Linking the community through language
Belfast High School together with its partner schools and the wider community were able to experience the enjoyment and fulfilment of language learning and related skills and to put these into practice in a recreated French village. Active participation and interaction at the village highlighted the importance of language learning and team work. Primary school pupils, post-primary (secondary) pupils and senior citizens came together and used their knowledge of the language to contribute to the event. On the day, visitors from partner schools and older members of the local community each received a passport which they had to fill with stickers once they had completed a task in French. Different subject departments worked together in planning the event and in helping their pupils to acquire the skills and language they would need to welcome their visitors and to play an active role in the operation of the village. Programmes of lessons were devised both for Belfast High School pupils and for their visitors from partner schools. Older members of the community were offered the opportunity to participate in a language club prior to visiting the village. Two successful ‘French villages’ were followed by a ‘German Christmas market’ and, this summer, by a ‘Spanish fiesta’. Pupils in all year groups took part in the three events. Eighteen primary schools have now participated in the programme, initially welcoming teachers from Belfast High to teach the specially devised programme of lessons, and then running training sessions for primary teachers to take the lessons themselves. A language hub has been launched on the Belfast High School VLE, where primary school staff can access materials. Older community members have requested a more active role in the next event. Within Belfast High School, the number of departments involved has increased each year, and their contribution has become ever more innovative and creative.
Consistency with the European policies in the field of language learning