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Final year student, Anna Dupont, helps Year 5 pupils learn parts of the body in after-school French club at Widcombe Junior School
Final year student, Anna Dupont, helps Year 5 pupils learn parts of the body in after-school French club at Widcombe Junior School
Anna and fellow student teacher, Stephanie Blanco, teach pupils how to say their name and their age in French
Anna and fellow student teacher, Stephanie Blanco, teach pupils how to say their name and their age in French

Press Release - 08 February 2007

University students launch French club for local schoolchildren

Junior school children at a Bath school have been given the opportunity to learn French at a new after-school language club launched by University of Bath students.

The club, which is held at Widcombe Junior School and is free of charge, is aimed at children in Years 4 to 6 (aged between eight and 11 years) who don’t study languages as part of the curriculum. It is the idea of final year University students from the Department of European Studies & Modern Languages.

Dr Marion Demossier, French Co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer at the University who helped launch the club, said: “Learning a second language at this age provides children with important skills and the ability to adapt to different situations. It introduces them to alternative ways of expressing themselves and to different cultures, broadening their outlook and giving them the opportunity to communicate with many more people.

“A number of studies have found that the younger a child is when they begin to learn a second language, the better their accent will become. Some evidence also suggests that children who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems.

“In the long term, students of foreign languages go on to have access to a greater number of career possibilities and develop a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures.”

Headmistress of Widcombe Junior School, Mrs Wilkins, said: “The University students approached us last year about running a club for those children who don’t currently learn a language as part of the curriculum. We were impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment and decided to invite them all to help run the after-school club.

“The classes have been very well attended and the children were very receptive. After the first lesson I heard them chatter in French as they wandered up the corridor.”

The after-school club is also a valuable experience for the University students who have become involved on a voluntary basis during their final year studies. Many of them have some teaching experience and the classes are a way of deciding if it is the right career for them.

Stephanie Blanco, one of the teachers, is in her final year of International Management with French. She said: “I wanted to build on my teaching experience and this was a great opportunity. We were really pleased with the take-up, there are so many children we have taken over two classrooms.

“I don’t know yet if I will become a teacher, but I wanted to become involved because I appreciate the importance of starting to learn a language as early as possible. I’ve seen it encourage children on to greater aspirations.”


The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/

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