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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Learning languages in context

Across the YH consortium the eight partner Universities are working closely to deliver and develop events and activities that teach languages through a different medium, be it through film, sport, business and so on. Some of the events which have been running over a number of years and are embedded in the ‘languages in context’ theme are as follows:

  • Languages Film School (Sheffield Hallam University) Over the course of 3 days Year 12 students use their language skills to shoot, produce and edit short films in a foreign language
  • Eurofest (University of Hull) Developed in 2009 with Selby College and local North Yorkshire Schools, Eurofest is an established annual business simulation event for Year 8 pupils, in which they create a trade stand and ‘sell’ their product in a foreign language to buyers
  • Linguastars Residential (University of Leeds) For Year 12 students, a cultural theme, such as last year’s Tour de France, forms the basis of 2 days of workshops/sessions focusing on language, world cinema, linguistics and interpreting

Each University also works hard to create taylor-made events to tie-in with current cultural happenings in the news, such as Language Days at Leeds University centred on the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics. Hull University delivered Portuguese taster sessions with a 2014 World Cup theme and also devised a new event focusing on gaming using the online fantasy game ‘RuneScape’ and Leeds Beckett held a Don Quixote film event.

Last year the University of York developed a brand new competition/quiz to link in with the Tour de France named Le Tour de France Virtuel, which delivered a sustained programme of quizzes and challenges over two months, culminating in a prize-giving event for pupils in Years 8-10. In delivering a series of challenges and tasks over the medium of the internet it links in with Yorkshire’s ‘Languages in Context’ theme.

Building on the success of last year’s initiative, and to celebrate the Spanish language and the Spanish-speaking world, this year York are running another quiz over the course of 7 weeks (27th April – 19th June) to be hosted on a blog and will explore the culture, geography and history of Spain, Mexico, Guatamala, Cuba, Argentina and Peru respectively through questions, fact-finding missions and creative tasks. To celebrate the end of the quiz, there will be a day of Spanish language activities and a prize-giving ceremony in early July.

‘Languages in Context’ resource development:

Currently in development and planning by the University of Hull is a brand new sustainable resource to be used by teachers to provide them with the information needed to plan ‘languages in context’ activities and projects in their own schools. The exact content and format of the resource is still under discussion and more details will follow shortly. A mini project with WP schools off the back of this resource is also in discussion.