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EAB News 2006-03-17 to 18: EAB at the 2006 Manchester Primary Languages Conference

EAB presents Springboard at the 2006 Manchester Primary Languages Conference

EAB mounted a stall at the Manchester Primary Languages Conference, presenting the Springboard programme which introduces primary school children to foreign languages through the simple, regular, international language Esperanto.

The stall attracted many visitors - primary school teachers, secondary teachers teaching 'on occasion' in the primary sector (to allow the primary schools to fulfil the government's National Languages Strategy guidelines), and LEA advisors. Each visitor was supplied with an info pack, examples of lessons, and was 'talked through' the procedure. Those 'more than just interested' took away a Teacher's Pack. Visitors' reactions to the programme were universally positive - "What a good idea!" and "If only we could do that in our school!".

Visitors also spoke of the present - somewhat chaotic - situation in schools; some are teaching French from Kindergarten to year 5, only to then discover the secondary schools teach German. Secondary schools are very unhappy with the transition; those children who know some 'language' are bored; some come with a bit of Spanish, some with a bit of French, some with a smattering of German - and everyone has to begin again at the beginning. Children and teachers alike are suffering.

Springboard's approach avoids this problem, because it concentrates on a foundation of common language concepts, which will be useful to a child, whatever national language(s) they go on to learn.

As well as the continuous presentation at EAB's stall, participants also enjoyed a lunchtime presentation by David Kelso.

Manchester Primary Languages Conference
David Kelso and Helen Fantom at the conference (photo by Paul Gubbins)

(Text adapted from a report by Angela Tellier)

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