Last week, Abertillery Comprehensive School’s Languages Department were invited as guest speakers to the CILT Cymru National Languages Conference in Cardiff. Pupils Abigail Hucker, Darren Davies and Leah Phillips from year 9, who are studying Languages for GCSE, were invited to talk about the Pupil Language Ambassador Scheme, supported by both CILT Cymru and Routes Cymru, and the Adopt a Class Scheme supported by Routes Cymru.
Mrs Melanie Gill, Head of Languages at Abertillery, spoke first giving an outline of how these projects have helped boost numbers for pupils opting for languages over the last two years and how they create a fun and realistic environment for the pupils to develop their language skills. These projects gave them opportunities to talk to real students living and working abroad by chatting on sites such as Edmodo (an educational online chat site) and by watching a series of educational videos made for them personally by University students.
Abigail spoke about being a Language Ambassador and she expressed how she has really developed as a person and become a lot more confident as a result. She enjoyed the monthly meetings where activities such as coffee mornings and competitions are organised for younger pupils. Leah discussed the Adopt a Class program and how it made her lessons more fun and how Student Language Ambassador Imran Haq from Swansea University inspired her to want to take Spanish and Welsh for GCSE. Darren added that this year’s link Mary Gartside, a student from Cardiff University, has enabled him to learn about Mexican culture and organise a ‘Day of the Dead’ party for year 8 where they were challenged by Mary to try Mexican delights such as chilli hot chocolate and chilli and lime fruit!
“It was an amazing experience for the three of us. I had to speak about being a Language Ambassador on a podium in front of lots of teachers and professionals from all over Wales. Afterwards many people congratulated us on our speeches and said that we had inspired them to want to have the same projects as our school. We were also told that we looked really smart in our blazers.” Abigail Hucker – Aged 13
Mrs Melanie Gill – Head of Languages, Abertillery Comprehensive School