Together with partners from the EU Mobile project, Pragma submitted a proposal for the Socrates Lingua programme, in 2004. The objective of the new project: to develop and test a course of English as a foreign language, specifically for adult learners with intellectual disabilities.
The working title for the project was "Easy English for adults with learning disabilities" A colleague with good contacts at the Lingua Office in Brussels advised us to change the title. The Lingua programme funds projects that target the 'lesser used' European languages, and not English. He predicted that any proposal with 'English' in the title would be deemed ineligible. For the same reason, he advised us to not just develop materials to teach English as a foreign language, but to include several languages
We followed up on his first bit of advise and changed the title of the project. But we decided to ignore his second comment. Developing a methodology and materials to teach just one foreign language (English) to adult learners with intellectual disabilities in 5 countries was challenging enough.
Fortunately the Lingua experts agreed with us. Our proposal was selected for funding. The 2year project started on 1 October 2005.
The end-product is a handbook for teachers, and a DVD with video-clips of English speakers - some of whom have intellectual disabilities, themselves. We changed the name of the product once more, to "English without Frontiers". You can find more information about the project, the methods and materials on the website: www.englishwithoutfrontiers.eu .
Partners in this project were:
The speakers on the DVD are actors and trainers of the de Inc. Theater groep, a theatre company of and for people with intellectual disabilities, in London (http://sparetyre.org/about/our-companies/inc-theatre-ensemble/)