The Linguist

The Linguist 53,1

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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Page 26 of 35

kids can repeat words from the videos,' he adds. 'That releases the teacher a little bit so they can observe and focus on children who are struggling.' The company is growing rapidly and gaining recognition. It was a finalist for the 2014 Bett Awards learning and teaching tool of the year. 'Next year, the packs will be curriculum-aligned, so teachers can link them to learning topics,' says Lingiah. There will also be more advanced vocabulary packs available from March, accompanying sticker books, and the app content will be extended, offering a few sentences for each word. They also hope to develop lesson plans, both written and videoed, with the support of FlashSticks advisers. Hopkin is particularly excited about the future of the brand. 'When I first saw FlashSticks, it was a firework moment in my mind, thinking of all the things we could do with them,' he enthuses. 'FlashSticks enable teachers to create a very print-rich environment, which is particularly important during children's early language acquisition. But FlashSticks also enable us to augment that environment with videos. It's one thing for a child to use their phonic knowledge to decode a word, quite another for that child to access further information about that word independently with a mobile device. That's enormously powerful.' He would like to see greater and more sophisticated video content, including user- generated content from teachers and YouTube clips. However, says Lingiah, 'the basic idea remains quite simple. There's such complexity and subtlety in learning a language, we hope to offer an aid to boost vocabulary and confidence. If that helps immerse people in language in a way they can replicate at home, then that's great.' should know. This is a fun way of learning a few more.' She finds that FlashSticks help students build confidence. 'A lot of my British learners really benefit from being taken back to basics.' This rings true for Lingiah: 'A number of teachers and tutors have told us that many students drop out or struggle with learning a language because they lack confidence and don't feel they're making good progress. FlashSticks are a complementary tool that anyone can use alongside any other learning system. They aren't designed to be a complete language system – they're designed to help people boost their vocabulary and disrupt their learning in a positive way.' At £5.99, they're affordable too. Using the app However, it is the accompanying free app that is key to the product's success. 'If you hover a smartphone or a tablet over a FlashStick, it gives you an instant video of a native speaker pronouncing the word,' says Lingiah. 'That makes it simple for people to gain confidence with their pronunciation.' Dr Neil Hopkin, Head of Peters Hill Primary School in Dudley, is among those seeing the benefits of the app in the classroom. 'We've noticed an increased engagement in French from our pupils since we started using FlashSticks. And because they enable children to be more independent in their learning, they enable teachers to generate a more personalised path for each child.' From September, it will be mandatory for primary schools to teach a foreign language from age 7 (Key Stage 2), and FlashSticks have already had a lot of interest from schools facing that challenge. 'They've got teachers who perhaps don't speak a foreign language but are being asked to teach one,' says Lingiah. FlashSticks can help. 'Many schools now have tablets as well, so the Vol/53 No/1 2014 FEBRUARY/MARCH The Linguist 27 FEATURES got different experiences and priorities. They know the needs of their students and their needs as teachers.' FlashSticks was therefore developed in collaboration with language teachers and tutors, including language staff from Birmingham and Wolverhampton universities. Then 3M, the multinational owners of the Post-it brand, got on board, and FlashSticks launched in 2013. Kerstin Hammes, founder of language tuition provider Fluent (, is a fan. She tutors mostly adults, both online and offline. 'I have always revised by sticking things up around the house, and I find that extremely helpful.' She had one reservation, however: 'I was initially sceptical about the readymade-ness of them.' But FlashSticks are colour-coded, highlighting word types (noun, verb etc) and gender. Each word is also accompanied by an image and its phonetic spelling. 'It's more than you would do for yourself, and you understand straightaway how to use the words,' says Hammes. 'If you write your own stickies, you tend to only write words you know, or words you think you 'We've noticed an increased engagement in French… FlashSticks enable children to be more independent' CREATIVE APPROACH Pupils use FlashSticks at Peters Hill School

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