Project Director (Alison Dickens) and Project Manager (me – Kate) braved the wilds of Manchester recently, to take the Community Cafe to a northern audience (well, I say ‘the wilds’ – it was actually wilder back in Southampton which was hit by torrential rain and violent storms during our absence…we’re not sorry we missed that!) coordinated by the COLT project at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The COLT project is part of Routes into Languages, a national project working at getting school children learning languages, and it has contacts with community languages teachers across the Manchester area.
We held two workshops to introduce LanguageBox and the project to two groups of teachers: an Urdu-speaking group and an Arabic-speaking group. It was great to make new friends and I hope that we have recruited new participants into the project. We were certainly impressed by the materials creation that goes on amongst both groups of teachers – and the usage of digital resources that already goes on. During the workshop, we shared some ‘top teaching tips’ and had a good chat about effective teaching strategies and which methods really work when teaching youngsters ‘out-of-hours’. It is clear that a tremendous amount of excellent teaching is going on in Manchester in the area of community languages, and that this teaching is often better supported by mainstream authorities than is the case in the Southampton. While this is likely down to the demographic mix in the Manchester area, I think it shows how much can be achieved with just a small amount of resource.
We so enjoyed our meeting with ‘our friends in the North’ that we intend to bring them into the project and will make another visit there in February.