An information booklet for Language Assistants in UK schools is available to download from the bottom of this page. It contains all the information you should need for your placement, such as practical information like arranging travel, visas and accommodation, and sorting out payment and taxes, as well as information about your role as a language assistant and settling in and life outside of work.
Making an impact
Former language assistants have found that one way to make a successful impact on their placement is to organise a language-based learning project to engage and inspire students as well as show the relevance of learning a language.
What is a project?
A project is a sequence of activities that you carry out in class over a number of weeks that will lead to a visible product or outcome at the end.
How do I set-up a project?
Any language assistant can set-up a project but it is important to get agreement from the teachers you work with first.
In Scotland, the British Council works with SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages) to provide extra support for Language Assistants undertaking a project.
What worked in the past?
Below you will find popular projects implemented by former language assistants that should easily fit in with most departmental programmes of study. Remember to check with your mentor teacher before beginning any projects.
Establish a drama club and produce a play in the target language. For more information see the Drama Club project template.
Culture in a box
Organise an exchange of parcels with a class in your country of origin. More information is available here.
Establish (or build on) an existing link or a partnership in one of your allocated schools with a school in your home country (perhaps your old high school).
For more information, see the Pen Pal project template. There are numerous ways of encouraging students to learn each other’s language, e.g. through the creation of a bilingual magazine, the joint writing of a story, or an exchange of PowerPoint slides about a topic of mutual interest, such as a ‘typical’ school day, current fashion trends etc.
eTwinning offers a platform for all staff working in a school in one of the European countries involved to communicate and collaborate, develop joint projects, share ideas and be part of the most exciting learning community in Europe.
You can use the eTwinning platform, which is supported by the British Council, for the Culture in a box or Pen Pal projects. One of the teachers at the school you are working in will need to open an eTwinning account and allow you to have access.
Turn your knowledge about other subjects into a project that lets pupils experience the relevance of language learning, e.g. subtitling, radio shows etc. Find out more and get some ideas together here.
Chinese New Year
2016 is the Year of the Monkey.
Take a look at our education pack and introduce students to the differences and similarities between the lives, languages and cultures of people in China and the UK.
Ask your teacher if they would support you in training senior pupils to promote language learning to pupils in a local primary school or to Year 7 / S1 pupils.
Why not persuade your teacher to enter a group of students, or a whole class, to one of the many language-based competitions?
The British Academy Schools Language Award is a UK wide competition to encourage the learning of languages. In England and Wales the Foreign Language Spelling Bee for Year 7 is very popular. In Scotland, there is the AMOPA speaking competition (for Advanced Higher students of French) and for pupils in S1-S3 there is Word Wizard, the final of which is held at the Scottish Parliament. Lastly, pupils in their senior years with an ambition to work in translation might be inspired by the Juvenes Translatores organised by the European Commission.