ASMCF workshop on Outreach in French studies
On April 28th, the ASMCF ran an online workshop to discuss the principles, strategies, and challenges of designing and delivering outreach activities in French Studies.
We were delighted to welcome Dr Daniel Finch-Race who talked about his ‘Post-16 French Enrichment Day on Environmental and Medical Issues’ (April 2019) which was partly funded by the ASMCF Liaison and Outreach Prize.
Thanks goes to Helen McKelvey for instigating the workshop, Daniel Finch-Race and Megan Ison for their support in the organisation! And to all the participants!
Feedback on the Workshop
“Beatrice and Dan’s presentations were very clear; it was helpful to hear how other people had gone about putting together an outreach project, what challenges there had been, and the rewards that came at the end. I also benefitted from the discussions of how to make such projects more collaborative, and was given lots of ideas of how I could put together my own project in tandem with colleagues across tertiary and secondary education.”
Helen McKelvey, ASMCF PGR Rep, Queens University Belfast
“The importance of engaging school pupils with languages and the potential of language learning to provide exciting opportunities has been thrown into even starker relief given Brexit and the current situation with languages in schools.
Language teaching is something I have long been interested in, and with many of my friends teaching secondary languages in schools across the UK, the idea of putting together an outreach project was very much on my radar. However, I was unsure how to begin, or how to crystallise all the ideas in my head into a fruitful collaboration with colleagues teaching in secondary schools.
One of the themes from our discussions during the event was just how collaborative these projects are, from inception right through to delivery; I found it extremely helpful to hear from Daniel Finch-Race how the project he was involved in developed and adapted as the situation changed.
Some of the other pieces of advice that struck me were: keeping the project simple, finding a gap/need and creating a project or event that can either be easily repeated, and has resources that the teachers, students and academics involved can keep. It was reassuring to hear of the array of options available for funding and collaborations between organisations.
The event and the discussions during it encouraged me to keep persevering in outreach and keep knocking on doors until I find the opportunities that open them.
Participants joined in a lively discussion about the challenges of outreach in French studies and Modern Languages more generally. These included:
- The need for joined up thinking across Modern Language outreach and collaboration across educators, institutions, and societies supporting language education in the UK and beyond
- What ages groups to include in outreach activities. Given the challenges facing language education, is it enough to only focus on post-16? How do we tailor outreach to earlier groups and broker sustainable relationships across primary and secondary education?
- The need for more spaces in which to workshop activities in relation to outreach, such as forum, website, or series of meetings for parties interested in outreach.
As such, Beatrice Ivey (ASMCF Outreach Officer) is going to convene another meeting with participants working on outreach activities across a broad range of projects and institutions to discuss these issues. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Beatrice at [email protected] by 31 May 2021.