THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The Suffolk Hotel modern foreign languages (MFL) Work Related Learning Project is the result of a Suffolk Inclusive School Improvement Service initiative involving Suffolk MFL teachers and students, advisory staff, and the manager and staff of the Novotel, Ipswich and the Ramada Hotel, Bury St Edmunds in the East of England.
This is a unit of work for use in Key Stage 4 (age 14-16) which is based around a vocational context. It has been designed to fit in with a number of different qualifications, including the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), OCR’s Certificate in Business Language Competence, National Vocational Qualifications and Asset Languages.
- Many schools are beginning to implement alternatives to GCSE for MFL in Key Stage 4.
Within the MFL GCSE, there is scope for work related learning which may not be exploited.
- There is a need to ensure that teaching and learning at Key Stage 4 is not merely “more of the same” in a different context.
- Many of the work related learning MFL resources currently available focus on lower attaining pupils. The aim was to aim higher.
Other vocational subject areas work on locally based case studies, and pupils find this motivating. So the aim is to give MFL students the same stimulus
The project aims to provide a local and authentic context for language learning. The Service has created a work-related learning resource for Key Stage 4 which caters for a range of abilities and is based around the hotel business, relating language learning more closely to vocational needs.
The project incorporates some key features related to personalising learning:
• thinking skills and problem solving
• group and team work
• peer and self assessment
• reflection and learning to learn
• communication skills
Following trials and evaluation the materials, available on CD Rom with teacher and student workbooks, have been issued to all secondary schools with post-14 students in Suffolk. Students feel motivated by the project activities and enjoy having to find things out for themselves by scanning websites to look for new vocabulary, and by working out new language from what they hear.
The students, who work at their own pace, have seen improvement in their listening and pronunciation skills and have greater confidence in understanding frequently used.
The project has been greatly enhanced by the involvement of hotels in the design of content and in providing work experience for students. It is innovative in its flexibility of application, its focus on a particular vocational sector (but without narrowing its appeal), and in its involvement of local hotel chains. This project also receives the German Embassy Language Prize.
Information not available
The service and schools involved were proud to have been awarded the ELL and the German Embassy prize. These enhanced the profile and reputation of the project.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The project is consistent with EU policy in encouraging the learning of foreign languages for vocational purposes and increasing the mobility of young people. Multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the educational, professional and economic opportunities created by an integrated Europe.
The second priority for the 2008-2009 ELL campaign was 'languages and business'. This priority targets noteworthy examples of co-operation between language
course providers and enterprises; services and tools offered to cover the language
needs of enterprises or awareness raising of the role of languages in business. This project was an excellent example of a response to this priority
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
The project was innovative and encourages other education authorities to seek similar collaboration with local businesses such as hotels.
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