St. John’s School & Sixth Form College in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, is focused on upskilling its staff and has been working with technology-based learning solution provider Rosetta Stone to help its teachers develop and build language skills for the past 14 months. The training forms part of the teacher subject specialism training (TSST) initiative, which aims to improve the knowledge of specialist, non-specialist and returning teachers in a range of subjects. Over one hundred teachers, across six schools in County Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne, seized the opportunity to learn a range of languages including Spanish, French and German, and the number of participants is set to increase in the programme’s coming years.
At the school, administrators sought a flexible learning solution that allowed teachers to tap into language learning whenever and wherever it suits them, including at home. Program content and curriculum were also a priority so that teachers of all starting capabilities could benefit, not just beginners. This digital learning solution assesses learners upfront to identify their language training needs and provide a suitable learning path. Training includes live online tutoring for realistic speaking practice, as well as audio and visual content and mobile access, giving the learners the flexibility to choose when and where they wish to study.
A blended learning approach was adopted through digital language learning from Rosetta Stone, together with face-to-face training to build skills around how to teach language subjects, which was delivered by teachers at the schools.
Phil Robertson, Head of Languages at St. John’s said that “we’re delighted by how well the programme has been received and the results it has delivered. Teachers have enjoyed language learning the most and students have been inspired to take up language learning themselves because of the example set by staff.”
Indeed, the school’s staff have been highly engaged with the project, learning a second language of their choice via their personal computers or their mobile devices. As a result of the language training programme, St. John’s has been able to fill gaps in its language faculty with teachers who have taken the course.