20 Jun 2018

Mentor Training at Oxford University

avatar Lucy Jenkins

At the end of March 2018, pupils, teachers and mentors taking part in the MFL Mentoring Project attended a 2 day residential course in Oxford where they reflected on their language learning journey in order to further build their language skills.

In preparation for the trip, 12 Undergraduate students from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Oxford and Swansea Universities participated in a day of additional preparatory training.

The preparatory sessions explored enhanced safeguarding for residential stays. The day also contained creative sessions where mentors were invited to co-produce resources and activities ready for the 2-day event in Oxford.  Supported by Sian Brooks from UWTSD, Deborah Syrop from Science Made Simple and Dave Harris a mentoring specialist, Mentors were supplied with a full day of specialist guidance and advice before taking part in the Oxford trip.

The course in Oxford was held in the prestigious Christ Church College and included a visit to Pitt Rivers Museum. Pupils attended workshops and classes that encouraged them to think independently, and see the opportunities created by learning a new language. In addition, these workshops were entirely run by mentors which was a wonderful experience for mentors and mentees alike.

Teachers were able to share teaching practices and to discuss best approaches for engaging students with language learning. Mentors had the opportunity to test their skills and consider the interdisciplinary nature of language learning.

We asked teachers and mentors to give us their feedback on the event – and the results were overwhelmingly positive!

“Coming to Oxford was wonderful. I really enjoyed the range of opportunities that were given to us through the event. Pupils have thrived on being given the chance to think for themselves and work without oversight from teachers. It’s been an excellent CPD opportunity too.” Teacher.

“The past two days have taught me that language learning never really ends. Throughout my life I will continue to pick up languages and continue to learn. The event has encouraged my language learning, and given me the confidence to go on and try to work in university marketing/recruitment so I can encourage others to continue with their education. Mentor

“I was really surprised with the energy the mentors have towards language learning. Aspects of the course have made me think differently about language learning – the Digi-Languages session brought home the fact that pupils need to learn about how our brain works, and the scientific background.” Teacher.

“We need to keep things like this going! The children gain so much from days like this – and from the MFL scheme as a whole!” Mentor