The Language Magician Erasmus Project

General information for the The Language Magician Erasmus Project

The Language Magician Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am

Project Title

The Language Magician

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for school education

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2015

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: ICT – new technologies – digital competences; Teaching and learning of foreign languages; New innovative curricula/educational methods/development of training courses

Project Summary

The Language Magician

Language learning in schools in the EU has been showing ever more dramatic differences between member states. This has been particularly true for the United Kingdom where in 2014 languages were made a statutory requirement in primary schools in England without stipulating the targets for assessing the young language learners’ progress. Whilst language teaching in primary schools is the foundation for a successful language strategy at all levels of education, research has shown a strong decline in motivation for pupils once they enter secondary education. Two of the main factors for this are the lack of assessment of learning progress in the UK and traditional, de-motivating testing methods in other member states.
Mindful of the need for urgent action regarding this issue, educational organisations with a stake in the improvement of language learning provision decided to enter a strategic partnership under the Erasmus + programme. Their main aim was to combine primary language learning with a method of assessment which motivates young learners to continue learning languages. The participating organisations agreed to improve language teaching and the assessment of linguistic competencies in primary schools by producing an assessment tool in the format of a computer game. For the development of this game the partners used a common core of curricula from Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK as its foundation and – with the respective language versions – created converging standards on a European level.
The ten partner organisations were chosen for their expertise in promoting languages, research, teaching primary languages, assessment, translation, e-learning and language games. The Goethe-Institut London, a supporter of language teachers in the UK and all EU member states, was project lead. Together with its British and other European partners, it identified and developed the project idea. Both the Spanish Embassy in the UK and the British language teachers network ALL were extremely helpful and influential in discussing the need to address the imbalance of language learning in the UK and other member states. The Universities of Reading and Leipzig were identified as leading primary language research experts while the University of Perugia was chosen as assessment expert. In order to ensure the necessary practical focus, the Education Ministry of Tenerife supported the development of the tool for Spanish and together with the Education Ministry in Rioja conducted the piloting in its regions. The University of Siena with its e-learning centre joined the partnership and provided the basis for the development of the language game for Italian. The University of Westminster added its translation and localisation expertise for French in the UK.
As the project progressed, this tool was tested in 40 schools with overall 6000 pupils in four countries and the outcomes were evaluated using standard quality criteria. In order to support the anchorage of the assessment tool in state schools. a specific training manual for teachers was developed at the Education Ministry in Rioja. Teachers can now use this methodology to be implemented in their schools. Project partners using this manual will draw on this experience for their own teacher training courses.
The design of the game was based on intensive research to provide insight into assessing progress in language learning. To enable teachers to analyse the students’ attainment swiftly and with high validity, the so-called “Teacher Dashboard” was used to develop the new tool. This was part of the programming of an existing computer game developed by the Goethe-Institut’s head office in Munich in cooperation with the software company OVOS. The game was then piloted to calibrate the e-learning content to ensure validity of content and construct. The feedback of pupils, teachers, parents and external educators was recorded, analysed and integrated in the implementation of the game. Thus it was possible to test the game in various classroom situations and the obtained data clearly showed the pupils’ progress. The results were compared with traditional pen and paper tests and showed highly significant validity. The researchers’ papers clearly state that THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN is a fully fledged assessment tool for young language learners.

The project has shown benefits for all participants. The feedback from the multiplier events shows what an innovative tool THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN has proved to be. Students clearly found language learning more enjoyable. This means their learning outcomes will be better and their acquisition of transversal skills will be enhanced. Teachers can now develop their professional skills further using this innovative method and digital advantages. The participating universities have benefited from research and disseminated them to a European and worldwide educational audience.

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 263171 Eur

Project Coordinator


Project Partners

  • Consejería de Educación en Reino Unido e Iranda
  • Centro de Profesorado Norte de Tenerife