Spelling Bee helps children breeze through foreign languages

Published: 30 June 2010 at 11:49

School pupils encouraged to get to grips with foreign languages by taking part in a new teaching initiative

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A brand new Routes into Languages (East) initiative is preparing UK school children to broaden their foreign language skills in readiness to take them through school and into everyday living and working environments.

‘Spelling Bee’ was devised by teacher, Jane Driver from the Language Department at Comberton Village College, Cambridge. The aim is for students in Year 7 to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language (French, Spanish and German) and to raise the profile of language learning through a class, school and regional competition.

Winners and runners-up at each stage received Routes into Languages East certificates and the overall winners will receive Learners Dictionaries donated by Oxford University Press as well as trophies for the winners and their schools.

Over 2500 Year 7 pupils from 21 schools throughout the Region entered the competition with about 70 due to compete in the final at Comberton Village College on 7 July. The competition has been so successful that it is to be adopted as a Routes into Languages National Competition next year. 

According to Sarah Schechter, Project Manager for Routes into Languages (East),

"This is just one of many vibrant and engaging Routes into Languages initiatives that sees pupils welcome language learning because it is both fun and confidence-boosting."

"Just one spark from this outside-the-box learning can entice students into language learning which will open up a number of opportunities for them in later life."

Led by Anglia Ruskin University in partnership with the University of Cambridge, The Open University and University of Bedfordshire, the specific aim of the Routes into Languages (East) project is to increase the take up of languages and promote more positive attitudes towards them, and to encourage the transition of language learning from schools to universities. 

Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (£4.5million) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (£3.5 million) the programme has established ten regional consortia where groups of universities work together, with schools and colleges, to enthuse and encourage people to study languages.

For more information see the wiki: http://rilspellingbee.wikispaces.com