Encouraging pupils to practise dialogues in the unrealistic environment of the classroom can be an uphill struggle. Transport them to a simulated village, which contains an array of shops and businesses, and the same exercise takes on a new dimension. This was the thinking behind the setting up of a permanent Eurovillage in Ysgol y Gwendraeth school in Carmarthenshire. Established as part of a wider initiative to improve speaking skills in Wales, it has loosened the tongues of the most reluctant learners and Ysgol y Gwendraeth is now hiring out the facility to other local schools.
This is one example of an innovative project which has won a European Award for Languages, a European Commission initiative supported in the UK by the Department for Education and Employment and organised by CILT.
The current round of applications closes on March 31 and there are four categories: pre-11, 11-16, post-16 and lifelong learning. To be eligible, a project must be innovative, effective and replicable. Otherwise the remit is wie open, as last year's winning projects demonstrate.
At Park View Community School in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Year 8 pupils are benefiting from cross-curricular collaboration, and some of their history lessons are delivered in French. Low achievers have been the focus of attention at Stretford High School in Manchester, whose concentrated drive on reinforcing key structures has had a dramatic effect on GCSE results.
Other successful projects include the publication by middle-school pupils of quarterly newspapers in French and German; and the production of a variety show, which treats the audience to songs and sketches in two languages accompanied by appropriate continental refreshments.
Award-winners can use the EAAlogo on their stationery.
Alison Thomas For more details of the awards contact Caroline Door, European Award forLanguages 2000, CILT, 20 Bedfordbury,London WC2N 4LB Tel: 020 7379 5101 ext. 248 E-mail: email@example.comWebsite: www.cilt.org.ukprojectseal2000eal2000.htm