Debrecen-based Antener Training Centre is a key player in the field of in-company language courses and various skills development training courses. They have considerable experience in projects, as they have successfully implemented Erasmus+ projects in the adult education sector for years. According to Tímea Piroska - the owner of the company, who also provides assistance to a number of language schools as an external consultant -, negotiation skills in a foreign language today require more than correct grammar - you also need to achieve the intended effect, whether it's convincing, enforcement of interests, selling something or conflict management, as it happens.
In-company language training, the peculiar hybrid
In short, what's the difference between in-company and traditional language courses?
Generally, the primary goal of traditional, public language courses is to get the participants from a given level of language skills to a higher one, which may as well be measured through a language exam. In-company language training, however, is a peculiar hybrid. Of course, it also seeks to provide participants a higher level of language proficiency, but here they also need to learn how to give better presentations, argue more effectively in a negotiation, how to formulate proposals and sometimes facilitate a discussion in the target language. Therefore, it's not simply about teaching them a given set of vocabulary and grammar, but we also need to improve 'soft skills'. Note that these courses are implemented as in-company courses, at company premises, often before office hours.
Do you need a different method to teach "students" of in-company courses?
We believe that first of all we need to reduce communication apprehension in the market of either traditional or in-company language training, so the participants can have the self-confidence to communicate. The Hungarian educational system today does not prepare language teachers to teach adults, let alone to be teachers, trainers and coaches at the same time, teaching not only language but also being capable of motivating and supporting adult students to acquire self-confident language skills. "Fluency in English" does not mean the same thing as, say, 15 years ago, either. What matters in this fast-paced world and a multicultural environment is not necessarily using grammatically correct and sophisticated sentences with well-chosen words, but to convey our message in a way that achieves the intended effect, whether it's convincing, enforcement of interests, selling something or conflict management, as it happens.
You have applied for funding for Erasmus+ adult education projects for several years. How have you benefited from it? Why did you need these projects in the first place?
We wanted to see how in other places these adult students are dealt with and how language is taught to this target group. Mobility programmes presented a great opportunity for that, as we could not only travel abroad and see the methods used by foreign training providers for ourselves, but we also gained new experiences in the field of teacher training, and last but not least, it was very motivating for our teachers to be able to join a one or two-week-long study trip. The process of application wasn't too complicated, either, and we received a lot of help from the staff of Tempus Public Foundation during implementation and closing, and that also reaffirmed us that we should submit an application every year.
So, due to the Erasmus+ projects, you can offer more both externally, to your partners and students, and internally, to your colleagues?
These foreign training courses definitely contribute to increasing our competitiveness. Our colleagues return home with fresh methodological tools, which they can integrate into their language courses; they also organise workshops for their peers and develop their own curricula. There is very little fluctuation in our teaching staff, which is also due to this opportunity.
Not least, a few times it even contributed to winning a tender or renewing a contract: our partners are aware that our teachers have foreign methodological training opportunities, and that the knowledge they gain is instantly integrated into their classes. We can work relying on the latest adult education methods, and use approaches in our classes which are unique in the market, whether it's creativity development, growth mindset, motivation, problem-based learning or a coaching mindset.
Last modified: 20-05-2020