By Clare Forder, Project Manager of Routes South-East
On April 17th 2015, over 160 year 7 students from 44 schools across the South East came together at the University of Brighton for the annual Routes into Languages South Spelling Bee regional final. Part of a national initiative to enthuse and motivate young language learners, the Spelling Bee encourages students to learn up to 200 words in either French, Spanish or German.
With the regional final in Brighton one of the largest in the country, students were understandably apprehensive as they stepped forward to take their turn in the spotlight. However, their efforts certainly paid off, with the standard of this year’s entrants higher than ever before. Students wowed the audience with their pronunciation and spelling, impressing even the native speaker judges presiding over the competition. Carmen Broadbridge, lecturer in Spanish and French at the University of Brighton, said, “I am very impressed by the level of spelling these young students are capable of”. Student ambassador, Emily Rowe, said “they are only 11 or 12 years old but so confident in the target language”.
Feedback from participating students certainly highlights their enjoyment of the event. For many, this was their first visit to a university campus, so although some were nervous at the beginning, they explained how they had had fun learning all the new words and found the whole experience of the competition exciting. Routes South project manager and competition organiser, Clare Forder, said, “it’s wonderful to see so many new language learners taking part in this competition. I am already looking forward to next year!”.
A strong team of spellers will now represent the South East in all three languages at the national final at Anglia Ruskin University on July 3rd. One student, Poppy Wehrle (Cokethorpe School) will even compete in both the French and Spanish finals.
If you are interested in taking part in next year’s Foreign Language Spelling Bee, please contact Clare Forder at the University of Brighton for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org.