Fri, Dec 2nd, 2016
The European Language Label is an annual award given by the European Commission to recognise achievement in language teaching or learning. There are two categories every year, one for language projects and one for individuals. So what’s it like to win the award? One of our 2016 winners, Seán Greif of Moontour, explains what receiving the award has meant to him and his company.
“This year Moontour received the European Language Label award, and it is a defining moment for the organisation. Since I founded Moontour two years ago, we have been driven to improve Irish language teaching and revitalise the language learning experience. To achieve this goal, we have a culture of constant innovation that teaches the subject matter through fun and excitement. Our Irish language summer courses and school tours focus on our very own Adventure Learning model. In our ‘Adventure As Gaeilge’ programme we teach verbs and tenses through yoga, comprehension through bilingual computer games, written composition through photography and spoken Irish through watersports.
This is why winning this award gave such a great boost to our organisation. As with any new venture or methodology, it can be difficult to gain momentum and credibility. Internally, we were confident in the change we could bring to the Irish language. We measured student success and found that they had an academic improvement 55% higher than traditional teaching methods and reported much higher levels of engagement, enjoyment and retention. However, receiving the external validation from such a respected organisation was a huge boost for the organisation and our team. The award is a reflection of the hard work that the core Moontour team put in, and the high level of experience and skill they bring to the organisation.
The process of applying was challenging at times, but very beneficial. It caused us to reassess our own approaches and led us to clarify our mission. As we presented our approach and results, we had to take a big picture view of Moontour and found many opportunities for growth and development that we may have otherwise missed. The process in itself can be very constructive for an organisation and those involved.
The awards day in Farmleigh House was a wonderful experience. It was an excellent opportunity to share in the ideas and innovations in the language learning sector. Hearing and watching the stories of the other organisations was inspiring. It is exceptionally motivating to see the wonderful and engaging initiatives that are underway in Ireland. It was an excellent reminder of the high calibre of language teachers and organisations in this country, and how they go above and beyond to support the languages they are working with and improve language learning as a whole.
After going through the application process and the awards, we returned to Moontour reinvigorated and motivated. It is very encouraging to feel that you are part of such a great network of teachers, learners and language lovers. The experience not only recognised and validated our principles of adventure learning, but has also driven us to improve how we teach Irish through our school tours and summer courses. Moontour, and our Adventure As Gaeilge programme is better for having applied for the European Language Label.”
Inspired to apply? Find out more about the 2017 European Language Label. You can follow Moontour on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. Moontour images courtesy of Séan Greif.