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Concours de la francophonie 2018 - final report

17 July 2018 (Institut français d'Ecosse)

The Concours de la francophonie was launched in 2016 by the Institut français d'Ecosse to support and encourage teachers and learners in primary and secondary schools and to showcase the vitality of French learning in Scottish schools in the context of the 1+2 policy.

To enter the competition schools sent in a short film of a class activity in French.

See the attached document for full details of the 2018 competition, winners and photographs.

Opportunity for young people during the Fringe

12 July 2018 (Theatre Sans Accents)

Theatre Sans Accents is on the lookout for 4 young people aged 16-25 who are passionate about the performing arts and with an interest in foreign languages and cultures (please note you don't have to be speaking a foreign language or be an experienced artist to apply to this!).

TSA will be running two free (but ticketed) events on Monday 13th August on the topic of Bilingualism and Theatre as part of the Festival at Fringe Central:

  • A practical workshop in the morning exploring foreign languages in theatre 
  • A conversation/debate in the afternoon between a panel of young people, a panel of artists and the audience about the future of British and foreign artists in the UK post Brexit

Award-winning artists and companies Le Petit Monde, Brite Theatre, Jabuti Theatre, Fronteiras Theatre, Ludens Ensemble, Charioteer Theatre and Bilingualism Matters will be present on the day.

If you're selected to be on the panel you can also attend the practical workshop.

All we need from you is a short paragraph about why you wish to participate and why this conversation matters to you.

Any questions, please contact Marion Geoffray at 


K-pop drives boom in Korean language lessons

11 July 2018 (BBC)

Korean is rapidly growing in popularity, in a language-learning boom driven by the popularity of the country's pop stars.

A desire to learn the lyrics of K-Pop hits like Gangnam Style has boosted the Korean language's popularity explode in countries like the US, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia.

A report by the Modern Language Association shows that Korean uptake in US universities rose by almost 14% between 2013 and 2016, while overall language enrolment was in decline.

The latest statistics show 14,000 students are learning Korean in the US, compared to only 163 two decades earlier.

The language learning website Duolingo launched a Korean course last year because of rising demand. It quickly attracted more than 200,000 pupils.


App reveals Scots phrases foreigners struggle with the most

7 July 2018 (Daily Record)

Scots phrases may make perfect sense to us, but they can leave some folk scratching their heads.

Babbel, the language learning app, looked at some everyday Scottish patter and how they can confuse different nationalities.


Family to challenge lack of GCSE in sign language

6 July 2018 (TES)

A 12-year-old deaf boy is at the heart of a planned legal battle to challenge the government’s "discriminatory" decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).

Daniel Jillings, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, uses BSL as his first language and is concerned that there will be no qualification in place related to signing when he takes his exams in a few years’ time.


Can you raise an autistic child to be bilingual – and should you try?

5 July 2018 (The Conversation)

Diagnosed with autism and delayed language development, five-year-old Jose lives with his bilingual English-Spanish family in the UK. In addition to all the important decisions that a family with an autistic child has to take, Jose’s parents must also consider what languages to teach him and how. They would like Jose to learn English so he can make friends and do well at school. But they also value Spanish – the native language of Jose’s mother.

The family’s tricky situation was described in a study from 2013, and illustrates a problem that affects many families around the world. But is it possible to raise a child with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders to be bilingual? And, if so, does it help or hinder the autistic experience? Let’s take a look at the evidence.


World Cup 2018: How do Belgian footballers speak to each other?

2 July 2018 (BBC)

Language is an essential part of playing football. Coaches give instructions to players and teammates talk to each other on the pitch.

How, one may wonder, does Belgium's multilingual team communicate?

Sources say the players speak neither Dutch nor French but English in the changing room, to avoid the perception of favouring one language over another.

They also speak English on the pitch, much to the surprise of many in the UK press during their game with England on Thursday night.

A majority of Belgians are Dutch-speakers who live in the Flemish north. Most of the rest speak French, and there is a small German-speaking community.

This divide can be seen in the mother tongues of the Belgian national team's star players.

Manchester City's playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is a Dutch-speaker from Ghent in the Flemish region, while Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard is a French-speaker from the Walloon region.


Salve! Latin lessons offered to Aberdeen school kids

30 June 2018 (Press and Journal)

Aberdeen primary pupils may be greeting friends with ‘salve’ rather than ‘fit like’ next term after headteachers were offered the chance to boost Latin in their schools.

The Classical Association of Scotland said a similar campaign in Glasgow had led to 10 schools starting to teach the Roman language.

Now they have written to city council chiefs offering financial assistance to help with training that will enable Latin lessons to take place in city schools.

Learning other languages has proven benefits and the association believes Latin can help with understanding other European tongues.


Why Brits aren’t interested in studying abroad

28 June 2018 (Study International)

To many people, studying abroad sounds like a dream. Spending a few months or years in a far-off country to gain a qualification while at the same time, learning a foreign language or soaking up the culture is an aspiration many, young and old, wish they could fulfill.

Apparently, this select group of people does not include the Brits.

While hundreds of thousands continue to travel the world to enrol at a British university, the same can’t be said for the outward mobility trends seen among British students.


Manchester’s Language Army

28 June 2018 (CIOL)

Set in the culturally diverse Crumpsall/Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, Abraham Moss Community School is one of very few schools in northwest England to operate a formal programme that identifies bilingual pupils and offers them basic training in the skills required to act as language mediators within the school environment. 

More that 60 languages are spoken at Abraham Moss, which began the programme five years ago with a group of just eight pupils in Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16). Since then it has blossomed into an impressive ‘language army’ – nearly 40-strong – of ‘young interpreters’ aged 12-16, who cover languages as diverse as Arabic, Chinese, Hungarian, Italian, Pashtun, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.


'Brexit is the reason': Less than half of English teens learn a foreign language

27 June 2018 (Euronews)

Less than half of English pupils choose to learn a modern foreign language at school, a new report has found.

The proportion of English students sitting foreign language exams at the end of their compulsory education — at age 16 — stood at 47% in 2017, the British Council revealed in its Language Trends survey released on Wednesday.

In 2002, that figure stood at 76%.


STEM and language skills recognised as a valuable combination

25 June 2018 (SCILT)

Glasgow Gaelic School was recognised for their work with languages and STEM at a ceremony on 8 June 2018 at Glasgow Science Centre. The ceremony was part of the Young Engineers & Science Clubs (YESC) Scotland annual celebration of STEM and Glasgow Gaelic School received the Languages Award.

This is the first time languages have been recognised at this event, and the school were awarded for a project that focused on developing their local school community to make it more sustainable, eco-friendly and safer. The all-female team won £100 and a trophy for their school.

The new Languages Award has been introduced in partnership with SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at the University of Strathclyde. It recognises the link between languages and STEM. Competency in languages opens the doors to international STEM markets and results in more and better communication. Teams competed for the Award in Gaelic, German and Spanish to showcase the work that has being done in their clubs over the year. 

The annual ‘Celebration of STEM’ event at Glasgow Science Centre marked 30 years of STEM clubs in Scottish schools. Over 250 pupils from 44 primary and secondary schools across the country took part in challenges such as ‘Don’t Waste a Drop’ and ‘Knots to Watts’. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the excellent and diverse activities taking place in their clubs.

YESC Scotland is a Scotland-wide primary and secondary school education programme run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and supported by public and private sector members. Their projects are designed to grow interest and spark enthusiasm in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects by encouraging young people to have a go at fun, hands-on activities and experiments. Pupils work alongside their teachers, real engineers and scientists putting their problem-solving skills to the test on themed investigations that will feed their curiosity and fire their imagination.

For more information on YESC Scotland, visit their website.

Culinary and language skills put to the test

25 June 2018 (SCILT/City of Glasgow College)

A new cookery competition saw almost 50 school children from across Scotland attend City of Glasgow College to test their culinary and language skills.

The LinguaChef competition is a partnership between Scotland’s flagship college and SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages).

It brings together languages and food; challenging primary and secondary school pupils to create an international main dish from a country whose language they are learning in school, or which is spoken at home.

May Donald, Curriculum Head for Food at City of Glasgow College, oversaw the competition and said:

“I jumped at the chance for our college to be part of this new and exciting competition and look forward to being involved again in the future. We are used to hosting high profile events but this was one with a twist given the widely differing age ranges of the competitors.

“The contest also offered us an ideal opportunity to engage with potential future students as those taking part got to see round our incredible facilities at City campus, while some of our own students assisted on the day which provided a great learning experience for them.”

Angela de Britos, SCILT at Strathclyde University, said:

“LinguaChef is a fantastic way of showcasing both the culinary and linguistic skills of pupils in primary and secondary schools across Scotland. We see this as an opportunity to have fun with food and languages whilst honing other important skills such as team-work, communication and IT. This is another great example of the cross- sector work going on in the languages community in Scottish schools, colleges and universities and we are thrilled to be working with our colleagues from City of Glasgow College in this initiative.”

Pupils from Marr College in Ayrshire who won the S1-S3 category said:

“It was really fun and I’d definitely do it again. I feel like I learned a lot of skills in cooking, languages and working with my team.” Their teacher added: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to research the history and background of a dish, work together and learn new vocabulary in the target language.”

Margaret Aitken, Curriculum Head, Languages said:

“We are delighted to work with SCILT to promote language learning and especially in a vocational context. It was so pleasing to see the enthusiasm of the pupils and the high standard of entries”.

The recipe for the main dish, including ingredients and instructions, were given both in the language of the chosen country and in English. Three finalists from each of the age categories were selected to attend Grand Finale where they had the chance to prepare, cook and present their dish to the professional chefs and judges at City of Glasgow College.

The pupils got the chance to discuss their dish with the judges (mainly in English but with bonus points for use of target language too) and decorate their presentation table with artefacts representing the country and culture.

New for session 2018-19 - Advanced Higher workshops for pupils

8 June 2018 (SCILT)

New for session 2018-19, SCILT will be delivering three workshops for pupils studying Advanced Higher modern languages. These will take place in:

  • Glasgow - Wednesday 5th September 2-4pm, University of Strathclyde (Please note this event is now full. You can join the waiting list on Eventbrite in case places become available closer to the event)
  • Dundee - Thursday 6th September 2-4pm, University of Dundee (Please note this event is now full. You can join the waiting list on Eventbrite in case places become available closer to the event)
  • Inverness - Monday 10th September 11am-1pm, venue TBC 

This is a pupil workshop which will focus on what is required at Advanced Higher level. We will look at ways of tackling;

  • the overall purpose question in the reading
  • the discursive writing
  • the portfolio
  • the talking

This will also be an opportunity to meet with your peers and set up links so you could support one another in your studies. 

Schools should register on behalf of their pupils. Please indicate when registering how many pupils will be attending. While this event is for pupils, teachers may wish to attend and this should be reflected in the numbers when you register.


SCILT/CISS supporting promotional events

18 May 2018 (SCILT/CISS)

The SCILT/CISS team are now taking requests for input at promotional events for next session. Input at your promotional event may include:

  • Talks promoting the value of language learning to classes/year groups/assemblies
  • Providing a stall at your event such as careers fairs, parents nights or business and language events
In order to ensure all schools have the opportunity to benefit from our involvement, we are now requesting that you complete an online application form. 

You will be asked to outline how a promotional event might support your uptake in the senior phase, if applicable, and what other measures you are putting in place to address the Attainment Agenda, National Improvement Framework and Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

All requests for the 2018/19 session must be received by 31st October 2018 in order for schools and the SCILT/CISS team to plan effectively. 

Please email SCILT in the first instance to receive a link to the request form. 

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.

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