Language Buddies project for local schools

Emilie Jephson, who studies History and Modern Languages & Cultures, joined Language Buddies, a volunteering project to design classes for local primary schools.

First year SLC student Emilie Jephson

"Language Buddies is a great opportunity to remind yourself why you loved learning languages when you were little. I met some great people through doing the project and teaching each lesson was a fun challenge.

I worked at Ann’s Grove primary school with another volunteer, teaching 5 French lessons to the year 3 and 4 classes. Each lesson was half an hour, and we covered topics like greetings, animals, colours, French food, French landmarks and the verb ‘to be’. We tried to vary the activities from repeating vocab and playing ‘true or false’ as a class, to encouraging them to guess words with each other and have short conversations about their name, age and how they were. The most important thing was remembering to make the lessons fun and varied and the students particularly enjoyed the vocab games and quizzes.

After an hour coming up with ideas in the first meeting, we spent about 3 hours a week on the project, half planning the content and making the powerpoint, half delivering the lessons. Initially, it was difficult to know how hard to make them, but we learnt to adapt in the moment, or make the questions easier if the class was struggling.

I was nervous to be a Language Buddy as a first-year but managed to deliver lessons which the children could engage with. Volunteering with someone else was helpful as we gave each other ideas, and brought new perspectives on how to teach different subjects based on our own experiences. The leaders also gave us lots of ideas and feedback on our lesson prep so even if you haven’t done anything like teaching before, it’s easy to get involved.

For me, the best part of the project was seeing that the students were excited for our lessons, and shouted “Bonjour!” from across the corridor when they saw us arrive. It was rewarding when they remembered vocab from one lesson to the next and kept putting their hands up to get involved. I’m so glad that I joined this project and would definitely recommend Language Buddies to anyone who knows or is studying a second language".

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