“Is the inspector coming to observe us too? Why not to our group as well?“ sighed some of Lingva‘s students on Wednesday, 1 March 2017. They were bypassed by the regular teaching reinspection for the purpose of YALS accreditation renewal. It is not customary that students are not afraid of inpectors, but this time it happened that inspector Ana Djordjević, Teaching Fellow in Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology of Belgrade University, engaged by YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia as an external inspector, dispelled all the fears with her professional and unobtrusive approach to the observation of lessons held by 6 teachers in 12 groups, from preschool to adult levels. Teachers did their best to show that all their work is of exceptionally high quality and students responded with utmost interest and cooperation. A lot of enthusiasm and positive energy filled all Lingva classrooms, as well as an all-pervasive feeling that hard work always pays off in the end.
Three teachers from Tom & Emma School, Belgrade – Milana Papić, Jelena Mitrović, and Sofija Ljiljak-Vukajlovića visited Lingva last Thursday, 10 March, to see how LEGO® bricks and StoryStarter educational programme are used for foreign language learning in our school. They enjoyed working with our young learners on the activities designed by teacher Katarina Andrić at A2.c and B1.b levels, and they also had opportunity to familiarize themselves with the use of StoryVisualizer software, where they were joined by teacher Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović.
The exchange was two-way – Lingva teachers learned which activities the guests had applied at Tom & Emma, and that they also had positive experience in the use of LEGO® elements with older students. The joint conclusion was that these activities exceptionally boost students’ creativity, which has a direct impact on the effectivenes of language acquisition.
It was confirmed once again that short exchange visits bring a lot of benefits to both sides and that we should continue with this good practice.
Since it was founded on 24 April 1990, Lingva has applied high quality standards and innovative approaches in language teaching/learning. Harmonization with European standards was performed in its first years of operation owing to its membership in YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia. We have achieved very good cooperation with both domestic and foreign institutions, such as the Institute for Advancement of Education and the British Council, through both our own or joint projects with other schools and non-governmental organisations.
As early as 1995, Lingva integrated computer-aided learning activities into its curriculum, which was soon followed by a systematic use of multimedia projects, supported by the internet, IWB and mobile digital devices. Although the low profitability of the core educational activity has frequently necessitated use of additional translation income to support financing of new technologies, Lingva has never regretted making investments in expensive equipment since the attractiveness, topicality and relevance of the teaching content, along with the teachers’ enthusiasm, have always resulted in better motivation and more successful language acquisition. The plan for the next period is integration of interactive Lego Education systems, which are specially designed to stimulate curiosity, creativity and critical thinking as the necessary tools for effective lifelong learning.
In addition to general and special-purpose language courses, Lingva organises preparation for internationally recognized Cambridge and TOEFL exams. It has been the only school in Valjevo since 2000 to prepare 16 generations of 7 to 12 year old children for Cambridge Young Learners’ exams. All of this has contributed to high language proficiency levels of Lingva school leavers. It is exactly for this reason that many former Lingva students of different profiles have easily found employment all over the world. Numerous former Lingva students are studying to become or already work as language teachers, and some have come back to Lingva to apply the same methods as those through which they were once taught foreign languages.
At the recently held 4th National Conference of Language Schools, organised by English Book in Belgrade on 11 October 2014, Maja Gavrilović, representative of YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia, gave a short presentation on the forthcoming accredited YALS seminars, new YALS project of language school certification, and other activities.