Duke of York's Royal Military School

Inaugural Meeting of Association of Language Learning

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 6th of February 2014

On Thursday 30th January, the Oundle School Modern Languages Department hosted the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Peterborough Network of the Association of Language Learning (A.L.L.) in The Raymond Lee International Suite.

Rachel Hawkes, the current president of the A.L.L. gave two short presentations on 'What the A.L.L. can do for you' & '7 ideas today to enhance classroom talk tomorrow' to an audience consisting of over 30 local Modern Languages teachers from Independent senior and prep schools and state secondary and primary schools.

Rachel Hawkes is a well-known and much admired classroom teacher of languages with 13 years prior experience as a Head of Department, AST, Assistant Principal, and SLE for languages. She is also Languages Advisor for TES Resources and current President of A.L.L. Passionate about all aspects of languages teaching methodology, she has a PhD from Cambridge University, focusing on teacher and learner interaction in the secondary languages classroom.

Head of Modern Languages at Oundle, Sara Davidson commented, 'Rachel shared some practical lesson ideas and strategies for improving the quality of spontaneous target language talk in the classroom and was very well-received. Teachers stayed behind to get to know one another and share their ideas, concerns and highlights regarding the teaching of modern languages today. Suggestions were made regarding possible themes for future meetings and there was an air of excitement in the room at the new Network that we are setting up and the prospect of sharing ideas together in the future.'

The Association for Language Learning (A.L.L.) is the UK's major subject association for teachers of foreign languages. They exist to support and represent language teachers and promote the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Local networks and branches organise professional development activities for language teachers and event for pupils learning languages and connect local teachers of languages.

Sara added, 'Oundle's Modern Languages Department is very proud to have set up a local network for the A.L.L. and hope that the new Adamson Centre can become a regular meeting place for local language teachers and others involved in languages. It will offer an opportunity for sharing ideas, voicing opinions on matters of concern and attending events for professional development.'

The newly formed committee consists of Arnaud Mandin (Jack Hunt School, Peterborough), Helen Machin (Wellingborough Prep), Sara Davidson (Oundle School), Itunu Olaniyan (Gladstone Primary School, Peterborough), Moira Moore (Prince William School, Oundle), Tessa Leuchars (Casterton Business and Enterprise College, Great Casterton) and Alison Drake (Oundle School) .

Oundle's New Languages Centre

The opening of Oundle School's Adamson Centre in October 2013 marked a new and exciting phase for the Modern Languages Department and is the latest completed project in Oundle's comprehensive and ongoing development plan. A stunning blend of traditional architecture and contemporary glass features, the Adamson Centre, formerly the Sir Peter Scott Building, has been redesigned specifically with the teaching of foreign languages in mind. In addition to welcoming over 900 pupils a week, the Centre will also provide a hub of excellence within the wider community of teaching, with staff hosting conferences and lectures to promote the development of languages.

The Modern Foreign Languages Department is one of the largest in the School, with seven languages being timetabled: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. More pupils than ever are learning two or more languages, with many more taking advantage of the breadth of clubs, societies and lectures on offer outside the curriculum. A Level and Pre-U results continue to rise; last summer saw pupils gain 45 A* and A grades at A2, with 20 Oundelians going on to read one or more languages at university.

The building is named after major benefactor and former pupil David Frederic Dobell Adamson who left the School in 1937. He requested that 'this bequest be used to improve facilities for and give opportunities to students to learn to speak and communicate in foreign languages'

The Adamson Centre facilities include:

* 14 Teaching Rooms: Each classroom focuses on a single language and culture and is equipped with high quality audio speakers, an interactive whiteboard and projector.

* 2 Sony Language Laboratories: Two dedicated PC suites combine all the features of a traditional laboratory with the latest multimedia technology, including Sony Virtuoso language software.

* 6 Language Assistant Pods: Fully equipped with touch screen computers, these modern glass fronted rooms are designated specifically for conversation classes and oral examinations.

* The Raymond Lee International Suite: The centre-piece and 'hub' of the Department, this Suite provides a perfect venue for language conferences, films, lectures from visiting speakers and competitions. It is equipped with the latest Skype technology, blu-ray cinema system, projector and blackout blinds.

Former pupil, George Hammon commented, 'Oundle has always been a pioneer in modern languages. As I look back on working in Paris for many years, on graduating from France's top business school, and on my life now in Geneva, I am very grateful for the excellent grounding I was given, and with it, access to the global world of today.'

Inaugural Meeting of Association of Language Learning - Photo 1
Hazelwood School
Grace Education