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The Virtual School Language Trips Project

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Learning a second language in school provides enhanced social and communication skills and better understandings of other cultures and histories. It can also enhance career opportunities in the UK and internationally.

Yet language learning in schools has been severely impacted by Covid-19. With exchange programmes paused, children haven’t had the opportunity to visit overseas schools. In addition, most primary schools have de-prioritised languages. Even at Key Stage 3 in secondary schools, languages have rarely been given slots for live lessons in lockdown. Schools have brought language teaching in the city to a virtual standstill.

To help rectify this, and activate the process of making Coventry a City of Languages, Warwick’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC) will work with teachers to boost and encourage language learning.

Coventry Modern Foreign Languages Hub is a project partner.

SMLC's specialist language undergraduates will help develop virtual school trips, designed to reignite enthusiasm for language learning amongst Coventry’s year 6 pupils before the transition to secondary school. Where possible, these virtual school trips will bring in other subjects too (such as History - by using the recently digitised Bayeux Tapestry to discuss the Norman Conquest).

The virtual school trip project will enable knowledge exchange and strengthen relationships between the city's teachers and the University of Warwick. It will also provide a platform for further projects to strengthen language education across the city.

The project is led by Professor Katherine Astbury (School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick)

Project partners: Coventry City Council, Coventry Modern Foreign Languages Hub and teachers from across the city