This Tuesday (27th June) I’ll be speaking at the L.E.A.D. TSA Hub Online Primary Languages event. Jo Darley has put together a really interesting programme covering learner autonomy, linguistic thinking, “quality first” teaching for all, literature and culture, and the value of supporting and celebrating languages through global communication.
I’m really excited to be taking part. My presentation will be about the benefits of international links and global communication in the primary classroom. As a primary languages teacher, it will be heavily influenced by the impact of my young linguists but also refer to the effect on the whole school.
It’s a full day, online conference starting at 915 and running until 330. You can join live for the whole day, pop in as you can, or watch it all back later with the recording being available for 30 days after the event. As I’ll be teaching all day (until my session) I’ll be doing the latter!
There are still tickets available at this link if you’re interested. If you’re planning on attending, let me know so I can give you a shout out!
Since I last wrote a post, I’ve presented three times about international links!
In November I was pleased to speak, along with Vicky Gough of the British Council, to the ALL Portsmouth Primary Hub about Making international links to motivate our young linguists and celebrate their achievements. My contribution was summarised as: Lisa took us on a whistle-stop tour of the many different projects she has been involved in over the past twelve years or so. What shone through was the positive impact these experiences have had on all involved – pupils, teaching and school staff and parents. Senior management have increasingly recognised the value of these projects and prioritised them within school planning. Comments from pupils and colleagues, and more formal statements from school leaders, provide testimony to their success.
In December I was invited to deliver a keynote at TMMFLIcons entitled International links and developing young linguists. I knew that 15 minutes was tight to say all that I wanted so I summarised the benefits/outcomes on the 3rd slide!
Even so, I still struggled to fit in everything I wanted to say so I wrote a summary of my points to share. You can download and read it below! If you want to see what was said and catch up with the recording, have a look at the @tmmflicons Twitter feed
And a couple of weeks ago, I spoke at Language World in Sheffield. Once more I packed in as much as I could into the time allocated, and still had more to say as I am passionate about sharing my experiences but also about the incredible value of international links and the impact it’s had on our school community.
After a bit of editing, I’m happy to share my presentation but I’m afraid that the file is too big to upload; you can however view it here or, if you attended Language World 2023, on the conference website.
I am really passionate about the international dimension, the power of links between schools around the world and the beauty of collaborating. Yes, it sometimes leaves me exhausted juggling and negotiating so that everything is done but it’s so worth it to see the impact on the staff, school, community and, of course, the pupils. Whilst some opportunities are no longer available to us and I still mourn for their loss, it’s not going to stop me. There are still ways to make links and work in collaboration with others and I will continue to search for more!
There’s a list in the summary document but a few to highlight: If you are looking for a school for collaborations such as penpals or exchanges, particularly a French one, you can try Match My School. The British Council has School Connect and also Partner Finding tools to help you find links and help them grow. And the Global Schools Alliance helps create, maintain and develop links with schools all over the world.
It’s also worth exploiting any links you have as a school community, and also looking to see if your town/city has a twin TownTwinning.
Yesterday I visited London in my role as a British Council Schools Ambassador to meet up with other ambassadors, reflect on last year and look to the future.
Throughout the day I sketchnoted the sessions, a variety of presentations giving information and sharing of international projects carried out in schools, clusters and organisations. Below are the results; I did tweet as I went along, but decided to retake the photos as they had shadows on them!
It was an interesting and inspiring day, and I hope that the notes give you a taste of the day, and what a wonderful thing international work is!
This weekend I’ve been in Nottingham at the NCL (I think that’s what it’s now called!) for the National eTwinning Conference. “Interesting” given the events on Friday but also good timing as I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather have been at such a time, reaffirming the joy and value of collaboration.
After several requests following fascination with my sketchnoting at last year’s conference, I volunteered to lead a seminar on sketch noting, thus completing my busy week with a third presentation. You can see a very similar presentation on my Slideshare channel here. I also sketchnoted as many sessions as I could, trying not to be intimidated by the wonderful @inkythinking InkyEllieC from inkythinking.com who was provided ‘real time graphic animation’ of the event.
I’ll post my sketchnotes as soon as I’ve had time to tidy them up (not a spare moment all weekend!) as well as my reflections on the event. A hint: I had a great time!
On Friday 26th June I attended the Entrust Primary Languages Conference in Stafford, organised and led by Lorna Harvey. Entitled ‘We’re on our way’, the day began with an excellent keynote from Clare Seccombe aka @valleseco and genius behind LightBulbLanguages.
Sharing a title with the conference, Clare shared her ideas on the journeys involved in primary language learning – for the child, the teacher and as a nation. I love how Clare can express her ideas so well in images. I’ve tried to capture some of them in my sketch note below.
There were a number of workshops during the day – I attended one on a cluster of schools who use a ‘language investigators’ approach to language learning in Y1-2 and 3-4 before focussing on one language in Y6. My sketch note is below along with a few images.
Plan for Y1-2
I loved the pizza/paella Italian/Spanish numbers!
The day was very much a celebration of a project between Stafford and Burgundy, and I’d been asked to speak after lunch about a similar partnership in which I’d been involved, between Birmingham and Barcelona. It was wonderful to prepare my presentation as it sparked so many amazing memories and caused me to reflect on where we’ve gone since the (official) end of the partnership. Below you can see my presentation (although without the video clips I’m afraid) and Clare kindly sketch noted it for me.
British Council Ambassadors from across the UK assembled in Manchester this weekend to meet one another and find out more about British Council projects, strategies and plans. Starting on Friday lunchtime and finishing today at midday, the conference was ‘all go’ with early starts (first session at 8.30am on a Saturday?) and a timetable that was stretched as time passed all too fast.
I decided to continue my sketch note journey and bought a new notebook on the way to the station, one that stays open on its own (spiral bound) and is slightly larger – and square which seemed to help!
Below are my sketchnotes and links to important /useful sites from the conference. I’m sorry that I had to leave early and missed the final sessions. I’ll catch up when the final presentations are shared!
Opening session (Emma Chaplin) plus quotations from the conference.
Dr Mark Potts – Living out our values
Update on SchoolsOnline: how it works (John McMurtrie) and what it offers and will offer – exciting stuff! (Vicky Gough)
British Council Strategy presented by Stephen Hull
Connecting Classrooms Professional Development offerings shared by Katherine Walakira
International School Award – Ludmila Vávrová (and John Rolfe!)
Funding for three more years of Connecting Classrooms; Stephen Hull shares plans to spend it!
Gary Shiells and Ana Paula Booth talk eTwinning as it celebrates its 10th birthday!
Dorota Drajewicz and Bethan Dinning – Erasmus+ opportunities for schools
As regular readers will know, I am an eTwinning Ambassador (that is a very old picture!). I say ‘I am’ as, whilst I’m no longer in the UK, I am hoping to continue to help promote and encourage involvement in eTwinning now I’m in Switzerland. Why? Because I’ve seen the difference it’s made to my school in terms of teaching and learning, the experiences that it’s brought and the new openess to ‘otherness’ that’s it’s brought. I see a school that looks outwards, celebrates the heritage of its pupils and understands more about UK traditions through looking at others. I see a school that is proud of differences and actively looks to make contact with people with different life experiences. And I see pupils who have grown in confidence through seeing that speaking a language other than English, or having a different religion to most others is actually a brilliant thing, not something to hide as well as experiencing the joy of talking to their peers across the world.
There is currently an Impact Study being carried out by Education for Change into eTwinning – see below. Evidence is being collected in a numbeer of ways but one is via a survey. I’d encourage you to fill it in as I suspect that the future of eTwinning with depend on this study!
If you want to find out more, please feel free to contact me and ask questions!
EfC has been has been commissioned for a 21 month study of the impact of eTwinning on pupils, teachers and schools. The study will also be an analysis of the factors which contribute to, or hinder, successful participation in eTwinning.
eTwinning Partnerships is an activity under the Comenius sub-programme of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme. It was launched in 2005 with the objective of enabling school twinning as an opportunity for all young people to learn and practice information and communication technology (ICT) skills, as well as promoting awareness of the multicultural European model of society. The European Commission foresaw that eTwinning could be a major catalyst in intensifying the sorts of cooperation already underway among schools. Since the launch of the new platform in 2008-09 visits to the eTwinning portal have increased by over 300%, indicating a steep rise in interest among teachers. Registration continues to rise, and there are currently almost 100,000 registered eTwinners in 73500 schools.
The impact study will look at participation in eTwinning and what hinders or helps it success, specifically:
• the networking of schools and teachers across Europe and their capacity to build social capital, and the way in which eTwinning is managed and promoted
• the perspective of participating teachers
• the impact of eTwinning on pupils, teachers and others at school level
• the overall impact of eTwinning within the context of the Comenius Programme
The main activities will include:
• Desk research and consultation with Central and National Support Services and others
• A general survey of all eTwinning teachers, in 23 languages
• Case studies research on impact in at least 20 schools in 10 countries, using country-based researchers
• In the light of findings, will make recommendations on possible improvements to the eTwinning action, its design and management.
Michael Purves shared his ‘tale’ this morning. A pretty inspiring tale it was too, taking him from a ‘despondent, stuck in a rut’ teacher into an eTwinner extraordinaire running eTwinning projects between 40+ countries.
His journey started in 2007 when he was browsing the LTS website with a colleague and came across eTwinning. Having registered his interest, his first project was with a Finnish school and was a comparison of food and sport called A healthy passport.
At an eTwinning PDW in Ischia, his next project was hatched, based on the premise that animals speak different languages – dogs say guau in Spanish but woof in English etc.
Perhaps his biggest project was Schoolovision, a Eurovision song contest for primary kids. With over 40 countries involved it was a big project, involving video recording and editing, voting by Flashmeeting and blogging. He goes for big projects as his latest is a Snapshot of Europe with pupils across Europe taking photographs of their local environment in four categories.