From education to employment

Collaboration in MFL: The London Language Network

Delivering language teaching to adults across London’s 33 Local Authorities would not be as effective as it is if it was not for the unsung work of the London Language Network (LLN). This network’s key priorities are to co-ordinate and support the adult language provision across London boroughs.

The network underlines what can be achieved through voluntary collaboration. Around 1992, following the demise of the ILEA, a small consortium of Language managers began to support one another and share vital information, such as funding news and qualifications issues.

Since its creation, the LLN has witnessed many changes in delivering languages to adults. In the early days, the use of target language for teaching purposes was an innovation and communicative approach was in its infancy.

As Jean Aarons of Croydon Adult Learning and Training explains: “The use of ICT and the internet has been wonderful for languages learning. Classes are now more visual, lively and topical as tutors can directly bring in the world around to enhance the learning experience for their students.”

However, despite these changes, the LLN’s main aims have remained constant. The members make sure that each institution is bought up to date with the provision the others are offering to minimise cross-overs, and for the past decade the group has undertaken the organisation of a massive biennial teachers training event.

Each training event runs on a tight budget, only covering the cost of trainers, one administrator and catering, the rest, including the overall organisation, is provided free of charge by LLN members.

The last Training Day took place in Brent at the Carlton Adult and Community Education Centre, attracting more than 100 teachers.

The next training event will be held in February, and will offer sessions on a variety of topics, including” evidencing learners achievements” and “paperless” lessons.

Friederike Schroeder, Curriculum Manager at Morley College, said: “The speakers and trainers are chosen from a range of subject specialist areas. The main aim is to engage tutors. The activities are inspirational and there is always something one can take straight back in planning for the next session.’ She concludes ‘for mainly part time tutors it is an excellent opportunity to meet up with colleagues and discuss all the latest tips of the trade.”

Solange Berchemin was a member of LLN until 2007, earlier this year she was invited to attend a termly meeting at the network

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