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Folk DC – The Digital Children’s Folksongs for Language and Cultural Learning

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“Folk DC – The Digital Children’s Folksongs for Language and Cultural Learning”  project is a European Union project designed to motivate young language learners to engage with language learning through Folk songs, and didactic activities around the songs.

The project lasted three years and the final event was a synchronous concert, live-streamed online,  held in five European locations. It was thrilling to participate in the whole process, from the pedagogy challenge of creating didactic materials based on children folk songs to the Concert where technology and enthusiastic children choirs produced a memorable event.

Folk DC was selected by the EU High Level Group of experts in the field of literacy and included in the website of the European Commission on the topic of literacy, launched alongside the High Level Group Report.

Folk DC was also awarded the European Linguistic Certificate 2013 in the framework of European Language Label competition.

 

PROJECT WEBSITE  (linked)   www.folkdc.eu

Project coordinator

The Mosaic Art And Sound Ltd., United Kingdom

Partner countries

Turkey, Finland, Romania, Spain and Austria

Target group

Primary school students and teachers,  school authorities

Objectives

The project’s main objective is answering the need for materials that can directly engage and motivate children towards their language learning.

Music has been shown to have a very positive impact on language acquisition and the Folk DC project aimed to utilize this by using folk songs. These expose children to the variety and beauty of European languages and culture, in a way that can resonate later in life.

 

A common level of understanding and cooperation in Europe relies on multi-language and multi-culture education and it is to be hoped that there be a start from a very young age. Learning new languages is an essential part of the process to connect to the life and culture of a country. The project aimed for a first step toward this lifelong objective and shaped future basic skills and competences for personal development, future employment and active European citizenship.

In details, the project specific objectives were:

  • Exchanging ideas, approaches and expertise among the partners.
  • Creating collaboratively a set of pedagogic innovative practices designed to stimulate children’s language and cultural awareness through music and children’s folk songs, namely the ATTT: “Autonomous Teacher Training Tool kit”.
  • Piloting the ATTT primary schools of five countries.
  • Delivering teacher workshops in five countries (at the end of the project the partners had performed more workshops than envisaged and participated in 57 conferences).
  • Organizing a Synchronous Concert, in 5 locations across Europe, London UK, Ploitesti (Romania), Adana (Turkey), Sastamala (Finland) and Madrid (Spain).
  • Completing wide scale dissemination.
  • Experiencing the management of a EU project and enhancing creative bonds with partners across Europe.
  • Increasing the level of knowledge of ICT and sound/video technology used in education.
  • Setting up the Digital Children’s Folk Songs Ltd. for sustainability
  • Building a strong sustainability plan.

 

Project  description

The first step of the Folk DC pedagogical approach was to understand the best criteria for choosing the folk songs upon which the most of the project language, music and culture activities would be based.

This was achieved by the partners through an exchange of knowledge, ideas, information, reflections and listening to songs, within a context of a lively European dimension.

 

The pedagogy team created the educational activities to form part of the ATTT (“Autonomous Teacher Training Tool kit”) which were divided into language, culture and music activities. The partners shared their vision and knowledge and the methodological approach was based on the theory of scaffolding (Bruner defines scaffolding, ‘as the verbal support for a child in carrying out an activity’) and on James Asher’s Total Physical Response (TPR).

Once the pedagogic materials were ready, they were piloted in twelve primary schools in five countries (United Kingdom, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Finland) and then perfected by following the results of the piloting.

The ATTT was then shared as an open resource on the project website.

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The next challenge was the realization of the Synchronous Concert, live-streamed online.

The event, unique and successful,  was designed as an experience to reinforce the teachers’ and the students’ experience of learning languages and cultures through music and folk songs. Beneficiaries were the teachers and students of the schools in five countries taking part in the event by directly performing the choirs, and teachers, students, school authorities across Europe and beyond who attended the event online or watched it from the website video archive.

The event also intended to raise awareness in head-teachers, curricula experts and education policy makers, on the effectiveness of music in language learning.

The event was evaluated according to qualitative and quantitative parameters.

Folk DC has completed a large number of effective dissemination activities that  have created a Europe-wide awareness of the project including 57 presentations at conferences, workshops and seminars; articles published in forums, newsletters, websites; 39 videos online; audios online; postings in over 130 social networks and eLearning Europa with a total membership/likes 1,374,000.

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