I spent a very fruitful day, 1 July 2009, at the Love Language Conference, Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, organised by Careers Europe. The main theme of the conference focused on ways of encouraging students, especially boys, to continue learning a foreign language or to take up a new language. There were two keynotes by Barry Jones and Simon Green and four workshops conducted by Tom Barwood, Ruth Linden, Bev Whiteside and myself.
Barry Jones gave examples of ways of motivating boys to learn foreign languages, based on research that has revealed approaches that really work (v. Barry Jones's CILT publication "Boys’ Performance in Modern Foreign Languages"). Simon Green gave an entertaining presentation of effective strategies for engaging language learners at KS3/KS4.
The focus of Tom Barwood’s workshop, entitled “Foreign languages – not me mate!”, was also on motivating boys, while Ruth Linden talked about languages in the world of work and Bev Whiteside talked about teaching languages in the context of sports.
My workshop focused on ICT as means of engaging language learners, especially through games and Web 2.0 applications. I was also able to demonstrate Second Life and play a short video on a school that is using Second Life with children aged 13-plus – though not yet in teaching foreign languages.
I have uploaded my PowerPoint presentation to the Web. It might be useful, but it probably needs my accompanying commentary in order to make sense – and I did not have facilities available to record it. There are, however, lots of clickable links in the presentation that will lead you to some useful websites:
All in all, this was an inspiring day, even though we sweltered in the heat. The conference was attended by around 35 teachers, mainly from the North of England.
Careers Europe is based in Bradford and acts as a National Resource Centre for International Careers Information: http://www.careerseurope.co.uk