For a few days, Lublin became the centre of debate on teaching Polish as a foreign language. All thanks to a conference organised by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange for the beneficiaries of the NAWA Lecturers programme.
The conference was attended by several dozen people who work in various regions of the world as NAWA beneficiaries. The meeting in Lublin gathered together Polish language teachers from numerous countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, China, France, and Ireland. Some participants attended the conference online.
‘The beneficiaries of the NAWA Lecturers programme are ambassadors of not only the Polish language, but also our broadly understood culture. This is something we appreciate a great deal. The teachers collaborate with academic centres, diplomatic missions, organisations of the Polish diaspora, and local societies and get involved in organising cultural events’, said NAWA Director Dawid Kostecki in his opening address.
The conference for NAWA beneficiaries was intended to provide an opportunity for the lecturers to exchange experiences, expand their knowledge, and learn more about the Agency and its activities.
Keynote speakers included Piotr Semeniuk – director of the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Education and Science, who talked about Polish as a national export product, and Prof. Jacek Reginia-Zacharski – director of the Department of Foreign Policy Strategy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who discussed language as a tool in the struggle and competition in contemporary international relations. The importance of language promotion from the perspective of diplomatic missions was emphasised by Rafał Siemianowski, Polish ambassador in Belgium. In turn, linguistic diplomacy, the development in teaching Polish in various corners of the world, and the relation between the level of interest in learning Polish and the geographic region were discussed by Joanna Wajda, deputy director of the Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Agnieszka Skieterska, head of the Section of Programming and Analyses at the same department.
Moreover, the conference programme featured meetings with experts on Polish language teaching methods. Magdalena Smoleń-Wawrzusiszyn, Professor of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, held a lecture on Polish functional grammar. She made sure not to omit phenomena considered debatable or controversial in language teaching studies. She touched upon subjects such as drills, induction v deduction, and metalanguage.
Dr Agnieszka Jasińska from the Pedagogical University of Krakow talked about the correct approach to planning a Polish language course. Among other things, she pointed out the necessity to analyse the needs and set the goals of the course, choose the teaching method and prepare the curriculum, choose the textbooks, and finally accurately choose the tests, quizzes, and other forms of assessment.
Finally, Dr Marcin Karwowski proposed to employ gamification in foreign language teaching.
In addition, the NAWA beneficiaries attending the conference had the opportunity to visit Lublin and Kazimierz Dolny.