Community fostering foreign language learning for gifted students

Presenter(s): Irena Pavlovic

Foreign language learning within the regular education system often meets several distinct problems. First of all, students are grouped according to their age, not the proficiency level and the language instruction is directed to all the students in the same way, regardless of the fact they have different prior knowledge, abilities, motivation and talent for languages. Secondly, classes in both, elementary and secondary school are mixed ability which is another problem when planning and delivering foreign language instruction.

One of Croatian counties, Bjelovar-bilogora region, has found a way to promote working with gifted students outside regular education system by organizing proficiency centers in various subjects. These centers offer additional instruction for gifted students, using curricula different from those in mainstream classrooms and teaching methods that put the learners in the center of the teaching process. Though they are run by teachers normally working in public schools and organized in a school building, they are completely separate from the regular education system.

Since I am the head of the English Proficiency Center, my presentation will focus on the work we do and share examples of good practice to show how a foreign language proficiency center can be set up (including both, organizational and financial part), how students and teachers are selected, how curricula are planned and lessons conducted. Besides listing the intended learning outcomes, the presentation will also include information about the results of the teaching processes that took place two years in a row, from 2015 to 2017.