Scottish Languages Review Issue 12

Issue 12 - 01/08/2005

The contributions included in this issue fit in well with the theme of the ‘New Image for Languages’ that the Scottish Languages Review would like to develop over the coming issues.

First up, Lorna Grant gives us a short introduction on the position of language teaching in a Scottish further education college. 

We also get a glimpse of what pupils enrolling for a Partners in Excellence filming weekend let themselves in for, in the form of a diary written by Lynsey Weadon, a participant on one such event in January of this year. 

We also have a four ‘meaty’ discussion papers: 

Richard Ford Whyte, a mature student in his final year of teacher training, talks about he overcame his own fears regarding ICT and explains why he is now firmly convinced that ICT can make ‘a real difference’ to the teaching and learning of modern languages. 

In an article that is sure to challenge existing preconceptions, Hilary McColl imagines how current language provision could be improved to make the learning experience a truly relevant and successful one for learners of all abilities. 

Ewan McIntosh, the recently appointed Development Officer for the Modern Foreign Languages Environment (MFLE), expands further on both of the above themes. In this, the first of two articles, Ewan reviews the literature he consulted in setting up an action research study at his former school, which was designed to test how learner motivation could be optimised through the combined use of cutting-edge ICT and more traditional teaching methodologies. 

Finally, in his contribution, Brian Templeton retraces the thinking behind the development of the 5-14 Guidelines for Modern Languages and starts to consider how language teachers might best take forward the ideas set out in the latest SEED initiative ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’.  Like Ewan, Brian is intending to develop his ideas further in the next SLR edition.

We hope that you will find something of interest amongst the range of articles published here and we would be delighted if they encourage you to get writing for the journal yourself, either by composing a personal response to any of the articles or by raising a language-related matter you feel is important.

Teaching Languages in Further Education

Lorna Grant, Forth Valley College of Further & Higher Education

As a Language teacher in the Further Education sector for the past fourteen years I would describe my job as challenging, varied, satisfying, interesting, frustrating on occasion, but never dull. At a time when languages seem to be in decline across the sectors, but in particular in Further and Higher Education, there is a need for our very survival to look for new opportunities.

Download full article as PDF - Teaching Languages in Further Education

Lynsey Weadon’s Diary of PIE

Lynsey Weadon

Download full article as PDF - Lynsey Weadon’s Diary of PIE

Making A ‘Real’ Difference

Richard Ford Whyte, ITE student (final year)

Living in the modern world means that we are now bombarded with information, news, and knowledge via a range of media that twenty years ago would have been the theme of a science fiction movie. This period of rapid transformation has led to new ways of communicating with each other. Electronic mail, digital photo texting and video conferencing, the list is fast becoming inexhaustible.  Very seldom do young people write letters, why should they when an abbreviated text message is instant and less time consuming? It cannot be denied that this revolution in communication has had an impact on our everyday lives. This approach and attitude to giving and receiving information has led to the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within schools.

The Government, have through various strategies such as the National Grid for Learning and the New Opportunities Fund invested in this area of education.  This investment by the government in the technical arena of Education was underpinned by the belief that computers will improve the learning, productivity, and performance in our schools. Has ICT a significant role to play in the education of children in schools?  The advantages and disadvantages to both pupil and teacher alike will be critically analysed through researched literature, my observation of experienced teachers incorporating ICT into their teaching subject and my personal ‘in class’ use of ICT.

Download full article as PDF - Making A ‘Real’ Difference

L is for Learning, for Languages, and for Life

Hilary McColl, Independent Education Consultant

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, in its ‘Notes for the User’, says that the scheme is based on the assumption that the aim of language teaching is to make learners competent and proficient in the language concerned...  Well, that’s OK as an aim if you’re reasonably sure you are eventually going to be competent and proficient in the language you’ve chosen (or been obliged) to study, but what about those that aren’t that confident? What about those whose ‘entitlement’ to language learning feels like being condemned to 500 hours of hopelessness, humiliation and frustration? And what of those who simply have no interest in becoming competent and proficient in any language (perhaps even their own) – and those for whom the usual economic and vocational arguments just don’t make any sense right now?

Download full article as PDF - L is for Learning, for Languages, and for Life

The 3rd Millennial Modern Linguist: Developing New Pedagogies

Ewan McIntosh, Development Officer, Scottish CILT

This article and its follow-up (to be published in the next SLR edition) have arisen from action research funded by the John Dickie ICT Action Research Award from Learning and Teaching Scotland. The original research report is titled “Using ICT as a Means of Supporting the Gifted in Language”, and shows how several new “social technologies” can improve writing and reading skills, as well as encouraging higher order thinking skills.

Download full article as PDF - The 3rd Millennial Modern Linguist: Developing New Pedagogies

Towards a National Framework for Progression and Continuity in the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages

Brian Templeton, Head of Curriculum Studies, University of Glasgow

The motivation to write this article came from two quite different sources. One was the recent article by Tony Giovanazzi in the Scottish Languages Review (SLR #11). In it he looked back over his illustrious career at many developments that I had also experienced from the perspective of teacher, teacher educator and development officer. The other was an invitation to be a member of the Language Group formed to take forward the review of the curriculum 3-18 as part of the national initiative A Curriculum for Excellence (ACE). It is my hope that the ACE initiative offers us the opportunity (possibly a final one?) to achieve a ‘National Framework for Progression and Continuity in the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages’. However, in order to be ready to meet the challenges of ACE, it is important to be clear as to the point we have reached in the teaching of modern languages and how we arrived at this point. Consequently, the focus of this article is on how teaching methodology has developed during the last 15 years and what we can learn from recent developments, in particular the revisions to modern languages 5-14 and Standard Grade and the introduction of Higher Still. However, firstly let us remind ourselves of the most recent review of Modern Languages in Scotland and the context we find ourselves in!

Download full article as PDF - Towards a National Framework for Progression and Continuity

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages