Language Futures is an exciting, highly personalised and innovative approach to languages teaching and learning which aims to broaden languages provision. It has been designed to foster deep learner engagement and enable students to take responsibility for their own learning, which they are encouraged to extend beyond the classroom. Apart from language development, the approach encourages the development of a wide range of skills such as creativity, tenacity and the ability to carry out research and work both independently and in groups.
As part of the approach, students choose a language they wish to study, with several languages being learnt in any one classroom situation. The teacher is facilitator i.e. he/she sets up the learning but will not necessarily know all of the languages studied in the classroom. Pupils are supported in their language learning by mentors who are volunteers from the local community who support them in class. The school is the ‘base camp‘ i.e. it is not seen as the sole place of learning – pupils are encouraged to learn at home and in a variety of places. Finally, pupils design, plan and carry out extended projects which are designed to build knowledge and develop skills, to incorporate language learning and inter-cultural understanding and to connect learning to the real-world.
At Grainville School in Jersey, the Language Futures approach is going from strength to strength. The LF group meets every Thursday after school with pupils also undertaking language challenges and ideas to try at home. It is an entirely inclusive group with learners across Years 8-10 as well as teaching and non-teaching staff and has a waiting list to join the group in September. “I have been thrilled with how successful Language Futures has been as an extracurricular activity at Grainville this year. Never in my teaching career have I experienced such positive engagement from students and other staff towards learning languages. It has been very rewarding and I am looking forward to seeing how it continues to evolve next year” says Helen Poingdestre, Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Language Futures Coordinator.
Seven languages have been offered this year at Grainville with mentors drawn from across the local community including student and parent mentors. ”Having the opportunity to learn any number of languages, including Mandarin, is one that many adults wish they could have had at school. Our students have flourished and not only developed their knowledge and love of language, but also their confidence since Language Futures began ” says Susan Morris, Headteacher, Grainville School.
For further information on the Language Futures approach at Grainville School, please email LanguageFutures@grainville.sch.je
If your school would like to launch the approach, please contact the Language Futures Project Manager Clodagh Cooney by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org