Scottish Languages Review Issue 20

Issue 20 - 01/12/2009

Our autumn edition 2009 – just in time for reading over the holidays!  Here are the treats we have in store for you: 

John Bald illustrates his views on how to introduce grammar terminology in  pupil-friendly ways. 

Hilary McColl reflects on a previous SLR article and its relevance in light of the imminent curricular reform in Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence. 

Maria Giselbrecht’s contribution is based on her investigation into plurilingual approaches to teaching.

Gillian Campbell-Thow provides an example of introducing citizenship into modern languages teaching. 

Finally, Jay Seawright illuminates us on the role of Cantonese in Scotland and the linguistic support available to Cantonese speakers resident in the country.

Grammatical Terms and Language Learning: A Personal Perspective

by John Bald

Since the renaissance, grammatical terminology has evolved to meet the needs of linguistic analysis rather than language learning. This has given it compactness and technical precision, but at the cost of clarity to the lay person, and particularly to children, who do not yet know the full range of vocabulary and semantic structures from which terms have been chosen and developed. As a result, some terminology makes it more difficult for children and adults to understand and apply grammatical concepts as they learn their own and other languages. The author argues that bringing terminology closer to everyday language, and explaining it accurately in terms children can understand, helps improve learners’ understanding of grammar and enables them to use grammar more confidently in their work.

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Back to Bacc

by Hilary McColl

I have recently been reading the documentation relating to the new Languages Baccalaureate and am thrilled by the improved opportunities and motivation for learning and personal development that the arrangements will offer to our brightest young people, especially the new Interdisciplinary Project! At the same time, I am prompted to wonder about the implications for the cohort as a whole.

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Pluralistic approaches – A long overdue paradigm shift in education

by Maria Giselbrecht

Pluralistic approaches are educational concepts which acknowledge the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. According to these approaches the learning of all languages and cultures should be fostered in education. This applies to popular languages and cultures as well as to languages and cultures that are stigmatised or those perceived by some as being ‘low‐prestige’.

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An Experience of Citizenship in Modern Languages

by Gillian Campbell‐Thow

As part of Scotland’s new educational reforms, Curriculum for Excellence teachers of all subjects will be asked to develop interdisciplinary approaches in order to develop their pupils into “successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors”. This article reports reflects on the possibilities of incorporating citizenship issues into the teaching of modern languages.

View full article - An Experience of Citizenship in Modern Languages

Cantonese in Scotland

by Jay Seawright

Of the two official languages in China, Mandarin is more widely spoken than Cantonese. However, the opposite is true within Scotland (and indeed within the United Kingdom). This article provides some background information to this phenomenon and exemplifies some of the ways in which information is made available to Cantonese speakers resident in Scotland. The author also reports on a small case study investigating awareness of these linguistic support mechanisms within one particular Cantonese‐speaking community. 

View full article - Cantonese in Scotland

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