Language Linking Global Thinking
French and Spanish MA (Hons) student, Róisín MacFarlane, describes her involvement in SCILT’s Year Abroad schools initiative.
Róisín and three other students from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) recently attended a course with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) preparing both students and teachers for the Language Linking Global Thinking (LLGT) project.
In this article - her first as Web, Communications and Social Media Intern for LLC - she talks about the LLGT programme and explains why so many schools and students are getting involved.
What’s it all about
When my Course Organiser for Spanish Language asked me to participate in the LLGT programme, it immediately sounded like the type of initiative I would have really benefited from in school. The programme’s premise is to pair a student preparing for their Year Abroad with a Modern Language class in a Scottish school. The student blogs or films their experiences for the pupils throughout the year, with the aim of displaying the opportunities which come through studying a language, and increasing the uptake of the subject area in schools.
The course took us through the background of the programme and provided blog training, before we then heard some testimonies from students and schools that previously participated. We then had time to plan our content with our link teachers, looking at which topics to cover and planning language elements to incorporate.
It was interesting to hear the views of the primary and secondary teachers, who explained what worked and what interested their pupils the most. It was clear from their experiences that even just the prospect of a new voice in the classroom can significantly affect motivation and enthusiasm for language study.
A teacher’s perspective
My link teacher is Emma Caira, a French and Italian teacher from Montrose Academy in Angus. She spoke to me about the need for real life examples of students using their language skills, and why she was keen to participate in the programme.
“This experience will break down the walls of the classroom and will allow pupils to be ‘global citizens’, experiencing and exploring the country and language they are studying.”
The Year Abroad
The student testimonies made the benefits of the LLGT programme clear. Previous participants explained how special it was to have their blogs as a diary of their time away to look back on. They also explained how much more open the experience made them to trying new things, with the expectation of an exciting blog from eager school pupils encouraging them to get involved in the life of their new country. As I prepare for my semesters in the universities of Geneva and Valladolid, I will be on the lookout for new experiences for the third year pupils in Montrose to read about in their French classes!
Are you interested in studying languages at LLC?
We offer one of the widest range of languages of any UK university, including all six official languages of the United Nations, and eight of the languages of the European Union. We also offer an extensive range of joint degrees, for example, two languages, or a language with Business, International Business, Social Policy, Politics and more.
Róisín has taken up post as LLC’s Web, Communications and Social Media Intern for 12 weeks this summer through the University of Edinburgh’s Employ.ed on Campus programme. Run by the Careers Service, the annual programme is open to second, third or penultimate year undergraduates at Edinburgh.