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Simulation Exercise, Exercise, Energiser, Manual, Ice-breaker, Group Building Activity, Name Game/Get to know each other, Boardgame

Non Formal methods for no-common-language contexts

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This material contains non-formal methods that you can use when language is a barrier, when you have groups that do not speak a common language.
A product of the "Volunteers across Frontiers" EVS Project by CADDRU

Aims of the tool

This toolkit aims to offer tools to overcome the language barrier in youthwork.

This material contains non-formal methods that you can use when language is a barrier - when you have groups/participants that do not speak a common language properly or at all.

Description of the tool

C.A.D.D.R.U.- Assistance Center for Sustainable Development and Human Resources, together with 5 partners from Romania and China ( Chance for Life Romania, Student Organization from Arad, Bei Du Xing Social Center, Yang Ai Special ChildrenParent Club si Guangzhou Agape Social Center) organized between 1st of May and 3rd of June 2012 a volunteering project – „Volunteers across Frontiers” - with the goal of promoting volunteering and non- formal education as an instrument for overcoming linguistic barriers.

"Volunteers across Frontiers" was a project developed into the European Service of Volunteering ( EVS ), in the context of The Year of Cooperation E.U.-China.
The objectives of the project are the promotion of the values of volunteering and non-formal education in the purpose of international cooperation and of stimulating personal development of the volunteers by intercultural experiences and the development of solidarity and mutual understanding between youths.
The 10 volunteers with fewer opportunities, coming from different disadvantaged social groups (from rural areas, with economic, familial and health problems) worked with mixt group of youths and children with
poorer opportunities from China. The 10 volunteers and the group of beneficiaries weren't English speakers and they didn't use English, Chinese or Romanian as languages of communication neither interprets to facilitate communication. They developed methods of non-formal education that can be used in mediums where language is a barrier in communication.
The project, made with the aid of Youth in Action Programme of EU, is one of the first of this type in the European space and in the context of the EVS.

The games/ activities described in this brochure are inspired from manuals, T-kits, collection of texts, projects of different associations or organizations from Romania or Europe. Also, the brochure contains games/activities practiced for the very first time in this project. What we intended to do in Volunteers across Frontierswas to add a new learning objective to these already present and that is exceeding the barriers of communication, respectively of linguistics.
As it is described in the activity files, some games managed to pass these barriers and others less. One of the most used instruments in non-formal and informal education is the game.
There are manuals that describe the game as a pedagogic method and as one of the main instruments that sustains psycho-motric development of children and of youths. In accordance with these and adding the structure and the principles of non-formal/formal education, we propose a brochure with games that can be useful when we meet barriers of communication, principally linguistic barriers (the group we are working with talks another unknown language).
The games can be used also by educators, teachers and youth workers, socio-educative animators, volunteers, group leaders.Even though at the beginning, in Romania have been and still are attempts to propose this kind of activities to children and youths. The games proposed in this brochure have been already used in practice by participant volunteers in the project, they demonstrated their usefulness in real situations.

The activities proposed depended on:
 the socio- psycho-motric characteristics
of the working group
 space conditions
 the moments of the day
 the available resources


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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

This tool is for

Depending on the socio-psycho-motric characteristics:  activities for young people (age groups 4-13 and 13-30)  activities for people with disabilities  activities for small to large groups

and addresses

Group Dynamics, YOUTH in ACTION (YiA) programme, Intercultural Learning

It is recommended for use in:

Action 1.1 (Youth Exchanges)
Action 2 (European Voluntary Service)

Materials needed:

various - there are 55 tools in the toolkit, each requiring different materials


various - there are 55 tools in the toolkit, each with different timing

Behind the tool

The tool was created by

indoor and outdoor activities

in the context of


The tool has been experimented in

EVS project in China

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

C.A.D.D.R.U. The Assistance Centre for the Sustainable Development of Human Resources (on 22 October 2012)

and last modified

8 October 2012

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