Curriculum enhancement

Teaching a friend a languageSome primary schools teach a community language within the curriculum or arrange for children to have after-school classes. To enhance this provision, or simply to embed a multilingual and multicultural ethos across the curriculum, a significant number of schools engage in cross-curricular initiatives, projects and special activities. These ideas are not just appropriate for schools where many home languages are spoken; most can be adapted for all school settings.

Language of the month from Newbury Park Primary School provides video, audio, display and paper-based resources created by children and parents, for use by class teachers focusing on a different language each month throughout the curriculum. Resources follow the same format and content and are supplemented by how-to-use guidance for teachers. All resources are freely available online, including templates for schools to create their own resources with children and parents. A similar model is the 'Guest Language' initiative at Hyde Park Junior School in Plymouth (for more information, see Guest Language related article).

Some schools choose to focus a whole day on one language. The example of an Urdu day (see page 6) is linked to a junior school’s Connecting Classrooms Central and South Asia (CSA) project work via the British Council. See the European Day of Languages website for ideas for celebrating 26 September.

Teach a Friend a Language (see page 5) or TAFAL encourages children to teach their own language to another child, whether a poem, song or short dialogue or sketch, aiming towards a short performance. Woodbridge High School, where TAFAL originated, organises in-school and inter-school competitions (primary and secondary), culminating in a special event where these winners perform again and introduce their language and culture to other children and VIP guests by presenting a language table.

Taking advantage of the National Year of Reading, Holy Cross RC Primary School worked on a multilingual story-based project called A Night in the Library (see page 5), which culminated in a sleepover and bear hunt at the local library!

In a project called Enhancing community languages, EAL students from Aveling Park School, an 11-16 school, prepared and delivered lessons in their mother tongue to local primary school children during the annual borough-wide Multilingual Month. A Year 3 class at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, an independent Sikh primary and secondary school, worked on a project on shops and the transaction process involving money and interaction with customers, using Panjabi, English and cultural conventions.

CILT’s Young Pathfinder 10 book, A world of languages, offers activities designed to stimulate the curiosity and confidence of all children in language learning and the multilingualism that surrounds them.

See KS2 curriculum models for initiatives to introduce a community language within the primary curriculum and Cross-curricular links, EAL and Celebrating languages for further ideas. See International dimension for examples of international working.

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