Positively encouraging the next generation of linguists

Published: 21 October 2008 at 12:07

University consortium is seeing results from the Routes into Languages programme.

The first year of Routes into Languages (East) with funding from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has shown a healthy increase in the uptake of languages according to language experts.

Consortium partners Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge, University of Bedfordshire and The Open University have all reported positive results from the programme. The University colleagues are successfully collaborating on a number of exciting initiatives to open up opportunities for language learning. Examples include all generations.  At the University of Bedfordshire, business men and women are learning the intricacies of business language and culture alongside undergraduate students.  Anglia Ruskin University celebrated the annual European Day of Languages last month, with well over 100 students using media, video, Power Point and live performance to showcase French and German in use. While participants from across Cambridgeshire also enjoyed taster sessions in Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese, the Caribbean language of music and dance, Spanish, Finnish, Hindi, Polish and Japanese.

Sarah Schechter, Director of Languages Enterprise at the Department of Languages & Intercultural Communication, at Anglia Ruskin University said:

"The energy from the young people attending these events alone clearly demonstrates the growing enthusiasm for languages within the county. We need to nurture language learners from an early age and we are doing this, and more, through the roll out of the Routes to Languages programme."

The University of Cambridge Language Centre is making university language teaching accessible to an increasing number of schools across the Eastern region. Through their established Junior Cambridge University Language Programme (Junior CULP) many secondary students have already enjoyed learning a language through a combination of face to face and online teaching methods.

Routes into Languages funding is making it possible to widen participation in many more East Anglian schools. There will be further opportunities for primary school children from the region to experience stories in other languages from around the world and learn a language through familiar playground and parachute games on 1 November at Anglia Ruskin University as part of the Festival of Ideas. The day is aimed at younger participants, however, there will be opportunities for all on the day with taster sessions in Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian.