When the first pilot-project began in summer 1998, the “hands-on” approach in language learning was not so common and I felt very soon interested to take into account the findings of researches and experiences related to the “second language acquisition“.
The original purpose of “English Learning” was thus widen to achieve other educational targets that are intimately connected with language learning, the most significant of which may be listed as “joy of learning“, “self-confidence“, “social inclusion“.
All those elements were -and are- considered intrinsically joined to language learning and as much necessary as the academic lessons, that we always provided at our best, engaging experienced and passionated teachers. This extended horizon led “English Learning” to be “Active”!
In summer 2007 the “Active English Learning” was established as activity-based programme for foreign students and became my full time commitment. The new setting continued to be hosted in Dartington at South Devon Steiner School, certainly inspired by my experience as class-teacher in Steiner schools in Milan.
Two years later a new teenager course was activated in Northern Ireland, hosted by the Holywood Rudolf Steiner school.
In recent years AEL had to face serious challenges following the departure of our dear Louise and the increasing uncertainty that permeate our lives.
In 2016 a complex crossroad was open in front of AEL when there was no longer any room for the AEL summer school in South Devon and the project had to be relocated at Steiner Academy Exeter, whose support in that critical moment has been vital for a successful restart!
In the same time a new interesting opportunity was activated in Plymouth, a programme for Young People – called “Art & Language”- supported by the Plymouth College of Art with its venues, facilities and human resources. It was one of my favourite setting, but there was a too small number of participants and the initiative had to close down the following year.
The intention and the agreement at Steiner Academy Exeter was to setup a long-lasting partnership that could have been beneficial for both, the school community and AEL. I committed myself to the success of the new partnership and the AEL summer school in Exeter grew rapidly, triplicating its students in three years.
When I began to believe that good things were happening, in summer 2018 the availability for the AEL summer school at Steiner Academy Exeter came suddenly to an end and I had no other choice than facing closure or searching new venues and a new partnership.
Now, at Christmas 2018, 33 years after embracing the Steiner education and being engaged in Steiner/Waldorf schools, although deeply sad for moving out of the Steiner/Waldorf environment, I am very pleased to start again a new language-educational venture in partnership with Exeter College that very kindly and friendly gave me this new opportunity! Fingers crossed… and keep always your hope alive!
Out of that first small attempt that started with eleven of my students in summer 1998, the Active English Learning project grew over the years not just in dimensions but in quality, experience, students care, developing its own identity based on constant efforts to provide high standards of academic teaching, creative environment, enjoyable experiences, social inclusion within the community hosting the courses. And this is the direction I am committed to lead and develop the Active English Learning project as far as necessary. And as far as I can ? (vr)
3rd December 2019
20th November 2019
21st October 2019