Because, no doubt, you are pressed for time and because you are being bombarded with information left, right and centre, I want to keep this introductory information short.
For some years now, I have spearheaded a new movement for adult (language) education based on the Freinet approach. In Flanders, this movement (Freinet for Adults) is gaining more and more ground. Every year, I see more teachers changing over to a new style of teaching.: some wholly, others adopting parts of it. Maybe, you are the next one.
In a nutshell, it can be said that:
- Overall performance by my adult students is better than when I was teaching the traditional way (years back); by the way: I teach slow learners and very slow learners, but Freinet for Adults is suitable for every type of adult learner.
- My adult learners are much more relaxed in class, allowing them to bring out their learning potential
- Adults with little learning experience become much more self-reliant
- My adult students help each other solving language and other problems
- Unlike in traditional encyclopaedic teaching, the adult learners in my class are not inundated with useless information; grammar is kept to a bare minimum.
- None of the adult language learners in our Freinet-classes have to cram grammar rules and vocab in order to pass an exam
- We do not do exams, but we use the European Frame of Reference as a tool for permanent assessment
- My adult students understand what they are learning: they learn at their own level
- There is room for individual learning
- The adults in Freinet classes learn, just the way they do in primary and secondary schools, about subjects which they find interesting and useful and can apply the information learnt in their own lives.
- Adults are treated (and should be treated) as adults both in the way they learn and in the way they are assessed (by themselves and by their colleague students).
- Each class tends very much to establish a social coherence which enhances the learning experience.
- The target language is not the target of the lesson: it's a tool to achieve something else.
Want to know more?
Teachers and other interested persons are invited to attend teaching sessions. You only need to apply. The language taught is Dutch, but let that not scare you off. No matter whether you know or understand Dutch or not , it is not so much the content that will make it clear how adult students learn best, but the general approach will show you how the teaching (and learning) is done.
The school is situated in the city centre of Antwerp, at less than ten minutes walking from Antwerp Central Railway Station.
What can you expect?
Upon arrival, or prior to your coming, you will receive basic information on Freinet for Adults. After class, you can ask as many questions as you like and it would be nice if feedback is given.
What does observing a class cost?
Nothing. It's free of charge. You only need to book in advance.
And what if you need more information for yourself and for your colleagues?
A one-day teacher training session is usually enough to get to grip with what Freinet for Adults means. Training sessions are given both in Belgium and abroad (mostly on Fridays). There is a standard fee but the total cost will vary according to where and when this training is done. There is no difference whether you want these training sessions to be held for a small or a larger group: hence the price per head can be reduced if the number of participants is increased . The maximum number of participants as a rule is set at thirty.
You have particular problems and questions concerning your teaching and the performances of your students. So?
Each teacher training session is organized in such a way that ample time is allotted for answering individual and specific questions. The training session is adapted to suit the needs of each individual group of teachers. So, chances are high that you will walk away with the answer(s) in your pocket.
Is this for you?
I guess it may well be for you. You started to browse the internet looking for solutions to your questions and problems in adult education and you have already read this much. Chances are that this may be the next step you will be taking: it will benefit you and moreover, it will certainly benefit your students.
Leo De Clercq MA
Antwerp, March 2013