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Language Training - Immersion Course
Start date: 01 Jun 2016, End date: 31 May 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Dales Park School in Peterhead, Scotland is an Aberdeenshire Council primary school. We are beginning to look at how the Scottish Government 1+2 Language Learning initiative can be best planned out for their pupils from primary 1 onwards, and the language of French eventually embedded through the school as their L2 (1st language after mother tongue). As a large role in this, Claire Smith, a class teacher and language ambassador for the school wishes to take part in a mobility project provided by LFEE Europe - a week long immersion course in Lyon, France in October 2016. Claire, at present, has basic skills in French and is open to new ideas. She enjoys being creative and is enthusiastic about bringing the teaching of French forward at Dales Park.Taking part in the immersion course would primarily mean a deeper insight into French is gained which allows for staff confidence and competency to be boosted. Through preparation for and immersion in the language throughout the course, Claire would build upon her own French talking, listening and writing skills. Importantly, we wish for Claire to gain new ideas surrounding ideas and methodologies and resources to strengthen all of our class teacher's pedagogy in relation to regular, planned exposure to French throughout the school. As well as developing cultural awareness and gaining physical resources to take back to school on the course, Claire would also open up channels for communication between Scottish and French schools. We would also like the use of ICT to be integrated into this aspect of schools connecting, making use of e-resources, portals and eTwinning. In preparation and as part of the school's development plan for 1+2, Claire has already began attending methodology teaching French to young learners courses and trying out ideas with her infant class, has organised information sessions and meetings with school staff to feedback information and discuss the school's immediate next steps as well as up skilling her own French using apps and interactive resources. The class teachers are planning to begin trialling some of our already discussed strategies and resources within their classes gradually from now. Claire has planned to involve parents and the local community in the process of implementing 1+2 languages at Dales Park School. During the week long immersion course, Claire will partake in a number of language development classes, cultural trips, resource sharing/exchanging opportunities, language development day to day opportunities and visits to local French primary schools. On returning from the immersion course, Claire has planned to share her experiences with the local community - staff and pupils, as well as regionally in cluster groups throughout Aberdeenshire Council. Claire is planning to establish connections with French schools with her pupils immediately upon return, as well as organise sessions for other local participants of the course to evaluate and feedback what they've learned and tried. At Dales Park, we envisage that having an enthusiastic staff member take part in the immersion course will lead to a wealth of cultural knowledge and resources being gained surrounding the French language, therefore directly impacting on teaching and learning. Our own understanding of the language and greater cultural awareness will directly transfer to the pupils. Staff will have new, innovative ideas to try with the pupils and will be motivated to teach French embedded in other parts of the curriculum as their own language knowledge grows. Different active methods of teaching will be used and a direct source of information will be available through ICT connections and resources brought back from Lyon. Established links will keep the children motivated and their understanding of the general progression of all languages will be improved through progression in French. We will have a better understanding in the progression though oral French through to phonics and eventually writing. Pupils will enjoy French being a part of the school and will be motivated to talk to each other in the language, after joyfully recognising their own success in understanding French instructions and meaningful display words. The learning will be centered around the children and their interests which aids with engagement for all. Transition of language learning to secondary schools will be enhanced. Ultimately, learning French from an early will open up windows of opportunities for our children in modern Europe which may not be available to those with only one language. With an enthusiastic outlook on the learning of new languages in our school, we hope that the immersion course will give Claire the opportunity help deliver teaching in line with the 1+2 policy advocated by the Scottish Government and also respond to the economic and cultural needs of the pupils as well as their interests.
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