Pools-M: innovative methodologies for language learning


Pools-m (Pools of language teaching methods) is an EU supported two years project started on December 1st 2009. The project seeks to transfer the result of a previous project BP-BLTM which portrayed five communicative language teaching methods in manuals and with instruction videos, for each method there are ready to use materials in Basque, Danish, Dutch, English, German, Romania, and Spanish.

Pools-m will translate and adapt the existing materials into Italian, Lithuanian, and Portuguese as well as prepare new materials for the methods
The pools-m home page is:


Please feel free to learn more about it! We welcome you already!

How do we use Pools M ?


The Spanish youngsters coming to CSCS are here in Italy for a work placement: they are supposed to work inside companies whose activity field is the same they are studying in their own country.
The main goal of their work placement is to experience a different way of working: different from the Spanish one and therefore enriching, both professionally and personally.
It is important to underline that learning Italian is not the main objective of the students in work placement; however, language is extremely important for their experience: working, socializing, having a good time depend on it.
CSCS offers an intensive course of Italian for a week (generally not as soon as they get here) and, afterwards, one lesson per week.
The students coming in Italy have, of course, various profiles; some of them consider learning Italian as very interesting and important, others do not feel the need of having a good grammar and appreciate less the idea of studying during their work placement. We therefore tried to propose classes focused on “doing” instead of “explaining”: we offer basic information and then try to apply the theory in practice – games, practical exercises, etc. help a lot this kind of approach. Grammar, of course, is there; but it is never proposed as main element of the course: we try to help students understand the rules by doing as a substitute for long explanations and “boring” rules.
The activities we propose in class are various: we show the students a short home-made video with “typical” scenes of real-life situations (for instance at the supermarket, breakfast with  the family, at the bar, etc.), we first check their understanding of the dialogues and then we help them fully understand the dialogues. Afterwards, we try to create new dialogues within the framework of the situation presented through the video. Another exercise that works very well is the “puzzle” of a dialogue: students have to place the lines of a dialogue in the right order.
Listening to songs and finding the missing word is another exercise that students find funny and instructive.
Memory, find the hidden words or crosswords, are other games that students like when introducing, for instance, new “communication areas” (for instance “food”, or “parts of the body”, etc.).


A group of Swedish students with various learning difficulties came to CSCS in the month of February. We tried to organize a specific Italian course able to take into consideration all the issues involved and able to offer some Italian basics to the students.
One of the Pools M methods seemed the most appropriate: TBL
We asked the students to participate to different games – the group has been divided in two teams and each team received a certain number of points for understanding parts of a presentation in Italian.  Other exercises created individual competition among students, on the same principle.

Team games: we showed students a video where an Italian family was having very clear and simple conversation; we asked each team to tell us the words they (thought) they recognized.
The team who recognizes the major number of words won.
Afterwards, we would write down the recognized words, asking the teams to try to understand from the context or deduce the right meaning.
Another team game, again connected to a video, consists in distributing to students the lines of a dialogue in an incorrect order. They have to recognize the sentences they hear in the video and place them in the right order. Then we try to also check understanding (from the context, words they recognize, help from the teacher, etc.)
During the classes we also tried to extend the vocabulary: words semantically connected to colours, numbers, food, etc. have been introduced through a “memory” game or through different techniques recalling the connection between image and word. For instance, we distributed drawings of food, or of parts of the body, or of numbers, etc.; and the corresponding words printed on pieces of paper. The students were asked to pair correctly the pieces of paper (one drawing for each word).
Another game the students particularly like was the bingo.

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