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National languages leadership programme welcomes its largest cohort yet

28 July 2017 (SCILT)

Fifty-one teachers from twenty-one local authorities across Scotland attended a week-long summer school at the University of Strathclyde School of Education at the beginning of July 2017. The summer school takes forward the recommendations from the Scottish Government’s flagship policy, “Language learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach” by building capacity and leadership skills within the teaching profession.

The course in July marks the start of a twelve-month professional learning programme, “The 1+2 languages leadership programme”, delivered by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, in partnership with Education Scotland. The programme engages lead language educators in designing, promoting and supporting the provision of effective language learning experiences for young people and high quality professional learning for in- and pre-service teachers. Content is a balance of theory, research, policy and practice relevant to language learning and as such, it carries accreditation from the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS).

Opening the Summer School, Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT explained: “This programme will put each participant in an informed position to take forward important roles in facilitating effective professional learning and in championing the creation of a climate in Scotland where language skills make a significant contribution to a fairer, smarter and more successful nation.”

Lisa Adair, a participant and Principal Teacher of Modern Languages at Braeview Academy in Dundee said: “What a brilliant experience the last week has been. So very worthwhile in so many ways – thanks to everyone involved! I have taken away some great ideas, input, insights, and ammunition to help me continue with the campaign to embed the 1+2 policy and maintain the very important place of languages in our Scottish curriculum. I am grateful for this opportunity and for the chance to have met some great colleagues and practitioners.”

Participants came from all sectors, including primary, secondary, higher education and the private sector. They attended workshops delivered by Classics for All; Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools ; EAL Service, Glasgow City Council; Goethe-Institut; Institute Français; Languages for Education Europe; Lingo Flamingo and Stòrlann. Between them, the participants had knowledge and experience of learning and teaching Chinese, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

The programme is in its fifth year. This year saw the largest number of participants to date. In the coming months there will be the opportunity for participants to go on to achieve professional recognition in leading learning in languages from GTCS.

Scottish Government's ambition is to expand and improve language learning by 2021, so that young people are equipped with the skills and competencies they need in an increasingly globalised world. From 2021 every child will be entitled to learn a first additional language from P1 and a second by P5. This entitlement continues until the end of S3. This ambition contributes significantly to the Scottish Attainment Challenge agenda.

Certificate of Continuing Education (CCed) in Spanish 2017-18

28 July 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

Applications are open for the University of Strathclyde's Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish (evening classes).

The CCed course will be of interest to those who wish to learn Spanish, including primary and secondary school teachers and a range of professional people with an interest in the Spanish world and their language. The Certificate provides a General Teaching Council approved qualification, subject to a 13 week residency period in a Spanish speaking country.

See the attached flyer for more information, including how to enrol for the September 2017 intake.

Related Files

Transdisciplinary language experiences using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

27 July 2017 (Language Show London)

This blogpost from Judith McKerrecher outlines the session she will be facilitating on behalf of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and The Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) at the Languages Show in London in October 2017.

As well as looking at and discussing the connections to the sustainable development goals, our planet and language learning, the session will explore a variety of contexts for language learning.

Having recently created a new project based professional learning menu, we have carefully considered the SDGs and this is reflected in the choices on offer. For example, the opportunity to combine science experiments with languages, geography, storytelling and outdoor learning or history with language, heritage, culture and nature is a breath of fresh air to language learning. In this way, languages can be used creatively and purposefully in new contexts.

Read more...

Bonnyrigg school establishes links with China

21 July 2017 (Midlothian Advertiser)

It’s been a very busy time for Hawthornden Primary School.

Following their successful school show ‘Hairspray’, Hawthornden pupils have excelled themselves again by performing at the launch of the Confucius Primary Hub.

The audience was entertained by P7s performing a Dragon Dance, a Fan Dance and Looking for a Friend. P6s performed a colours song in Mandarin. P3 pupils, who attend Mandarin classes at the Children’s University at Queen Margaret, amazed everyone by reading and translating a Mandarin story. Chinese colleagues praised their accents and pronunciation.

S4 Lasswade High School pupils also performed a dance to show primary pupils how Mandarin can be continued in high school.

Read more...

Why schools need to speak the same language on EAL support

21 July 2017 (TESS)

Across the globe, being bilingual is the norm. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population can speak at least two languages. Yet in the UK, primarily as a result of the dominance of English in the world, a child that converses in more than one tongue is still viewed as being “different”, particularly within education.

This is despite the number of bilingual pupils in our schools increasing. Over 1 in 5 (1.25 million) of our pupils are recorded as having English as an additional language (EAL), according to 2016 government figures.

Have schools adapted to this? Not enough, in my view. For example, EAL pupils tend to be seen as a homogenous group, a remnant of that view of bilingualism as being a deviation from the norm, not the standard. But they are nothing of the sort.

The definition of EAL used by the Department for Education is if a child is exposed to a language at home that is known or believed to be one other than English (1). This definition covers pupils who may have recently arrived in the country, as well as families that have been here for many generations.

Each EAL pupil will also vary in their level of proficiency in their mother tongue, as well as in English, across the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Quite simply, teachers are not being prepared well enough to support EAL students’ range of needs. Many newly qualified teachers, in particular, cite low levels of preparedness for meeting the needs of this group (2).

Sure, there are success stories. The attainment of EAL pupils is often cited as a key narrative in attainment improvements in England. This is certainly worthy of praise, with schools and communities deserving recognition for their hard work in this area. However, attainment of EAL pupils is extremely variable across regions and cities outside of London and its surrounding areas.

In addition, recent research (3) has shown that attainment varies considerably by the language spoken by pupils, with Japanese speakers being the highest-performing and Czech speakers the lowest.

So what can schools do to effectively support their EAL pupils and ensure they attain high standards?

Read the full article in TESS online, 21 July 2017 (subscription required).

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Calls to boost Gaelic language with Unesco status

20 July 2017 (The Scotsman)

A campaign to boost Gaelic language and its cultural heritage is seeking Unesco status.

A parliamentary committee is leading the call for UNESCO to award special status to the language.

Currently around 60,000 people speak the language, with numbers drastically decreasing. In the 2011 census, 1.1% of the population stated that they could speak the language.

However, the chairwoman of the cross party committee on Gaelic in the Scottish Parliament, Kate Forbes believes that securing a special UNESCO status would help preserve historical traditions and ensure they are kept alive for future generations.

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Young Brits to make German connections

19 July 2017 (UK Government)

More British youngsters will be able to learn about German language and culture after a new agreement was made between the Foreign Secretary and the German Foreign Minister.

Boris Johnson and Sigmar Gabriel have signed off on a doubling of funding for UK-German Connection (UKGC), which means an increase in the number of places available on the scheme.

The funding increase, to around £230,000 and matched by the German government, will expand the scheme’s work in bringing together children and teachers in both countries to learn about each other’s language, history, and culture.

Read more...

Le Petit Prince is printed for first time in Scots

18 July 2017 (The National)

Another classic literary tale has been given the Scots treatment as Le Petit Prince becomes The Wee Prince.

Language specialist Dr Susan Rennie of Glasgow University, author of ABC: a Scots Alphabet, has brought the classic to life in Scots for the first time.

Originally published in 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless tale is believed to have sold 150 million copies worldwide, read by around 400 million readers and officially translated more than 320 times.

The book, released last week, reveals the life of the enigmatic Wee Prince, including the secrets of his dowff an dowie life, his fondness for sundouns and his love for a wondrous bonnie. The poignancy of the original remains, with its message that the things that really matter in life – the muckle maitters – are takkin guid tent of your hame planet, and cultivating the deep ties of friendship and love.

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Scots Emojis

18 July 2017 (Scottish Sun)

A language expert has come up with a Scots meaning for almost every emoji you can think of.

Dr Michael Dempster put together the incredible list spanning around 200 mobile emoticons.

Read more...

Babies can distinguish between familiar and foreign languages while still in the womb

18 July 2017 (Daily Mail)

Fetuses can distinguish between someone speaking to them in English and Japanese one month before they are born, researchers have found.

Fetuses can hear things in the womb, including speech - although it's muffled.

But they can still perceive the rhythm of a language, and the study suggests that fetuses discriminate between different types of language based on rhythmic patterns.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has implications for fetal research in other fields, says the lead author.

'Research suggests that human language development may start really early - a few days after birth,' said Dr Utako Minai, associate professor of linguistics and the team leader on the study.

'Babies a few days old have been shown to be sensitive to the rhythmic differences between languages.

'Previous studies have demonstrated this by measuring changes in babies' behavior; for example, by measuring whether babies change the rate of sucking on a pacifier when the speech changes from one language to a different language with different rhythmic properties.

'This early discrimination led us to wonder when children's sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language emerges, including whether it may in fact emerge before birth.

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Government to spend £10m recruiting 600 foreign teachers to fill maths, physics and languages roles

15 July 2017 (The Independent)

The government is to spend up to £10m recruiting foreign teachers to fill shortages in maths, physics and languages roles.

The multi-million pound sum, to be funded by the taxpayer, will be spent on finding and training 600 new teachers, potentially equating to a cost of more than £16,000 per teacher.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) have published a tender outlining plans to recruit the teachers over three years, with the first intake beginning in September 2018.

Last week it was revealed that a quarter of teachers who qualified since 2011 have left the job.

Read more...

Spanish Language and DELE Preparation Online Courses

7 July 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

These new online courses are aimed at prospective candidates for the DELE exams. They will cover the different proficiency levels described by the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages): A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Although the courses are aimed at familiarising learners with the format of the DELE exams, they also help to prepare you where a particular level of proficiency in Spanish is needed such as working or living abroad, support for other university courses and primary school language policies.

Related Files

A traffic-light system to drive pupils towards learning Chinese

7 July 2017 (TESS)

Forgive me if I get straight to the point, but I know time is sparse for teachers and this message is important. There are five key reasons that every child should learn Mandarin Chinese. And they are as follows:
  1. China is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures, with more than 5,000 years of history and the world’s longest continuous writing system. Learning Mandarin Chinese will open the door to a wealth of literature, poetry and art and gives students a unique insight into a fascinating culture.
  2. China is also the most populous nation in the world and Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than one billion people. In many countries, Mandarin Chinese is becoming the most popular foreign language and it is likely to become Asia’s future lingua franca. Speaking Mandarin will create opportunities for work and travel throughout Asia – and beyond.
  3. Almost a quarter of internet usage is conducted in Chinese, while China’s economy is the second largest in the world. Proficiency in Mandarin Chinese is hugely beneficial for a career in business or the diplomatic service, and it is now one of the priority languages for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  4. Learning Mandarin Chinese is mentally stimulating and challenging; research has shown that while English speakers only use the left temporal lobe, speakers of Mandarin use both left and right. One advantage of this increased brain activity is that Mandarin speakers are more likely to have perfect pitch. In addition, learning to write characters can help with motor skills and visual recognition.
  5. The unique challenges of learning Chinese engage and motivate learners who might not be your “typical linguists”: mathematicians enjoy the logicality of the language; artistic children may enjoy “drawing” characters; musical children can distinguish and recall the tones more easily; children who struggle with dyslexia find relief in not having to learn another set of spelling and phonology rules.
That’s all very well, you might claim, but the school timetable is crowded and integrating a new subject area would take up that time we don’t have.

To counter this line of argument, I offer you a traffic light of options to ensure every child in your school can learn Mandarin.

Read the full article in TESS online, 7 July 2017 (subscription required).

Read more...

N5 Modern Languages: assignment-writing understanding standards materials

4 July 2017 (SQA)

Eight pieces of candidate evidence with commentaries for the new Assignment – writing component of the National 5 Modern Languages course for 2017-18 have been published on SQA’s Understanding Standards website. These contain examples in French, German and Spanish. Further examples in other languages will be published as soon as these are developed.

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Threlford Memorial Cup 2017 - Call for nominations now open

26 May 2017 (Chartered Institute of Linguists)

Do you know someone who's done something truly amazing for language learning?

Chartered Institute of Linguists is looking for nominations for the Threlford Memorial Cup 2017. The Cup is presented annually to a person, an organisation, or for a project that has inspired others with an original language initiative. The Cup will be presented by Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent at our Awards Evening in London in November.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 28 July 2017.

Read more...


Disclaimer: These news stories do not claim to be comprehensive and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of SCILT.

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National languages leadership programme welcomes its largest cohort yet More...

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Transdisciplinary language experiences using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals More...

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