I'm a very proud individual this evening. Today has been languages in action. Not high-flying linguists, but 11 teams of 6 x year 9 students. Not your A* kind of student, either, but the kind of student who would consider themselves, on the whole, to be fairly low-achieving. Lots of future D-C borderline cases.
But today they were linguists. And boy did they feel proud when they completed their 2 challenges!
OK, a bit of background so you can understand my exhausted whitterings...
The event was run at the real St James' Park- Exeter City FC's football ground. Each team was provided with 2 iPads to work on, loaded with apps and photos from around the city.
They were then given the following briefing:
- They were to create a 2 minute video to convince a French striker to sign for Exeter on a free transfer instead of opting for Leyton Orient or York. The stiker was a 26 year old with 3 small children (aged 7, 5 and 2). In French.
- They also had to create a 3 minute "pitch" to deliver in front of the other students this afternoon- ideally without notes. Obviously, in French. (See where we were going there, language teachers...?)
Students were spoken to about HOW to construct a brief presentation and then how to deliver it, really focusing on strategies that we wanted them to be able to take forward into their GCSE studies and preparation for the dreaded Controlled Assessments. Well, this event, on the whole, was designed to show them that languages can be dynamic and creative, as well as being truly real world. How much more real world can you get- the day included an opening video from a close friend of mine, Dave Stowell, a commentator for MUTV, on why learn a language. Gotta love him- and the teams sure did! (see my other post this evening about the wonder that is Mr Stowell). We also had a camera pop in from ITV (off to watch us on the Westcountry news in a mo!), again reinorcing the message that what they were doing was innovative and, more pressingly, really quite important.
It proved fascinating watchign the teams generally faff for the first hour or so of their 3 hour preparation window. They strolled around the stands, ate crisps and didn't really work that efficiently. On the whole, anyway, I won't generalise TOO much. For the last hour boy oh boy did they graft. And with the help of a basic vocab support mat they generally came up with some really good efforts for their knowledge levels.
We gave a prize today to the team (St Peter's in Exeter) who proved the most persuasive this afternoon. But the main prize will not be awarded for another week...
The students have 1 week, until 12 midday next Wednesday (2nd October) to drive as much traffic as possible to their own videos on the blog www.europeandayoflanguages2013.wordpress.com. So please, please get behind them- the more views they achieve the more impact the project will have on their future motivation, demonstrating to them that languages really can have a purpose in their lives!
The teams also completed a pre-challenge and post-challenge Google Form to gauge attitudes towards languages. If I come up with any interesting stats from that when I manage to analyse them in the morning then I will of course share them with you!
Boy oh boy what a fantastic day we had- it not only left me buzzing, but I had students come up to me from all over the room at the end of the day to thank me for an amazing experience- powerful words that made the work on the day and prior most definitely worthwhile. Today was a day that some of those kids will remember for a long, long time, and I sure am proud to have been part of it.