Friday, 14th June saw the launch of the latest of the MEITS projects with 12 Student Language Ambassadors (Cambridge undergraduates studying languages from all 4 years) attending a training session at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.
The session marks the launch of a joint OWRI project with a total of 5 universities employing a team of Student Language Ambassadors to work with GCSE students in an attempt to influence their A Level choices. The GCSE students will visit the University of Cambridge for a carousel of activities, including a real university lecture, a language taster session, and an insight into the benefits of language study that could open up to them if they choose to continue studying languages beyond GCSE. The Student Language Ambassadors will be there to support them and will then give them two lessons in their schools (one on translation and one on the lifelong benefits of learning languages), as well as mentoring them singly or in pairs next term with a particular focus on giving them oral practice for their GCSE speaking exam.
It is hoped that this sustained intervention will encourage wavering GCSE students to continue studying languages. The impact of the project on both the GCSE pupils’ choice of A Level subjects and on the Ambassadors will be evaluated, with a view to rolling out this pilot project more widely.