organises the International Symposium:

“Research, Education and Development”

  October 29-30, 2010

http://www.cantemir.ro

International Symposium link: http://www.cantemir.ro/index.php?Act=stiri_lst&id_stire=188&lim=20

 

You are warmly invited to attend the International Symposium:

  “Research, Education and Development”- the section of English Language Teaching and Linguistics to be held on October 29, 2010 at “Dimitrie Cantemir” University of Targu Mures, Romania.

The English Language Teaching and Linguistics section aims at bringing together teachers, postgraduate students and researchers to present state of the art developments and research results in: EFL/ESP/BE: Methodology, Curriculum Development, Materials Development, Testing and Assessment, Teacher Training, Teaching/Learning Technologies; Bilingualism/Multilingualism; Linguistics.

 
Registration Deadline:
June 18, 2010 submission of the registration form and abstract. (Registration form available at http://www.cantemir.ro/index.php?Act=stiri_lst&id_stire=188&lim=20http://www.cantemir.ro – )

– July 16, 2010 submission of paper in extenso

Registration fee: 30 Euro/1 paper (covering refreshments, conference folder, conference volume – to be distributed at the event).

BANCPOST account:         

            EURO:           RO30BPOS27006725883EUR06

            RON:              RO36BPOS27006725883RON01

Fee payment deadline: July 16, 2010

 General information:

Each participant is entitled to submit maximum 1 paper. The paper should have an even number of pages (maximum 8) to be published in the ISBN Symposium Proceedings at Risoprint Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca.

Paper content

Your paper should have the following components:
Objectives: State the aims and objectives of the research, the project undertaken or the nature of the practical problem demonstrated. What is the paper about and why is it important?
Prior Work: What extant concepts, research or experiences is the paper trying to build on? How does the paper relate to other research in this topic area?
Design/Methodology/Approach: What approach was used to capture the practical/research evidence? How does this approach enable the aims of the paper to be achieved? What were the main methods employed (e.g. survey, observation, case study). Why is the method appropriate, sound and reliable?
Results: Highlight the key results and conclusions from the empirical studies, evidence or experiences presented. Ensure that results are clear, precise and justified. Are these interim results? What is the planned development of the work? What are the limitations of the results presented?

 Paper submission guidelines:

Texts should be WORD edited in English/French or in Romanian (using diacritical marks) with a complex abstract in English/French. Papers will be B5 formatted, with left-right margins of 20mm, typed single-spaced. The title should be typed in capitals, Font Arial Boldface, 14pt centered. Authors are typed at double space below the paper title, names being followed by scientific title and affiliation, 12 pt, italics. The abstract: typed at double space below the author/s (maximum 400 words), 10 pt. The main text is typed at single space below the abstract, font Arial, fully justified, 11 pt, single-spaced. Graphics, tables, and figures are numbered and labelled. Bibliographic references should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. Entry format: last name, first name initial, (year), title (italics), Town: Publisher. Eg.: Beju, V. (2003), Social Insurance, Târgu-Mureş: Dimitrie Cantemir Publishing House.

Abstracts and papers in extenso will be sent to: pop.anisoara@cantemir.ro

 Types of presentation:

 Talk            15 min

Workshop   40 min

Poster:       100/90 cm

 Poster content: Your poster should have the following components: 1. Title of the study and your name and affiliation (University of X, your current institution/school) 2. What is it about? Short statement of the problem or research question. Use bullets or max 1 paragraph of running text or a combination thereof. 3. What did you do to answer that question? What conceptual background/theory is involved, what methods did you use, what data did you collect/analyze. 4. What findings did you make? Select the most interesting or important findings & illustrate them with examples. 5. What does it mean? Your conclusions or the implications you want to draw from your findings.

 Should you need further information please do not hesitate to contact me at: pop.anisoara@cantemir.ro

 We are looking forward to seeing you in Targu Mures

Anisoara Pop, PhD

Dimitrie Cantemir University of Targu Mures

Romania

Posted by: anisoarapop | May 19, 2010

DISSEMINATION – MOF GRANT: LAKE SCHOOL OF OXFORD, UK

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

During 19.04-30.042010, I attended the teacher development course: Refresher Course in Practical, Creative Methodology for Overseas Language Teachers as part of a Grundtvig Mobility grant, in Oxford, UK. It was a rich and professionally rewarding experience.

Beginnings

 The course posed real initial challenges due to the bleak circumstances that had befallen Europe by  the Icelandic volcanic eruption, subsequent closure of the European airspace and cancellation of flights.  And there I was, embarked on a fully packed bus for a pilgrimage which lasted two nights and one day. England had became an island again.

However, I am definitely positive that all these efforts were worthwhile, despite all the frustration and exhaustion. Ever since I boarded the London-Oxford coach, I felt that thrill of a unique experience towards the heart of knowledge. Oxford is the town with no less than 39 universities / colleges, with a rich academic life, dozens of bookshops and over 100 libraries. It is the city with one of the oldest world universities,  ivy-covered lime-stone and thatched-roofed buildings, with a clear and mellifluous English  language that has no specific local accent. I felt like descending into a fairy tale with fancy gardens, parks with swans, squirrels and peacocks; where hundreds of years of civilization  had their say even in the bus queuing and the incessant ‘good morning’ that every bus traveller utters when they get on the bus and their equally polite ‘thank you’ upon getting off, the courtesy and indirect questions in school, the streets where you can be yourself without any disapproving glance from the passers-by.

Preparing to visit ChristChurch College

 The Course

 The course I attended targeted the teachers of English from higher education, secondary and vocational schools or other institutions involved in providing language services to adult students. The course provider was The Lake School of Oxford, UK, (presented in detail in the Grundtvig / Comenius database) which is accredited by the British Council and belongs to the network of Quality English Schools (http://www.quality-english.com).

Organization, syllabus and delivery were excellent. There were 6 teacher-students (the force majeur situation preventing the rest of 6 applicants to attend): 1 Turkish, 1 Nigerian, two Germans and two  Romanias. Every day we learned in a challenging and collaborative way, hands-on, with enthusiastic, well organized and professional teachers, about communicative activities and state of the art techniques we can adopt and tailor to our students’ needs. The programme included training activities scheduled each week day from 9:00 am until 16:00 pm with one-hour lunch break and 10-15 minutes of coffee breaks in between (coffee and tea were included in the course fee!).

Syllabus

 The course syllabus was exhaustive and very attractively presented: introductory activities (ice-breakers), interactive grammar, collocations, writing skills, applications on authentic texts, pronunciation, phrasal verbs, blended learning and applying the new technologies in teaching/learning English, English colloquialisms, slang, exploitation of pictures and digital images, games and songs in teaching EFL.

 Social/cultural activities

 Each week included a rich range of social and cultural activities: city tours of Oxford, socializing in the pub (a real pub culture!), visit to Christ Church College (the famous place where the film Harry Potter  was shot and for representing the home of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, and definitely more than that!) as well as a visit to a local school. A one-day weekend trip included a visit to the charming and unique English country side of Cotswold and Burford, as well as the Whispering knights ( a local version of the Stonhenge) – a land that is full of legends and history. The trip ended with a visit of Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s native place, with an inciting atmosphere of boisterous holidaymakers, wooden houses, troops of amateur actors in ancient costumes and minstrels  skilfully playing the bard’s tragedies and comedies on the streets.

 Accomodation

 A strength of this course was the homestay accommodation. Staying  with a host family is a uniquely rewarding language experience as well as a cultural learning event. I was happy to stay with a family of teachers who organized a barbeque with friends and guests and evening meals were usually colleagues or friends were invited and so the language and cultural learning lessons continued till bed time. I learned from them the importance of a healthy lifestyle starting from food to hobbies (to be able to patiently observe the field butterflies and birds, to participate in bell ringing or other charities), waste recycling, hand sewing of wedding quilts (which I contributed myself), to mention just a few extremely important cultural learning lessons.

 Acknowledgement

 I learned a lot from all points of view. Oxford will remain a place that has enhanced me professionally, culturally and humanly. Here I consolidated my conviction that learning through application is sustainable, collaborative and cooperative, that learning in a group is memorable, and learning through cultural immersion is both memorable and sustainable.

I highly and warmly recommend this course to those involved in teaching English as a foreign language. They will definitely not regret it.

 My gratitude goes to all those who made this unique experience possible: the Grundtvig Commission, The  National Agency ANPCDEFP, Grundtvig experts: Florentina Anghel and Andreea Samoila, the teachers at Oxford Lake School, the Morgan Family, Cantemir University for agreement and my family for constant support.

 Anisoara Pop

Dimitrie Cantemir University of Targu Mures

The part below was edited in December 2010

Here is a YouTube video about Lake School and what it offers – I hope it will convince you to enrol.

I bet you will never regret it. For me it remains the most fascinating and warmest learning experience:

Posted by: anisoarapop | February 11, 2010

Glogster

Posted by: anisoarapop | February 5, 2010

Teaching and learning through social networks

Teaching and learning through social networks.

Posted by: anisoarapop | January 31, 2010

Posted by: anisoarapop | January 30, 2010

Welcome to my first WordPress blog

Welcome to my first WordPress blog.

Categories