Last month, students from secondary schools across Portsmouth came together at Admiral Lord Nelson Business and Enterprise School to exercise their linguistic and business skills in a day of enterprise and language tasks. The Languages Work event was the brainchild of the Portsmouth Modern Foreign Languages group.
Students taking part were all volunteers from Year 9, motivated and enthusiastic linguists studying French, German or Spanish. They were supported by experienced teachers, trainee teachers from the University of Portsmouth, and AAS students from Portsmouth College.
Students' objective was to use their language skills to sell a product in Europe. They were put in multilingual "companies" of eight, and each company was allocated a college student. After a Euro-quiz, from which they were able to earn funds for their company, they were given the challenge of designing a skateboard, a multifunctional bag or a mobile phone. Each student was assigned a job title. The Finanzdirektor had to negotiate a loan with the German-speaking bank managers, and production managers had to order components in French or Spanish from suppliers. Marketing managers designed the packaging, all employees attended a workshop on European business culture, and the personnel directors prepared to interview potential employees from each target-language country.
The event culminated with each company presenting a 30-second tv ad for their product - once again in their chosen target languages. Category prizes were then awarded to several companies, and all students will receive a certificate from CILT, the national centre for languages.
Students relished the opportunity to work with others from different sectors of education. And good cross-curricular links were forged with ICT and business studies teachers. Feedback from students has been really positive - we are already thinking about how to improve the event for next year!
Elizabeth Lord Curriculum leader, MFL at Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth and Secretary of the Portsmouth MFL Curriculum Development Group