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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Promoting Languages and Business Entrepreneurship in the Dragon’s Den

West Midlands

Coventry University’s Product Design Day in Japanese and Chinese.

On Tuesday 23 June 2009, Year 9 and 10 pupils from three West Midlands secondary schools visited Coventry University for an action packed Product Design Day of Languages and Business.

The pupils used their entrepreneurial skills to develop and market a product suitable for either the Japanese or the Chinese market. In the morning, the pupils spent time with their native-speaker teacher. They acquired some useful business language in either Japanese or Chinese. Most importantly, they learned about ‘how to do business’ successfully in their chosen country. In the afternoon, they worked in small groups to apply their new knowledge and cultural awareness to the design of their product. Finally, each group had to put together a presentation that - at the very end of the day – had to be delivered “Dragons Den style” to an invited business expert. A prize was awarded for the best presentation.

This was one of a series of schools events – fully funded by hefce’s Routes into Languages programme – designed to promote the take-up of Languages in HE, by supporting close collaboration between universities and local schools. At Coventry University, our work with schools has a major focus on enterprise: we have been able to give employment opportunities to many Coventry University language students and many of our schools events have had a strong business/enterprise focus.

The programme for this Product Design Day was jointly developed and delivered by staff from Languages and the Employability and Placements Unit (EPU):

Mie Hayakawa (Japanese teacher)
Tracey Holker (EPU);
Fei Li (Final Year Chinese student; BA English and Economics);
Janet Lewis (Routes into Languages at CU);
Kayleigh Blackstock (undergraduate on placement in the EPU);
Ken McWilliam (Languages Centre);
Hannah Steeples and Jade McGowan (undergraduates studying languages).