Galway group of Spanish teachers win prestigious award

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A group of Galway-based Spanish teachers have been selected as one of the winners at the prestigious annual European Language Label (ELL) Awards.

ELE in Éirinn was formed at NUI Galway by a group of teachers, and they will be presented with the award at an online ceremony tomorrow.

The group, created in August 2018, creates user-friendly, non-commercial and non-native materials for students.

Project coordinator Pilar Alderete Diez said that they are delighted that the project was recognised as an innovative initiative at this year’s awards.

“Our project was all about generating a creative approach to language errors. I wanted to encourage students to make their own materials for teaching and learning,” said Pilar.

“Our project encourages peer-learning and discussion. I had realised in my own practice and through conversations with my colleagues that students learn and take advice from each other more frequently than from us, their teachers.”

The ELL Awards are an EU initiative to celebrate the most creative and inspiring communities, organisations, and volunteers at the forefront of language teaching, learning and promotion.

Eli Babei, Léargas Language Initiatives Officer, said that the awards provide opportunities to network, share best practice, and inspire learners on the important role that language plays in society and the professional opportunities available to them.

“Speaking English is an asset but in today’s globalised world, it is not enough,” said Ms Babei.

“If not for the benefit of cultural and linguistic empathy, speaking other languages will ensure that we can continue to harvest better opportunities for people living in Ireland.”

Áine Gallagher, Ireland’s only unqualified guerrilla Irish teacher, will deliver the keynote speech at the awards ceremony.

“I am extremely excited to provide the keynote speech for these innovative and creative educators,” she said.

“As Ireland’s only unqualified guerrilla Irish teacher, I understand the dedication, motivation and resilience required to do this work.

“I think it’s great that we can share our stories and provide each other with the encouragement needed to keep going.”