Email alert service

We provide a selection of language news, events and resources in a weekly email bulletin. To subscribe, please complete this form.

You can also follow us on Twitter.

Brexit has made me afraid of speaking my native language in the UK

15 March 2019 (Metro)

When I first came to the UK in 2005, I was shocked to see so many people of different backgrounds living together peacefully.

On the first day, when my uncle picked me up at Stratford station, I was crying because I was so overwhelmed. Before I came here, I had never seen a black person or a woman wearing a headscarf. Suddenly, I wasn’t different anymore – I could walk down the street and nobody harassed me.

During my first days in the country, I went into a shop and was greeted with ‘How are you my darling?’. I felt like I was in heaven.


Children's workshops and storytelling sessions

15 March 2019 (Puppet Animation Festival)

Le Petit Monde brings you a new puppet-making workshop based on the famous Aesop fable The Fox & The Crow! Aimed at 7-9 year olds, the workshop takes place at two Scottish venues during April 2019.

After a short introduction to the story, participants will make their own puppets out of old socks and then get to manipulate them before practising a few key French phrases from Tania’s own billingual version of the fable and re-enacting the story together. 

This workshop is accessible to non-French speakers. (Please note there is a small charge to attend).

There are other free events for children and young people available at Edinburgh and Lothian's libraries, including Polish Bookbug storytelling sessions.  

Visit the website for more information.


Masters level learning in Gaelic Medium Education (Streap)

15 March 2019 (University of Aberdeen)

Applications are now invited for this 60-credit programme on Gaelic Medium Education.

The programme is delivered by Aberdeen University and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and is fully-funded by the Scottish Government. It is delivered over an academic year via blended learning, with three face-to-face inputs, telephone tutorials and online support and delivery.

Visit the University of Aberdeen website for more information.


‘We spoke English to set ourselves apart’: how I rediscovered my mother tongue

14 March 2019 (The Guardian)

While I was growing up in Nigeria, my parents deliberately never spoke their native Igbo language to us. But later it became an essential part of me.

[..] None of us children spoke Igbo, our local language. Unlike the majority of their contemporaries in our hometown, my parents had chosen to speak only English to their children. Guests in our home adjusted to the fact that we were an English-speaking household, with varying degrees of success. Our helps were also encouraged to speak English. Many arrived from their remote villages unable to utter a single word of the foreign tongue, but as the weeks rolled by, they soon began to string complete sentences together with less contortion of their faces. My parents also spoke to each other in English – never mind that they had grown up speaking Igbo with their families. On the rare occasion my father and mother spoke Igbo to each other, it was a clear sign that they were conducting a conversation in which the children were not supposed to participate.


Why learning another language is still a sign of privilege

13 March 2019 (The Conversation)

There is a class divide in language education in England. Young people from working-class backgrounds in socially deprived areas are far less likely to choose, or have the opportunity, to study languages at secondary school, than their more affluent peers.

Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium – recent BBC analysis shows a drop of between 30% and 50% of students taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England.

But this is not a new claim. Researchers started to highlight a class divide emerging just after the Labour Party changed languages from being compulsory to optional at GCSE in 2007. Once languages no longer needed to feature on league tables, many schools dramatically reduced the number of students sitting language exams.

The Language Trends 2015 report found direct correlations between socioeconomic disadvantage and restricted access to languages. It was found that the schools in the most socially deprived areas excluded 17% of pupils from language study in key stage three (11-14 years-old) and 44% of pupils at key stage four (14-16 years-old).

Recent findings suggest things haven’t improved – 76% of students in selective schools sat a GCSE in a language compared with only 38% in sponsored academies. There is also a geographical divide appearing, with young people living in London and the south-east more likely to take a language at GCSE. All other areas in England have recorded a decline – and the north-east has been the worst affected.


Brexit: Why Scotland faces a slow decline

13 March 2019 (The Scotsman)

Brexit will not be a cliff but a long decline, with a steady trickling away of energy and vibrancy from Scotland, a country with closer cultural ties to Europe than you might think, writes Alistair Heather.

[..] More than genetics, more than common names bind us to our European neighbours. The very words in our mouths indicate our shared past and common present. The Scots language has common words in the Scandinavian language – such as ‘bairn’ for child and ‘braw’ for good – and in Ireland, our near European neighbour, Ulster Scots retains some vibrancy. Our own Scots Gaelic started life as the Ulster dialect of Irish, the shared languages evidence of endless Hiberno-Scottish relations. 

[..] There are many tens of thousands of new Scots who are absolutely European, and no vote will change that. The Polish, Baltic state, Romanian migrants and their children, many Scottish born, who make up chunks of our population are and will remain European. Their next generation will likely be at least bilingual, with one modern European language as a mother tongue. Much as the great Irish migrations have redoubled the connections between Scotland and Ireland, so too will the legacy of the more recent eastern European migrations culturally tether future Scots to those countries.

This is not an article in defence of the EU. This is an article in favour of open borders, of knowledge sharing, and of cooperation.


What Foreign Languages Are Members of the Royal Family Fluent In?

13 March 2019 (Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a royal rule, learning a foreign language is highly recommended in the royal family. After all, much of their job involves traveling to different parts of the world, hosting world leaders, and giving speeches outside of the United Kingdom. And while many royal family members know enough of a foreign language to get by, some are full-on fluent.

Here are the languages members of the royal family have mastered. 


Modern languages and Gaelic hit by narrowing curriculum

12 March 2019 (Press and Journal)

A reduction in the range of subjects studied by secondary pupils has led to fewer children studying science and languages including Gaelic, it has been claimed.

Parents and teachers suggested the narrowing of the curriculum at S4 was a “catastrophe”, which harmed attainment and resulted in pupils making subject choices “too soon”, reducing the range of their education.

Submissions made to Holyrood’s Education Committee criticised a new three-year senior phase that has resulted in many schools cutting subject choices from eight to either six or seven.

Scotland’s national Gaelic centre Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye blamed narrowing of the secondary school curriculum for the language’s “severe” decline.


These are the benefits of learning a second language

12 March 2019 (World Economic Forum/European Sting)

There are many advantages to learning a second language. Some are fairly obvious. If you find yourself lost in a foreign country, being able to express yourself clearly could help lead you to your destination. Similarly, if your job requires you to travel you may find it easier to vault language and cultural barriers.

But there are other benefits that are not so immediately apparent. For example, learning another language could improve your all-round cognitive ability. It could help hone your soft skills, and even increase your mastery of your mother tongue, too.

Some studies have apparently identified a link between being multilingual and fending off the onset of dementia. Others indicate that being able to speak more than one language can help you become better at multitasking in other aspects of your daily life, too.


‘How learning a foreign language changed my life‘

12 March 2019 (Hanahan Herald)

The number of teenagers learning foreign languages in UK secondary schools has dropped by 45% since the turn of the millennium.

The reaction to the research was mixed. Why learn a foreign language when English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, some people wondered.

Others questioned the need for a second language when translation technology is advancing so quickly.

But many speakers of foreign languages extolled the benefits. Four native English speakers tell how making the effort to learn a second language is important – and how it changed their life.


Updated Case Study - Douglas Academy

11 March 2019 (SCILT)

Check out our updated case study. We asked Barry Smedley, Head Teacher at Douglas Academy, the following questions about language provision in the school. Follow the link to watch the videos and find out more!

  1. Why do you see languages as an important part of the curriculum? What benefits do you see across the curriculum and what has its impact been on the young people in your school?
  2. How does language learning articulate with the priorities of the National Improvement Framework?
  3. How have you ensured that enough time has been given to the L2 and what steps have you taken to implement the L3?
  4. What is your vision for the languages curriculum?
  5. Have you encountered any staffing difficulties which have impacted on your ability to deliver learners’ full entitlement to languages?
  6. Uptake in your school is growing. How have you created this climate?


Playwright says Scotland has ‘lost the Gaelic language war’

10 March 2019 (The Scotsman)

The Glasgow-born author of a play connecting the Scottish and Quebecois independence referendums has praised the French Canadian province for “hanging on to” its language as a symbol of the independence movement.

Linda McLean, who co-wrote Premiere Neige/First Snow with Davey Anderson and Quebecois playwright Philippe Ducros, said Scotland had “lost the language war” two centuries ago and it was “kind of great” that Canadian Francophones, who are more likely to support Quebec becoming an independent state, have kept their language.

The bilingual play, which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival last year in a project linking the National Theatre of Scotland and Quebec theatre groups Theater PÀP and Hotel-Motel, is currently showing for the first time in Montreal.

“In Scotland we lost the language war 200 years ago,” she said. “There’s still a lot of people concerned with how quickly Gaelic is disappearing. I know that my great-grandparents spoke Gaelic before they came to Glasgow and within a generation it was gone, apart from the odd word passed down. But I was struck by just how strong is the identification with language in Quebec independence."


Making the case for multilingualism – a timely reminder

9 March 2019 (The Spectator)

English as the world’s lingua franca isn’t going anywhere. Why, then, should we Anglophones bother to learn another language? What’s in it for us? And what, more seriously, are the implications if we decide not to bother?

Digging deeply into these questions, Marek Kohn’s book asks what it actually means to have some mastery of another language (is that the same as being ‘fluent’, or being able to ‘speak’ another language?), and looks at language acquisition, at how the language we happen to speak can alter perception, whether there are cognitive benefits to multiple language use, and what roles the state can play in determining how languages are valued or stigmatised.


'Brexit means we can't ignore the decline of MFL'

9 March 2019 (TES)

A skill deficit that costs the UK economy an estimated 3.5 per cent of GDP.

A knowledge vacuum that 74 per cent of business leaders identify as a major barrier to career success for graduates in today’s world of work.

You may assume that I am talking about science, technology, engineering or maths – subjects which occupy so many headlines, especially where opportunities for girls and young women are concerned.

But, no.

These stats relate to foreign languages, an area that rarely attracts comment and stands pretty low on the national educational agenda at the moment.

And yet, Britain is in danger of sleepwalking into an employability crisis, as many educators continue to turn a deaf ear to the research and the warning signs highlighting a comparative skills gap for our graduates that will materially harm their employment prospects in the coming years. We are in danger of nurturing a generation of global consumers who are incapable of flourishing as global citizens, earners and opinion-formers.


Making Connections through Learning for Sustainability March 2019

8 March 2019 (Learning for Sustainability Scotland)

Facilitated online CLPL for teachers starting 22nd March 2019.

Aligned with Scotland’s education priorities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this professional learning supports you to develop the confidence to plan for, and implement, Learning for Sustainability in your practice, making connections at individual, school and global levels, and inspiring students to collaborate on the issues that shape our world.

Available at three levels:

Level 2 (6-hours over 6 weeks) 22nd March – 10th May 2019

Level 3 (12-hours over 10 weeks) 22nd March – 7th June 2019

Level 4 (18 hours over 3 terms) 22nd March – 20th December 2019

Why participate?

Scotland is unique internationally in having a requirement for all teachers and education professionals to address Learning for Sustainability (LfS) in their practice. This fully funded professional learning, created by the University of Edinburgh and Learning for Sustainability Scotland, for the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme, will:

  • Support you to create an enabling environment for Learning for Sustainability and significantly enhance your learners’ educational experience

  • Inform your PRD and GTCS Professional Update

  • Support whole-school and community approaches to Learning for Sustainability

  • Give access to an international network of like-minded teachers

Your engagement in the programme could, in time, lead to Professional Recognition from the GTCS.

Visit the website for more information and to register for the free online course.


Employ a language assistant at your school

7 March 2019 (British Council)

Language assistants are native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Irish who can help students in UK primary and secondary schools develop language skills and understand other cultures.

With up-to-date knowledge of their local culture and language, they can also help revitalise the skills of language teachers.

Applications are now open for schools to employ a language assistant during the 2019-20 academic year.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply.


Bearsden pensioners keep dementia at bay with language lessons

7 March 2019 (Evening Times)

These ladies may be ­enjoying their golden years after decades of working and raising families but, they’re proving it’s never too late to learn a new language.

The women at Meallmore’s Antonine House care home has teamed up with Glasgow-based social enterprise Lingo Flamingo, who visit once a week to provide interactive French classes.

It comes after research showed speaking multiple languages can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years.

Staff at the home say the classes also help to improve residents’ cognitive ability, communication skills and well-being, as well as build their confidence.


The importance of using Scots language in the classroom

7 March 2019 (TES)

Scots speakers must be encouraged by teachers to use and celebrate the much-neglected language, says Bruce Eunson.

The 2011 census reported that over 1.5 million people in Scotland speak Scots language. If we were to say that roughly a third of adults speak Scots, could we also say that a third of Scotland’s children and young people speak Scots?

That might be going too far. Scots is a minority language and one that many believe is dying out. We would be able to measure that more accurately if the 2001 census or the 1991 (or any previous census ever recorded) had asked all adults living in Scotland if they could speak, read, write and understand Scots. The 2011 census asked the question for the first time because Scots language has for so long been seen as either something of the past, or as a dialect of English, or as being simply “wrong” or “bad” or “slang” – or many other derogatory terms that led to Scots being marginalised from both education and wider society.

If you work in a school, do a third of the weans or bairns there speak Scots? Think beyond the classroom. Because Scots has suffered so many years of low status, neglect and of being undervalued, there are a huge number of children and young people who are using Scots in the playground with their friends, at the front gate of the school with their mam or their grandad in the morning and afternoon – but who do not bring that wealth of vocabulary and creativity with them into the classroom.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).


Vive la Francophonie! Quiz 2019

6 March 2019 (Francophonie UK)

Vive la Francophonie Quiz is back! The Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Francophonie UK, is pleased to offer a quiz during the Semaine de la Francophonie 2019 to celebrate the French language and the French-speaking countries.

The quiz is open to UK learners of French in the following two categories :

  • UK Secondary Schools : KS3 pupils (S1,S2, and S3 in Scotland)
  • UK participating Alliances Françaises and Instituts Français : all students, teens and adults

The quiz will be available online during Francophonie week, from 16 to 24 March 2019, and takes a maximum of 45 minutes to complete.

Visit the website for more information and register before 14 March to take part.


Sixth forms drop languages A-levels due to 'inadequate' funding

6 March 2019 (The Guardian)

Half of sixth forms in schools and colleges have been forced to drop A-levels in modern languages as a result of “totally inadequate” funding of post-16 education, according to research.

French, Spanish and German have been hardest hit – 57% of sixth form leaders who took part in a survey said German courses had been axed, 38% have dropped Spanish, 35% had ditched French and 15%, Italian.

The poll by the Sixth Form Colleges Association comes as concerns rise about dwindling language skills in schools, but school and college leaders say funding cuts and cost increases in post-16 provision make it impossible to put on courses for small numbers of students.


Related Links

A-level courses 'cut in sixth-form funding squeeze' (BBC, 6 March 2019)

Should learning a second language be a priority for pupils? (Kent Online, 6 March 2019) - video report asking the question to shoppers in Maidstone.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Gaelic gathering a success

5 March 2019 (Buteman)

The second Argyll Gaelic Gathering took place at Corran Halls in Oban on Saturday (March 2).

More than 60 delegates enjoyed a packed full day, with a call to increase the pace of Gaelic language development delivered by keynote speaker John Swinney MSP, the Deputy First Minister.

The theme was picked up by policy and practice experts who included Shona MacLennan for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Dr Gillian Munro for Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The value of Gaelic to Scotland’s heritage and its economy was discussed by Ruairidh Graham from Historic Environment Scotland and Rachel MacKenzie from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The importance of keeping Gaelic of continued appeal to young people was ably demonstrated by Dòmhnaill Morris of Spòrs Gàidhlig and Arthur Cormack from Feisan nan Ghaidheal, and not least by young advocates of the language themselves – musicians and broadcasters Kim Carnie and Iain Smith.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for Gaelic, said: “It was great to see academics, professionals, learners and ordinary members of the community get together to share our passion and commitment for increasing the use of Gaelic both in our communities and in the fields of tourism and heritage.

“Argyll and Bute Council was pleased to see the variety of good ideas and hope to build on them going forward.”


How British Sign Language developed its own dialects

5 March 2019 (The Conversation)

There are many different ways of speaking English in the UK, with people using different regional dialects in different parts of the country. For example, some people would say “give it me” while others might say “give it to me”. There is also variation in the names given to everyday items like bread roll. Even when the same vocabulary is used, there are differences in accent – in how words are pronounced. For example, some people pronounce “foot” and “cut” so that they rhyme, while others do not.

What is perhaps much less well known is that the majority sign language of the UK’s deaf community, British Sign Language (BSL), also varies from one part of the country to another – it is clear that BSL has dialects. We do not know if BSL has regional accents (systematic differences in the pronunciation of the same signs) but research has found that deaf people from different parts of the UK use distinct regional signs for the same meanings (like the variation in words meaning “bread roll” in English mentioned above).

Many people mistakenly assume that sign language is some kind of universal form of communication. In fact, there are over 100 different sign languages in the world today. Like all natural sign languages, BSL was not invented by any single individual, but developed spontaneously.

BSL began to emerge centuries ago when deaf people gathered together to form communities across the country. As it developed separately from English, BSL has vocabulary and grammar that is different. For example, a single sign can be used to mean “I haven’t seen you in ages”. The order of signs in a question such as “what’s your name?” may be unlike typical English order too, with the question sign meaning “what” coming at the end of the sentence.


MPs and Peers in urgent call for a National Recovery Programme to revolutionise language skills in the UK

4 March 2019 (British Council)

Britain’s dwindling language skills are a disaster for the country and must be recovered through concerted action led by the government and supported by us all, a group of MPs and Peers warns today. 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages National Recovery Programme for Languages makes an economic, international relations and security case for a renewed focus on language learning in Britain.

It argues that languages are not just an issue for schools, but that their educational and cultural value means that businesses, government and higher education institutions must all play a part.  

It highlights:

  • The UK loses 3.5 per cent of GDP in lost business opportunities due to our poor language skills; SMEs who deploy languages report 43 per cent higher export/turnover ratios.
  • That homegrown language skills are vital to national security, diplomacy and international relations
  • Young people need languages to become culturally agile, ready for the mobile and inter-connected jobs of the future.


No habla español? How Netflix could transform the way we learn languages

2 March 2019 (The Observer)

Amid concern over the fall in pupils studying foreign languages, a new online tool has turned the streaming service into a classroom.

For years people around the world have learned English by watching Hollywood movies and costume dramas on the BBC. Now British monoglots have one less excuse for not returning the favour: a new online tool that turns the streaming service Netflix into a sofa-based language lab.

Language Learning With Netflix (LLN), a tool that allows viewers to watch foreign language shows with subtitles both in the original language and English, and pauses automatically to allow the learner to absorb what they have just heard, has been downloaded by tens of thousands of people since its launch in December.

Amid growing concern over the falling number of pupils taking foreign languages in secondary schools, some linguists have hailed LLN as a dynamic way of harnessing the educational potential of Netflix, which has programmes in 26 languages in 190 countries, and aims to have 100 non-English language series in production by this year.


SQA new materials for National 5 Mandarin (Simplified) and National 5 German

1 March 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published new candidate evidence and commentary materials for National 5 Mandarin (Simplified) and National 5 German assignment-writing. 

These contain examples of candidate evidence with a commentary from a senior examining team member that explains why the candidate has or has not met the required standards for the assessment.


'How can we rejuvenate languages learning in Britain?'

1 March 2019 (TES)

Get the basics of recruitment, retention and training right - then build a genuine love of learning languages, writes Geoff Barton.

This week’s dispiriting news about the decline in young people choosing to study French and German at GCSE is also a sad reflection of what is wrong with the government’s approach to education policy in general.

To recap: a BBC analysis shows that foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling most. And this analysis shows drops of between 30 and 50 per cent since 2013 in those taking GCSE language courses in the worst-affected areas in England.

My take on these stark findings is that when we examine why this is happening we encounter some familiar themes.

The first of these is teacher supply. The most recent initial teacher training census shows us that the government has failed to hit the target for recruiting trainee modern foreign languages teachers for the past five years in succession.

The second is lack of funding. In an education system which is struggling to make ends meet, the most vulnerable subjects are those with smaller classes – and inevitably this often means languages.

And the third is the idea that accountability measures are a magic wand. The government’s solution to the languages crisis is to make languages part of the EBacc and set a target for a 90 per cent uptake by 2025.

In reality, the percentage of pupils entering EBacc is stuck stubbornly at around 38 per cent. The latest DfE statistics tell us: “Of those pupils who entered four out of the five EBacc components, the majority (83.8 per cent) were missing the languages component in 2018.”

So, the crisis in modern foreign languages is a microcosm of the wider problems with education policy. Not enough money, not enough teachers, and an over-reliance on the blunt instrument of accountability.

Of course, a lot of people will say that the mistake with languages was made back in 2003 when the then Labour government decided they should no longer be compulsory after the age of 14. And there will be plenty of people out there who think the answer is to make them mandatory at key stage 4 once again.

But I don’t subscribe to that view. I think we need to move away from the mindset that making people do things is the answer to problems and instead take a more productive view about how we would really solve this crisis.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).


Japanese Language Proficiency Test

1 March 2019 (Japan Foundation)

The next Japanese Language Proficiency Test will take place on Sunday 7 July 2019.

It will be held at SOAS University of London and the University of Edinburgh.

Registration for the Edinburgh test is open from 5 March.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information.


Espacios Increíbles project

22 February 2019 (SCILT)

Espacios Increíbles – Our learners need you!

You might have seen our tweets with the #getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles but what is it all about?!

What is the project?

For the project ‘Espacios Increíbles’, based on the TV show ‘Amazing Spaces’, our young people will be designing ‘un espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile with whom the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde run exchange programmes for undergrads. Through this project learners will be researching and finding out about both countries using the internet, looking at photos taken by students at the University of Strathclyde whilst on their exchanges abroad and reading and listening activities which have been developed specifically for this project. When they have completed their research they will design their ‘espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile and present their final design to their class in Spanish. A winning team from each of the 5 schools will attend a final at the university and present their project to an audience of their peers and a panel of judges.

Who is involved?

SCILT have been working in partnership with the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde and with teachers across 2 subject areas, languages and design and technology, in 5 schools across 3 challenge authorities to develop this cross-sector interdisciplinary project;

  • St. Peter the Apostle  (West Dunbartonshire)
  • Clydebank High School   (West Dunbartonshire)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Glasgow)
  • St. Margaret Mary’s (Glasgow)
  • St. Matthew’s Academy (North Ayrshire)

What role have the schools had in the partnership?

Teachers in the participating schools have led on the development of lessons, resources and activities for the project whose inspiration came from @MrGeorgeClarke programme ‘Amazing Spaces’. Through their participation there has been inter-authority moderation taking place to ensure that all resources developed meet with national benchmarks at level 4 for languages and technologies. The project has also sought to ensure that our young people ‘make well informed choices about learning opportunities and pathways and relate these to possible future careers’ (HWB 4-20a) by giving them an insight into other further education pathways which exist and are not exclusively language based.

How you can you help our learners?

Our learners need your help in this pilot to #getgeorgetothefinal @MrGeorgeClarke. As part of a social media campaign to encourage Mr Clarke to attend our final as a judge at the University of Strathclyde on 24th April learners will be tweeting the various stages of their project via twitter with our hashtags. It would be great if George could attend but we appreciate he is a very busy man so even a video message for the final would be gratefully received. Please follow the hashtags below and retweet your support for our learners

#getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles

What’s in it for you?

At the end of the project all resources, lessons and activities will be made available via the SCILT website for you to use in collaboration with design and technology departments in your own context. This is a full unit of work which can be used when doing the topic of town with your own learners.

If you wish any further information about this project please contact via email at or twitter @Louise_SCILT

How does switching between languages impact your body?

18 February 2019 (Euronews)

UAE-based researchers are exploring how switching between languages affects the body and brain.

PhD student Blanco-Elorrieta uses a neuro-imaging technique called Magnetoencephalography to measure how much brain power is exerted when test subjects change between languages.

The areas of the brain predominantly used in language expression are the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex.

Blanco-Elorrieta discovered that when the group naturally alternated between Arabic and English both brain areas showed almost no signs of activity. However, if they were instructed to translate from one language to the other, both cortexes became highly engaged.

The researcher performed tests over two years with about 20 native bilingual speakers.

According to Blanco-Elorrieta, the findings reveal that the brain perceives a specific translation task as ‘harder’ than when the subject instinctively switches language.


Register your interest now! The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2019

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT and Education Scotland are accepting applications to attend the flagship national leadership programme that has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in both 2017 and 2018.

The 2019-20 programme comprises a 4 day Summer School in July 2019 with further optional elements in Spring and Summer 2020 that lead towards completion of learning activities on SCEL’s Framework for Educational Leadership and/or the award of GTCS Professional Recognition: leading learning in languages. This year the Summer School will take place from Monday 1st to Thursday 4th July 2019 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow. 

This Masters level programme supports schools, clusters and local authorities to build leadership capacity and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Altogether up to 50 places will be available to post-probationer teachers or teacher educators who have, or aspire to have a role in leading languages education for young people, families and colleagues in and beyond their own workplace.

Before submitting your application, we would encourage you to discuss with your headteacher/line manager which should focus on how you might make the most of this professional learning in your context in the future.

Visit the registration page for more details and how to register your interest to this programme. Applications close at 5pm, 26th April.


Registrations now open for Language Linking Global Thinking 2019-20

8 February 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking initiative in session 2019/20. 

The project links students on their year abroad with primary and secondary schools. Students communicate with a designated class in their partner school during the course of the year to illustrate how enriching it is to spend a year abroad using a language other than English. 

While the student is abroad, the partner school receives regular contact from the student through blog posts, emails and other resources. The two-way correspondence between student and class brings the language alive for pupils and shows them the real relevance of learning a language. 

Visit the LLGT webpage for more information on Language Linking Global Thinking, and to read some of the student blogs from previous years.

For further information and to request a link for 2019/20 please contact SCILT. Please note places are limited.


French pop video competition

1 February 2019 (Institut français)

French Pop Video Competition

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni, with the support of Francophonie UK, is organising a French song video contest for all primary and secondary students in the UK school systems of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and the Channel Islands. Teachers can submit their students’ video clips in 3 age-categories before 5 April 2019. In May, local juries in 9 geographical areas (including 5 in England) will award qualified laureates with £100 worth of book tokens per winning entry. Local laureates will automatically enter the National final, and the UK grand winners, announced in early June, will be invited to attend the Francophonie UK School Music Awards as part of a special-guest concert on Friday 28 June at the Institut français in London (travel expenses paid!). Visit the website for more information and free registration or see the attached flyer.

Teaching French through Music CPD tour, from 25/02 to 02/03

As part of the French Pop Video Competition, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni will be offering a UK-wide teacher training tour from 25 February to 2 March to learn how to teach French through music. FREE Workshops led by the prestigious international French training centre CAVILAM will be delivered for secondary teachers of French in London, Jersey, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Belfast. Visit the website or see the attached flyer for more information and register before 15 February.


Oral Revision Courses: Higher and Advanced Higher French

1 December 2017 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

The AF Glasgow will be running special revision courses for pupils who are sitting their Higher and Advanced Higher French oral examinations in early 2018.


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.


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

Latest News

View all news

Brexit has made me afraid of speaking my native language in the UK More...

Children's workshops and storytelling sessions More...

Masters level learning in Gaelic Medium Education (Streap) More...

‘We spoke English to set ourselves apart’: how I rediscovered my mother tongue More...