St Margaret’s Academy lands in Spain for teacher training course

ST MARGARET’S Academy (SMA) has been awarded €37,000 in Erasmus funding for a new cross-curricular modern foreign language (MFL) project. A cohort of teachers from the Aigburth school travelled to Santander to take part in a Spanish language immersion course. The trip comes as part of the school’s Language Project, which aims to enhance pupils’ interest in MFL through a renewed and invigorated syllabus, whilst supporting the continued professional development of teaching staff from across the curriculum. SMA was awarded €37,000 in Erasmus funding earlier this year for staff to attend specialist courses across Europe, in Spain, France and Italy. Teachers will then be able to bring their enthusiasm and experiences back to the classroom. The project was designed by the MFL department to demonstrate the impact that languages can have across the curriculum, and how the incorporation of language skills can benefit pupils. During the seven day course, teaching staff took part in Spanish classes, alongside teaching methodology sessions and project planning meetings, as well as local cultural visits. Departments from across the school board were invited to apply to attend the specialist course, with teachers from the MFL and art departments attending, alongside representatives from the religious studies, English and history departments. Teachers will now be able to bring improved language skills and cultural knowledge back to the classroom, and share their experiences with pupils in lessons, extra-curricular clubs and on school trips. Winifred Monaghan, head of modern foreign languages, says: “Spending a week studying Spanish in Santander was a wonderful opportunity for the staff of St Margaret’s to improve their Spanish language skills. The group included teachers from the Modern Foreign Languages, English, Art, History and Religious Studies Departments and so it truly was a cross-curricular affair! “For some, it was their first time learning Spanish while others had already studied Spanish in some capacity. Regardless of the level, all staff learned a great deal, not only from the intensive language classes but also from being completely immersed in the Spanish culture. “Everyone returned with a real enthusiasm for Spain, its language and its culture and with a passion to disseminate what they had learned to pupils. The teachers are now planning to use their newly acquired knowledge in lessons, in lunchtime clubs and on school trips and hope to enthuse pupils to continue to learn a foreign language and to discover new cultures.”