Nine free events celebrate diversity in language learning

Teachers and managers interested in teaching a community language such as Urdu, Arabic, Mandarin or any other language in their school or college are invited to attend one of nine free events during May and June 2009. The events celebrate the outcomes of the Our Languages project, which harnesses the potential of community languages by creating partnerships between mainstream and complementary schools.
Over the last two years, the Our Languages project has successfully raised awareness of the many benefits of teaching a community language to children and young people by bringing together expertise in community language teaching from community-run complementary schools and from the mainstream school sector. When the project began in 2007 there were nine schools involved in the project in London, Birmingham Leicester and Manchester; now there are 90 schools involved across England.
As well as forging partnerships between schools, the government-funded project raises the profile of community language teaching and learning through events and training sessions for teachers and runs a valuable website including a database of schools teaching community languages.
The latest series of events – which take place across England in May and June – will celebrate the success of the project. Each event includes a talk on key issues surrounding community languages teaching and learning from a high profile speaker, as well as presentations from partner schools about their collaboration.
The Our Languages project will also be a key focus of the Community Languages National Conference in Southampton on 15 July. The conference will celebrate the results of the project so far, as explore important aspects of community language learning including community cohesion, family learning, and links with literacy. It will also celebrate the launch of the Our Languages project ‘toolkit’, a guide to developing partnerships between complementary and mainstream schools.
Sarah Cartwright at CILT, the National Centre for Languages said ‘We are delighted to be running these free events to demonstrate the great benefits of tapping into young people’s diverse cultures and to show how schools can celebrate their pupils’ language skills and cultures by teaching a community language.’
To find out more and to book your place visit www.cilt.org.uk/cpd/ourlangs

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