Erasmus+ - Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices(KA2)

Guerrilla Literacy Learners (GuLL) -

Description of the Project

There is currently a global learning crisis, where 250 million of the 650 million primary school children worldwide are not taught basic literacy skills. In Western Europe, however, 96% reach grade 5 level reading skills. (1) Yet 1 in 15 of 15 year olds still cannot read properly. Moreover, there are not enough teachers to tackle this problem, and even the teachers’ level of intellectual competence is being questioned (2). On top of that 70% of teachers would like to upscale their digital skills to improve their teaching praxis( 3). Europe is confronted with a very large group of students who are unable to acquire basic literacy. Students continue to fail tests and many quit studying although they could have become very good professionals in different fields. As a consequence, teachers and researchers are looking for new ways of teaching basic literacy skills.  For example, the University of Ghent advocates using a swimming pool as a metaphor rather than a language lab (4).

Furthermore, present day society allows citizens to move freely between different countries. This opportunity has created a new kind of illiteracy where highly qualified and literate people in their native language become NEET people (not in employment, education or training) in their new countries.

Finally, literacy used to be taught from functional, to social and critical literacy, the hypothesis being that you need the operational literacy to be able to participate in society. Modern day society, however, sees citizens who are socially and critically literate without being operationally literate.

All these changes provide challenges to  literacy learning and thus call for a new didactical approach. Guerilla Literacy Learners (GuLL) is a student-centered approach which helps language learners improve their language acquisition skills. GuLL switches from how learners should learn to how they actually learn thus embracing the European recommendation that if students fail to learn, teachers might want to teach in a different way. GuLL asks learners to reflect upon the unorthodox links (Guerilla patterns) they make and then remediate it. The patterns we have observed so far are  guessing, mixing rules unorthodoxically, applying rules in wrong contexts, applying mathematical logics to solve linguistic challenges.

An example  of a Guerilla pattern is knitting correct rules together in a wrong way: “did he gave”

In “did he gave” we have a student who knows the past, how to ask questions in the past and he knows his irregular verbs, but he knits together two pasts rather than the past of the auxiliary and the infinitive of the main verb. We have observed that asking students to describe their Guerilla patterns helps them to improve their language level.

This project develops a “Guerrilla” Flipped Class, on the model of “guerrilla gardening/knitting movement” intending to improve public spaces through citizens’ creative contribution. The target audiences are individual learners, teachers, community-builders, librarians, and teacher training departments seeking learner-centered ways to improve basic literacy thus decreasing the number of early school leavers. The end products are a teachers manual for this new approach - including an analysis of students’ needs and the monitoring of individual language acquisition processes - and learners’ tutorials, in which learners link their error patterns (the “guerilla”) to the correct ways of language use. Based on connectivist pedagogical approaches, this remedial work is linked to both formal and informal learning environments (from libraries to community schools to digital spaces) and to multilingual acquisition.

Participants from EU:

Participant UP Olomouc:

PaedDr. Alena Jůvová, Pd.D.

Doc. Mgr. Štefan Chudý, Ph.D.