The Covid Achievement Award Winner: Let's Communicate

24. 6. 2021

Irena Podlásková and Zaan Bester of the University of Pardubice won the Covid Achievement Award from the Czech and Slovak Association of Language Centres. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they recorded a total of 21 unorthodox learning and communication videos in English that appealed both to university students and the general public. In the project, called Let´s Communicate, Irena and Zaan address a number of social situations in a creative and fun way.

"The two colleagues managed to respond to the existing situation very quickly, and approached the English language in a creative and original way. The videos appeal not only to students, but also to fellow colleagues who have regularly watched the videos on social media. The good thing is that the videos were produced on a regular basis," says Ing. Andrea Koblížková, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for External Affairs of the University of Pardubice.

The videos prepared by MPhil. Zaan Bester and Mgr. Irena Podlásková of the University’s Language Centre were recognised by an international jury and won the Covid Achievement Award in the field of student support. In addition to teaching, Zaan and Irena cooperate with the Promotion and External Affairs Unit and the University Conference Centre to prepare the series of videos, which features guests from the University campus and deals with unexpected situations. The videos of 3 minutes address vocabulary and situations that have appeared in communication and language use during the period of online teaching and working from home, as well as topical issues brought about by the pandemic.

"The initial trigger to create the videos was indeed the pandemic. However, the enthusiasm for fun and relaxed communication remains. So far we have not run out of inspiration or ideas. And the feedback we receive from students and teachers keeps us going. We use language to introduce a variety of topics and university sites, as well as students and teachers outside the classroom. It is both work and great fun," says Irena Podlásková, one of the creators.

The videos make the teaching process more fun for Czech students. However, they also help integrate foreign university students, who arrived at the University of Pardubice in difficult times and had to get acquainted with the new environment, culture and adapt to them. You can watch all episodes of Let’s Communicate on YouTube.

The Covid Achievement Award was announced by the Board of the Czech and Slovak Association of Language Centres. Since the Association has always embraced linguistic diversity, the Award also covered projects in a number of languages. Specifically, projects in Czech, Slovak or English were eligible or the Award.

Ondrej Srb
Promotion and External Affairs