Scottish Languages Review Issue 13

Issue 13 - 01/05/2006

In this edition we continue our theme of the ‘New Image for Languages’.

In her discussion article, Do Coyle gives us an overview of the history, scope and potential of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). You may remember that Do gave an inspiring talk on CLIL at last year’s Scottish CILT conference ‘Motivation for Language Learning, Teaching and Use’.  Here she reprises some of that information and also includes feedback from staff and students who have used CLIL.
The following three articles are reports on practitioner research. Two of these are two follow-up articles from Issue 12.
Brian Templeton investigated the views of teachers across Scotland on issues regarding the implementation of Higher Still and shows that the conclusions he drew have current relevance for ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’.  .

Ewan McIntosh describes the ways in which he experimented with new technologies to increase motivation amongst pupils of all abilities.  He highlights some of the potential pitfalls as well as the evident benefits.  Read

Obviously taking her inspiration from another Scottish CILT conference, ‘Language Learners: Their Strategies and Their Voices', Hazel Crichton investigated the views of pupils on the use of the target language in classroom instruction. 

Lynne Horn enlightens us on the role of Gaelic in the language faculty and George Glass on the benefits of e-twinning.

Finally we have again two contributions by Foreign Language Assistants, Daniella (German) and Camille (French), written in their native language

Content and Language Integrated Learning: Motivating Learners and Teachers

by Do Coyle

In the wake of the Nuffield Report (Nuffield Language Inquiry 2000) at the turn of the new millennium, the teaching and learning of modern languages has been profiled through government policy, European reports and initiatives and curriculum strategies such as those focussing on younger learners, the Common European Framework and the Languages Ladder. Developments such as the Primary Pathfinders, Specialist School Trust initiatives and the Languages Strategy in England have engendered widespread discussion about foreign language study. There are many examples of outstanding practice at the micro level, where foreign language learning is motivating and successful for a wide range of learners especially, but not exclusively, in those schools with specialist status such as Language Colleges . So why is the national picture one of attrition in terms of take-up, with few students continuing the study of languages beyond the age of 14 and university departments under threat of closure?  

View Full Article - Content and Language Integrated Learning

e-Twinning and International Connections

by George Glass

e-Twinning  is a new European flagship programme, which is the main thrust of the European Union’s e-Learning strategy.  It promotes the use of ICT to support international school cooperation, sharing and developing materials and pedagogical exchange opportunities across the EU. These activities are particularly useful within the context of supporting second language teaching as partnerships can be focused to develop real and motivating language opportunities with native speakers in Europe. The programme is also extremely cost effective for schools, as teachers and pupils use the Internet to work together across borders to establish long or short-term links with partner schools.  

View Full Article - e-Twinning and International Connections

From Learning Logs to Learning Blogs

by Ewan McIntosh

Can old and new techniques in ICT and teaching stretch stronger pupils’ abilities in language? For many years ICT use has been concentrated on providing resources for weaker learners. Differentiation has tended to be differentiation ‘downwards’. This action research project experimented with techniques in ICT and teaching to provide more extension for stronger pupils, to stretch their abilities in language. The aim was to find out if a balance of hardware, software, traditional teaching and ‘imported’ teaching ideas could lead to better written work, particularly in modern foreign languages.  The thrust of the project was to encourage more complex use of French in groups of beginners (P7/S1/S2). In some initial practice in the classroom it was found that a judicious marriage between traditional resources and cutting-edge ICT provided the best results. This research project is therefore not solely about the technology but also about the pedagogy behind the technology.  

View Full Article - From Learning Logs to Learning Blogs

Management of Curricular Change

by Brian Templeton

In my article in the previous edition of SLR (Templeton, 2005), I began by expressing the hope that the review of the curriculum 3-18, being undertaken as part of the national initiative A Curriculum for Excellence (ACfE), offers us the opportunity to achieve a ‘National Framework for Progression and Continuity in the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages’ and I ended with the observation that,
In many respects, the timing of the creation of the Ministerial Action Group and the speed of its consultation has been unfortunate for the development of the teaching of modern languages. Ideally, the work of this group should have followed on from research and evaluation of how practitioners viewed the impact of the Higher Still changes on the teaching and learning of modern languages and how they viewed the effectiveness of the National Development and Training Programme as a means of introducing curricular change”(Templeton, SLR Issue 12).
In this follow-up article I report the findings of some personal research conducted precisely to ascertain the views and perceptions of those teachers who had ultimately to implement the new Higher Still programme. I offer them in the hope that the insights they give on how to manage curricular change may influence those who are charged with taking forward the next phases of the ACfE initiative.

View Full Article - Management of Curricular Change

As Others See Us...

by Hazel Crichton

This article describes a small piece of research, which was undertaken to gain pupils’ perceptions of techniques and strategies used by teachers who use the target language extensively in the modern languages classroom. A sample of S3 pupils from one school, representing a variety of ability levels, was interviewed about their language teachers’ efforts to develop their oral skills in the foreign language (French). The aim was to explore the learners’ perspective of this approach.   

View Full Article - As others see us...

The Role of Gaelic in the Language Faculty

by Lynne Horn

I feel as though I'm back at school.  A blank page stares back at me.  "The Role of Gaelic in the Language Faculty” Discuss.  Where do I start?  Were we taught this?  Did I have to learn it? How do you write an essay again?  Perhaps if I'd been taught language in a more consistent way all those years ago I might not face this dilemma now - for in schools with increasing numbers of bilingual pupils surely it is a consistent approach to teaching and learning languages that is necessary and this is what we aim to do in Tobermory.  

View Full Article - The Role of Gaelic in the Language Faculty

FLA French

by Camille

J’ai eu la chance de passer une année en Ecosse comme assistante de français, et cela m’a permis de développer mes connaissances sur ce pays, et de raviver mon envie de devenir professeur en France.   

View Full Article - FLA French

FLA German

by Daniella

Wie bereits die Bezeichnung meiner Tätigkeit besagt, assistiere ich beim Fremdsprachenunterricht an verschiedenen Primar- und Sekundarschulen in Dundee. Ich habe insgesamt zwölf Klassen verschiedener Alters- und Niveaustufen, von denen ich fünf selbstständig unterrichte. In allen anderen Klassen assistiere ich der Lehrkraft und arbeite mit kleineren Gruppen.   

View Full Article - FLA German

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