In a post I did last month called Trends in Language Learning: What’s hot, what’s not, one of the emerging directions in the field that I found is to link language learning to leadership and changing the world in positive ways. I was thrilled to see this trend in action through a recent news post by European Association of Education for Adults (EAEA). The Language Café project demonstrates the link between language learning, leadership and empowerment.
In an article entitled, “Closing the Gap with Languages: European award for projects in support of social inclusion” , the EAEA announced that the University of Southampton (England) won the European award for the best 2010 language project aimed at fighting poverty and supporting social inclusion for their project “The Language Café”. The EAEA reports that Southampton won the award for its innovative approach to language learning in a relaxed environment for people of all ages and backgrounds”, noting that there are 29 language cafes in Europe. Many of them have “broadened their scope to offer specialised help for immigrants and people who use sign-language”.
Check out the Language Cafe website. After entering the site in the language of your choice, you’ll be able to see the premise behind the cafes and how they are impacting the lives of language learners all over Europe. It is an inspiring demonstration of informal language learning that empowers others.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.