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More than 80 secondary pupils from Bishops’ Bluecoat School in Chester and St Chad’s School in Runcorn visited the Riverside Campus to enjoy a day of language learning with teacher trainees from the Modern Foreign Language PGCE course. 

The pupils enjoyed engaging activities throughout the day designed to help them build confidence with speaking French, German, Spanish and Mandarin in preparation for their forthcoming GCSE exams. Pupils became business entrepreneurs, pitching their imaginary products in a German Dragon’s Den scenario. They played  ‘Guess Who?’ in Mandarin, debated the benefits and disadvantages of the internet and social media in French, played games such as Taboo and Jenga and created spiders webs out of string in a question and answer game in Spanish.

The pupils also enjoyed a guided tour of the Riverside Campus and a presentation from the trainee teachers on university life at Chester and the benefits of language learning for life.

Rachel Bryson, Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) at the University of Chester, said: “The day was really beneficial for both our students and the pupils.

“The pupils commented that they had really enjoyed the day and it had helped them to build confidence in speaking. The trainee teachers, who had worked hard to create all of the activities, were able to develop their skills in preparing pupils for the GCSE oral examinations.”

Helen Farrar, Curriculum Team Leader (CTL) for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at St Chad’s Catholic and Church of England High School, said: "We have had a very positive response from all of our pupils who were delighted with the engaging but challenging activities they completed at the University. The students gained a great deal from the experience and as teachers we also picked up some new ideas. The day was fun and very well organised and we are already planning our next visit. Our thanks go out to the lecturers and ITT students at the University of Chester for making the day a pleasant experience for all."

Andy Owen, Associate Assistant Head teacher and Head of MFL at Bishops’ Blue Coat CofE High School, said: It was a fantastic opportunity offered by the University to support our pupils build their confidence and proficiency in speaking French or German through a variety of creative activities. It was a great opportunity for pupils to hear of the importance of language learning and find out more about the University of Chester.”

ITT students Sarah Bazley-Harrison and Pierangelo Montanaro both benefitted from the experience. Sarah said: “The pupils enjoyed the interactive nature of the activities. They thoroughly enjoyed bringing alive aspects of the GCSE exams.”

Pierangelo added: “It was a well-organised day, a great opportunity for us trainees to get to know Year 11 pupils from other schools. I think that the day has been very beneficial for both trainees and pupils, who got more confident with their speaking.”

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