THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
• DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTEXT AND OF THE NEEDS THE INITIATIVE RESPONDS TO:
We believe that language provides a fundamental bridge between communities. A focus on a wide range of languages - as many of the 124 currently spoken by Hampshire children as possible - helps build understanding about the children who use language(s) other than their own.
• REASONS FOR SELECTING THE SPECIFIC THEMATIC AREA, TARGET GROUP AND TARGET LANGUAGE(S):
We chose the theme of the Olympic Games with a view to use their legacy to enthuse children and young people about languages. The tasters can be taught in any language, however, they were initially delivered in languages chosen by participating schools. These were normally the languages spoken by the pupils at the schools and comprised of Nepali, Polish, Bengali, Chinese plus others. We were also interested in the longer term legacy of the Olympics and their values, and their positive association with languages
The project’s purpose is to inspire pupils to welcome the world during the London Olympic Games through the teaching of languages spoken and understood by children in Hampshire but rarerly included within schools’ curriculum.
• APPROACH ADOPTED IN THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INITIATIVE:
Amy Walpole was the project co-ordinator who publicised the project, contacted schools, sourced and recruited tutors, organised tutors training, invited schools for an informative meeting, arranged lesson timetables, co-ordinated project evaluation and oversaw the overall budget.
Astrid Gouwy planned the content of the language tasters and trained bilingual colleagues to deliver them in Primary schools. Preparatory materials were also shared with schools to work on the Olympic values which are referred to in each tasters – a champion is nominated at the end of each taster.
• PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND APPROACH ADOPTED - IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THIS:
We listed 14 different languages and managed to offer schools one of their first two choices. This approach encouraged school’s participation, however, it also created difficulties in tutors’ deployment as one or two languages appeared to be the most popular languages among schools.
• STRATEGIES USED FOR FOSTERING LEARNER MOTIVATION:
Language tasters lesson plans and materials were carefully planned using fun interactive activities. Sessions were pacy, did not last for more than 30 minutes and ended with the nomination of a champion.
• SYSTEM OF PROJECT EVALUATION USED:
The University of Southampton observed a taster and provided feedback.
Children completed a questionnaire at the end of the six-week programme.
• OUTCOMES AND ‘DELIVERABLES’ PRODUCED:
The language tasters were delivered in 24 Hampshire schools. For each language, 6 tasters were delivered. This created a heightened interest in languages as well as raising the profile and self esteem of bilingual children within each school.
• CONSISTENCY OF THE OUTCOMES WITH INITIAL PLANS AND WITH THE EXPECTATION OF THE END USERS:
The outcomes met the expectations as only a couple of schools eventually decided not to take part.
• MOTIVATIONS LEADING TO THE APPLICATION FOR THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE LABEL:
We were encouraged to apply by Amy Thomson who was then Adviser for Minority Ethnic Achievement for Medway. We hadn’t heard of the award and were keen for the initiative to be recognised.
• PROCEDURE USED FOR APPLYING FOR THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE LABEL:
Application form as described on website with visit from judge panel
Hampshire EMTAS World Languages Conference – a linguistic Olympiad: the aim of this event was for gifted linguists in secondary schools to not only take part in language tasters but also to learn how to deliver their own in the language of their choice to pupils in Primary schools after the conference. 20 secondary schools took part in these conferences and there have been some great follow up activities including creation of a blog and inclusion in newsletters for parents and governors.
•BENEFITS FOR THE INITIATIVE AND THE ORGANISATION(S) INVOLVED OF HAVING BEEN AWARDED THE ELL:
National recognition from an organisation which is well by languages specialists
• IMPACT OF THE INITIATIVE FOLLOWING THE AWARD OF THE ELL:
Publishing the materials for schools to deliver their own language tasters.
• CONSISTENCY OF THE IMPACT WITH INITIAL EXPECTATIONS:
We certainly never anticipated the initiative would receive a national award and would be brought in by other schools when we first set up it up!
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
"EU language policies aim to protect linguistic diversity and promote knowledge of languages – for reasons of cultural identity and social integration, but also because multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the educational, professional and economic opportunities created by an integrated Europe. The goal is a Europe where everyone can speak at least two other languages in addition to their own mother tongue". This project was clearly in line with these policies, especially as it was aimed at primary schools in a community where so many home language are spoken other than English. For children who only spoke one or two languages it offered an experience of others in connection with a very motivating topic, making it more likely that children would pursue foreign languages right up to leaving secondary school (which they are not obliged to in the UK).
EU priorities for 2010-2011 were: a)language learning in the community and b) language skills as preparation for work. This project focused on many community languages and is clearly in line with the first priority. Although prinary school is early to prepare for working life the Olympic games topic indicated to children just how useful languages can be in certain kinds of work.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
EAL19 PRIMARY COMMUNITY LANGUAGE TASTERS: 1 The quality of the support for teachers (excellent teacher pack). 2 Harnessing the talents of bilingual assistants and training them in collaboration with the MFL advisory team. 3 The enthusiasm of the learners. EAL23 HAMPSHIRE YOUNG INTERPRETER SCHEME: 1 The status it gives to other languages within a school, and the way languages are embedded in the school ethos. 2 The young interpreters performed a role which was beneficial both to the children they helped and to themselves. 3 The training and interpreter pack is well structured and - like all the materials from this source - very attractively produced and presented.
HOW DOES THE PROJECT MEET THE JUDGING CRITERIA?
EAL 19 is innovative in its use of the forthcoming Olympics as the focus for introducing children to the language, culture and geography of other countries. It is readily replicable via the training pack. It is effective in sensitizing young learners to linguistic variety.
EAL23 is innovative in that it celebrates and builds on the language resources of individual children from other language communities, and gives them a key role and status within the school community. It is readily replicable thanks to its excellent training and resource pack. Its effectiveness is evident from the experience of the both the schools and the young interpreters.
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