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Parent, Senior Boys' School

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Feast of Languages for Primaries

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bolton School gave primary school children the chance to try out a range of foreign languages including Russian and Japanese, with the annual Primary Schools' Modern Foreign Languages Festival.

The Festival is designed to assist local primary schools to incorporate Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teaching into their curriculum. This is the second year the fair has been held and it was open to Year 5 pupils from the Bolton LEA. The day involved a series of workshops where pupils gained an introduction to the language and culture of five different countries and peoples. Small groups of boys and girls from 9 local primary schools, Blackrod Primary, Chorley New Road Primary, Walmsley C of E Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary, The Valley, Clarendon Primary, St William of York RC Primary, Brownlow Fold and St Michael's CPS took part in the day, sampling French, Russian, German, Spanish and Japanese.

Head of Bolton School Boys' Division MFL, Mr Chris Pownall, welcomed the primary pupils to the day with an introductory talk, where he encouraged them not to be frightened of the new languages, but to join in and have fun. Mixed groups of pupils from the schools then took part in 35 minute sessions in the school language labs, allowing them to benefit from expert equipment and teaching from experienced languages staff. The children learned basic vocabulary in the sessions including how to count in Japanese and got to write their names and discover traditional artefacts in Russian. At the end of each session the pupils were asked to complete a challenge or quiz to test their knowledge, including the popular 'Chopstick Challenge'  where the pupils had to move as many peas as possible in one minute from one bowl to another with chopsticks, while counting in Japanese!

The aim was to awaken a love of languages in young people, and inspire them to want to learn about other cultures, people, and the languages they speak, and judging by the enthusiasm shown by pupils on the day, this was achieved.

Chorley New Road pupil, Rebecca Gibbons enthused: "I really enjoyed French as we got to learn a new song in French to the Match of the Day tune!". Classmate Thomas Watson liked the Spanish best "It was really fun, especially when we played the penalty shoot out game!". Their teacher Miss Ruth Chandler said: "It has been a fantastic opportunity for our children to come and try out different languages, especially the more unusual ones like Japanese. The children have got a lot out of the day and will hopefully pass this buzz for foreign languages onto their classmates when they get back to school. It also gives us teachers ideas on new and fun ways to teach languages to the children."

At the end of the day the children were presented with certificates for taking part and prizes of sweets were handed out to the pupils that did best in each language challenge. Teachers received language books in each of the 5 languages to help them implement language learning into their own schools.

Mr Pownall said:"It is a real pleasure to welcome primary schools to Bolton School to come and share the opportunity to learn about five different languages and cultures in a single day. Language learning is unique in that, in this day and age, you don't have to spend a lot of money to find someone from another country with whom you can practise a foreign language. We hear and see different languages both on the streets of our multi-cultural society and on our computer screens as we explore the internet. There has never been a better or more exciting time to realise that with English alone, we miss out on so much the world has to offer."

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