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30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 1 The ATLAS project Arousing an interest in school students for the take-up of new languages at university Terry.

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Presentation on theme: "30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 1 The ATLAS project Arousing an interest in school students for the take-up of new languages at university Terry."— Presentation transcript:

1 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 1 The ATLAS project Arousing an interest in school students for the take-up of new languages at university Terry King, Claire McAvinia, Jane Hughes Department of Education & Professional Development University College London Jointly funded by CfBT (R &D), the Nuffield Foundation, and UCL. Project web sites: Schools web site: contact:

2 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 2 Context The decline in the take up of Modern Foreign Languages A level entries in MFL44,51428,345 % of all A level candidates6.0%3.8%

3 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 3 Project Aims To engage school students in tasting languages not previously considered, or available, for study Method To explore school students attitudes and experiences of LL, through questionnaire and focus groups. Use results to design web tasters for the LWT langs. Promote in partner schools.

4 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 4 ATLAS survey questions Language background Past history of language study at school Attitudes towards –LL in school and LL in general –Continuing LL post 16 and at university –Languages and jobs –LL and computers / web sites –Tasters / new language study opportunities

5 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 5 Some results. For a fuller account of the results see project web site. Rationalisation 1 As English is a world language there is little point in learning another Only 23% agreed This 23% was made up mainly (73%) of students who saw themselves as not good at languages.

6 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 6 Rationalisation 2 Intention to continue language study post 16 The main reason for not continuing the study of languages was it didnt accord with future career plans. However, this appears to be another rationalisation since not many have specific career plans. 75% thought skill in languages gave good job prospects. But many had a limited idea of what these prospects are. Whats the real reason for the increase in Nos in year 11? YesNoDont know Year 1018%35%44% Year 1123%58%16%

7 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 7 Main reasons for disaffection Low self esteem The difficulty of language learning The jump between GCSE and A level Fear of a similar jump at university Lack of enjoyment Teaching methods (little oral, little contact with real speakers, too many photocopied work-sheets) Too much testing Too little use of IT and media

8 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 8 Positive attitudes towards languages Learning languages widens your horizons 81% Id like to meet people in another country through learning a language 73% Learning languages is important75% I want to do well in learning languages72%

9 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 9 Survey of web site use To help us in our web design, if you visit web sites for recreation or information, (not just language ones), can you name a web site you like and say what it is you like about it? a) Web site name.. b) What is the main thing you like about it?….. Also – two focus groups

10 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 10 Types of site nominated support engines Magazine Academic 26% Enthusiasms 21% 8% Other 7% Search 24% Games 4% Shopping 2% Communication 8%

11 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 11 Design – likes Lots of links –But wanted to know what they would find by clicking Layout –Simplicity and lack of clutter Colours and pictures –Sensitive readers of these –Eye-catching but not too in-your-face –Colours not patronising (?) –Cartoons vs photographs? Space ships and monsters?

12 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 12 Design - dislikes Things that mess up your eyes –backgrounds, blinking, flashing Annoying sounds, or music, that can not be turned off Having to download helper applications –Flash and Acrobat Reader mentioned Lots of text off- putting; focus groups unanimous It was not quantity but arrangement of text that mattered –small blocks, clearly headlined,separated –students wanted to scan, not read –searching the web page

13 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 13 Urban75

14 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 14 BBC

15 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 15 Bitesize revision site

16 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 16 Design for marketing How could we market languages through our design? Considered existing examples in media.... but there were some contradictions with our survey findings How to avoid patronising design? Would our design align us with particular sites that students liked/disliked? Working within constraints (time, budget)

17 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 17 Marketing our content Combining unusual subjects but also music, sport, fashion Reflecting teachers interests, ideas Degree of freedom as these were not formal beginners courses Provided some interaction with content Gave students opportunity to have some success with simple language tasks Prioritising the examples of language chosen: similar words, faux amis, unusual features, literal translations of expressions

18 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 18 ATLAS taster site - homepage

19 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 19 Russian taster – homepage

20 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 20 Danish taster - homepage

21 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 21 Russian Alphabet exercise

22 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 22 Hot Potatoes for Danish

23 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 23 Hot Potatoes for Polish

24 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 24 Impact ? Quotes from feedback When asked what they had gained from exploring the site: It has opened my eyes & shown me that languages can be very valuable in the huge wide world. This is an eye-opening opportunity that I would be most interested in joining. The growing importance of languages in many sectors of employment and has encouraged me to continue with the study of languages. It was great finding out stuff about other countries. I think more sites like this should be created. It encourages young people to look further.

25 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 25 Recommendations for HE Target year 9 students when selling the wide range of careers with languages Contact school sector colleagues and help to –Put enjoyment back into LL –Do what you can to get school syllabuses changed –Engender a sense of purpose beyond the mercenary –Sell new languages and support schools where they are being taught –Exploit the use of CALL

26 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 26 General marketing strategies Know your target audience well ;- their tastes, past experiences of, knowledge of and attitudes towards LL and how they read the web pages. Involve them in design Accentuate the positives; the fly the nest dream Dont overstress theres a good job at the end of it. Make sure of effective dissemination Be optimistic!

27 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 27 Thanks to the following All the students who took part in the survey,used the site and gave useful feedback. The school language teachers who helped with the survey and gave us feedback on the web site. The UCL language teachers who developed the Taster courses. They are from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Department of Scandinavian Studies and the Language Centre.

28 30 June – 1 July 2004 CILT SOAS Conference 28 ATLAS - A Taste for Languages at School The ATLAS project is funded by –The Nuffield Foundation –CfBT Research & Development –UCL Partner Schools: –Ashcombe School, Surrey –City and Islington College, London –Cranford Community College, Hounslow –Elliott School, London –Haverstock School, London –Haydon School, Pinner –Parliament Hill School, London –Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls, Kent –William Ellis School, London


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