- Courses/workshops for specific groups. Courses planned for groups with specific needs (women, young people...) or courses arranged for specific reasons in parallel with the general courses. The workshops and courses coordinated with the Environmental Plans implemented by the Education Department and aimed at parents. Banyoles, Manlleu and Vic are areas that have planned in this way.
- Strategies for coping with the demand for courses outside registration periods and the intensive nature of courses needed at the CNL in Reus, for example.
- Workshops and/or activities whichpromote integration between native (host) and immigrant families. Banyoles, Ulldecona and Vic have programmed these.
6.4 Activities aimed at injecting dynamism or raising awareness, complementary to the Catalan language teaching courses
The common activities planned in this section –boosting and raising awareness- could be organised as complementary to the language teaching ones. The programme of activities is the same as in the previous section. Here we simply refer to the ones that are common across most of the Pilot Plans.
6.4.1 The added value of being familiar with the environment
Knowledge of the environment is complementary to the classic activities of the adult Catalan language classes. Here, we should like to underline the usefulness of these activities which situate learners in a particular context since they enable learners to find out about services –local council offices, libraries, health service centres, the general functioning of society, rights and obligations...These initiatives are in response to theidea that linguistic competence is acquired at the same time as sociocultural knowledge. “(...) And this bond between language and life, as you know better than anyone, is the only way to ensure that the investment in learning(and in teaching) will be productive and effective.” (1) Banyoles, Manlleu, Reus, Ulldecona and Vic are localities which have combinedteaching of the language with knowledge of the environment
6.4.2 Supporting the “Volunteers for Language” programme
The programme “Volunteers for language” sets out to connect on the one hand those who want to learn Catalan and in general have recently settled in Catalonia with, on the other, people who already speak Catalan and wish to help others to learn, and who meet up to talk. The objectives of this relatively simple, easy programme, are, on the one hand, to make the Catalan language the language of communication, or the vehicular language, and set up a reciprocal relationship between the two types of participants. These two objectives are totally related, such that one is not achieved without the other. The basic idea inspiring the project is that learners should acquire fluency and get to know the environment, Catalan speakers should be made more aware of the importance of maintaining social use of the language and that, accordingly, they should act in consequence. Also an effort is made for all concerned, learners and volunteers, should take part together in a variety of different activities, visits to faculties, etc. The specific compromise on the part of both sides is that they should meet up at least once a week, to speak Catalan, for a period of six months. This initiative makes Catalan an effect tool in social integration. Note that this activity is common to all municipal areas taking part in the Pilot Plans.
6.4.3 Call for awareness and for careful consideration of the linguistic attitudes adopted by the local born people with respect to newcomers
Many different types of approaches have been planned, however, that have in common the call from the learners of the Catalan language that native speakers should speak to them in Catalan. Banyoles, Manlleu, Reus, Ulldecona and Vic are conducting campaigns in this respect.The media used to disseminate the message are many and various: banners and light boxes, TV, press advertising, public announcements, press conferences... And in some instances these activities are complemented with sessions aimed to raise awareness for specific groups: local government staff, people working for NGOs, unions, parent-teacher associations, school teachers...
We need objectives too, to distribute activities during the period of application of the Pilot Plan, since this ideally will mean planning for the greatest social impact and allow work to go forward in the most comfortable and efficient way possible. What is more, the duration of the cultural visits also have to be planned and the visits to learn more about the environment organised as complementary to the Catalan classes.
Thus the objectives in connection with timing are:
- Delimit the overall duration of the project.
- Coordinate activities in each of the municipalities according to the planned schedule.
- Set up a schedule for the programming, realisation and evaluation of the activities.
- Determine the duration of each activity.
- Evaluated the initial schedule with the final results.
6.6. Human resources
Human resources are fundamental. Attitude and empathy of those running the activities are of primary importance in ensuring the success of the project. Thus, we propose:
- Coordinating with those taking part in the different organisations involved.
- Assigning each of the activities to the right professional.
- Working in coordination withthe rest of the professionals in each centre, office or Catalan services.
- Pinpoint educational needs for the particular groups, as these needs arise.
- Where necessary, train staff.
Wherever necessary, it is important to agree on the hours and the availability of qualified staff, so that stafffrom the offices and services of the Consortium for Language Normalization should be in charge of the Pilot Plan. The experience gained from the Pilot Plan will be directly available to these staff and will thus provide positive and negative feedback applicable to other tasks in hand.
Lastly, the human resources will also have to be evaluated at the end of the project, against the proposed objectives and responsibilities of those who have taken part.
6.7. Participant organisations and institutions
The participation of all types of institutions, associations and organisations is an important objective because these bodies become involved in the project and thus become a part oftheir project. Furthermore, the concepts –social use of (the) language and(the) language asvehicle for social inclusion- will gradually be taken on board in their other activities and services. Oftentimes the fact of these other organisations participating is as important as the activity itself. Therefore, we propose:
- Stimulateparticipation and commitment from other local government and other organisations in planning and execution of language normalisation policies.
- Work in coordination with these organisations.
- Demonstrate that language policy works when it cuts across all social agents in the locality where it is applied.
- Seek to have the shortfalls and omissions mentioned in the previous section put right by therelevant organisations.
- Foster awareness of the fact that use of Catalan with people who are not Catalan speakers, apart from being the responsibility of the official organs, requires the involvement of other organisations, companies...
- Seek to get the involvement of organisations and companies as executive members of the Pilot Plan.
- Consolidate coordinationpinpoint gaps and omissions and put them right
Each entity, each association, within the limits of its possibilities, can be directly or indirectly involved, and has to play its part. Any kind of participation is good and can take many different forms: human resources, economic resources, materials, premises…
At the end of the period of the Pilot Plans, we will carry out evaluation both from our point of view and from that of the other the other organisation involved, in terms of the activity and of the fact of participating in itself.
6.8. Budget allocation and finances
The budget allocated for the activities also calls for operative criteria and a set of objectives:
a) Set up coordination with the other participants (adult education, language schools...) so that each becomes responsible for providing the economic and human resourcesin question.
Ensure that economic and human resources allocated to the Pilot Plan in each area accomplish the objectives that have been set.
Get other organisations to take part so that they too are involved in the extension of social use of the language. (For example, for activities designed to increase knowledge of the environment, the human resources of the following institutions can be drawn on: library staff, health centres, councils, sports centres... and economic assistance can be drawn on from savings banks and institutions, companies.. for joint production of leaflets advertising exhibitions for example).
Make the best use of the experience, by making it applicable to other areas.
Optimise the relationship between human and economical resources allotted and the stated objectives.
- Set up coordination with the other participants (adult education, language schools...) so that each becomes responsible for providing the economic and human resourcesin question.
- Ensure that economic and human resources allocated to the Pilot Plan in each area accomplish the objectives that have been set.
- Get other organisations to take part so that they too are involved in the extension of social use of the language. (For example, for activities designed to increase knowledge of the environment, the human resources of the following institutions can be drawn on: library staff, health centres, councils, sports centres... and economic assistance can be drawn on from savings banks and institutions, companies.. for joint production of leaflets advertising exhibitions for example).
- Make the best use of the experience, by making it applicable to other areas.
- Optimise the relationship between human and economical resources allotted and the stated objectives.
Lastly, we have to analyse the real cost of the venture, the shortfall, in the event that there is one, and the evaluate the cost in terms of the return on the activity.
This is the stage of the project that we are currently at. Indicators have to be applied to evaluate activities both quantitatively and qualitatively, in accordance with the following:
a) Obtain planning tools with which to measure the project.
b) Enable comparison with the established objectives.
c) Identify trends.
d) Carry out the analysis of the project.
Adequate: They need to relate to clear, feasible and relevant objectives.
Clear: They need to be easy to obtain, to calculate or interpretate.
Useful: Well defined, with no ambiguity.
Stable: They need to a useful life of reasonable duration.
Comparable: They need to allow comparison across time and place (institutions).
Downsized: They have to be manageable and easy to monitor.
Indicators of participation.
8. Conclusions, consequences and viability of the plans
At the present time, we do not have sufficient feedback in terms of results from the Pilot Plans which are still ongoing. Trends can be discerned in specific actions, and these still have to be measured and checked. The general impression gained from those working on the project is that the schedule for this stage is pretty tight and they will need to continue working along the same lines to check results sufficiently.
Dolors Solà Noguera
Coordinator in charge of the Pilot Plans for increasing knowledge and use of the Catalan language
Dolors Solà Noguera
Coordinadora dels Planspilots per a l’impuls del coneixement i l’ús de la llengua catalana