Beginners’ English for Train Conductors

Author :

Logos Group

Duration :

60 pedagogical periods + 20 periods with voluntary mentors and specialists in adult education

Target group of learners:

Train conductors, secondary vocational school leavers

Institutions involved :

Direction of the Slovenian Third Age University, Slovenian Railyaways, Department of Continuing Education, Logos Group of independent educators and researchers

Goals / Objectives :

To select individual train conductors and form a team to work on the Mimara international train travelling from Zagreb to Berlin. To increase their self-confidence, cultural and communicative competences.

Structure / Contents :

A programme was developed for this group of learners based on the analysis of their working situations and related speech acts. The learners learnt a smaller number of verbs, adjectives, structures and social patterns (introducing oneself, reacting verbally and politely) applied to their professional situations. The first 30 periods were devoted to the verbal paradigm of the verb to be and formation of questions starting with 

What and Where. Later on, the verb to have was introduced etc.

Ex.: What’s your name?

What’s your surname? What’s your job? What’s your nationality?

What’s your phone number? What’s your address? What’s the next station? Where are you? Where are you from? Then other questions following the same pattern? How are you? How’s your husband? H

But also:  Which company do you work for?

Formation of questions is extremely important for being autonomous speaker and we kept improvising communication drills using questions and other grammatical elements.

Adjectives were learned derived from the names of the European countries. Italy/ Italian, Great Britain/ British, Slovenia/Slovenian etc.

Suggestopedia elements were used like creating false identities valorising the learners.

Mathematical operations and operators as well as decimal numbers were learned in different ways.

Peter Thatsright or other constructed family names:  Ohreally/ Idontknow/ Pleasedtomeet you, Howlovely, Thatsfine/ Thatstrue, /Yesitis/Idontknow/

Ex: What’s your name? Where are you from? I’m from Italy?

What’s your name? I’m Peter.

Peter, Peter who? Peter That’s right.

Pleased to meet you, Mr. That’s right/ Pleased to meet you.

What’s your nationality? I’m Italian. Oh, really?  My wife is Italian, too.

Where are you from/ Italy, Milano. Oh, Milano. That’s a beautiful city…

Yes, it is etc.

It is important for the students to start with the false identity. 

Methods / Animation :

Methods were eclectic (suggestopedia, jazz chants, kinaesthetic learning etc. linguistic games, dramatisation, simulation, but writing was not used since the learners explicitly rejected them. “I will quit, if I have to write”. So, we developed a kind of transcription focusing on accent etc. Two months later the learners spontaneously started writing and taking notes.

There was multiple progression in this programme.

Linguistic progression: morphology, grammar, phonetics, communication. Socio-linguistic progression: social patterns and reactions. Cultural progression. Professional situational progression

Body language: posture, inclination of the head expressing politeness. The course ended by professional situations written by the learners and acted out on the train. 

Evaluation / Feedback :

There was no formal evaluation. They were all successful.  On the other hand, initial evaluation was carried out through interviews, by discussion about  how student’s learners and what they  learned and final evaluation was ”corridor evaluation”  and our listening to what learners said about the course to each other.There was no certificate delivered but certificate of attendance. which they proudly exhibited.

Link of the resource

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