'A driving force for language teachers' – REAL at Expolangues 2011
Silvia Minardi, the newly elected President of REAL and President of Lingua e Nuova Didattica (LEND), and Jean-Yves Petitgirard, President of the Association des professeurs de langues vivantes (APLV) joined Jonathan Hooley, the project coordinator, to discuss various aspects of the Network.
When asked why the APLV was involved in REAL, Jean-Yves Petitgirard explained that the promotion of multilingualism was written into the Association’s “genetic code” as it had been included in the 1902 founding statutes. Whilst acknowledging the existence of other international language teacher organisations, he went on to say that the construction of Europe had made it indispensable to create a network made up of teachers of all languages specifically for this geographical area. He suggested that REAL could be a driving force for change especially in the area of professional development where national governments had become more and more disengaged. One very practical way of doing this could be by sharing the content of training courses held across Europe.
Silvia Minardi, herself a teacher of English in Italy, emphasised the role the Network has of bringing teachers into contact both face-to-face and online, thus providing opportunities to innovate through exchange. For her, the Network should raise awareness about the value of plurilingualism especially in light of the tendency in certain countries to promote the learning of an increasingly narrow range of languages. Similarly to Jean-Yves Petitgirard, she pointed out how the time given over to teacher training was becoming increasingly shorter and how REAL could contribute to filling this widening gap. Members of REAL went on to explain more about the role of the website, the summer seminar programme and the membership policy followed by a question and answer session.