Teachers Connect: Bili's project with the University of Southampton connecting MFL teachers

We're excited to launch our brand new project connecting MFL PGCE students with teachers abroad. All teachers will follow an exchange programme through Bili, developing their language skills and sharing practice, before linking up their students through a Bili exchange.

Bili enables teachers from different countries to connect their students in a structured and secure environment to apply and practice their language in a real context with partners the same age.

This particular project, working directly with a PGCE course, adds an extra layer of exchanges between teachers. MFL PGCE students from the University of Southampton are paired with EFL (English as Foreign Language) teachers abroad (at a similar stage in their careers).

We are excited about the potential of this format as a means of:

  • Facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practice amongst teachers internationally;
  • Forging lasting links between teachers from the start of their careers;
  • Embedding international collaboration into day-to-day teaching, and encouraging a global outlook and intercultural communication amongst students.
  • Phase 1: Teachers Connect

    In phase 1 teachers will be connected through Bili with the following objectives:

    Subject knowledge – Student teachers will be connected with correspondent teachers in their second or “weaker” target language (e.g. A Spanish teacher with an English teacher in Spain). Teachers will be able to support one another in their respective native languages.

    Sharing of practice – Connected through regular tasks and through the Bilichat video calling app they will have opportunities to exchange about their experiences in the classroom, and learn from one another.

    Career enhancement – All participants will have used first-hand an effective tool to drive student engagement and attainment in MFL, as well as formed a valuable link with a teacher and school abroad.

    Read more about the Southampton PGCE course
  • Phase 2: Students Connect

    In phase 2, as with any Bili language exchange learners will be directly connected to one another, and given regular tasks by their respective teachers. We hope this will lead to long term collaboration between the teachers and their classes, as well as providing the following benefits for students:

    Language acquisition and practice – Students will be able to practice their language on a regular basis with their partner in the corresponding class

    Motivation – Studies have shown that motivation is markedly increased by interaction and mutual support across their respective language.

    Intercultural exchange – Students pick up and share parts of their differing cultures and backgrounds, gaining a more global outlook.

    Read more about how Bili language exchanges work
  • How it all began

    I invited Charlie to talk to my PGCE course in June, about the amazing opportunities for authentic communication that Bili offers language learners.

    The trainees and I thought it was a very exciting and innovative initiative, with enormous potential! This got me thinking about how their own subject knowledge could be improved in a similar way. Thus the idea for the  ‘Bili Pilot Project’ with the University of Southampton was born!

    The beauty of this project is that, not only will my trainees improve their own language skills throughout the PGCE course but they will also get to use the platform with students. This will definitely be something innovative and unique to talk about at interview!

    Melanie Smith, PGCE Modern Languages Programme Director

    Interested for your PGCE course?
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