Local Children Learn the Benefits of Speaking a Different Language

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Words by Amillah Javed

Sharples School Science Specialist College pupils.
L-R Katy Partington, teacher Miss Collins, Valisha Patel, Sara Yucuf,
Rachael Essaid, Bethany Kally, Nadia Valli, Jake Smith, Jordan Ellis and language teacher Erika Frame

ON Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th December 2012 Manchester Metropolitan University introduced the Modern Foreign Language as an Option (MFLO) days which ware part of MMU’s Schools Outreach programme.
Enthusiastic and passionate year 8 and 9 students from local schools were given the opportunity to study and understand the benefits of a modern foreign language. The day revolved around four popular languages: French, Italian, Spanish and German and were presented using interactive resources.
Ivan Hay, the Widening Participation Assistant at MMU said “The overall day has been reflective of the attitude of students and schools that have come in over the three days. We had around ninety four students on the first day, seventy eight on the second day and eighty three students today from all over Greater Manchester. So a wide range of students were engaged from widening participation cohorts.”
Pupils Jake Smith, Jordan Ellis and Bryce Gormler brush up on their language skills

The schools that attended on Wednesday 19th December were Sharples School Science Specialist College from Bolton, Stockport Academy, Whalley Range High School and Manchester Academy. They had the opportunity to improve their language skills which they already study, taste a new language and engage in quizzes, competitions and games with a chance to win prizes at the end. They also received information regarding the benefits of studying a language at GCSE level and beyond from confident, university language ambassadors.

Lucy O’Grady, a Spanish Ambassador at MMU said “Apart from the free food I really enjoyed teaching enthusiastic and polite students who were engaged and ready to get involved in the sessions. I will definitely do it again if I got the opportunity. Although languages are not for everyone, the students still made an effort and took part.”

The MFLO days are targeted and designed for pupils in year 8 and 9 just before they decide their GCSE options so that they can experience and expand their knowledge of languages.

Jake Smith from Sharples Secondary School said “It was really, really fun today and I enjoyed the Italian speaking most of all because I have never done it before. I study German and Spanish at school and I will definitely attend another Taster day at MMU.” Valisha Patel from Sharples Secondary School added “I study Spanish at school but I really enjoyed the Italian speaking today.”

L-R, Sara Yucuf, Rachael Essaid, Valisha Patel and Katy Partington

Ivan Hay further said “The three days have gone smoothly and in 6 months’ time we will be looking forward to doing this again. Other events taking place later in the year include the creative writing events which will take place in the Z-arts Centre and Business Enterprise Day which is also very interactive. It’s been a good three days and we hope that we have inspired young students to consider languages at MMU in the future.
Our language ambassadors have also done well and the reputation of the event that Peter Riley of MMU has put together has definitely improved.”
These days are funded as part of MMU’s commitment to Widening Participation and so are targeted at schools in Greater Manchester where pupils do not traditionally progress to univeristy

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