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Immersion Training in Modern Languages
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

We are a junior-high school based in Shetland teaching pupils aged five to sixteen. We sent three staff on a six-day language immersion training course in Spain (2) and France (1). This course is run by Language for Education Europe. Due to changes in national policy on modern languages and a rethink of our school's aims and objectives for Global Learning, we are examining how we teach primary school children modern languages. As part of our school and local authority's strategy for '1+2' implementation (whereby pupils must leave school having studied one first language plus two other modern languages), we plan to teach Spanish and French from primary school to qualification level. In order to do this effectively we need staff who are confident enough in these subjects and able to teach it to younger pupils than we have taught before. We have already begun working with the local authority to invest in resources to help staff with this such as Power Language but this immersion training increased our staff capacity to make the best of these resources. The aims of the course are were for the participant staff to gain language competency and improve their teaching skills. This course is helping the teachers embed languages as part of everyday school routine and opening up opportunities for promotion of global citizenship which is a key part of our curriculum. On return, our participant teachers are sharing their experience with the rest of our primary staff through CPD opportunities and events we have planned for the coming school year as well as publicising their experience and promoting our links and modern language teaching to the wider community through school newsletters and local media. The staff going on the mobility were chosen based on their engagement with global learning and modern languages and by the fact that they all teach at a range of primary classes and ages. They are all involved in modern language teaching already but in more informal or extra curricular ways such as language clubs and themed assemblies. We felt they needed more experience or ideas on how to integrate modern languages in other ways and into the curriculum. While the national policy makes this training more essential, this course is is also part of our school strategy for learning globally. We have set up a staff group on 'Global Learning' and have a Language Ambassador in place who is responsible for coordinating how we integrate the new national policy on modern languages. We are also looking at how to expand our international links. We are a UNICEF Rights respecting School and also Shetland's first Confucius Hub (which promotes Chinese culture and language). This demonstrates our passion for looking at the world around us, however we want to extend our links to increase the European dimension. Having already signed up for e-twinning, we are now speaking to a partner school from France and Spain so that this can compliment the immersion training and give a real context for learning to our pupils and staff.
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