This blog has been written by Lucy Richards, a research assistant working as part of a bi-directional project between the University of Exeter Modern Languages and Cultures Department (Francesco Goglia) and Rokeby School (Sarah Lawson and Thomas Porter). This project is part of the Community-Engaged Learning projects run by the Education Incubator, as part of the wider CaST (Communities and Students Together) research project. This blog series describes how a team of University of Exeter research assistants planned, designed, and shared teaching materials to encourage the multilinguistic nature of a diverse boy’s school.
How Microsoft Sway became our bright and engaging platform
To cultivate the importance of their linguistic abilities, I proposed that as a team we created a presentation and Q&A for students. The presentation takes the form of a Microsoft Sway, including elements of audio, video, and further resource links. This Sway provides an interactive approach for students to discover more as they scroll through and listen as they read. It is divided into four main sections: Linguistic Abilities; focusing on the importance of using their home language, Career Prospects; how multilingualism will serve them in their career choices, University Life; the independence of learning and life away from home, and The Year Abroad; how students grow and develop if they choose to study or work abroad.
On July 7th, in a live session, a few members of our team presented the main elements of this interactive Microsoft Sway presentation topic followed by a Q&A session via a Padlet forum. This gave students the chance to ask us questions about our own personal experiences, learn more about university life and the significance of language learning such as potential career paths. It was important to engage students using this platform. Using creative tools such as Canva, we produced bright and colourful themes packed with the information essential to students as they continue their studies.
Moving forward: how this project has motivated me as an aspiring teacher
The project has allowed me to explore more creative methods and activities in teaching. Before the project, I was familiar with MS Sway but now I feel confident in using it to teach students in the future. The flexible and engaging format has highlighted the importance of accessibility and catering to different learning styles. This can be achieved with a range of formats to provide present information such as video, text, imagery, and audio.
The project has also inspired me to develop even more of a focus on reinforcing the linguistic diversity in schools, in society and indeed the world. At Exeter, I studied TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and received the Trinity Certificate TESOL qualification this June. Part of my practice was to embrace the multicultural nature of the classroom and this project has reinforced the belief that this can be achieved both online and offline whilst being both engaging and creative.