New course addresses challenges of primary language learning

Group discussing work
Group discussing work

16th November 2010

 A unique new course supported by Links into Languages West Midlands, which is based at Aston University, will help prepare primary school teachers for the introduction of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) to the curriculum.

Since 2010, the year of Primary Entitlement, all children in Key Stage 2 have the right to learn a foreign language. However, many primary teachers lack the skills to deliver MFL.

The innovative virtual learning course at the University of Worcester consists of a blend of face-face and online teaching. Through the use of a ‘virtual classroom’ participants will be able to see, talk and text chat to the tutor and other members of the class.

Course leader Judy Barker said: ‘The course has been designed to support the development of language upskilling for primary teachers and teaching assistants in order to move them from beginners to intermediate and in some cases advanced.

‘It aims to help teachers gain confidence and improve their use of target language in the classroom, enabling them to be more independent and experimental in using the language, which in turn helps pupils learn and become more confident themselves.’

Eleven primary school teachers from across the West Midlands are the first to sign up to the University’s French upskilling course. Most have been funded on the course by Links into Languages (which is funded by the Department for Education), and Worcestershire County Council.

Laura Flavell, who is a teacher at Wood Green Junior School in Wednesbury, said: ‘I’m hoping that the course will help me to improve my French and give me more confidence to teach it in the classroom.

‘The fact that the course is virtual learning is also an added bonus for me as I don’t have time after school to travel to a class. This way I can do it from home or from school.’

Although the course is mainly aimed at primary school teachers, it is equally valid for teaching assistants or other suitably qualified adults. No special software is required, although participants will need access to a computer with an internet connection, a headset and microphone; webcams can also be used but are not compulsory. The fee per course is £250 for 30 contact hours.

For more information please contact Judy Barker at j.barker@worc.ac.uk or 01905 855492 or visit www.worc.ac.uk/languagesonline


For further press information please contact Satu Raitala-Hird at s.raitala@aston.ac.uk.


Notes to Editors

1.    Links into Languages is commissioned and funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

2.    Links into Languages is a consortium led by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS), in partnership with the Association for Language Learning (ALL) and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT).

3.    Links Regional Centres are a nationally co-coordinated network of support centres based in universities, in each of the nine English regions, supported by a network of 100 Links Local Centres offering training and drop-in facilities for meetings, networking and access to resources. The regional centre for the West Midlands is at Aston University, Birmingham. Visit www.linksintolanguages.ac.uk for further information about the scheme.