THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
Language teachers from Selby College in Yorkshire and local schools got together to discuss how to motivate Year 8 pupils. They enlisted help and sponsorship from local businesses, the University of Hull and the University of York. The result was Eurofest, a simulated international trade fair with a foreign languages focus.
- to promote the use of modern foreign languages in a realistic business setting
With a view to increasing takeup of MFL at GCSE level
- to raise the profile of MFL in schools and the community
- to raise the career aspirations of younger learners
- to develop linguistic competence and confidence – speaking, listening and writing (giving information, selling products, writing down orders)
- to have fun communicating with adults in one or two foreign languages
- to develop business enterprise skills – design, marketing and sales skills
- to highlight the usefulness of language skills in business today
- to foster closer relationships between schools, college, universities and business.
A simulated 'trade fair' was organised at the local further education college so that students would be in a new common environment. Specially planned lessons were used across the five schools to enable the students to prepare the materials and language needed to 'sell' their respective products. The group with the best product was chosen to represent the school at the fair
On the day of the Eurofest fair, the selected groups 'sold' their products at their stands, answering questions from the various people from the local community attending. Buyers were represented by Business Language Champion company personnel, governors and parents and friends of Selby College and the Town Twinning Committee. Staff and students from Hull University, ‘Routes Into Languages’ programme provided additional input with a presentation and student mentors. This gave the secondary school students and their 'customers' a feel for the use of the languages in the real world. One of the teachers said "“Getting ready for Eurofest and making materials gave our 3 groups at Sherburn High a real buzz. 90 students of French and German were fully engaged in the activities and lessons were busy and students really engaged in their work. The 3 teams chosen to represent our school were really excited before and on the day. The day was also exciting and challenging, they all enjoyed it and it has given them a lot more confidence not only in using a language, but also in their general behaviour when working with others in the classsroom and at other events. An excellent event - so motivating and challenging for young linguists".
To help other schools carry out similar projects, a detailed pack was produced containing guidance and useful materials that could be used to set up a similar language fair and the preparations for it.
The project was innovative and involved students in both classroom work and an event outside the classroom, given them a chance to relate the languages to real life. For the community, few of whom had experience of foreign languages, it was a way of demystifying language learning.
The students and schools involved felt proud of the fact that their efforts had been recognised. They were also awarded the Euro London Appointments Business Language Prize. The Eurofest fair was repeated in following years.
Important acknowledgement for Selby College, which organised the event and for Routes into Languages, and encouragement to continue with such projects
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
European policy seeks to promote the learning of foreign languages and their practical use.
The priorities for the year 2008-20089 were 'intercultural dialogue' and 'languages for business. The project, especially the idea of the fair, fitted in very well with these priorities
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
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