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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Going Global - 19th January 2010

Yorkshire and the Humber

Going Global - 19th January 2010

Gifted and Talented event for GCSE/AS students

Over 100 secondary pupils from all over Yorkshire and the Humber descended on the Modern Languages Department at the University of Hull to “Go Global” on January 19.

The event had been arranged by Routes into Languages and included sessions in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Russian.

Dr Marina Mozzon-McPherson, Director of Routes into Languages Yorkshire and the Humber, welcomed students and spoke about the vital role modern languages can play in career, life and international aspiration. Her emphasis was on how modern languages can add to international understanding and study whichever field the student decides to concentrate on. Modern languages are a route into a richer and more fulfilling global existence.

Tony Meech, Senior Lecturer in Drama, was the guest speaker and his topic “How I survived irregular verbs and made a career in translation for performance” challenged young people to look at the how the impact of words, good memories of studying a subject and passion in a subject can accompany us for life.

Dr Meech delighted students with a brief biography charting the highs and lows of life as a university language student and how that led onto a varied career in drama lecturing and working in translation and dramaturgy for the National Theatre in London. There were amusing and serious digressions in East Germany along the way.

Dr Meech explained that he translates stage drama texts for English audiences, but a text is always best appreciated in its original language wherever possible. Languages have a vital role to play in the appreciation of international drama. “My knowledge of German has allowed me to experience performances in German theatres, to read texts which have not been translated and to access writers and theatre practitioners who would not have given interviews in English.” he said.

Later the students divided into groups and went into language sessions with a university tutor and student ambassador. There were 14 ambassadors on hand and the students interacted well with them. The ambassadors were international – a vital mixture of native German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and also 4th year English students, as well as students from the Department of Modern Languages. Mary in Year 11 said of the ambassadors: “I loved talking to the Ambassadors that study different languages and the people who came from Italy, Spain, France and Germany. They were so lovely and fun to talk to.”

Ruth Sadler, student ambassador, said : “At school I was always very motivated towards languages - but a day like this would have been useful. It helps to open people’s eyes to other languages available other than the obvious. A Going Global day is a fantastic way of getting students interested in languages. The seminars were fun and people seemed to enjoy them.”

Pupils took part in revision sessions in French, German and Spanish and then chose a taster session in another language. Teachers met separately to discuss the role of Routes and to see the new Routes video “Now You’re Talking.”

During the lunch break pupils were shown the campus, including the Student Union, library and the Language Learning Centre by the student ambassadors. In the afternoon there were further revision sessions in French and German GCSE topic work (Partons en Vacances and Das sinkende Schiff). These were enthusiastically taken up as well as taster sessions in Italian, Japanese and Chinese.

At the end of the afternoon, Dr Marina Mozzon-McPherson talked to the group as a whole about careers which involved languages as well as opportunities to use MFL in the 2012 Olympics. Dr Mozzon-McPherson commented: “The enthusiasm which young people have for learning modern languages and taking their place in our global future was very apparent today. Routes into Languages exists to help these young people access first class, modern language learning and make sure that it is successful and exciting for them. We are planning many more days like this in the future.”

Comments by pupils and teachers at the end of the day were extremely enthusiastic and many expressed the hope that there would be further sessions of this type. “They are great for seeing how languages work and they also help with the nitty gritty of revision,” said one pupil.

Nathan, Year 10, said of the French GCSE session: “The French lesson was challenging, as we learned new vocabulary and improved skills.” The students were equally enthusiastic about the language taster sessions. Of the Chinese session Baris in Year 10 said: “It was amazing. I learnt a new language which means a totally new world!” Charlotte Bauer,Year 11, also commented: “ It was interesting and I learnt some Chinese. It has also improved my attitude to languages and my interest in studying a language at higher education has grown.”

Another Going Global event is taking place on 24th March 2010 at the University of Hull.