With an opening conference hosted by the University of Szeged between the 29-31 October 2017, a new international project was launched under the coordination of the Univeristy of Miskolc.
The target group of ENGaGE is dyslexic learners, who represent a group of learners with special educational needs typically educated, in line with EU and local legislation, in integrated classes in most European countries. However, teachers often lack awareness, training and resources to cater for dyslexic learners’ special needs in mixed ability classes as indicated by previous projects (DysTEFL 1-2, CalDys2) we intend to build on. Although there are some English resources meant for dyslexic learners on the international market, materials in German are scarce, and in the target countries of the designed task bank (Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) there are no bilingual learning materials for individual learner use or differentiated classroom work to provide targeted support for dyslexic learners.
To cater for this educational need, the project aims to produce a flexible, thematically organised English and German digital task bank for dyslexic learners participating in integrated primary school education across classes 4th-8th, up to proficiency level A2 according to CEFR. As a specificity, ENGaGE will be based on a multilingual and multicultural approach providing native language support in the languages of, and (inter)cultural content related to the target countries: Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. “Screenager”, the digital surface hosting the material is an innovative, teacher operated educational platform. It fosters a multisensory approach to learning with more than ten task types and the possibility to integrate a wide variety of materials (games, videos, pictures, word and pdf files, etc.), as well as a monitoring function for teachers to follow and shape learner progress individually.
The project will be realised in the cooperation of seven partner institutions from 4 countries: the University of Miskolc, the University of Szeged, Lingua-Met Gp. and Navigates Up. from Hungary, Lancaster University (UK), Masaryk University (Czech Republic) and Warsaw University (Poland). The partners contribute to the project a broad spectrum of expertise including educational research and teacher training practice in the field of learning with SEN, developing digital learning platforms and printed course materials for the targeted age group with and without SEN, and hands-on experience in teaching and developing learners with dyslexia. The ENGaGE task bank and related 15-hour Teacher Training Course will fill a gap in providing learning materials matching the needs of dyslexic learners based on the results of recent resreach, and hopefully it will trigger further pedagogical innovation in the areas of individualised teaching and inclusive pedagogy alike.