Students as Teachers of Multilingualism #3: Working as a Research Intern

This blog has been written by Ailish Farrell, a research intern 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 describes Ailish’s experiences of working on the project.

Over the past few months, I have been an intern with a collaborative project between Modern Languages and Cultures Department at the University of Exeter and Rokeby School in Newham. I am very passionate about promoting not just access to university education for all students, but I am also passionate about promoting language learning in and out of the classroom environment. I’ve enjoyed embarking on this project between the University of Exeter and Rokeby School (Newham) as I feel like I can not only share my passion for the Russian Language but I am also supporting students who could be in a position that is similar to my own; As one of the first people in my immediate family to go to university, the support I received from my secondary school at the time was integral to the decisions I would go on to make.

Although the project has been carried out virtually during Covid times, I have enjoyed using technology to the advantage of the project.  Having created a Microsoft Sway for an online presentation with the students at Rokeby, myself and the other interns have created a resource with longevity that can be easily accessed and used by future students, not just those who engaged with the recent presentation. Another advantage to an online delivery of the Presentation/Q&A session was the number of students that were able to easily watch and engaged with the presentation; student as young as year 7 watched the presentation. Although this might seem too young an age to seriously considering university, I truly believe that secondary level schooling needs to be vocal in inspiring their students to consider higher education as such opportunities might not be discussed or considered in the home environment.

Apart from the Presentation/Q&A session with the students at Rokeby, I have been creating material that will be used in the school’s teaching of Russian. From the beginning of the project, it was important to me that I was creating materials that were likely different to what the student have engaged with before. It is important to me that my work inspires other people – and so I wanted to work on a project that drew on my own experiences and expertise so that my own passion would shine through. Through the support of Dr Francesco Goglia and the teachers at teachers at Rokeby School, I have been able to design and create materials on topics of my own choosing; materials that focus on using Film & TV as a tool to further language learning, with a special concentration on the Ice Hockey Film Legend 17/ Легенда №17 (Lebedev, 2012).

Working on a project language learning and university aspirations in the same breath alongside my fellow student interns, Dr Francesco Goglia (University of Exeter), Sarah Lawson and Thomas Porter (Rokeby School, Newham) has been a fitting end to my time at University of Exeter – and hope that this is my first- not my final – involvement in such a project.

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The University of Exeter’s Education Incubator scheme. Promoting pedagogic innovation and collaboration with an aim to enhance learning across the University and beyond.

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