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French Immersion

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 6th of May 2014

During the Easter holidays, twelve Fourth Form (Year 10) pupils from Oundle School travelled to La Rochelle to spend a week practising their French with native speakers and to have a taste of French life in the local area.

The programme included daily French lessons in a local school and visits to museums and the Aquarium, as well as a boat trip to Ile d'Aix and a guided tour of the city on a horse-drawn carriage. Time was spent in the covered market, trying cheeses and oysters, as well as Ernest's famous ice-creams which proved to be a definite favourite. Pupils also spent a day in neighbouring town of Chatelaillon, learning about oysters, playing mini-golf and having a great time at the local aqua park.

The weather was warm and sunny all week, making picnics in the botanical garden and on the beach all the more enjoyable.

French teacher, Leti Brighton commented, 'Pupils stayed with host families, giving them ample opportunity to practice and extend their knowledge of the language and the culture, whilst morning lessons in small groups provided interactive yet rigorous revision. This is a study trip which is, year after year, a true success. It is a fun, interesting and efficient way to boost up pupils' confidence and their knowledge of French."

Pupil, George Cobb (15) commented, 'It's hard to believe that you can learn so much, and experience so many new things in just one week. Yet, after being thrust into a new French life with a French family, experience was an understatement. La Rochelle, a beautiful yet surprisingly calm town on the western coast of France, was the perfect destination for such a trip. After attending a few lessons, visiting museums and spending an afternoon cycling on the beautiful Ile d'Aix, I could just enjoy spending time with my friends in the serene town centre. There is no better way to improve your French than to spend time in a country, so the La Rochelle trip ended up being the perfect trip for me in both an educational sense and an entertaining sense."

Head of Modern Languages. Sara Davidson commented, 'Language students need to be inspired and motivated by direct contact with the culture that they are studying. Language immersion trips are a fantastic way of bringing a language to life and giving pupils a chance to practice in a less structured and free environment where language is acquired more through necessity and pupil interest. Internationalism is important to Oundle; today's pupils will be competing for jobs in a highly competitive and global world. Our aim is not only to be at the cutting edge of teaching and learning, but ultimately to enable Oundelians to learn and appreciate any language of their choosing.'

Oundle's New Languages Centre

The opening of Oundle School's Adamson Centre last October 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.'
French Immersion - Photo 1
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