The University is helping thousands of schoolchildren and undergraduates to unlock their language learning potential, by supporting the delivery of world-class language teaching through its relationships with schools and universities.
Our Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) has been providing high-quality professional development, resources and good practice information since 2000 with the aim of providing the best possible learning experience for students of all ages.
Schemes such as Links into Languages have made a real difference in the quality of language teaching children receive in school. Professor Mike Kelly, the Centre’s Director, explains: “LLAS was the regional hub for this national programme. We coordinated professional development programmes for language teachers to improve their competence in the classroom in all sorts of areas, from how to make grammar more interesting to the best use of technology in language learning.”
The Centre works to share and develop best practice in language teaching methods. One fast-growing area is e-learning and the use of information and communications technology (ICT). Through Languages South East, LLAS hosts an annual ICT and languages conference, enabling language schoolteachers to share new approaches and new ways of engaging pupils in the use of technology. It also hosts an e-learning symposium for staff in higher education.
LLAS is also involved in encouraging children to consider learning languages beyond school by leading the Routes into Languages programme in England and Wales. University student language ambassadors spend time in local schools to support language teachers in a variety of ways, such as leading conversation classes, giving careers talks or talking to pupils about what life at university is like.
Mike says: “The idea of this terrifically successful programme is ultimately to encourage pupils to think about studying languages at university, whether as a degree or an elective alongside their degree.”
The Centre’s broad range of activities also includes conducting research and taking part in projects to inform government policy, as well as initiatives which promote greater public engagement with language learning.