About The Language Toolbox

IHAVE BEEN TEACHING in Primary Schools as a Classroom Teacher for many years and I absolutely LOVE what I do! I’ve always had a passion for additional languages so naturally, I look for opportunities for incorporating language-based activities into my teaching; however small.

Prior to leaving my full-time teaching position in 2014, I worked closely with the Italian Teacher to design and implement a four-week, highly-integrated CLIL* Unit for our cohort of 103 Year 3/4 students – the first for our school. It was wonderful! The benefits far-surpassed our initial predictions and the engagement levels of my students, particularly my ‘difficult boys,’ was incredible! The best thing was watching my students grow in self-confidence. They all worked together to achieve their goals, helping and teaching each other, often surprising themselves with their achievements. They became my teachers too; proudly teaching me Italian and helping me with the pronunciation of new words and phrases – we all learnt together! It was pure magic and an absolute highlight of my teaching career!

Following this success, I wanted to know why other classroom teachers didn’t teach like this? Why are language programs in Primary Schools so often left to the sole responsibility of the language specialist teacher when really, so much more can be gained from working together across the school in a well-supported team? I decided that I wanted to do something about this. I started The Language Toolbox because I want to show other Classroom Teachers how they can easily, successfully and confidently incorporate language-learning into their classroom, to provide rewarding and enriching learning experiences for their students.

There are so many benefits for learning another language! Often however, these are are either unknown or not valued within education systems; the Three 3 R’s – Reading, wRiting, ‘Rithmatic – instead dominate school curricula and national standardised testing… But research has shown that learning another language actually enhances the academic skill-set of students by increasing their abilities in writing and maths! Furthermore, our first language and any other additional language we learn, work together to strengthen and enrich our repertoire in literacy practices. Learning another language assists students in learning their first language!!!

The language teachers who understand this, work hard to provide effective and highly engaging programs for their students – but they cannot do it alone. Too often I hear from frustrated Language Teachers, about the difficulties they face in gaining whole-school support and understanding of their programs. It is my goal to decrease the gap that often exists between generalist and language classrooms in Primary Schools and to link us all together through languages.

*Content and Language Integrated Learning – please refer to the ‘CLIL’ tab for more information.