First Comenius conference at Anglia Ruskin leads the way

Published: 4 December 2006 at 11:02

With 2010, and an entitlement for all Primary Schools to include at least one foreign language in the curriculum, Chantale Darke, the Manager of Comenius East (the regional arm of CILT, The National Centre for Languages) has taken the lead in providing a spectacular programme of events to offer examples of best practice to Primary School teachers in the region.

Part of this programme was the highly successful conference, ‘Language Matters for every Child held this week at Anglia Ruskin University, where the Comenius East Centre is based. Delegates attended workshops including Writing Songs to match your curriculum, Storytelling through another language, Easy to Use Resources for Getting Started, Embedding Languages throughout the day and Learning a new language through acting out stories. They left armed with a plethora of creative ideas to use in the classroom. In one of the conference breakout sessions they heard about the imaginative project run by Rebecca Smith, International Links Officer  at Bedfordshire County Council, whereby around 250 8 and 9-year-olds per year spend 5 to 6 days immersing themselves in French life, and all the rich language work used in class on a daily basis before and after the trip.

Chantale Darke said:

“It was a real pleasure that this first conference,  led by all the Modern Foreign Languages KS2 Advisers of the Eastern Region drew delegates from the four corners of East Anglia ranging from deepest Essex to most northerly Norfolk. We welcomed them all to Cambridge and made the most of the sharing and networking opportunities this offered.”

Sarah Schechter, Director of Languages Enterprise within the Department of Languages and Intercultural Communication at Anglia Ruskin University added:

“Many schools are putting their heads in the sand and not dealing with the fact that within a few years languages will need to be part of the curriculum. The conference was a wonderful showcase of how much can be done by those who are keen to adopt the changes and how much the children’s education is enhanced by the opportunity to engage with the language and culture of other countries.”

The Conference was pronounced a huge success by all the participants, many of whom expressed the hope that it would became an annual event in the Comenius/Anglia Ruskin University calendar.