SOAS University of London and the AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) and King's College London's Language Acts and Worldmaking are proud to announce that their mentoring programme delivered by SOAS and its Routes into Languages Capital L partners was awarded the Social Mobility Awards 2020 Roll of Honour. The two KCL Student Mentors included on this award are: Roshini Alageshan (BA French and Spanish) and Daria Kosova (BA German and History).
The Social Mobility awards or SOMO is a Making the Leap initiative established in 2017. Supported by Capita and the Royal Air Force, SOMO has been described as: "a unique set of awards that have been specifically established to recognise and encourage action that will promote and increase social mobility within Britain’s companies and institutions."
The SOAS-OWRI KCL Language Acts and Worldmaking mentoring programme trained undergraduate language students and paired them up with pupils from state funded schools, some of whom declared no intention to pursue language studies beyond GCSE. Informed by research on motivation to study languages, the mentoring focused on themes such as identity, the multidisciplinary nature of language studies, language learning as performance and as a journey.
Although three out of four mentoring partnerships were curtailed by the 2020 pandemic, speaking on behalf of mentors who took part on the programme one mentor told us that: "[...] as the sessions went on, I saw some changes in their attitudes towards languages. I would say they seemed more interested and became more open-minded. The fact that languages can make someone have a different perspective, sparked an interest for the students. Although, at the beginning most of them only wrote STEM subjects as their options, they started to consider languages as an option. One problem they voiced was their lack of confidence of getting the grades in order to pursue languages at A levels. This is important because it seems like these children have the passion to learn a language, but the fear of getting the grades and the idea that it might get tougher at A levels scares them."
Debra Kelly (OWRI Language Acts and Worldmaking) and Renata Albuquerque (SOAS) said: "We are really pleased that the work of the mentors has been recognised by this award. Capital L, the London consortium of Routes into Languages, on which we are both Co-Directors, has been working to improve equality of participation in language studies at schools, colleges and universities since 2008. Mentors were recruited from three partner institutions, a model that allows HEIs to extend their reach and resources. Student Ambassadors and Student Mentors are the backbone of this service and we believe this award provides some recognition of the wonderful work our students do in reaching out and representing their subjects and institutions."