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University of Southampton aims to expand award winning project to help schoolchildren learn languages

Published: 
20 August 2009

An innovative online project encouraging University of Southampton students to help schoolchildren with their language learning is set to increase the numbers of young people taking part. ‘My UniSpace’, which allows students to act as mentors to pupils in Southampton schools and colleges, recently won a prestigious ‘European Award for Languages’.

“It is all about language students sharing their real-life experiences of learning another language with younger pupils, with the aim of motivating them to keep going with their studies,” says Dr Ian McCall, Deputy Director of the Centre for Language Study at the University.

“We are thrilled that the award recognised how successful language learners can be used to inspire the next generation.”

The scheme uses a secure email site to allow students to communicate with pupils in a safe environment and act as role models, encouraging them with their studies and sharing their experiences of language learning. It is part of the government-funded ‘Routes into Languages’ programme, which aims to increase take up of languages at university.

My UniSpace has just completed its second year with 50 mentors and 100 participating pupils, and organisers are aiming to increase this number in the next academic year.

“We are looking forward to involving our new first-year students in the scheme in October, as we’re planning to increase numbers so that even more students and pupils can benefit from this award-winning project,” comments Kirsten Pantry, Outreach and Partnership Officer at the University.

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