The Linguist

The Linguist 59,1 - February/March 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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AWARDS FOCUS time. Hayle Academy had a policy of introducing students to a range of languages in their first year and they wanted to include Cornish. We were only too happy to help and produced a 'Learn Cornish' CD-Rom with local Cornish translators and speakers. We launched it at Hayle Academy, along with a live Cornish language competition for pupils, and it was a huge success. Although girls tend to do better at languages than boys at this age, boys were well represented among the top scorers. Games-based learning, it seemed, was a winning strategy. "Cornish was the lure and your CD-Rom the hook! The children at Hayle School are still avidly competing against each other for points each week," teacher Deborah Grigg told me. She found it particularly useful that teachers did not necessarily have to be experts in the language being taught. In fact, she said, having teachers learn alongside the children was incredibly motivating for the whole class. We realised we were onto something special. We had a choice of 100+ languages and a way to get children hooked on learning independently, either at home or at 18 The Linguist Vol/59 No/1 2020 Richard Howeson explains the story behind uTalk's language learning E leven-year-old pupil Amber Turner used to feel she "couldn't achieve many things", but taking part in the uTalk Junior Language Challenge (JLC) changed all that, says her dad Alan. "Making it to the final twice now has proven to her that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to." Amber's quiet achievement is one of the many heart-warming stories that have made our annual language-learning contest for primary school students such a joy to run. Since it began in 2004, more than 27,000 children in 500 schools across the UK have taken part in the competition. Many of them tell us that entering the JLC has made them realise for the first time how easy and fun learning languages can be. Others tell us that entering the competition has inspired them to go on to study languages at a higher level. For the team at uTalk, a language-learning company based in London, the JLC is a reminder of the power of languages to change lives. But the idea came about by chance. In 2003, a secondary school in Hayle, Cornwall asked if we could add Cornish to our range of products, which were mainly CD-Roms at the When Susannah Stockton, uTalk's Junior Language Competition (JLC) coordinator, worked as a modern languages teacher she entered her pupils in the contest for 13 years. She offers her tips for teachers new to the JLC. "I used to start by putting the learning content on an interactive whiteboard and discussing the different words and topics with the children: Which words looked familiar to them? What did they think their best learning strategies would be? I would then divide the class into two teams so they could compete against each other. Every child answered one question for their team and I kept score. I loved doing co-curricular work around each language the children were learning. With French, for instance, I could interest pupils in the country's geography, speciality food, artists and songs. We all loved a sing-a-long!" Let the games begin Ahead of the competitio The pressure mounts at the final Playing The Junior Language Challenge

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