The essence of the bilingual education approach is that learning results not only in foreign language skills as such, but also serves as a method to help convey the content of the subject and develop important key competencies as well as professional expertise.
Bilingual education is carried out at Alytus Vocational Training Centre (APRC, Alytaus profesinio rengimo centras), combining training in Lithuanian and French for bartenders, hotel workers and cooks.
Analysis of literature, presentation of ideas in French and communication with an international dimension enables students not only to learn French proficiently, but also to get acquainted with production and services technologies from foreign countries. The graduates of APRC who can master French have wider perspectives for further studies and a professional career in Lithuania and abroad. In addition, bilingual education is positive for the pedagogical environment of the school, promotes the diversity of methods applied and ensures constant progress.
Bilingual training builds up on the enthusiasm of the school community and on its international relations. The teachers have been involved in various dissemination seminars and conferences on bilingual education since 2007; the school has been visited by representatives from International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF). In 2009, a cooperation with Capital City Hotel School of Quebec (l'École hôtelière de la Capitale à Québec) was started and in 2010 representatives of APRC visited the Quebec school on the invitation of OIF. Later this year internship for one teacher from Quebec was organised in Alytus, and it is foreseen to organise a professional internship for APRC teachers in the Quebec service sector in 2010-2011. Two weeks’ internships will combine practical training, theory courses, visits to enterprises, consultations with teachers and analysis of training materials.
The school community is constantly and actively looking for new possibilities for developing bilingual education. For example, it responded to the invitation of the Ministry of Education and Science and the French Embassy to participate in the project ‘Classes Emile en Lituanie - Content and Language Integrated Learning’. After a written agreement with the French Culture Centre in 2009, students are offered a modern learning method involving content and French language integrated learning (CLILL). This method provides students with the possibility to achieve a high level of language competence and opens up to Francophone culture. The French Culture Centre has undertaken to provide linguistic (300 hours of French language courses over three years and three intensive internships for teachers in France) and didactic support for teachers training, to supply with the necessary methodological material and to assist in search for partners in French training institutions. The support from the Education Exchanges Support Foundation offered an opportunity to receive an assistant from France from September 2010, which will help to strengthen the European dimension at the institution and to implement CLIL.