Monday, 11 July 2011

#LW2011 Alex Blagona and Oscar Stewart Going global – Suffolk Enrichment Project

Alex and Oscar talked about a project that has been running successfully in their school with gifted KS4 pupils. The reasons for starting the project were:
• A need to raise the profile of languages and the project that they came up with.
• Opportunity to be more creative
• Raise awareness of global issues
• Promote language uptake at A level
• Real purpose rather than the exam

So what was it?
• 50 best language students in Suffolk (from 18 different schools)
• Apply for the opportunity to take part in project
• Away from GCSE topics, develop ICT skills
• Work effectively with other pupils from other schools in small teams
• Produce a product for other learners

• Letters to schools in September
• Application letters in TL by mid-November, endorsed by their own teacher
• Twilight workshop in December, one Saturday in February and one in March
• Project finished by the end of March

o Project coordinators and 6 tutors (2 per language) as facilitators
o FLAs help
o Cost £4000 (which was recouped)
• In the first session twilight session, pupils go into their language groups
o Introduction to the actual project. Give them a free choice in terms of their final product, or a choice of topic areas
o Within their groups, pupils have to research and produce a resource for other pupils based around a global topic of their choice
o Use new language which extends their knowledge
o Be creative, imaginative and productive
o Work collaboratively

Saturday workshops
o Imperative that they have chosen their projects
o Choice and range of projects
o Guiding and not teaching the students
o Use of ICT – camcorders, laptops, etc
o Creativity /imagination vs accuracy
o Internet, dictionaries, A level textbooks
o FLAs warned not to translate all

Pupils need to have an interest and enthusiasm for the topic; they need to be keen and motivated. Possible topics include:
o Racism and discrimination
o Fashion
o Role of the media
o Recycling
o Alternative energy
o Terrorism
o Child labour
o Cyberbullying
o Newspaper articles
o Video – documentary, drama, party political broadcast, soap opera, news broadcasts
o Radio play
o Interactive ppts/prezis
o Magazines
o Fashion show
o Websites

The gap between the twilight session and workshops 1 and 2 is to allow them to communicate and make stuff if they want to.

Role of the tutors
o Support the students
o Monitor the online element between sessions
o Offer linguistic advice and guidance – Oscar explained that this can be the trickiest bit, as you need to not spoon-feed. Steer them towards topics where they can find the language themselves.

How does this help the students?
o Working with pupils of similar ability
o Above GCSE level language
o Dealing with the unknown – language and people
o Teaches deadlines, working with others, etc

Online element
o Messageboard
o Wikis
o Blogs
o Facebook group – to meet online before they meet in real life

o A large majority go on to A level
o Dual linguist uptake increased
o Raised school profile

How to run it
o In school as an enrichment project
o Locally with partner and local schools
o Potentially expensive but costs are recouped through increased numbers coming to school for A level
o PGCE students as tutors

This was a brilliant session, superbly presented in a comfortable style and in a logical manner, making it all seem very manageable as a potential project for any school. Check out Alex's blog here

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