Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.


All Languages

Parental Engagement - NEW - A Practitioner’s Guide

19 May 2022 (SCILT)

We have collated a range of materials to provide practitioners with useful information, including examples of practice across sectors, about engaging parents and families with language learning. This guide features a variety of reading materials, resources, and case studies to equip practitioners working in a variety of contexts with the tools to actively consider how to get parents and families engaged with their child’s language learning.

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SCILT Spring 2022 newsletter published

13 May 2022 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter has been published!

Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning opportunities, our motivating competitions and our online classes and events. Find out how schools celebrated Languages Week Scotland 2022, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland.

This edition also features a special article from Mandy Reeman-Clark, who reflects on 18 years at SCILT and CISS on the occasion of her retirement. 

If you would like to contribute an article to a future edition of the newsletter you can read the submission guidelines on our website, and email your entries to SCILT

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Google Translate learns 24 new languages

11 May 2022 (Google)

For years, Google Translate has helped break down language barriers and connect communities all over the world. And we want to make this possible for even more people — especially those whose languages aren’t represented in most technology. So today we’ve added 24 languages to Translate, now supporting a total of 133 used around the globe.

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Multimind Project - Final conference and resources

9 May 2022 (Bilingualism Matters)

Bilingualism Matters is delighted to be a dissemination partner on the Multimind Project, a multidisciplinary and multisectorial training network on multilingualism. 

Visit the website to find out about the MultiMind Project Final Conference, taking place in a hybrid format from Konstanz, Germany, from 27 to 29 June 2022, and how to access free resources on multilingualism, including a fun quiz, flyers and videos on multilingualism and developmental language disorders, and policy reports for professionals.

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Babel Young Writers' Competition 2022

9 May 2022 (Babel Magazine)

This year's competition for a young linguist to be published in Babel and win a year's subscription is now open!

Guidelines below:

  • Deadline: Wednesday 31 August 2022
  • Length: No more than 2,500 words
  • Topic: Any topic to do with languages and linguistics – accessible and interesting for Babel readers
  • Format: Word file
  • Submission: Email to babelthelanguagemagazine@gmail.com

Examples of former winning entries can be found on the Babel website.

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Help with research! Looking for Scottish secondary school language teachers for anti-racism study

9 May 2022 (Bilingualism Matters)

University of Edinburgh PhD candidate Mariel Deluna is investigating teacher perspectives on the relationship between “race”, language, ethnicity, and nationality.

All current Scottish secondary school language teachers are invited to participate in the study.

More information is available on the Bilingualism Matters website.

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Stephen Spender Prize 2022

4 May 2022 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Stephen Spender Prize is an annual competition for poetry in translation, with categories for young people (14-and-under, 16-and-under, and 18-and-under) as well as an open category for adults. All entrants must be UK or Irish citizens or residents, or pupils at a British School overseas. Translate into English any poem from any language – ranging from Arabic to Uzbek, from Danish to Somali—and win cash prizes!

Open for entries from 4 May until midnight on Friday 15 July, visit the competition website for more details on how to enter, to meet the judges, and to explore the different prize categories!

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Scotland’s Languages Landscape: The ‘Rights’ Approach event, 25 February 2022 - Recordings are now available!

29 April 2022 (SCILT)

We are pleased to announce that event materials are now available to view on our website, including video recordings from Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Keynote speaker, Bernardette Holmes MBE, Independent Languages Policy and Pedagogy Consultant and Plenary speaker, Louise Glen, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland.

Video presentations taken from breakout discussions, including testimonials and speaker biographies are also available to view and will be of interest to the language teaching community and community-based organisations.

The event welcomed language leads, teachers and the wider languages community to share, celebrate and highlight the importance of valuing language skills and ensuring the rights of all children and young people to a language rich curriculum.

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Report on 2021 language learning survey of local authorities now published

28 April 2022 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government, in partnership with ADES, COSLA and Education Scotland, carried out a survey of local authorities last year to gauge progress to implement the 1+2 languages policy in schools. A full report of the findings from this survey has now been published this week. Among the key findings is that nearly all primary and secondary schools are now delivering language learning throughout the Broad General Education from P1 to S3.

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‘They can really fly’: how to teach a refugee child

27 April 2022 (The Guardian)

Children arriving from war-torn countries such as Ukraine often thrive in their new school and go on to be successful. How do teachers do it?

"Children pick up whether someone cares about them even if they don’t speak the language,” says Kulvarn Atwal, a headteacher in east London. Atwal, who has plenty of experience of welcoming children who are refugees from conflict, is preparing for the arrival of new pupils from Ukraine.

Children connect with each other much faster than adults do, he says. “Sometimes we look at children through the eyes of adults, but they don’t see what adults see. They haven’t developed discriminatory biases so they just dive straight in.”

As the summer term begins, many schools are preparing to welcome children who have fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. For some schools, particularly in rural areas, it could be their first experience of teaching refugees.

Atwal has told his local council he will take “as many Ukrainian children as possible”, to Uphall primary, his school in Ilford, where 60 languages are spoken, to make use of the school’s experience. He says he also wanted “to send an important message to our children that we are doing something”.

For children who arrive speaking no English, often after traumatic experiences, starting a new school in a new country is daunting. But they typically go on to thrive. The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, himself arrived aged nine from Iraq speaking no English. How do teachers manage to help such children to adapt and make progress?

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Supporting trainee teachers to teach EAL pupils

25 April 2022 (SecEd)

As multilingualism and English as an additional language become an integral feature of school life, how can school-based initial teacher training programmes prepare student teachers to work within linguistically and culturally diverse settings? Sheila Hopkins advises.

Britain has always been multicultural and multilingual; greatly benefitting from diversity over the centuries. Today is no exception. In fact, many British cities are what we now call superdiverse communities where people with vastly different languages, cultures and backgrounds live side by side enhancing our schools and neighbourhoods.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) January 2021 School Census provides us with the current EAL landscape in the UK. Almost 1 in 5 pupils (19.4%) in the UK school system, nursery through secondary, are learners who use English as an additional language (EAL).

This number rises to nearly one third of pupils in nurseries (28.9%), most of whom were born in the UK. These numbers reflect the multilinguistic landscape which our current student teachers will enter.

In an effort to determine the extent to which EAL is taught in initial teacher training (ITT) programmes, and how well student teachers are prepared to work within multilinguistic settings, The Bell Foundation commissioned a study on EAL in ITE with the University of Edinburgh (Foley et al, 2018).

Key findings show that while prevailing policy (National Curriculum, 2013) has prioritised integration and inclusion, little attention has been given to expanding the knowledge-base of trainee teachers to enable them to address the English language and literacy needs within linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.

The report provides evidence showing many trainee teachers and teacher educators feel that they lack confidence and experience as they work to address the learning needs of pupils using EAL.

Significantly, one-third of trainee teachers felt they had “little” or “little to no” understanding of the English language and literacy needs of multilingual learners.

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MOOC: Plurilingual Classrooms in Action

25 April 2022 (SCDE Languages Group)

The Scottish Council of Deans of Education Languages Group is very excited to launch their “Plurilingual Classrooms in Action” MOOC on Monday 25 April 2022. 

This free four-week course, which is hosted through FutureLearn at the University of Glasgow, is aligned with the core principles and contexts of the National Framework for Languages: Plurilingualism, diversity, policy and legislation, and transformative practices, and aims to support the teaching and learning of languages in primary classrooms.  

The course consists of a series of short readings, videos, tasks, and opportunities to reflect on the role of languages in and for education. Each of the activities will take no longer than 5 or 10 minutes to complete and aim to provide an overview of language teaching and learning in the 21st century and foster and enhance the creation of effective and engaging learning approaches which support inclusive practices in the classroom. 

More information about the MOOC can be found on the SCDE Languages Group blog along with the National Framework for Languages.

Visit the FutureLearn website to register for the online course.

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Scottish Languages Employability Award - next deadline 20 May!

21 April 2022 (SCILT)

The Scottish Languages Employability Award (SLEA) celebrates innovation by schools in promoting languages and employability together through partnerships with businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations. The award, which is available at bronze, silver and gold levels, supports teachers in raising awareness of the importance of languages in their school community. 

The next deadline for submissions is Friday 20 May 2022

In January 2022 Musselburgh Grammar School won a bronze award for their 'S3 Life with Languages' careers event. Read about their impressive submission, watch videos from previous winners and access the full award guidelines on our website.

Due to ongoing restrictions, online events and activities will be accepted as evidence towards the award.

If you have any questions about the award or the submission process please contact SCILT

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Barcelona’s pro-mother tongue project that inverts the classic rule of migration

20 April 2022 (The Guardian)

Every immigrant knows that the key to integration is learning the language of their new country. For many the language they brought with them is simply a relic of their former life.

In Barcelona, a project is turning that on its head with the philosophy that no one arrives in a host country empty-handed. They may not yet have a job or much of an education, they may even be staying illegally, but they have a language – often more than one.

Since 2020, the Prollema (pro-llengua materna, or pro-mother tongue) project has been helping those from north and west Africa gain confidence by helping them teach their mother tongue, the Berber – or Amazigh – languages, as well as Darija, Fula and Wolof.

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MTOT 2021-22 - Finalist poems now online!

1 April 2022 (SCILT)

We're delighted to announce the entries from all the finalists of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition can now be viewed on the SCILT website.

For the first time judges awarded some special commendations for entries which very narrowly missed making the final shortlist and we have some of these also available online.

We hope many of you will be inspired to take part when the 2022-23 edition launches in the Autumn!

Read more...

‘You’ve got friends’: Birmingham school scheme aims to ease refugee trauma

27 March 2022 (The Guardian)

A pioneering programme hopes to support children newly arrived in the UK until they can integrate into classrooms.

Many of the pupils who arrive in Gemma Patel’s classroom at Birmingham’s City academy don’t speak.

“When students first come to us, they often don’t talk, they don’t communicate,” she said during a break from teaching a lesson on verbs. “It’s not because they can’t, but because they haven’t necessarily felt able to before.”

She is the assistant head of Core Hello, a pioneering programme set up by the Core Education Trust in September 2021 for newly arrived refugee and migrant children who need extra support settling in to school life in the UK.

Over 12 weeks, pupils are taught basic survival language skills, taken on trips into the city centre to help with cultural acclimatisation, and are given support for any trauma they may have experienced, before returning to mainstream school.

The trust has taken on a number of pupils who came to the UK after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year, and said it was open to hosting Ukrainian refugees.

“It’s not just language that’s the barrier, it’s dealing with everything that they’ve gone through. Just moving and resettling is very traumatic for young people, let alone maybe coming from a country which is unsettled or has experienced war,” said Rekha Shell-Macleod, the head of school at City academy. “But we’ve found with Core Hello, in a short period of time they make the progress that in a normal school setting may take a year or two.”

Read more...

Join Scotland’s National Languages Leadership Programme Team 2022-23!

25 March 2022 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Applications are now open for critical friends to support and challenge participants as they progress through the 2022-23 programme.

Description

Scotland's National Languages Leadership Programme supports local authorities by building capacity to achieve a sustainable model for leading language learning and teaching for all.

The critical friend role is suitable for people who:

  • have experience of the national languages leadership programme i.e. 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme (2017-2022) or the Train the Trainer Programme (2014-2016), or
  • are experienced in supporting teacher professional learning either online or face-to-face, preferably at Masters level, and
  • wish to help build the languages leadership capacity in all sectors of Scottish education

As an online programme, Scotland’s National Languages Leadership Programme offers participants the opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date information from Education Scotland and other agencies involved in the delivery of Scotland’s languages policy. The programme provides participants with professional learning and networking opportunities as well as flexible and personalised pathways through Masters level professional learning. 

Objectives of the programme are for participants to develop:

  • an appreciation of leadership skills
  • critical and strategic reflection on their own leadership development
  • an understanding of a range of key issues related to Scotland’s Languages policy

Professional learning and support will be offered to critical friends throughout the year.

For more information, visit the registration page to find out how you can apply to join the LLP team as a critical friend by Tuesday 17 May. A Glow account is required to take part.

If you have any questions about applying for this role, please email scilt@strath.ac.uk and include ‘LLP Critical Friend’ in the subject line.

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Scotland's National Languages Leadership Programme 2022-23 - Submit your application now!

24 March 2022 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Scotland's National Languages Leadership Programme supports local authorities by building capacity to achieve a sustainable model for leading language learning and teaching for all. Open to colleagues with 5 years' experience post probation or equivalent, who are interested in developing approaches to language learning and in implementing change in their own contexts, this might include: classroom teachers, principal teachers, heads of department, heads of faculty or languages lead practitioners.

This online programme is free of charge to state schools and offers participants the opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date information from Education Scotland and other agencies involved in the delivery of Scotland’s languages policy.

SCILT hosted an online information session on Tuesday 22 March. A recording of the session is now available to find out more about the programme and hear experiences of current participants.

Participants can visit the website for more information and to submit their application. Deadline date to submit applications is Monday 25 April.

Read more...

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How to learn a foreign language as an adult: the definitive guide

21 March 2022 (The Times)

On a global scale, it’s monolingualism — only speaking one language — and not multilingualism that is a rarity. Most people in the world learn more than one language. They may speak a local or tribal language with their families, be educated in the country’s official language and conduct business in yet another.

In the EU about two-thirds of working age adults speak more than one language. However, just under two in three Britons are unable to hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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Where will languages take me?

18 March 2022 (British Council)

This new collection of videos with accompanying pupil booklet aims to encourage secondary pupils to continue their language education or choose languages as an option.

Read more...

March Bitesize: Learning for Sustainability / IDL (Primary)

17 March 2022 (SCILT)

SCILT monthly drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student teachers working in Scotland.

In March, the Bitesize session focuses on the primary school and explores how language learning can be in incorporated into a Learning for Sustainability (LfS) context. We will hear how schools have been exploring the Global Goals in addition to key environmental issues such as plastic pollution and the place of languages within this.

Come and join us for a drop-in session to listen and discuss on Wednesday 30 March 2022, 4:00 - 4:45pm on Zoom.

Visit our Bitesize webpage for more information and to register.

Read more...

Resources for teachers

15 March 2022 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages encourage excellence and innovation in language teaching and aims to help Europeans learn languages more efficiently. They have just published the following resources which language teachers may find useful. Follow the relevant link for more information:

An Exploration of how Children’s Language Learning can be Transformed when Teachers Place Creativity and Stories at the Centre of the Curriculum and Experiment with Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

7 March 2022 (Modern Languages Open)

This article examines how the teaching of languages can be transformed across the whole-school primary curriculum when teachers and researchers collaborate to make space for creativity and stories. The research presented here looks carefully at this process of transformation and how primary school teachers can become motivated to teach languages in more open-ended and creative ways. The researchers situate the debate within the fractured emergence of Primary Modern Foreign Languages as a subject in England and relate this to the lack of teachers’ proficiency in languages beyond English. In many primary school contexts the teaching of languages is repetitive and highly formulaic, so the researchers wanted to find novel ways to motivate teachers and children to learn languages. This collaborative work on the curriculum by researchers and teachers became part of the Critical Connections Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project (2012–ongoing) where stories and digital technology are used to (re-)engage language learners. The children (7–8 year olds) in this case study created a digital story – Wir gehen auf Drachenjagd (We’re Going on a Dragon Hunt) – for an international digital storytelling festival (June 2019). The research findings demonstrate how the power of stories combined with the digital dimension enabled children to use a new language productively and creatively.

Read more...

ECML Language Gazette: Issue 59

7 March 2022 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's Language Gazette is now available online.

Visit the ECML website to access.

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The Language Learning Blueprint

7 March 2022 (Coffee Break Languages)

Need some advice for how to stick to your routine when learning a language? Coffee Break Languages has begun a new video series in which they share the secrets to making learning quicker and easier. Episode two provides tips on how to establish - and stick to - a routine. 

Read more...

How to Talk About Migrations? A competition for primary and secondary Scottish schools

4 March 2022 (Migration in Education)

We invite pupils and teachers to participate in this exciting competition that explores how we teach and learn about migration — creatively and with empathy. We live in a world that sees many people on the move, and our pupils may have been part of these experiences themselves. In schools, migration may make the topic of creative projects and classroom activities — a unique opportunity for pupils to learn from each other and about each other.

Through this competition, we want to bring forward the best and most creative ideas on teaching and learning about migrations in Scottish schools. We would like to hear about your teaching activities/practices and/or activities that may enable conversations about migration in schools – from language learning, literature, history, to personal experiences. The competition aims to acknowledge and make visible the cultural and linguistic diversity of Scottish primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this competition is to explore how to raise awareness and learn about migration, and move conversations beyond narrow and often negative stereotypes. We advocate and understand migration as a multifaceted and omnipresent fact of life, and hope that the submissions for this competition will reflect this vision.

Visit the competition webpage for more information and submit entries by 25 April 2022.

Read more...

MTOT 2021-22 - Winners announced!

21 February 2022 (SCILT)

Our awards event to announce the winning entries from this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition was held online today, to coincide with International Mother Language Day. It was a great celebration of the languages being spoken and learned in Scotland and we're delighted to announce the winners and highly commended runners-up in each category as follows:

Mother Tongue

Award

Pupil

School

Language

P1-P4

Winner

Simon Cronje

Netherlee PS

Afrikaans

Highly commended

Fabian Choromanski

Gallowhill PS

Polish

P5-P7

Winner

Sabihah Tubasem

West Primary

Urdu

Highly commended

Lovelyn Asare

St Catherine’s PS

Italian

Highly commended

Sabina Rodrigues da Rosa

West Primary

Brazilian Portuguese

Highly commended

Tanazzal Shah

West Primary

Urdu

Highly commended

Zamin Amjad Sheikh

Netherlee PS

Urdu

S1-S3

Winner

Melice Monga Lubengi

Lourdes Secondary

French

Highly commended

Marcel Zuk & Oskar Kolodziej

St Thomas of Aquin’s

Polish

Highly commended

Helen Joseph

Lourdes Secondary

Malaylam

Highly commended

Sarah Alradi

Craigmount High

Arabic

S4-S6

Winner

Regina Wyllie

Loudoun Academy

Bulgarian

Highly commended

Camran Kouhy

Madras College

Farsi

Highly commended

Wiktoria Sapko

St Andrew’s Secondary

Polish

Other Tongue

Award

Pupil

School

Language

P1-P4

Winner

Hayley Cowe

Westhill PS

Doric

Highly commended

P2 Class

Newcraighall PS

Spanish

P5-P7

Winner

Lucia Conetta

Glasgow Academy

French

Highly commended

Malaika Ali

Golfhill PS

Urdu

S1-S3

Winner

Grace Ross

Madras College

French

Highly commended

Deepak Kumaar

Craigmount High

French & German

Highly commended

Caitlin Fraser

Arran High

French

S4-S6

Winner

Brooklynn Faichnie

Aboyne Academy

French, Spanish & Italian

Highly commended

Iona Kellas

Aboyne Academy

Latin

Highly commended

Charlotte Reynolds

Aboyne Academy

Russian

 

All pupils will receive a certificate and book token. Winning entrants will also receive a trophy as well as the opportunity for their poems to feature in The Children's Poetry Archive and Kids Poetry Club podcast. We will be in contact with schools shortly about taking these extra special opportunities forward. This year also saw a special award sponsored by the Dictionaries of the Scots Language for entries in Scots, which was awarded to Hayley Cowe, our P1-P4 Other Tongue winner!

It is our intention to host each of these poems on the SCILT website and we'll announce when these are available.

Congratulations again to all our finalists!

Why do children learn languages more effortlessly than adults?

21 February 2022 (UNRIC)

On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, UNRIC spoke to Dr Eleonore Smalle, a post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and a lecturer at Tilburg University (the Netherlands), about the mechanisms of cognition and language learning.

Languages play a vital role in preserving our traditions, history and mode of thinking. They impact our identity, communication and education. Multilingual societies exist through their languages, which allow them to transmit traditional knowledge and cultures, achieve quality education and build inclusive societies. Mother-tongue based multilingual education is a key component of inclusion in education.

We asked Dr Eleonore Smalle about the recent findings in the field of language learning. We wanted to know why children are thought to be better language learners than adults, and how cognitive development affects language acquisition across the human life span.

Read more...

Express Yourself 2022 - Celebrating Speaking

21 February 2022 (ALL/British Council)

There's still time to practise and celebrate a language you are learning, or use in your community, and take part in a virtual festival of speaking! Individuals or groups are invited to prepare and record a short poem, presentation, sketch or dialogue in the target language and share on social media by 28 February 2022.

Full details can be found in the ALLNet E-bulletin Special.

Read more...

RiPL Classroom Research Scheme March-July 2022: Join our Language Teacher Research Team!

18 February 2022 (RiPL)

Are you a primary school modern languages teacher interested in trying something new? Maybe there is a novel approach to languages teaching that you are curious about, or a resource you have always wanted to explore? As a Classroom Researcher you could receive up to £150 to experiment with teaching ideas.

For more information and how to apply, see the attachment. Submit your proposal by 1 March 2022.

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Easter study webinars - Call for language specialists

17 February 2022 (e-Sgoil)

As part of the National e-Learning Offer, e-Sgoil will be providing an Easter Study programme of webinars for over seventy courses. e-Sgoil is currently looking to recruit language specialists to deliver webinars on 7, 11 and 13 April. If you would like to contribute, or for further details, please contact Simon Hall, Depute Head Teacher at e-Sgoil, on simon.hall@glow.orkneyschools.org.uk. Learner registration for Easter Study webinars goes live on 28 February.

SCILT spring newsletter - send us your stories!

17 February 2022 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our spring 2022 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages. This is a chance to showcase innovative projects, language learning celebrations or initiatives which took place in late 2021 or so far in 2022. 

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 11th March 2022.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

Read more...

Speaking in mother tongues shows heritage is a class act

15 February 2022 (Irish Times)

Roll call sounds different in fourth class at Mother of Divine Grace National School in Finglas. Here, students are more likely to respond to their name with a variety of languages such as “thi ni” (Thai) or “tutaj” (Polish) than the traditional “anseo”. Encouraging students to use their heritage language during roll call is just one way teacher Phil McCarthy promotes linguistic diversity in his classroom.

“The Thai answer is really popular because you have to hold the sound at the end. They’re all screaming that every morning,” says McCarthy.

“This is a school with diverse student population. I think there’s about 13 languages spoken in my class this year; it’s a very language-rich environment.”

McCarthy says his initial teacher training did not prepare him for teaching in a multilingual classroom.

Read more...

SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages visiting assessing

14 February 2022 (SQA)

Advanced Higher Modern Languages performance-talking visiting assessment guidance for centres has just been published.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages page, Visiting Examining section for more information.

Read more...

February Bitesize: Gathering Evidence in Secondary

3 February 2022 (SCILT)

SCILT monthly drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student teachers working in Scotland. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on that month’s bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the theme.

In February 2022, we’re looking at how we can gather evidence to support our judgments about learner progress. We will be joined by Lisa Waygood, Faculty Head of Ancient and Modern Languages at St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm. Come along on 23 February and share your experiences of evidence gathering in your context. What works well? Or not?

Visit our Bitesize webpage to find out more and to register for the event.

Read more...

Competition: Around the World with Stamps 2022

1 February 2022 (StampIT)

Create a written or video presentation linked to postage stamps. Open to ages 5-15 worldwide. Choose a stamp that inspires you and find out about the person, place, animal or object on the stamp. We encourage you to include some elements in a second language to your own. 

Winners in each age group receive Amazon, equivalent e-vouchers or goods to the value of £40 for the winner and £20 for second place. 

Full details on the attached flyer and more information along with previous winning entries on the StampIT website. Entry deadline: 8 April 2022.

Read more...

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We launch a Storytelling Month to celebrate multilingualism and your stories

31 January 2022 (National Literacy Trust)

Today we kick off Storytelling Week by launching the brand-new Storytelling Month to celebrate the value and skill of speaking multiple languages and the ways that these voices and stories shape our community.

The virtual initiative, which forms part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign, is to run until International Mother Language Day on February 21 and promote community literacies – with an equal focus on speaking and reading.

Across the month various activities and resources will be made available. With free videos ranging from a reading of Enormous Turnip in Czechthe Little Turtle and Little Rabbit Have a Race in Mandarin Chinese and Romanian fairy stories, Storytelling Month is packed with weekly activities and resources that will help young people and parents build new skills and improve their literacy.

Read more...

ECML Colloquium – “The future of language education in the light of Covid – lessons learned and ways forward” – video presentations now online!

31 January 2022 (ECML)

The colloquium “The future of language education in the light of Covid – lessons learned and ways forward” (14 December 2021), which attracted over 1 000 viewers, is part of an ongoing initiative, led by the ECML’s Professional Network Forum and co-funded as part of the ECML-EC Cooperation Agreement, which focuses on the impact of the pandemic on language education.

Through presentations and group discussions, the following questions were addressed:

  • What insights have been gained from using radically different modes of language education during the Covid pandemic – remote, hybrid, socially distanced?
  • How can the challenges of examinations and assessment be overcome?
  • What innovative kinds of support for learners and teachers have been developed?
  • What specific challenges have arisen in relation to ensuring inclusive language education for all?
  • Do we need a new kind of “educational literacy”?

The video presentations from the event are now available online.

Read more...

Prismatic Jane Eyre translation competition

31 January 2022 (Creative Multilingualism)

The Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project and the Stephen Spender Trust are running a translation competition which celebrates all languages spoken in homes and taught in schools across the UK.

Entrants are asked to produce a poem in another language inspired by a selected passage from Jane Eyre. The competition accepts submissions in any language from learners in Key Stages 3-5/S1-6. Up to 100 entries to the competition will be published in a printed anthology, which will also be made available online.

The competition is not designed to be a test of grammar or vocabulary, but how students can reimagine the selected passage from Jane Eyre in a different language and through a new form. The deadline for entries to the competition is 1 March 2022.

The competition guidelines, support materials and selected passages are available on the Prismatic Jane Eyre competition website.

Read more...

Glasgow Film Festival 2022

27 January 2022 (Glasgow Film Festival)

Taking place 2-13 March 2022, the Glasgow Film Festival offers a wide-ranging programme that celebrates every corner of world cinema and provides a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film. This year's Festival also includes African Stories, a special strand celebrating the rich diversity of life in countries across Africa.

Visit the GFF website for full programme details. There's a great range of foreign language films to choose from!

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Making Your Future Brighter With Languages (1+2 December 2021) – Event recordings now available!

21 January 2022 (SCILT)

We are delighted to confirm that the recently launched toolkit for Phase Three of our ERASMUS+ project, Generation Global, now includes recordings of the sessions that took place at the virtual launch events on 1+2 December 2021. Entitled Making Your Future Brighter With Languages, the events, like the toolkit, set out to give young people, parents and carers a wealth of information, ideas and advice about the importance of learning languages.

The first event, on 1 December, which was aimed at young people, featured interactive activities and an interesting and informative panel discussion of young professionals talking about how they use languages in their careers. These recordings could be useful for teachers to show to classes of young people around subject choice times.

On 2 December the event focused on parents, carers and teachers. At this event we enjoyed contributions by Dr Paul Hare (Professional Development Officer, SCILT) and partners from Denmark and Norway, a fascinating panel discussion with representation from employers, educators and careers advisers, and a powerful message from Liz Neil of the British Council on the value of language and intercultural skills to the workforce of the future.

Recordings of all sessions are available on our website.

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Express Yourself 2022 - Celebrating Speaking

14 January 2022 (ALL/British Council)

In 2021, with COVID-19 having had an impact on almost all areas of education but most acutely that of the teaching and learning of MFL, ALL, the British Council and cultural institutes in the United Kingdom combined efforts to devise an exciting event entitled ‘Express Yourself’. This was an opportunity to showcase language learners’ enjoyment of, and commitment to, a language that they are learning, or that is used in their home community (except for English!). We are repeating this in February 2022, in preparation for Spring where we practise and celebrate a language you are learning, or use in your community, and take part in a virtual festival of speaking!

Individuals or groups are invited to prepare and record a short poem, presentation, sketch or dialogue in the target language and share on social media by 28 February 2022.

Full details can be found in the ALLNet E-bulletin Special.

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CLIL Mondays

11 January 2022 (Learning through Languages UK)

Learning through Languages UK and the Centre for Language Research at Aston are running "CLIL Mondays" on the second Monday of each month from 4.30 to 5.30. This series of online talks is aimed at teachers at primary, secondary and tertiary levels who have an interest in Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL Mondays combine short 30-minute talks on aspects of CLIL with Q&A time. One session per term will be open to practitioners for sharing of good practice, you are warmly invited to come and present your CLIL work.

Full programme details and registration links can be found on the CLIL Mondays webpage.

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Would you like to participate in a study on active trilingualism in children?

11 January 2022 (University of Cambridge/Radboud University Nijmegen)

What’s the project about?

Because multilingual families come in all shapes and sizes, this can affect whether and how well children can speak and understand their multiple languages. There has been plenty of research on this topic concerning bilingual children, but very little on trilingual children. In this study we aim to better understand which circumstances allow trilingualism to thrive, and which factors predict whether children will actively use each of their three languages. We hope that our findings will help parents, teachers and other professionals to make better-informed decisions and offer better advice when it comes to raising children trilingually. The study is part of the Q-BEx project, a collaboration between researchers in the UK, France and the Netherlands, where we have designed a new questionnaire to measure how much contact and what kind of contact multilingual children have with each of their languages.
 
What’s involved?

If you choose to participate, we will ask you to complete the questionnaire. It contains questions about you, your child and the way in which your family members use and understand your different languages. The questionnaire is online and it should take no longer than 20-35 minutes to complete. We will ask you to complete the questionnaire on behalf of one child only, even if you have other children that match the criteria below. 

Who are we looking for exactly?

For this study, we are looking for children who:

  • are between 5 and 10 years old.
  • attend a school where lessons are taught in English, with no more than 2 hours of classes per week in other languages.
  • were born in the UK or Ireland, or moved there before the age of 3 years.
  • heard two languages other than English at home before starting school. This applies even if the child doesn’t speak both languages. For example, if the child’s parents speak one language only to each other but not to the child, we still want you to participate!

How do I take part?

To participate in the project, parents just need to click the following link: https://radboudletteren.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXjwh2iB7QFr7Lw.

Any questions?

If you have any questions, please contact James Algie (qbex@ru.nl), doctoral researcher at University of Cambridge (UK) and Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands).

“Learning environments where modern languages flourish”

5 January 2022 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe and the Tempus Foundation organised an online workshop entitled “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” on 4 November and 9 December 2021.

The goal of the workshop was to help teams create action plans that will be implemented in schools after the workshop to establish a language-friendly environment where foreign languages are taught in a comprehensive way, either as separate subjects or through integration into subjects.

Detailed information about the project along with resources and tools related to the topic are now available on the ECML website.

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Write Away! - Call for submissions

17 December 2021 (Light Bulb Languages)

Issue 8 of Write Away!, the magazine celebrating work being done in primary languages classrooms, has just been published and can be read on the Light Bulb Languages website.

Submissions for issue 9 are now also being invited. Visit the website for more information and get submissions in by 18 February 2022.

Read more...

Words for the World winning entries published!

17 December 2021 (SCILT)

Congratulations again to everyone who took part in our recent Words for the World competition.

Following our recent awards ceremony, and the announcement of the winners’ names, we are now delighted to be able to publish the winning, highly commended and remaining finalist entries in each category. We are sure that you will agree that the linguistic diversity, creativity and passion that they all show is both impressive and inspiring.

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Mind Games: Cracking Code in Maths and Languages

20 January 2022 (SCILT)

Two mind-bending workshops are scheduled for in-service and student teachers during Languages Week Scotland 2022. 

We are aware that Mathematics underpins all STEM subjects, but have you ever thought there are connections between learning mathematics and learning a language?

Join mathematicians and linguists from the University of Edinburgh to explore the topic further.

During the interactive workshops you will have a go at some puzzles and activities at the interface between Mathematics and Linguistics. Together we will explore how language works and where Maths comes into play.

You will have a chance to discuss with Mathematicians and Linguists about similarities between their subjects. You will takeaway practical ideas for your classroom to show how these different disciplines can be interconnected.

The activities we are going to use are mainly aimed at children older than 10 years. However, the approach can be applied to all year groups.

Attendance is free of charge and the event will be hosted online on Zoom.

More information and registration for the appropriate workshop via the links below:

European Language Gazette no. 58

14 December 2021 (ECML)

The November 2021 – January 2022 edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available online.

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Course: Gender equality in language education

9 December 2021 (British Council)

In this practical four-week course, you will learn to recognise the different kinds of gender bias and stereotypes which exist in language education, some of the barriers people face in terms of gender equality and equity, and how these can be overcome.

Learn more about:

  • Representation in teaching materials
  • Equality in teaching practice
  • Working with gender equality in education

Visit the British Council website for more information and to enrol on the free course commencing 14 December 2021.

Read more...

Where next for modern languages? From patterns in recruitment to curriculum reform, six academics examine some of the challenges

7 December 2021 (School of Advanced Studies)

It is no secret that every area of the humanities is experiencing significant change. Questions concerning the coherence, identity, and purpose of modern languages are certainly the subject of a great deal of debate within the education sector.

This edition of Talking Humanities sets out to examine some of the issues that are of most pressing concern to those working in the sector. In the opening post (We have to deploy modern languages in confronting our challenges), Professors Charles Burdett and Claire Gorrara talk about the nature of the challenges that the disciplinary area faces – from patterns in recruitment to reform of the curriculum – and how it is attempting to address those challenges. In the posts that follow, contributors reflect on different elements of the subject area and how it is pursuing reform.

Read more...

Careers toolkit launched

3 December 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT launched our latest toolkit at two events this week, one for young people and one for parents/carers/teachers. The toolkit and events are part of our three-year Generation Global project, which seeks to address the gap in intercultural and language skills that we have in this country.

In the preceding two years of the project, we have published toolkits to support business leaders and careers advisers/school managers. This latest toolkit 'Making your future brighter with languages'  is designed to give young people, parents and carers information, ideas and advice about learning languages; why it is important and how to go about it. As well as this, the toolkit includes a series of short video clips of young professionals talking about the relevance and value of languages and intercultural skills in their career areas. All of this aims to support the young people who are our ‘Generation Global’, our dual-competency workforce of the future.

The launch events this week were recorded, and recordings will be available on our website shortly.

Access the toolkit 

Read more...

SCILT Christmas 2021 webpage - now live!

2 December 2021 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from interactive advent calendars and games, to lesson plans and festive facts. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

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New resources to support bilingualism

30 November 2021 (Twinkl/SCILT/Bilingualism Matters)

What does it mean to be bilingual? Bilingualism is knowing more than one language and the way it affects us is far from simple! Find out all about the different ways we can be bilingual, the effects of bilingualism and some of the benefits to us all with our amazing resources developed for use at First Level alongside the experts at Bilingualism Matters, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, and our teacher team here at Twinkl. The resources are available in English and Gaelic for use in GME contexts and are an ideal way to start celebrating the linguistic landscape in your school.

Read more...

Remote CPD in Creative Translation 2022

29 November 2021 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Stephen Spender Trust is delighted to be offering a series of webinars for UK teachers for the first time in early 2022, funded by the Foyle Foundation. There are dedicated webinars for Secondary MFL teachers, Secondary English teachers, and Primary teachers.

The 3-webinar course will follow SST's Decode-Translate-Create model, which makes creative translation accessible and easy to adapt to different ages and levels. The first session is scheduled for 12 January 2022.

Visit the website for more information and to register. Sessions are free, but in signing up please note you are committing to attend all three.

Read more...

Words for the World competition winners!

26 November 2021 (SCILT)

Congratulations to everyone who took part in our Words for the World competition.

The standard of entries was incredibly high, with a wide range of formats submitted and an array of languages. We can be proud of the linguistic diversity we have here in Scotland and the creativity and passion our young people demonstrated for protecting our planet, our humanity and creating a brighter future for us all. We were truly humbled and inspired by their work.

Judging proved exceptionally difficult, but we were delighted to announce the winning entries at an online awards event last week. Well done again to the following who were successful in their respective categories and thank you to every pupil who participated in the competition. 

P1-P4

  • Winner - Leena Valluri, Goodlyburn Primary
  • Highly commended - The Glasgow Academy Newlands & Milngavie class entry

P5-P7

  • Winner - Zofia Zajac, St Patrick's Primary
  • Highly commended - Sophie McGrath, St Vincent's Primary
  • Highly commended - Tristan Naylor, Hyndland Primary

S1-S3

  • Winner - Oriana Strahan, Largs Academy 
  • Highly commended - Deepak Krisna Kummar, Craigmount High 

S4-S6

  • Winner - Daniel Smith, Alva Academy
  • Highly commended - Aiman Mohammad, Renfrew High 

SCILT Winter 2021 newsletter published!

26 November 2021 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter is here!

Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning opportunities, our motivating competitions and our online events. Find out how schools celebrated European Day of Languages 2021, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives including projects involving STEM, virtual live lessons and links with business. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland, including links to free resources and online learning opportunities.

Read more...

GCSEs: Heads and exam boards reject 'risky' MFL reforms

25 November 2021 (TES)

A group of nine influential education organisations, including headteachers' unions and three exam boards, have united to call on the government to rethink its reforms of GCSE modern foreign languages.

The group - which has issued a joint statement calling on the government to rethink the "risky" plans today - includes the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) as well as three exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel and WJEC Eduqas).

Language associations such as the Association for Language Learning, the Independent Schools Modern Languages Association and the National Association of Language Advisers) have also called for revisions to the proposals.

In March, the government launched new draft subject content to make French, German and Spanish GCSEs “more accessible and motivating for students”.

Proposals included “streamlining” course content so that students would only be tested on what they have been taught, with pupils “expected to know” up to 1,700 different words in the language.

In April, during an online panel discussion of the changes hosted by AQA, experts warned that the changes could leave pupils being able to "talk about almost nothing".

Read more...

School competition: How to talk about migrations

16 November 2021 (Migration in Education)

We invite pupils and teachers in primary and secondary schools in Scotland to participate in this exciting competition that explores how we teach and learn about migration — creatively and with empathy. We live in a world that sees many people on the move, and our pupils may have been part of these experiences themselves. In schools, migration may make the topic of creative projects and classroom activities, as a unique opportunity for pupils to learn from each other and about each other.

The competition aims to acknowledge and make visible the cultural and linguistic diversity of Scottish primary and secondary schools. On that basis, submissions could be in English or in other languages to reflect the spirit of the school and of the competition. Teachers or teams of teachers and pupils are invited to submit their best materials that showcase how migration is taught in their respective schools. 

Visit the website for more information and submit entries by Friday 17 December 2021.

Read more...

November Bitesize: Making languages work for your primary pupils

12 November 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT monthly drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student teachers working in Scotland. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on that month’s bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the theme.

In November 2021, we are looking at how we can combine employability and language skills in the primary classroom. Come along on 24 November to share your ideas and hear what others do too!

Our special guests will be Leanne Duncan, PT at Danestone Primary School, Aberdeen City and Christina MacGregor, P4-7 GME Teacher at Goodlyburn Primary School, Perth & Kinross. Leanne and Christina will tell us about the last year’s achievements by their pupils with activities that integrated languages and employability skills. The languages taught across the two schools are Gaelic, English, French and Chinese.

Find out more, along with the registration link, on our Bitesize webpage.

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The place of home languages at school: participate in a European survey!

9 November 2021 (ECML)

The RECOLANG team (Resources for assessing the home language competences of migrant pupils) is carrying out a European survey on the place of home languages at school, particularly within different education programmes or curricula involving migrant adolescents aged 11-18.

This survey focuses on the practices of assessing home language skills and their role in different European education systems. 

The survey is made up of two complementary sections aimed at two different target audiences:

  • A section aimed at pupils aged between 11 and 18 (or their families), who are from a migrant background and one or more home languages other than the language(s) of the school. This section is available in Arabic, English, French, German, Persian (Dari/Farsi), Portuguese and Turkish.
  • A section for schools and educational institutions, teaching and supervisory staff in schools, reception centres and organisations involved in initial and further professional development of teachers working with this age group (11-18 years). This section is available in English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Portuguese.

Visit the ECML website to access the survey which will be online until the end of 2021. 

Read more...

SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages visiting assessing

9 November 2021 (SQA)

Visiting assessing documents have been added for modern languages subjects at Advanced Higher.

Visit the SQA Modern Languages Advanced Higher webpage for more information.

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Presentations and recordings are now available! Moving Forward with L3: Challenges and Opportunities Event, 10 September 2021

5 November 2021 (SCILT)

If you missed any part of this event, then we have good news for you! Materials are now available on our website to view at your own leisure, including video presentations from Keynote speaker, Joanna McPake, Reader in Education at the University of Strathclyde and Plenary speakers, Dr Łukasz Lutostański, Consul General and Sylwia Spooner, Head of Cultural Affairs at the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh. The event welcomed language leaders and practitioners to share thoughts, ideas, good practice and discuss the challenges we face in embedding L3 into our curricula, including information on the newly launched 10 Steps to Polish Programme, run in conjunction with SCILT.

PowerPoint presentations used from facilitated discussions, including testimonials and speaker biographies are also available to view and will be of interest to the language teaching community.

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All the World is Our Stage

4 November 2021 (AtWiOS)

All the World is Our Stage: Primary pupils never lost in translanguaging is a project exploring creative ways of language learning with the creation of a multilingual performance showcasing both home and school languages. 

A new website has been launched featuring outputs and resources from the project produced in collaboration with pupils and teachers and collated by Eneida García Villanueva, the principal investigator in the project. The materials aim to help practitioners embed pedagogical translanguaging in schools.

Visit the website for more information and to access the resources.

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How teacher collaboration can boost climate education

1 November 2021 (TES)

In this podcast coinciding with COP26, experts explain the importance of sharing best practice on climate change teaching.

Today's young people are more engaged and passionate than ever about saving the environment. In March 2019, it was estimated that 1.6 million young people across 125 countries participated in climate protests, and a new global survey led by the University of Bath reveals that environmental fears are "profoundly affecting huge numbers of young people".

Many school students are currently avidly reading announcements from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Whether it’s from the news, social media or the latest David Attenborough documentary, young people are constantly being exposed to the impact of climate change. And, as the authors of the global survey suggest, it's vital that we counteract young people's anxieties and harness their enthusiasm by giving them information on how they can connect more strongly with nature, contribute to greener choices at an individual level and join forces with like-minded communities and groups.

Yet climate change and sustainability can be challenging subjects to bring into the classroom. For this latest podcast, Tes spoke with two environmental and sustainability education experts, who explained why collaboration and an outward-looking approach to teaching these subjects are key.

Read more...

Climate Crisis Film Festival

29 October 2021 (CCFF)

The Climate Crisis Film Festival taking place 1-14 November showcases stunning, diverse, and eye-opening cinema, providing a systemic perspective behind the raw human stories of climate change. It brings underrepresented voices to the fore. The Festival includes the Scottish première screening of “Above Water” (Marcher Sur L’Eau, 2021), introduced virtually by the director, Senegal-born Aïssa Maïga. This breathtakingly photographed portrait of a young girl’s life in Niger, as water becomes scarcer and scarcer, will be presented in partnership with Goethe Institut, Alliance Française and Institut Français.

Visit the website for more information about the programme and to register.

Read more...

Why mixing languages can improve students’ academic performance

26 October 2021 (The Conversation)

Multilingual skills that allow people to switch from one language to another or mix languages are often considered more as a problem rather than an asset.

Thus, there is no surprise that these multilingual speakers are often condemned using pejorative terms like bahasa gado-gado (“mixed-up language”) in Indonesia for mixing Indonesian language and English in a conversation.

Much research has documented the use of similar pejorative terms elsewhere. This includes bahasa rojak (salad language) in Malaysia, amulumala (verbal salad) in Nigeria, and tuti futi (broken-up) in the Panjabi-speaking community in India.

There are also more neutral-sounding terms like Singlish (Singapore), Japlish (Japan), Franglais (France/Canada), Taglish (the Philippines) and Hinglish (India) to label those who mix multiple languages.

Some argue that such multilingual practices reflect one’s inability to think in a structured and systematic way.

Formal education systems share a similar view, looking at them as a hindrance to students’ academic success as they are believed to delay the process of learning school subjects.

However, many studies have proven otherwise.

Contrary to popular opinion, this research shows multilingual practices do not have any adverse effect on students’ academic achievement. Adopting a multilingual approach in classrooms has proven to be important in increasing students’ academic performance and even closing the achievement gap between students living in cities and those in villages.

It has also been reported that multilingual students’ academic progress, particularly in reading and maths, are two to three times greater than that of their monolingual counterparts.

There are at least three main reasons why multilingual skills give students an academic edge.

Read more...

SQA Understanding Standards materials for session 2021-22

25 October 2021 (SQA)

Understanding Standards resources published for National 5 to Advanced Higher Modern Languages in session 2020-21 have been updated for session 2021-22.  

The resources for Modern Languages are available on SQA Understanding Standards website.

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SQA - Markers for 2022 exams

7 October 2021 (SQA)

Recruitment for new markers who would like to be considered for a marking team for 2022 is now underway.

A Marker marks candidates’ work in line with detailed marking instructions and in accordance with SQA policy and procedures. The prime role is to ensure consistent application of national standards when marking candidate submission(s).

Opportunities are available across all subjects and levels, and full training will be provided.

Visit the SQA website for more information and apply by 19 December 2021.

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Discovery Film Festival 2021

5 October 2021 (Discovery Film Festival)

The eighteenth year of the Discovery Film Festival brings another selection of the best films for young audiences from around the world. Taking place from Saturday 23 October to Sunday 7 November 2021 screenings are available online and in person for Tayside audiences wishing to view their chosen films at Dundee Comtemporary Arts.

Foreign language screenings are subtitled in English. There's also a selection of short films, which are mainly dialogue free, to promote language practice and development.

Visit the Discovery Film Festival website to view the programme for schools and accompanying film resource packs. 

Read more...

Words for the World competition

5 October 2021 (SCILT)

‘We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.’ (Malala Yousafzai)

Are you looking for a way to engage your language learners to think about global issues ahead of the COP26 summit in November? Inspired by Malala’s words, our Words for the World competition could be just what you need! SCILT is challenging learners to use their words and their languages to show how the world could be a better place.

More information about the competition is available on our Words for the World webpage. The entry deadline is 25 October 2021. If you'd like to upload submissions to the Words for the World MS Team, please contact us and provide your Glow email address. Please note, the competition is only open to schools in Scotland.

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Language Teaching: Learning from the Past – Teacher Training Packages are now available!

1 October 2021 (HoLLT)

We are delighted to announce that our five teacher training packages are now live.

The materials use the History of Language Learning and Teaching (HoLLT) to help language teachers reflect on language teaching practice and policy today. Five units each take a key theme, with a short introductory video (8-12 minutes), a handbook of activities, and a facilitator’s handbook with further information and guidance. Each handbook also includes a short historical overview and some reading suggestions.

Our themes are:

  1. Differentiation and diversity
  2. What does it mean to teach culture?
  3. Grammar: “The art of speaking well”?
  4. Target language and (m)other tongue use
  5. Making the case for languages – Policy and advocacy

The project is an AHRC-funded collaboration between the University of Nottingham and King’s College London. Many thanks to our Postdoctoral Fellow on the project, Dr Lina Fisher. 

Visit the University of Nottingham website to access the materials, which we hope teachers will find useful.

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MTOT 2021-22 - registration deadline approaching!

30 September 2021 (SCILT)

Our multilingual poetry competition offers schools and learners the opportunity to use their language skills creatively, by producing an original poem, song or rap in a language they speak at home (Mother Tongue) or are learning at school (Other Tongue). With a focus on the spoken word, entries are invited in video or audio format.

Teachers, help us find the next generation of multilingual poets! The deadline to register your school is 7 October 2021 (National Poetry Day), and all entries should be submitted by 3 December 2021. 

Visit our MTOT webpage for full details and to sign-up.

Read more...

StampIT - 'Stamp over October’

30 September 2021 (StampIT)

StampIT is re-launching ‘Stamp over October’. This series develops various skills and increases knowledge across the curriculum for the broad general education phase. The range of activities cover experiences and outcomes in many areas within expressive arts; language and literacy; mathematics; sciences; social studies and technologies. The activities will also last beyond October! Take part in as many or as few as you want. StampIT also has it’s ‘Language of Stamps’ series with Spanish, French, Mandarin and Japanese.

There are many challenges and competitions throughout October, please see the website for the activity plans. In addition there are 5 free packs available with some StampIT games, craft materials and stamps to the classes who can send in the best ending to the following sentence: 

'We would love to take part in Stamp over October because...'

Entries by end October. Visit the StampIT website for more information.

Read more...

Climate change and language learning

28 September 2021 (British Council)

If you weren't able to join the British Council's webinar on Climate Change and Language Learning, which took place on Wednesday 22 September 2021, the recording is now available.

In the webinar, the global teacher panel explored ways to bring environmental issues and the fight against the climate crisis into the language classroom. This was followed by audience questions.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to view the recording.

Read more...

Why learning a new language is good for the whole family

28 September 2021 (National Geographic)

Scientists have long known that learning a new language is good for a child’s brain development. By rearranging and creating new connections in the brain, language learning can help kids focus more easily and resist distractions, deal better with tasks that require switching from one activity to another, and perform better in school.

Learning a new language has benefits for an adult’s brain, too—plus new research suggests that it’s not as difficult as experts previously thought for adults to pick up a new language. And immersing yourself in a new language as a family might just be one of the most effective—and easiest—ways to learn a new language. 

“You’re constantly communicating with your family at home already,” says Christine Jernigan, author of Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children. “All you have to do is switch to your new language and you have built-in conversation partners to practice with whenever you want—no commute or classroom needed.”

So learning a new language together? Tons of brain benefits—and maybe getting them even faster. Here are some ideas for making learning a new language your family’s newest favourite activity.

Read more...

Bosses hunt for Brits who can speak different languages in hiring sprees

28 September 2021 (Scottish Sun)

Employers have revealed the top skills they’re looking for in job applicants – with the ability to speak foreign languages high on the list.

A study of 200 employers and those involved in the hiring of staff claimed it’s “never been harder” to find candidates with the desired skill set.

Other sought-after abilities include leadership, emotional intelligence, and social media savviness.

Employers said they spend an average of nearly £54,000 a year searching for the right people to fill roles through recruitment companies.

While finding staff with the right skill set is one of the biggest challenges for businesses, according to 78% of those polled.

The research, commissioned by free language learning company Drops, also found 57% of companies look for people who can speak a different language.

Read more...

European Day of Languages

23 September 2021 (Council of Europe)

The Council of Europe Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković, has recorded a video message (4 minutes) to mark the 20th anniversary of EDL. The video, in English, which gives a nice overview of the Day, is available via YouTube.

The latest version of the ‘Secret agent’s language challenges app' is now available in 21 languages and can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices.

Chromebook users can also download the app from the Playstore - by searching for "Language challenges" and clicking on the install button.

European Day of Languages 2021 - feature in our blog!

23 September 2021 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages celebrates it's 20th anniversary on Sunday 26th September. What has your school been doing to celebrate?

Send a description of your activities and a few photos and we'll include you in our EDL 2021 blog! Some entries may even be featured in the SCILT winter newsletter.

Complete the form via the link below or send an email to scilt@strath.ac.uk. And you can tag @scottishcilt on Twitter!

Read more...

A-level pupils should be required to study humanities subject, maths and foreign language, report suggests

23 September 2021 (The Independent)

A-level pupils should be required to study a humanities subject, mathematics and a foreign language to tackle a decline in humanities enrolments at universities, a report suggests.

The report, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, argues that requiring maths as an A-level subject would improve the numerical abilities of humanities graduates and boost their employment prospects.

Dr Gabriel Roberts, an English teacher at a London secondary school and the report’s author, argues that the number of humanities students may rise if studying a humanities subject at university was made compulsory.

“Requiring pupils to continue a foreign language until the end of school might stem the decline in applicants for Modern Languages courses at university and lessen the social exclusivity of Classics and Modern Languages courses at leading universities,” he said.

Mandating foreign languages may also stem the long-term shortage of linguistic skills identified by employers, Dr Roberts said, a move that would benefit students following the “loss of international links likely to result from Brexit.”

Read more...

Into Film Festival 2021

21 September 2021 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for children and young people aged 5-19.

For so much of the last year and a half, we have all been deprived of the big screen experience, so it's a joy to once again be able to offer free screenings and special events to young people and teachers across the UK from 10-26 November 2021. 

The programme includes something for everyone, from the latest blockbusters, beloved old favourites, stimulating documentaries, animated adventures, modern foreign language titles, and much, much more.

All films and events are mapped against curricula from across the four UK nations and are accompanied by Into Film resources.

Booking is now open, so visit the Festival website for full programme details and to reserve places. Use the filter to discover foreign language screenings. 

Read more...

The UK Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO)

21 September 2021 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition, like the Mathematical Olympiad or the National Cipher Challenge, for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level; but unlike other competitions, our competitors have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The first round of the competition will take place during February 2022.

Visit the UKLO website to find out more and to register your school.

Read more...

Case study: Strengthening links to literacy across languages

21 September 2021 (SCILT)

Professional Learning Partnerships (PLPs) are a bespoke part of the SCILT CLPL offer. A PLP is a collaborative and enquiring means of challenging thinking, considering practice and bringing about improvement.

In a recent PLP that ran over two years, teachers in several West Lothian primary schools chose to focus on strengthening literacy skills across languages. They were supported variously by local authority development officers with responsibility for Literacy, PEF and 1+2 Languages, as well as by SCILT and a bilingual theatre practitioner. In year 1, eight schools considered the needs of their learners and the demands of their school improvement plan before settling on a particular pedagogical approach and/or a selection of resources that they were interested in transferring to the context of teaching additional languages. In year 2, three schools collaborated to produce interdisciplinary learning materials and pupil-led drama activities to support reading and performance in L2. Read the West Lothian PLP Case Study on our website.

Each Professional Learning Partnership is unique and based on the needs of the audience and talents of the participating professionals. Examining evidence together, engaging in professional discussion and exploring practical ways forward, each partnership aims to effect positive change that impacts on learners. If you would like to discuss developing a PLP with us, please email scilt@strath.ac.uk with PLP in the subject line.

Read more...

5 ways immigrant parents support children’s home language learning

20 September 2021 (The Conversation)

It is important to preserve and develop a child’s home language for their cultural, linguistic and social development. Research shows that English plays a dominant role in schools and society at large, while children’s diverse home languages are often marginalized. Languages other than English are often not welcomed or encouraged in classrooms.

Marginalizing languages beyond English in school has negative effects on children and classroom cultures by creating environments that suggest the daily language practices of children whose families speak languages other than English aren’t “good enough.” Unsurprisingly, if children feel unwelcome or disrespected in the classroom, this can adversely affect their learning engagement and academic achievement.

Read more...

Languages beyond school

17 September 2021 (SCILT)

If you have pupils considering language study once they move on from secondary education, the Beyond School section of our website contains a wealth of information about university and college language courses, study abroad and volunteering opportunities overseas. With links to UCAS and university guides it's also a useful resource for careers guidance staff to be aware of and highlight to students as the UCAS application process gets underway.

Read more...

September Bitesize: Early Years creative puppetry and language learning drop-in

16 September 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT monthly drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student primary teachers working in Scotland. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on that month’s Bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the theme.

In September 2021, we’re looking at language learning in the Early Years and exploring the use of creative puppetry to support this. So join the drop-in on 29 September, share your ideas and experiences and hear what others do too!  

Find out more, along with the registration link, on our Bitesize webpage.

Read more...

SCILT winter newsletter - send us your stories!

16 September 2021 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our winter 2021 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages. This could cover work going on in schools before the summer break, innovative projects taking place during Covid-19, or other language learning celebrations or initiatives. 

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 8th October 2021.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

Read more...

Join EDL's 20th Anniversary Great Bake-Off

14 September 2021 (ECML)

The European Day of Languages has been celebrated every 26th of September since 2002 by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. This year, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its inauguration, the European Centre for Modern Languages invites all of you to participate in our EDL's Great Bake-Off.

The goal is to collect birthday recipes from different parts of the world and in different languages to then include the 20 most original (and tasty!) desserts in a special 20th-anniversary-edition recipe book. If you would like your birthday dessert to be included (after a rigorous selection process!), please visit the ECML website for instructions and get ready to bring out the chef in you!

Submission deadline: 30 September 2021.

Read more...

The Guardian University Guide 2022: Modern Languages & Linguistics

11 September 2021 (The Guardian)

Find a course at one of the top universities in the country. The Guardian's league tables rank them all subject-by-subject, as well as by student satisfaction, staff numbers, spending and career prospects. Select Modern Languages & Linguistics from the subject dropdown box for current rankings.

Read more...

Masters study opportunity for LLP/TTT and TeLT alumni

10 September 2021 (SCILT/University of Strathclyde)

Four questions for Scottish primary and secondary teachers:

  • Are you interested in developing yourself professionally and academically through Masters study?
  • Have you been a participant on the Education Scotland/SCILT course called Languages Leadership Programme (LLP, previously known as Train the Trainer) within the last five years?
  • Have you been a student on the Open University/SCILT programme called Teachers Learning to Teach Languages in Primary School (TeLT) within the last five years?
  • Were you awarded GTCS Professional Recognition from either of these programmes?

If the answer is yes, then you are eligible to accredited prior learning (APL) to the tune of 20 Masters credits, enabling you to transfer onto Masters in Education (MEd) pathways at the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde.

The award of GTCS Professional Recognition from these programmes gives access to the following pathways:

Interested? 

For the MEd Education Studies route contact Angela De Britos angela.de-britos@strath.ac.uk

For the MEd Educational Leadership route contact Joanna Holmes joanna.holmes@strath.ac.uk

European Language Gazette n° 57 - September/October 2021

9 September 2021 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available. Focusing on the 20th anniversary of the European Day of Languages this issue contains a huge variety of new features, ideas, initiatives and resources to help celebrate the 20th edition in style!

Read more...

Languages Week Scotland 2022 - save the date!

6 September 2022 (SCILT)

We are pleased to announce that Languages Week Scotland 2022 will run from 31 January - 4 February 2022. The theme is "The 'Rights' Approach - incorporating learners' rights within Scotland's languages landscape" and we hope that schools and learners, universities and colleges, businesses and social enterprises, community and arts organisations across the country will join with us in celebrating the signed and spoken languages used and learned across Scotland.

Follow the dedicated Twitter account @LangsWeekScot for all the latest news, and don't forget to use the hashtag #scotlandloveslanguages to share how you celebrate.

MTOT 2021-22 - Our multilingual poetry competition is back!

3 September 2021 (SCILT)

We are delighted to announce the launch of MTOT 2021-22! This competition offers schools and learners the opportunity to use their language skills creatively, by producing an original poem, song or rap in a language they speak at home (Mother Tongue) or are learning at school (Other Tongue). We are continuing our focus on the spoken word, so entries can be in video or audio format.

Last year, despite all the challenges, MTOT went from strength to strength, and the creativity shown by all those who entered was truly uplifting. Our winners were featured on the Kid’s Poetry Club podcast, and MTOT now has its own dedicated section on the UK Children’s Poetry Archive. As if that wasn’t enough, this year we are also partnering with the Dictionaries of the Scots Language, who are offering a special prize for winning entries in Scots. 

Whatever your language, we want you to find your voice and share it with us. We can’t wait to see what this year’s young poets will produce!

Teachers should register interest by 7 October 2021 (National Poetry Day), and all entries will be submitted by 3 December 2021. 

Visit our MTOT webpage for full details.

Read more...

How Language Classes Are Moving Past the Gender Binary

1 September 2021 (New York Times)

Languages that contain only “he” and “she” pronouns pose problems for communicating about gender identity. Here’s how some language teachers are helping.

Tal Janner-Klausner teaches Hebrew. There is nothing unusual about that, but the language presents a frustration that Mx. Janner-Klausner, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns in English, feels compelled to discuss with their students.

Hebrew, as well as French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and other languages, uses binary pronouns, which means that gender identities outside of he/she and male/female don’t exist in any formal capacity.

In Hebrew, even the word “they” is gendered. In French, “ils” refers to a group of men or a mixed-gender group, and “elles” refers to a group of all females. All nouns in gendered languages — including people — are categorized as either masculine or feminine, and any adjectives associated with these words must reflect that gender.

That presents a problem for students who are gender-nonconforming, and, of course, for the speakers of the language in general. Is it possible for learners of a gendered language to refer to themselves and others when their identities are not represented?

Read more...

Our World 2021-22

31 August 2021 (SEET)

Our World is a languages and citizenship based filmmaking project for S3 - S6 pupils. It's designed to complement the Curriculum for Excellence and help tackle the Attainment Challenge by providing a free project which uses an interdisciplinary approach to encourage pupils to become more engaged in their language learning.

Teams of 4 (S3-S6) design a storyboard which outlines the film they propose to make. This year's films will explore the idea of global citizenship, must include the use of a language other than English, and should touch on the theme of the Sustainable Development Goals. Each team must choose at least one of the 17 SDGs to focus their film on.

Registration for the 2021-22 project is now open - https://ourworldproject.wufoo.com/forms/z1fa1wdl0fdqs2a/

Visit the SEET website for more information and register to take part.

Read more...

Bilingual people with language loss due to stroke can pose a treatment challenge

31 August 2021 (The Conversation)

New research shows that computational modeling can predict how bilingual stroke patients will respond to language treatment – and that could help clinicians identify which language to focus treatment on and increase chances for improvement in both.

Aphasia is a speech and language disorder often caused by stroke. Bilingual people with aphasia typically experience difficulty retrieving words in both of their languages. While language therapy can help them improve their ability to communicate, it’s not often clear to clinicians which language to target in treatment.

Read more...

European Day of Languages 2021 - how is your school celebrating?

27 August 2021 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated on 26 September each year. Now celebrating its 20th year, it aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone. What is your school doing in 2021?

If you're looking for inspiration SCILT has compiled lots of ideas for primary, secondary and parents & families on our EDL webpage. Perhaps a Eurovision-style song contest, a QR code scavenger hunt, or a food festival? You will also find links to competitions, blogs and websites with a huge range of celebration ideas and activities. 

Let us know how you celebrate and we'll include you in our EDL 2021 blog. Send a short description and some colourful photos to scilt@strath.ac.uk or tag @scottishcilt on Twitter. Use the hashtags #coeEDL #20EDL or #happybirthdayEDL to share your celebrations with schools across Europe!

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Competition! Words for the World

26 August 2021 (SCILT)

‘We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.’ (Malala Yousafzai)

Are you look for a way to engage your language learners to think about global issues ahead of the COP26 summit in November? Inspired by Malala’s words, our Words for the World competition could be just what you need! SCILT is challenging learners to use their words and their languages to show how the world could be a better place.

Read more...

Posted in: All Languages

New on SCILT website! Learning for Sustainability Toolkit

26 August 2021 (SCILT)

Learning for Sustainability is an entitlement for all learners within Curriculum for Excellence, and as languages teachers we are uniquely positioned to incorporate Learning for Sustainability into our learning and teaching. Every day we offer our learners a window into other languages, cultures, traditions, ways of life and ways of thinking.

As Scotland prepares to host the COP26 summit, this is a particularly appropriate time to consider social and environmental issues with our learners, and to look at ways in which these can dovetail with our existing programmes.

Our newly-developed toolkit brings together a wide range of reading and resources aimed at supporting teachers who wish to incorporate Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship into their languages curriculum.

Read more...

Posted in: All Languages

SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages course overview

16 August 2021 (SQA)

Visit the SQA website for the updated Advanced Higher Modern Languages course overview for session 2021-22.

Read more...

Joint Statement by the University Council of Modern Languages and the Classical Association

12 August 2021 (UCML)

The University Council of Modern Languages and the Classical Association jointly welcome the Department for Education’s recent announcement of support for new and existing initiatives to develop in England the teaching of languages, cultures and societies, both modern and ancient. We share a commitment to the belief that language learning fosters not just competence in specific languages, but the analytical, linguistic, intercultural, literacy and communication skills that are vital to the creation of a prosperous, productive, influential, innovative, knowledgeable, culturally richer, more socially cohesive and healthier society. We also share a firm belief that language learning should be accessible for all. 

Read more...

Modern Languages GCSE/National 5 Results, 2021

12 August 2021 (UCML)

A breakdown of languages results across the UK from the UCML.

Read more...

Related Links

GCSE results: Language drive falters after German lessons shunned (The Times, 13 August 2021)

New project celebrating multi-culturalism in Edinburgh launches first episode in series of diverse films

11 August 2021 (Starcatchers)

Theatre Sans Accents, Starcatchers and Bilingualism Matters, present “Arts in Tongues” a pilot mini-web series of 6 short episodes presented by Marion Geoffray and filmed by Lucas Chih-Peng Kao about the diverse communities of artists present in Edinburgh and with the specific aim to engage with families and young children through the arts, multiculturalism and multilingualism. 

The project showcases and celebrates diverse communities in Edinburgh, representing the many faces and tongues of people living in Scotland, giving visibility to under-represented diverse bilingual artists in the performing arts industry. The project seeks to demystify language learning and foster a positive attitude towards mixing cultures and traditions starting with early childhood.

Episode one of 'Arts in Tongues' can be viewed now on the Starcatchers website, with the remaining episodes being released online throughout August.

Read more...

New British Academy president pledges to monitor decline of modern foreign languages

23 July 2021 (University Business)

The new president of the British Academy has vowed to monitor “the health of SHAPE disciplines”, like modern foreign languages, which have been hampered by dropping provision in higher education institutions. 

SHAPE stands for ‘social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy’ and is a collective name coined last year by the British Academy, London School of Economics (LSE), the Academy of Social Sciences and Arts Council England.

‘’I will commit the British Academy to redoubling its work on monitoring the health of SHAPE disciplines, and particularly those affected by shrinking provision in higher education institutions such as modern languages,” said Prof Julia Black, the 31st president of the British Academy.

Read more...

Millions of pupils in England had no language teaching in lockdowns – survey

8 July 2021 (The Guardian)

Millions of children did not receive any language tuition during lockdowns in England, the British Council has said.

The council’s annual survey of English primary and secondary schools found that more than half of primary school pupils and 40% of those at secondaries did not do any language learning during the first national lockdown. And in January and February’s lockdown, 20% of all pupils had no language education.

This will inevitably affect take-up at GCSE and A-level. The report shows that the government will fail to meet its target of three-quarters of pupils taking a modern language GCSE by 2022, if current trends continue.

Read more...

Related Links

Most primaries stopped teaching languages in lockdown (TES, 8 July 2021) - note, subscription required to access full article

Save the Date! L3 knowledge exchange event coming soon….

17 June 2021 (SCILT)

L3 Knowledge Exchange Event flyer

We are delighted to announce that our knowledge event Moving Forward with L3: Challenge and Opportunity will take place online on Friday 10 September from 1.30 – 4pm. The event will explore the ways in which primary and secondary schools are incorporating L3 into the curriculum and will consider some of the challenges it poses. Themed parallel sessions will run throughout the afternoon where participants will have the opportunity to consider key points from presentations delivered and engage in professional dialogue with colleagues. This cross sector event is open to primary and secondary practitioners, language leads, PTs, Faculty heads, local authority development officers and relevant members of the school’s leadership team. We are looking forward to welcoming you to this event and further details on how to register will be available soon.

Renew, Refresh, Re-imagine! Scottish Learning Festival theme announced

16 June 2021 (Education Scotland)

The Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) is taking place online on Tuesday 21 September until Thursday 23 September 2021 and the theme for this year’s event has been confirmed: ‘Renew, Refresh, Re-imagine: Learning from our experiences and looking to the future.’

SLF is free to attend and the conference programme is developed to support career long professional learning, helping to keep professional practice fresh, up-to-date and relevant.

Further details will follow soon. Register for updates on the Education Scotland website. 

Read more...

SCILT will soon be recruiting a new Professional Development Officer to expand its existing secondary team

11 June 2021 (SCILT)

  • Are you a committed and dynamic secondary teacher of Modern Languages looking for a new challenge?
  • Do you have the leadership skills to support colleagues with inspiring and research-informed professional learning?
  • Do you have the creativity to design and lead projects that shape and improve learning for Scotland’s young people?

If so, then this may be the opportunity for you to develop your skills and support learning at a national level.

More details on the post and application process coming soon!

Enquiries and notes of interest to SCILT scilt@strath.ac.uk

SCILT professional learning programme 2021-22 - book now!

11 June 2021 (SCILT)

Are you a local authority officer with responsibility for languages? 
 
Are you a Head of Faculty, Head of Department or Principal Teacher of languages in your secondary school? 
 
Are you a lead language practitioner or primary school leader? 
 
Are you looking for high quality professional learning for your colleagues?
 
If so, you can request a SCILT workshop for colleagues in your school, department, cluster, local authority or regional improvement collaborative via the link below. 

Whatever your professional learning needs, we will endeavour to meet them. If you have specific requirements we are happy to collaborate with you to develop bespoke input and support. In addition to practical suggestions, SCILT workshops are designed to explore the pedagogy that underpins practice through discussion and reflection with local colleagues. 
 
Please visit the professional learning page of our website for further information and details of each of the workshops available. Please note, these workshops are intended for group bookings only. 
 
During 2021-22, we will run webinars and drop-in sessions which will be open to everyone. Registration for those will be on an event–by–event basis and will be publicised via the SCILT e-bulletin.

Read more...

How many languages can Novak Djokovic speak?

5 June 2021 (Essentially Sports)

Most of the sporting personalities in Europe are accustomed to multiple languages. Coming to tennis, all the top, well-established players are familiar with a number of languages. Especially, when it comes to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the Serb speaks 11 different languages and one can easily term him a ‘polyglot’.

One of the most interesting qualities of Novak Djokovic is his desire to learn a few sentences, well enough to converse with locals belonging to that particular region. For instance, when the 34-year-old player travels to various tournament destinations on Tour, he has a will to pick up a few local lines, such are his liking for languages.

Read more...

Why monolinguals 'cringe' in a multilingual society

4 June 2021 (Bilingualism Matters)

Do you apologise for your poor foreign language skills in multilingual encounters? Find out about the hidden social effects of this common monolingual practice.

Investigating the language experiences of migrants in multilingual societies like Luxembourg can shed light on principles of international encounters in global cities. A recent phenomenon of interest is the habit of ‘monolingual cringe’ among English-speaking migrants in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg is a small European Union country with about 630,000 inhabitants. It is a very multilingual place, with Luxembourgish, French, German, and German sign language as official languages. The number of languages spoken in public is even higher due to migration, with people of non-Luxembourgish nationality making up nearly half the population!

English is widely used alongside other languages, so that people who have moved to Luxembourg from English-dominant countries don’t necessarily need to use other languages to get by. But how enjoyable is their position if they speak English only? Researchers at the University of Luxembourg spoke to twelve English-speaking migrants who have settled in Luxembourg to find out about this, analysing interview data and drawings of multilingual experiences. An interesting ambiguity emerged in the results.

Read more...

Catching up with the rest of the world: The foreign languages revolution in Scottish schools

30 May 2021 (Press and Journal)

Scottish schools are undergoing a revolution in foreign language learning in an attempt to reverse generations of neglect.

After years of being derided as ‘lazy’ linguists abroad, there are plans to produce a multilingual workforce.

Few school systems demand less foreign language learning from their children than those in the UK.

This is not helped by having a native language that is the ‘lingua franca’ of the world.

But a Scottish Government policy is setting out to change all that.

Under the 1+2 Languages initiative, pupils will learn their own language (L1) plus two others (L2 and L3).

The L2 will be taught from Primary 1, and the L3 from Primary 5 to 7. There will be compulsory teaching of at least one foreign language until S3.

Education bosses will fully implement the “ambitious” policy for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Based on the last Scottish Government survey in 2019, 88% of primary schools – approximately 1,760 schools – were delivering the full L2 entitlement.

This already represents significant progress. Anyone in their 30s who went to a Scottish state school won’t have studied foreign languages until secondary school.

The Scottish Government has spent more than £45million since 2013 on increasing foreign language learning in schools.

Teachers are currently being provided with training and support in readiness for the changes.

Read more...

5 ways to teach global citizenship and collaboration

24 May 2021 (TES)

With global citizenship more important than ever, here are some ideas for international collaboration between schools.

Whether students were locked down in London or Lagos, millions of young people around the world experienced what it was like to have their learning disrupted and now understand, to some degree, what it means not to have free movement or access.

“The pandemic has created a unique window of insight into the global challenges that we all face,” says Carl McCarthy, executive headteacher at GLF Schools multi-academy trust.

And this is something he’s tried to delve into with his students, noticing the disparity in provision that some young people face nationally, as well as globally. But he has also been celebrating the staggering kindness, innovation and teamwork we’ve witnessed, and he has been harnessing the technology that brings together citizens in opposite corners of the world.

“In this new, post-Brexit, global-facing context, we have the opportunity for our students to build knowledge and understanding together with fellow students from around the world – all who have been facing similar challenges at the same time and all who have seen similar strengths in human spirit and the triumph of science and technology to offer solutions to some of the greatest problems that we have collectively faced,” says McCarthy.

Read more...

The 2021 Language Show is looking for speakers

18 May 2021 (The Language Show)

Would you like be a speaker at the 2021 virtual Language Show? The show is being delivered online via Zoom between 12-14 November 2021 so you can be based anywhere! Speakers for up to 100 talks in the following areas are being sought:

  • Seminars for language teachers  especially those working in secondary and primary
  • Seminars for learners and language professionals – ways to learn and improve
  • Cultural talks – performances, demonstrations, presentations and experiences that can be delivered on Zoom

Visit the website for more information and submit your suggestion by 6 June 2021.

Read more...

SCILT Spring 2021 newsletter published

14 May 2021 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter is here!

Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning offer, our motivating competitions and our online events. Find out how schools celebrated Languages Week Scotland 2021, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland.

Read more...

Babel young writers' competition

13 May 2021 (Babel)

Individuals and groups studying linguistics at sixth form, college or university are invited to enter this year's young writers' competition for a chance to be published in the Autumn edition of Babel magazine.

This year's theme is 'Attitudes to languages' and invites entrants to give their views about and experience of attitudes towards languages in a piece no longer than 2,500 words.

See the website for full details and enter by 27 August 2021.

Read more...

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages' statement ​on the MFL GCSE Subject Content review and consultation - 13 May 2021

13 May 2021 (APPG)

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages (APPG MFL) notes widespread concern and disquiet in relation to the review. At a time when languages are already uniquely fragile in English schools, the proposals in their present form represent a fundamental change to the nature of language learning, with unclear evidence that the approach would be successful in relation either to raising standards or increasing take-up. The APPG MFL believes that changes to the GCSE specification should be suspended to allow time for further evidence and expertise to be taken into account to avoid unintended consequences.

Read more...

May Bitesize: Parental Engagement in Schools – Primary & Secondary drop-in

11 May 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT monthly drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student primary teachers working in Scotland. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on that month’s Bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the theme.

In May 2021, we’re looking at parental engagement and how schools approach this in a languages context. So join the drop-in on 26 May, share your ideas and experiences and hear what others do too!  

Find out more, along with the registration link, on our Bitesize webpage.

Read more...

Partial Early Level Experiences & Outcomes and Benchmarks for modern languages have been published!

11 May 2021 (Education Scotland)

Es & Os and Benchmarks for modern languages for a Primary 1 start to language learning were published on the NIH on Monday, 10th May and represent an important piece of national curricular support for the 1+2 policy. The original Es & Os published in 2009 for modern languages were for curriculum levels 2, 3 & 4 only, as language learning in primary schools at that time traditionally began in P6. When the 1+2 policy was introduced in 2012/13 in schools, Education Scotland provided First Level Es and Os to support practitioners with planning to introduce language teaching from an earlier stage in primary schools; these represented a sufficient resource for a number of years, however, a measure of success of the implementation of the policy has meant that many more schools have language learning fully in place from Primary 1, hence the need for a partial suite of Es & Os and Benchmarks to support teachers with a P1 start to language learning (as the 1+2 policy begins in P1 and is not funded for pre-P1 learning) and comprise eight Es, Os and benchmark statements.

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Threlford Cup

11 May 2021 (Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL))

The Threlford Cup is CIOL’s prestigious award for inspiring the learning of languages. The cup is presented annually to a person, or for a project, or to an organisation for an activity that has inspired others with an original language-learning or teaching initiative.

The winner of the award is selected from nominations received from the wider languages community. Everyone is welcome to nominate.

Visit the CIOL website for more information and nomination criteria. Nominations close at 5pm on Sunday 25 July 2021.

Read more...

Write Away! - Call for submissions

11 May 2021 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is an exciting project from Light Bulb Languages. It's a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

We are now accepting submissions for issue 6 up until 23.59 on Friday 21 May 2021.

Visit the website for full submission guidelines.

Read more...

Learning a language gives the study of STEM a little 'je ne sais quoi'

7 May 2021 (British Science Association)

The study of foreign languages may not seem closely tied to STEM, but in fact they have a strong relationship. As well as improving cognitive skills that help in STEM study, speaking other languages opens up lines of communication with scientists all around the world, essential for international scientific progress.

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The Stephen Spender Prize

6 May 2021 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Stephen Spender Prize is an annual competition for poetry in translation, with categories for young people (14-and-under16-and-under, and 18-and-under) as well as an open category for adults. All entrants must be UK or Irish citizens or residents, or pupils at a British School overseas. Translate into English any poem from any language – ranging from Arabic to Uzbek, from Danish to Somali—and win cash prizes!

This year the prize will open for entries on 6 May and close on 16 July 2021.

Each year also features a Spotlight Prize encouraging young people to engage with community languages. For 2021 the focus is on Urdu.

More information about both competitions can be found on the Stephen Spender Trust website.

Read more...

Ofsted plan to hit 90% MFL target is 'unrealistic'

6 May 2021 (TES)

School leaders say primaries and secondaries working more closely on languages won't be enough to meet EBacc target.

Headteachers’ leaders have warned that schools cannot be expected to meet the government English Baccalaureate (EBacc) targets without more language teachers coming into the system.

Ofsted has suggested that getting primary and secondary schools to work together more closely on languages could help to meet the government targets of having 90 per cent of students studying the subjects needed for the EBacc by 2025.

However, the Association of School and College Leaders has said that Ofsted’s idea is unrealistic and warned that achieving the Department for Education’s target will be impossible because of a lack of language teachers in the system.

Ofsted has been producing a series of reports looking in depth at subject teaching following a series of inspections carried out before the Covid pandemic.

In its most recent blog on the teaching of foreign languages, inspectors said that they did not see much evidence of a joined-up approach to language teaching between key stage 2 and key stage 3.

It is suggested that more focus on progression between primary and secondary schools would support the government's EBacc target for 2025 of having 90 per cent of students studying for the qualifications needed.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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MTOT 2021 - winner videos now available!

30 April 2021 (SCILT)

In academic session 2020-21, after a short hiatus, SCILT relaunched the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition, with a new focus on the spoken word. Learners were invited not only to write a poem in their mother or other tongue, but to perform it so that their words could be heard in their own voice. The work produced by all the young poets who took part was wonderful, especially during this most challenging year. The winning and highly commended video entries from this year's competition in Scotland are now available to view on the MTOT Awards page of SCILT's website.

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Just published: European Language Gazette no. 55 (April-May 2021)

24 April 2021 (ECML)

The European Language Gazette, the ECML's e-newsletter, provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources) and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as of our partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

Enjoy the latest issue which can be accessed on the ECML website.

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SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages update

22 April 2021 (SQA)

The SQA has added a new additional resource document on Gathering key evidence and provisional results. This can be found in the Understanding Standards dropdown section of the AH Modern Languages page on their website.

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Climate action in language education

22 April 2021 (British Council)

Today is Earth Day and British Council is bringing people together around the world through The Climate Connection to meet the challenges of climate change.

Amongst their resources on climate for schools there is a collection to help you integrate environmental issues into language teaching, learning and assessment, including a 3-module professional learning course for language teachers. The first module starts on 28 April 2021.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to register for the course.

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10-Minute Talks: More than one language – why bilingualism matters

21 April 2021 (British Academy)

Research shows that multilingualism in any languages, regardless of prestige or worldwide diffusion, can provide a range of linguistic, cognitive, and social benefits at all ages. It enables communication with international partners and understanding of local cultures as well as enhancing metalinguistic awareness, focusing, seeing both sides of an argument, and flexibly adapting to changing circumstances. However, as Antonella Sorace outlines in this talk, there are still many misconceptions about multilingualism and this contributes to the lack of language skills in countries, like the UK, that rely on ‘privileged monolingualism’ in English, which can undermine social cohesion and economic growth.

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Presentations now available! Scotland’s Languages Landscape: Equity in Diversity Event, 26 February 2021

20 April 2021 (SCILT)

If you missed any part of this event, then we have good news for you! Materials are now available on our website to view at your own leisure, including video presentations from Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, Keynote speaker, Dr Stacey Margarita Johnson, Assistant Director of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and Plenary speaker, Louise Glen, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland, highlighting the importance of providing all learners with access to a wide range of language and intercultural experiences.

PowerPoint presentations used from facilitated discussions, including testimonials and speaker biographies are also available to view and will be of interest to the language teaching community and community-based organisations.

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Calling all 1+2 LLP/Train the Trainer participants 2014-2019 – Join the Languages Leadership Programme Team!

25 March 2021 (SCILT)

Did you attend Education Scotland and SCILT’s Summer School for the 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2017-2019, or Train the Trainer 2014-2016? If so, then this role might be for you!

Scotland’s new Languages Leadership Programme launches in June of this year. To begin with, participants will attend 2 days of online professional learning led by Education Scotland on 18-19 June through a vibrant online LLP learning community using Teams in Glow.

During 2021-22, participants will then take part in the LLP affiliated professional learning of their choice from a menu of LLP affiliated opportunities from Education Scotland, SCILT and LANGS partners. During this time they will complete a number of critical reflection tasks in relation to their leadership activity and LLP affiliated professional learning. Over the course of the year, Critical Friends will each support a small number of participants, providing regular feedback on their critical reflection tasks.

Wondering whether you could be a critical friend?

  • Have you benefitted from taking part in the 1+2 LLP/TTT programme yourself?
  • Have you previously undertaken or would you like to undertake a coaching, mentoring or critical friend role to support colleagues with their professional development?

If so, then you will bring a wealth of commitment, understanding and skills to the new Critical Friend role on this innovative pilot. You will be involved in the evaluation process at different stages during the year and professional learning and support will be provided to you. In addition, Critical Friends will also be supported to submit an individual application for GTCS Professional Recognition. 

Visit the registration page to find out how you can apply to join the LLP team as a Critical Friend by Monday 17 May.

If you have any questions about applying for this role, please email scilt@strath.ac.uk and include ‘LLP’ in the subject line.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Around the world with stamps

15 March 2021 (StampIT)

StampIT has launched its first worldwide competition which is open to 5-15 year olds worldwide!  

Create a presentation linked to postage stamps for a chance to win e-vouchers. Stamps are a great medium to learn about language and culture. The competition encourages children to include some elements in a second language to their own.  

The entry can be a written or video presentation and full details are at the StampIT website. Please read the attached flyer and rules carefully.  

Entrants don’t have to own the stamp or stamps they choose to do their project. They can see a range of stamps within the games and activities on the website which link to Spanish, French, Mandarin, Japanese and Gaelic but they can also choose any stamp from any country worldwide.  

The closing date is 30 April 2021. 

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Related Files

Cultural contexts for primary language learning - March Bitesize

10 March 2020 (SCILT)

This month, SCILT invites you to join us to consider how aspects of bilingual pupils’ home cultures or cultures related to the L2/L3 languages taught in your school can be sourced and shared meaningfully in class.

Learn from and with others in this month’s drop-in session. Our special guests will be a trio of practising teachers with a host of experience who recently contributed to a presentation at a conference in Spain on this topic:

  • Jennifer Maxwell, NQT, Dykesmain Primary School, North Ayrshire
  • Lindsay Allan, Languages Lead, Neilston Primary Primary School, East Renfrewshire - Scottish Education Award 2020 Internationalism and Languages Category Finalist
  • Kirsten Barrett, EAL teacher and eTwinning Ambassador, St Maria Goretti Primary School, Glasgow

Hear how intercultural and international connections have worked for their pupils. Come and share your own experiences and successes.

For the reflective questions and to join us for a drop-in session to discuss this theme on Wednesday 24th March, click on the link below.

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The health of UK language study is lost in translation

9 March 2021 (THE)

Grim statistics on single-honours enrolments bely an explosion in joint-honours provision, says Katherine Astbury.

Languages are in decline in UK secondary schools. This is well known and barely counts as news these days. It started well before the Covid pandemic and Brexit piled on additional pressures.

This has had a knock-on effect on universities. The University of Hull is the latest in a growing list of institutions to announce the closure of language degrees. A Times Higher Education article last week with the alarming headline “Languages decline see numbers drop to zero at UK universities” added to a long line of pieces heralding impending doom.

But the figures initially quoted for the universities of Warwick, Southampton and Newcastle baffled colleagues at all three institutions because they bore no relation to the reality on the ground. Why then did the article – and the Ucas figures it was based on – suggest that acceptances had shrunk by so much?  

The answer lies in a shift in student applications away from single-honours degrees and towards combining specialist language learning and a non-language subject. The figures took no account of the fact that students are now much more likely to study two or three languages alongside another discipline than to focus on one language alone.

Of course that term “alone” is itself misleading. Even a single-honours degree will involve the study of the linguistics, literature, film, politics, art and culture of the countries where that language is spoken. 

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages update

8 March 2021 (SQA)

The SQA has updated information in the Understanding Standards section of their Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage. The section contains additional resources for the 2020-21 session.

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‘SQA has been dumbing down languages exams for years’

25 February 2021 (TES)

In 2017, I looked back on my 46 years of modern languages teaching. Despite fond memories, I felt unease. I sensed a disconnect between pupils’ competences and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results. I have met Higher pupils whose A grade left them floundering and unable to create spontaneous, simple German.

Three years’ research answered the question: have German teaching and testing – which I used as an exemplifier for modern languages – failed Scottish pupils? 

The SQA decision at the end of January to ditch the talking element of Advanced Higher shows that they continue to fail Scottish pupils and confirms my research findings.

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MTOT 2021 - winners announced!

25 February 2021 (SCILT)

Whilst the current pandemic prevented us from hosting this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue celebratory awards event in the stunning Ramshorn Building in Glasgow, we managed to host our very own online red carpet event instead! Pupils, teachers and parents joined us online to hear the winners announced on the afternoon of Friday 19 February, a date especially chosen to tie in with International Mother Language Day on 21 February celebrating all world languages.

We are delighted to announce the following winners and highly commended entries in each category:

Mother Tongue

Award

Pupil

School

Language

P1-P4

Winner

Zayne Emengo-Okpo

St Aloysius College JS

Hausa

Highly commended

Eloïse Harkins

St Aloysius College JS

French

P5-P7

Winner

Lucja Lubanska

St Charles’ Primary

Polish

Highly commended

Ahmad Raza

Newmains Primary

Urdu

S1-S3

Winner

Pranay Neppalli

Craigmount High

Telugu

Highly commended

Filip Strzalka

Craigmount High

Polish

S4-S6

Winner

Chancelvie Bembo

St Benedicts

French

Highly commended

Lovely Selwyn

Bishopbriggs Academy

Tamil

Other Tongue

Award

Pupil

School

Language

P1-P4

Winner

Abbie Rettie

Goodlyburn Primary

Gaelic

Highly commended

Haroon Majid

Braidbar Primary

French

Highly commended

Stephanie Mackay-Watt

Goodlyburn Primary

Gaelic

P5-P7

Winner

Isobel Ross

Braidbar Primary

BSL

Highly commended

Evelina Finkova

Goodlyburn Primary

Gaelic

S1-S3

Winner

Rona Bryden

Loudoun Academy

German

Highly commended

Anna d’Alessio

Bishopbriggs Academy

Italian

Highly commended

Alistair Hillis

Jordanhill

Mandarin

S4-S6

Winner

Lewis Fleming

St Thomas Aquinas

Spanish

Highly commended

Anya Jarvis

Loudoun Academy

French

Highly commended

Ellie McGill

Carrick Academy

French

 

All pupils will receive a certificate and book token. Winning entrants will also receive a trophy as well as the opportunity for their poems to feature in The Children's Poetry Archive and Kids Poetry Club podcast. We will be in contact with schools shortly about taking these extra special opportunities forward.

It is our intention to host each of these poems on the SCILT website and we'll announce when these are available.

Congratulations again to all our finalists!

Glasgow Film Festival 2021

23 February 2021 (Glasgow Film Festival)

Glasgow is one of the friendliest film festivals on the planet with a wide-ranging programme that celebrates every corner of world cinema and provides a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film. The 2021 edition will take place from Wednesday 24 February to Sunday 7 March.

There are several foreign language screenings available for learners to practise listening skills.

If you haven't already secured your tickets, visit the website for full programme details and buy now.

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Fears language degrees at risk as Erasmus replacement focuses on UK trade agenda

19 February 2021 (The Guardian)

The dramatic fall in students taking language degrees in the UK could accelerate if the government fails to fund the year abroad in Europe after next year, universities are warning.

Students of modern languages have to spend their third year studying or working abroad in order to pass their degree, and academics say this is the main attraction of many courses. Now, with the UK no longer taking part in the EU Erasmus scheme, there are fears for the future of the traditional European year abroad and for many language courses, with 2020 admissions already down 38% on 10 years ago.

About 15,000 British students a year, across all subjects, used Erasmus to travel to universities in Europe for three to 12 months during their degree. But the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, said earlier this month that Erasmus did not offer “value for money” for taxpayers.

Instead, the government’s replacement programme, the £110m Turing scheme, has a new emphasis on “worldwide” rather than European travel, to countries such as Australia or the US. It is only a one-year commitment, running from September 2021 to August 2022, which leaves a big question mark over placements starting next autumn – when those now in their first year of a language course will be due to set off abroad.

Prof Adam Watt, head of modern languages and cultures at the University of Exeter, a member of the Russell group, says: “If I’m an 18-year-old signing up to do a language degree now, I want to know I’ll have a guaranteed place on a year abroad in two years’ time with financial support. But we can’t make that promise. We can’t confirm there is definitely a scheme in place.”

Language degrees have taken a battering, with numbers of modern language undergraduates more than halving between 2008-9 and 2017-18, and universities fear the current uncertainty could cause even more serious damage. According to the admissions service, Ucas, 3,830 students were accepted on to modern language degrees in 2020, down 38% from 6,165 in 2010. At least nine modern languages departments have closed in the past decade.

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Arabic, Roma and Spanish on offer as Bhasha Glasgow Language Festival events revealed

18 February 2021 (Glasgow Evening Times)

From learning a few words to communicate with Roma neighbours to finding out more about British Sign Language - the Bhasha Glasgow language festival has lots to offer lockdown learners.

Now in its third year, the event takes place online from February 21 to 27.

A celebration of the city’s many languages and the people who speak them, this year’s festival is being hosted by the Thriving Places Govanhill initiative.

The week is jam packed with free daily activities that will explore Glasgow’s linguistic heritage and the vital role of its multilingual citizens, including quizzes, interactive language sessions, talks, and a radio show.

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SCILT spring newsletter - send us your stories!

16 February 2021 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our spring 2021 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages. This could cover work going on in schools before Christmas, as well as innovative projects taking place during school closures, Languages Week Scotland celebrations or other languages initiatives. 

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 12th March 2021.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

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British Council Language Assistants 2021-22

16 February 2021 (British Council)

The British Council Language Assistants programme is delighted to announce the launch of the 2021-22  application window. The deadline for requests is April 30 and this date will be final. There are several changes to the programme for the coming year as a result of external circumstances so please read through all the information on the website. We will be organising online information sessions in the coming weeks so watch this space.

Also, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Languageasst

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SCILT Lessons from Lockdown Learning

4 February 2021 (SCILT)

During the first period of lockdown last year, from early May until the end of June, SCILT delivered a series of online live language classes which were open to learners across Scotland. With the help of feedback from learners and parents, and the input of external observers, we have examined and evaluated this online learning and teaching experience, and in the report, we share these evaluations and the key lessons learned during this time. We hope that it might prove helpful to teachers in the planning and delivery of online lessons.

We would also love to hear from you! We would really value your thoughts about your experiences of online teaching and any suggestions that you have, either for Professional Learning or support which we could provide, or advice that you would wish to pass on to fellow practitioners. Get in touch at scilt@strath.ac.uk!

Read SCILT Lessons from Lockdown – A review of online learning and teaching

Language education in Europe: the impact of Covid - Take part in the survey!

2 February 2021 (ECML)

The Covid pandemic has had – and is continuing to have - a profound impact on most of our activities, not least on language education. The ECML, in cooperation with its Professional Network Forum, is today launching a Europe-wide project to gather information and exchange views on how language educators are coping with the challenges, and to reflect on the lessons to be learnt from their experiences.

The first step is a survey addressed especially to language educators, though administrators, language students and parents are also welcome to contribute to it. Visit the ECML website to access the survey and submit responses by 28 February 2021.

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Speaking removed from modern languages qualifications

29 January 2021 (TESS)

Modern languages teachers have hit out at Scotland’s exam body over its decision not to assess students' ability to speak the language they are learning as part of the Advanced Higher qualification this year.

In the most recent guidance produced by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, published last week, modern languages teachers have been told that, at Advanced Higher level, they are to base their teacher-estimated grades on reading, translation, listening and writing, but not on their students' ability to speak the language.

Modern languages teachers who spoke to Tes Scotland described the move as a “dumbing down” of the qualification, arguing that the key skill for a linguist to acquire is the ability to communicate. 

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Express Yourself in Lockdown

21 January 2021 (British Council)

Speaking a language confidently and coherently is an important part of the curriculum throughout the four devolved education departments in the United Kingdom, and forms a critical part of linguistic and cultural development for all learners of languages.

However, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that many pupils have had fewer opportunities to speak the languages they are learning.  Therefore, the Association for Language Learning , the British Council and the cultural and linguistic bodies in the United Kingdom have combined efforts to devise an exciting event entitled ‘Express Yourself in Lockdown’.

This will be an opportunity to showcase language learners’ enjoyment of a language that they are learning or that is normally used in their home community from home (except for English!). 

Visit the British Council website for more information and share performances on the designated social platforms by 28 February 2021.

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Language learning in lockdown

21 January 2021 (British Council)

Has lockdown affected the way you teach languages? 

We heard from teachers in a range of different contexts on how they’ve worked to make sure that young people can still increase their knowledge and skills, whether they are learning, in class, at home or online. Recording of the webinar held on 20 January 2021 is available on the British Council website.

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Languages Week Scotland 2021 - Using film to teach languages

21 January 2021 (Screen Scotland)

Screen Scotland has put together a resource for Languages Week Scotland 2021 on using film to teach languages. See the attached document. There's also a Microsoft Team available to join for all subject teachers looking to teach with film: Screen Scotland: Film Education

SCILT professional learning leaflet

21 January 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT offers a wide range of professional learning opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers. Primary, secondary. Synchronous, asynchronous. One off, ongoing. Check out our updated CLPL flyer for all the details you need. Download and share with colleagues in your next virtual staff meeting.

Like you, our friendly primary and secondary Professional Development Officers are working online from home at the moment.  Make a booking or send a query to scilt@strath.ac.uk with CLPL in the subject line.  Alternatively, go direct to the Professional Learning area of the website to browse some more.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Four tips for learning language through film and TV

14 January 2021 (The Conversation)

Films and TV shows can be great tools to help you become a more competent speaker of another language. By captivating your attention and arousing your curiosity, these formats can instil a positive attitude towards learning. They can also help you be a more active participant and keep you motivated to spend more time on language-related tasks.

There are a host of wonderful and gripping series and films available at our fingertips, from Netflix’s Spanish drama La Casa de Papel (Money Heist, which is the streaming site’s most watched non-English language show) to film classics like Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita or last year’s Oscar winner, the Korean film Parasite.

Learning a language this way, however, is easier said than done. I’m sure many of us have made it to the end of a gripping Scandi noir without actually learning much. So here are four tips to help you make the most of language learning through TV and film.

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World of Languages

14 January 2021 (Stride Magazine)

Sheena Bell, professional development officer at SCILT, explores the many ways in which Learning for Sustainability makes a great context for modern language learning.

“Learning other languages enables children and young people to make connections with different people and their cultures and to play a fuller part as global citizens.”

As this quote from the Scottish Government’s Modern Languages Principles and Practice document clearly shows, Modern Languages classrooms are uniquely positioned to incorporate Learning for Sustainability into their teaching and learning. Learning a language in school is not simply about learning vocabulary and grammatical structures; it offers a window into other cultures, traditions, ways of life and ways of thinking. Every day, pupils in our classes are being made aware in a very real way of their interconnectedness with the wider world, both socially and environmentally. The Modern Languages curriculum, particularly within the Senior Phase, already includes topics such as equality, social justice, environmental issues and gender – as Modern Languages teachers we are very often already teaching around Learning for Sustainability without even realising it!

(Note - The full article includes links to associated professional learning and classroom resources.)

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SEET's Our World project update

11 January 2021 (SEET)

Due to the new lockdown measures introduced by the Scottish Government on 4 January, including the closure of schools, SEET have pushed back the storyboard submission deadline to Friday 5 February 2021. They have also adapted the project and expanded the project's reach by increasing participation options for home learning and accommodating for both individual and group participation. Please see below for a summary of the changes:

  • S1-6 may take part in 2021, not only S3-6 pupils.  
  • Storyboard submission deadline extended to Friday 5 February 2021 (extra 3 weeks) 
  • Accompanying video/audio clip explaining the storyboard is now optional. Storyboard and links to SDG theme and languages must be clear if no additional description is provided. 
  • We are accepting storyboard entries from teams AND entries from individual pupils if pupil collaboration is no longer possible. More guidance on team participation available. 
  • We will be able to invite more pupils to take part in the filmmaking stage, as we are no longer limited to in-person venue workshop capacity.  
  • Creation of password protected online portal to support pupils through the filmmaking stages. This will include video tutorials from filmmakers, written guidance and tutorials, resources, and clear instructions for pupils.

Visit the SEET website for more information about the Our World project.

Read more...

Languages Week Scotland

7 January 2021 (SCILT)

Languages Week Scotland 2021 will take place during the week 1–5 February. The theme is ‘Celebrating Scotland’s languages landscape’ and the aim is to amplify the voices of people, organisations and events that celebrate multilingualism and the many ways it manifests in Scottish communities. 

Follow the hashtag #scotlandloveslanguages or the dedicated Twitter account @LangsWeekScot to find out what is happening or to share anything you will do with your learners to mark the week.

Schools can download the Languages Week Scotland logo from the SCILT website (Resources for Languages Week Scotland). Please add to emails and other promotional materials to show your support. 

Keep your eye out for daily challenges from 1-5 February, which will engage learners whether in the classroom or at home.

Why are we learning languages in a closed world?

6 January 2021 (BBC)

Language learning spiked during lockdowns, commercial providers say. But when no-one can travel, and the job market looks unstable, why have people turned toward language now?

When the UK’s second lockdown hit in November, I was learning to decipher a Luwian curse.

Luwian, a language spoken and written in ancient Turkey some 3,000 years ago, may not seem like the most obvious choice for a new hobby. It survives mainly in the form of enigmatic symbols carved into scattered rock monuments. But spending a couple of hours a week cracking this code, under the guidance of a Luwian expert, turned out to be an almost magical form of stress relief. I’d signed up to the course shortly before the lockdown, and after each session, I felt that ­my mind had been cut loose from endless pandemic-related worries, and was free to roam and discover – if only for an evening.

As obscure as Luwian may be, my urge to explore a foreign language was right on trend in 2020. During the first lockdown in March, user numbers for language-learning apps including Duolingo, Memrise and Rosetta Stone rocketed, according to data from the companies. Duolingo reported a 300% jump in new users. The numbers generally eased over the summer, but saw another bump during the second lockdown. While Spanish, French and German were popular choices, Brits also tried out a wide range of other languages. The uptake of Welsh and Hindi soared, for example, with learners citing brain stimulation, cultural interest and family ties as motivating factors. Cultural curiosity also boosted the popularity of Japanese.

Of all the pursuits people have adopted amid the pandemic – making sourdough, working on screenplays – learning a language may seem like an odd choice. After all, the world is effectively closed, with much of international travel off limits. And even for those hoping that language learning could improve their career prospects, the job market remains unstable, with some in no position to change careers. But turning to language may be able to uniquely connect us to something many have longed to feel again.

Read more...

Bonjour Europe: Britons are turning to learning languages like never before

26 December 2020 (The Guardian)

With our exit from the European Union just days away, we should be saying a very firm and British goodbye. Yet for many in the UK, it seems that on the eve of departure it is more a case of au revoir.

The number of people learning a language in Britain has risen twice as fast as the rest of the world in the last year, according to online learning platform Duolingo, and one of the fastest growing groups is those learning French.

Thousands more are learning Spanish, German, Italian, or other EU languages – with some of them hoping to improve their language skills to a level where they qualify for citizenship of a European country.

Maxine Brown, a 27-year-old second year economics student, has been learning Danish for the last six months with the intention of moving to Denmark to pursue a postgraduate degree and work in environmental projects.

“I’m interested in the resource side of economics and Denmark is really leading the way,” she said. “So I started learning Danish in May. Very quickly I was able to start reading newspapers and I joined online forums to really immerse myself and started listening to the radio to pick up the tones and the sounds.”

Since British citizens will no longer have the right to live and work in EU countries after 31 December, Brown will need to pay tuition fees in full and needs a residence permit which requires a grasp of Danish.

Read more...

Cook and learn with Linguacuisine

8 December 2020 (Linguacuisine)

The free Linguacuisine app helps you learn French, German and Spanish while you’re cooking a festive treat! Have fun baking with a friend, learn some new words and then feed your family and friends with a French Bûche de Noël, German Lebkuchen or Spanish Mantecados. You can do it online or by using the attached recipe card. 

Visit the website for lots more recipes in a wide range of languages.

Read more...

Related Files

Mathématiques sans Frontières

7 December 2020 (University of the West of Scotland)

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is again organising the world-wide Maths and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland.

You are invited to participate in this stimulating and light-hearted competition which combines Mathematics and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in these subjects, promote teamwork, and bridge borders.

Please find attached a training test for “Mathématiques Sans Frontières”, and one entry form for the competition proper.

S4 classes should attempt 10 questions and S5 classes 13 questions. A whole class should attempt the test with questions divided up between groups to ensure that the questions can be completed in the allotted time of 90 minutes. Question one will require an explanation in a foreign language. We hope that this encourages cross-curricular working and teamwork. Answers are also attached, in French, another opportunity for teamwork in the translation.

The competition proper will be held on Thursday 11 March 2021. The prize-giving will be held in June (hopefully!) at UWS when the achievements of the top ten schools at each level are recognised. All schools competing will receive a certificate.

Schools who would like to register for the competition are kindly requested to complete the proforma attached and return by 29 January 2021.

We will send out the actual test as a PDF file by e-mail on the Friday prior to the test. This has proved to be very popular and we intend continuing to issue the test in this format. We would therefore kindly ask you to ensure that the e-mail address provided is legible or, preferably, typed. It would also be beneficial to provide an alternative e-mail address, possibly a personal address, which may help prevent firewall issues.

Related Files

SCILT Christmas 2020 webpage - now live!

4 December 2020 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from interactive advent calendars and games, to lesson plans and festive facts. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

Read more...

Pandemic a wake-up call on language learning decline across English-speaking world

1 December 2020 (British Academy)

The COVID-19 crisis demonstrates how essential foreign language skills are to international cooperation and highlights the need for anglophone nations to step up language learning, the British Academy warns today in an unprecedented joint statement with organisations from the USA, Canada and Australia.

Published today, The Importance of Languages in Global Context calls on governments, policy makers, educators and industry to take “concerted, systematic and coordinated” action to increase capacity for easily accessible education in a broad range of languages.

The statement is signed by the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Royal Society of Canada.

The academies highlight the key role that language skills play in international cooperation, especially during global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic when researchers, governments and healthcare workers need to share accurate information. However, anglophone nations are not producing enough speakers of languages other than English to meet 21st-century needs and are not doing enough to support those who are already multilingual to use and develop their valuable skills.

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SCILT Winter 2020 newsletter published

27 November 2020 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter is here! Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning offer, our motivating competitions and our programme of support during school closures. Find out how schools celebrated European Day of Languages, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland.

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Making Space for Languages (1 October) – Event recordings now available!

26 November 2020 (SCILT)

We are delighted to confirm the recently launched toolkit for Phase Two of our ERASMUS+ project, Generation Global, now includes recordings of the sessions that took place at the virtual launch event on 1 October. Entitled Making Space for Languages, the event brought together education professionals, from a range of organisations and backgrounds, to discuss the importance of languages and intercultural studies to all fields of study.

As well as compelling contributions by Fhiona Mackay (Director of SCILT), Laurence Findlay (Director of Education and Children’s Services, Aberdeenshire Council), Louise Glen (Senior Education Officer for Languages, Education Scotland), Dr Paul Hare (Professional Development Officer, SCILT) and partners from Denmark and Norway, visitors to the website will be able to view a fascinating panel discussion involving professionals from a broad range of academic disciplines, all of whom agree that a knowledge of languages gives an extra dimension across the full spectrum of careers.

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Changes to Visiting Assessment Arrangements for National Qualifications

26 November 2020 (SQA)

SQA has reviewed its visiting assessment arrangements for Advanced Higher Gàidhlig performance-talking and Modern Languages performance-talking assessments in session 2020–21.

Visit the SQA website for more information.

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SEET's Our World project

24 November 2020 (SEET)

SEET's logo

The Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) have launched their annual Our World language learning and filmmaking project. With a specific focus on building a sense of gobal citizenship and cultural understanding amongst participants, the project asks S3-S6 pupils to create multilingual films based on topical issues. Teams of 4 have the chance to create their films at an online workshop with professional filmmakers on hand to provide assistance and practical filmmaking tuition. Films must include at least one language other than English, and should be based on, this year, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

If you are interested in entering a team or multiple teams, please sign up here and ensure your pupils send us a storyboard of their film idea by the revised deadline of January 15th, 2021. Tons more information available on SEET's website, or by emailing alex@seet.org.uk. We look forward to receiving entries!

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Inside the MFL Student Mentoring Project

20 November 2020 (British Council)

The MFL Student Mentoring Project was designed as a response to the ongoing decline in the number of learners choosing to study a (modern foreign) language past the compulsory stage of KS3 in Wales. 

The project focuses on changing attitudes and perceptions of languages by training undergraduate students in four Welsh universities ( Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea) to mentor Year 8 and 9 learners (12-14 years old) in Welsh secondary schools to appreciate the value and benefits of language learning. The scheme has inspired the development of comparable projects in the UK.

Find out more on the British Council Wales website.

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2020 Virtual Language Show. Now available on catch-up!

17 November 2020 (Language Show Live)

If you weren't able to join this year's online Language Show which took place 13-15 November, all the brilliant speakers can now be watched on-demand and entirely free of charge.

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4 quick and easy ways to make language learning fun

14 November 2020 (TES)

Why can't a student have a three-eyed cat at home? After all, if it makes language learning fun and engaging it should be welcomed, says this teacher.

It really doesn’t matter where I get my hair cut, or what remains of it at least.

As a French and Spanish teacher, the response is inevitable as soon as the stylist asks what I do. “Ooh, I’m jealous. I did French at school and I wish I’d kept it up, but I wasn’t interested when I was younger.”

At this point, I imagine many language teacher colleagues across the globe are nodding their head, all too familiar with having to justify their subject’s place in the curriculum to students and, occasionally, even to school administrators.

In a world where a rapidly growing number of people use English as a second language and where translation technology is progressing, justifying the need for language learning to unmotivated learners is increasingly difficult.

Yet as practitioners, we know second language acquisition is beneficial to the learner in so many ways. Research has shown motivation may be the second most important factor in successful language acquisition after aptitude.

So, what can we do to motivate our learners during the short time we have with them, and leave them with positive experiences in language learning?

(Note - Subscription required to access full article).

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Six in ten UK adults wish they’d kept up the foreign language they studied at school

12 November 2020 (British Council)

A YouGov survey of more than 2000 UK adults was commissioned by the British Council to mark International Education Week, which runs from 16 to 20 November, as part of its work to advocate for the learning of modern foreign languages in the UK. This year’s programme of events has moved online with a series of webinars, activities and resources accessible from anywhere in the world.

  • British Council survey finds that 66 per cent of UK adults did not appreciate benefits of studying a foreign language when they were at school;
  • 64 per cent wish they had kept up the foreign language they studied and 58 per cent regret not spending more time studying;
  • 10 per cent of UK adults tried learning a language during the first lockdown period, with smartphone apps the most popular study method;
  • 66 per cent think languages should be compulsory at primary school and 79 per cent at secondary school;
  • Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese considered the top three most important languages for young people to learn.

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“A guide to teacher competences for languages in education”: New resource website for teacher educators and designers of teacher education programmes

12 November 2020 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe is pleased to announce the completion in both English and French of its resource website “A guide to teacher competences for languages in education”, an output of the ECML programme “Languages at the heart of learning” (2016-2019).

This comprehensive resource platform has been developed for teacher educators and those responsible for teacher education programmes. It provides an overview of frameworks and descriptions of language teacher competences in various contexts, as well as national and regional standards or guidelines for all teachers working in public education. Having considered the overview, users can then examine more closely those frameworks that are potentially useful to them in their specific roles.

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Our World film making project

12 November 2020 (SEET)

SEET logo

The Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) have launched their annual Our World language learning and filmmaking project.

Open to all S3-6 pupils across Scotland, teams of 4 have the chance to create films at a workshop (remotely this year!) with professional filmmakers on hand to help them and provide practical filmmaking tuition. As always, films must include at least one language other than English, and should be based on a set theme, which this year is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

If you are interested in entering a team or multiple teams, please sign up here and ensure your pupils send us a storyboard of their film idea by the deadline of 18 December 2020.

There is lots more information available on SEET's website, or by emailing alex@seet.org.uk. We look forward to receiving entries!

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IDL and languages in primary: November Bitesize

11 November 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT's monthly Bitesize drop-ins are free, themed virtual events that are open to teachers and student teachers working in Scotland. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on that month’s Bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the theme.

The November Bitesize event looks at examples of using an IDL approach to support language teaching and learning in the primary classroom.

Visit our Bitesize webpage to find out more about the session taking place on Wednesday 25 November and to register.

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ELAPSE project resources

10 November 2020 (LFEE)

LFEE is delighted to announce that their 2-year Erasmus+ funded project ELAPSE (Embedding Language into Primary and Secondary Education) has been completed.

Visit the LFEE website for information about the lesson plans and resources, all freely available to teachers around the world. 

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National 5 Modern Languages - Guidance on gathering key evidence for producing estimates in session 2020–21

6 November 2020 (SQA)

The SQA has produced a document providing subject-level guidance to SQA approved centres on gathering key evidence to support estimates for National 5 Modern Languages in session 2020–21.

You should read this guidance alongside National Courses: guidance on gathering evidence and producing estimates and the SQA Academy resource, Quality assurance of estimates for National Courses (links are contained in the publication).

This document also includes information on subject-level assessment resources. Available now to view online.

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GCSEs 2021: MFL 'one-off' speaking tests allowed

5 November 2020 (TES)

Teachers will have the choice to assess their students’ spoken language skills during normal classroom activities or as individual, one-off assessments for modern foreign language GCSEs next year.

This is according to new requirements published by Ofqual today in response to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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uTalk Language Games

5 November 2020 (uTalk)

image of uTalk platform

Teachers in Scotland are offered a free trial of an award-winning way of boosting pupils’ spoken language skills which can be used at home or at school.

The uTalk Language Games uses audio of native speakers and interactive games – which run on computers, tablets or smartphones - to boost students’ speaking skills in any of 140 languages including Scottish Gaelic and Scots.

Importantly the uTalk Language Games also give pupils the chance to learn a new language - eg French - from Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Scottish English or 100+ other languages. 

More than 25,000 students have used this language learning method over the last 20 years and for your free trial please contact Vikki at languagegames@utalk.com

Run by London-based education company uTalk, students learn independently by playing language games on their devices, scoring points and competing for ranking on an online leaderboard.

There is no age limit and entry costs £5 per person. For more details see  www.utalklanguagegames.com

Teacher Miss Kaye Smith, who entered pupils in last year’s uTalk Language Games, says: “I was so happy to connect with uTalk which provided the children at The Glasgow Academy with a new, meaningful and challenging way of engaging with languages. I would encourage language practitioners and students to engage with uTalk and all the wonderful possibilities it can offer. It was an enjoyable and enriching experience for all who took part.”

The uTalk Language Games was previously called the uTalk Junior Language Challenge which won the prestigious Threlford Cup from the Chartered Institute of Linguists for making a significant contribution to fostering the study of languages.

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Language GCSEs biased against poor pupils, say teachers

29 October 2020 (TES)

The majority of language teachers believe GCSE exams are biased against poorer students, children in care and those with special needs, research reveals.

Being asked to describe the disadvantages of a skiing holiday or to describe family members are among examples highlighted by the National Association of Language Advisers (NALA), which has published its research in a report today.

The research, which investigated the past two years of languages GCSE papers, particularly speaking and writing test questions, found that questions about holidays, family relationships, descriptions of a student’s house, restaurant visits and live events were “potentially problematic for vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils”.

And the NALA now recommends that languages GCSE and curriculum should be reviewed carefully “to ensure that no particular group of students is disadvantaged”.

NALA president Jenny Carpenter said: “One of the things we found was that there were a number of contexts that were beyond the experience of some students. The obvious example of this was the question which asked what are the advantages and disadvantages of a skiing holiday.

“Not only are you asking some pupils to invent an answer, but you’re asking them to express it in a foreign language as well. It’s a double whammy in a sense.”

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Action on climate change

26 October 2020 (British Council)

British Council eTwinning is offering free live CPD and resources on climate change throughout November. Help your class to tackle #ClimateChange together with pupils from across the world.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information. As well as the Climate Change November programme, you can also find other ready made step-by-step guides to help you start an international project. 

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International Education Week is back from 16-20 November 2020!

22 October 2020 (British Council)

Every November we come together to recognise the value of bringing the world into the classroom and celebrate international work in schools. This year we are excited to be going online. For the first time ever, we are offering a week of fantastic events that you can access wherever you are in the world.

The line-up is packed with online webinars, ideas and activities to keep us connected by learning and enable young people to take action on the global issues that matter to them today. 

So whether it's a session on increasing language uptake in schools that interests you, or learning about other cultures throughout the world, visit the website for more information about the range of free webinars and activities on offer. 

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In Short, Europe ESCAPE

18 October 2020 (EUNIC London)

A free online European Short Film Festival by EUNIC London will take place from 28 October to 4 November 2020.

The second edition of In Short Europe embraces the theme ESCAPE, offering our audience an online collection of short films that negotiate the concept through their form, themes and style. Through a variety of genres and styles, fifteen shorts from all over Europe feature characters and images that appear and disappear, following physical or mental journeys, reaching points of arrival or points of departure, always on the move, seeking an escape that may or may not come.

Whilst most films in the programme are foreign language with English subtitles, there are some with no dialogue providing an opportunity to use these in any language class with learners 16+.

Visit the website for more information.

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International Education Week 2020

8 October 2020 (British Council)

To celebrate International Education Week 2020 (16-20 November), British Council is offering three opportunities for pupils and language teachers:

  1. 'Welcome to the Arab World' webinar - Friday 20 November from 13:30-14:30

In collaboration with the Qatar Foundation International’s (QFI) Arabic Language and Culture programme a second ‘Welcome to the Arab World’ webinar event for upper secondary pupils (Year 9 and above) from any school.

This event will include sessions ‘An Introduction to Arabic language and cultures’, a session with Zaina Erhaim, a Syrian journalist who was reporting on the Syrian war from within Syria. She is currently a refugee in the UK and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)'s Communications Manager. Zaina will speak about her life in Syria before and during the war and as a refugee and a live performance and conversation by Syrian American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum. Now living in Los Angeles, California, Omar is also a designer, poet and peace activist whose work blends Arabic and English words and rhythms.

This event will be a Teams Live broadcast to schools. There will be time for questions from pupils to all the speakers. NB this session is designed for those with no previous knowledge of Arabic

To attend this event, please register by completing our online form

  1. To celebrate International Education Week, British Council and Qatar Foundation International’s (QFI) Arabic Language and Culture programme is delighted to offer two opportunities for primary and lower secondary pupils;
  • An online, traditional, Arabic story-telling workshop for a maximum of 30 participants on Monday 16 November (three slots will be available at 9.00, 10.30 & 13.30).
  • An opportunity to connect your class with a native Arabic speaker through the NaTakallam project  on Tuesday 17 November at 11.00, Wednesday 18 November at 12.00 and Thursday 19 November at 13.00. The speaker will be able to discuss Arabic language and culture with your class, as well as share their own experiences as a refugee.

If you would like to express interest for either of these opportunities please contact TeachingArabic@britishcouncil.org  by Monday 19 October and include your school details. Successful applicants will be chosen at random. 

For more information on the Arabic Language and Culture programme at the British Council please visit our website  or email the team .

  1. Languages for all: how do we get there? A solutions-focussed look at practical steps schools can take to transform MFL uptake and success. 

The British Council and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages are proud to present this webinar hosted by the British Council on Monday 16 November 2020 from 16.30–17.30 GMT on Microsoft Teams.

This event will include the following presentations:

1.    Pedagogy in MFL at KS3 and KS4: ways forward for schools.
Presented by Ian Bauckham, CEO of the Tenax Schools Trust and Chair of the Teaching Schools Council’s Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review.

2.    Successful primary-secondary transition: ways to give students the best possible start in Year 7.
Presented by Suzanne O'Farrell, MFL Consultant, ASCL.

3.    Fresh approaches to bringing languages alive through cultural knowledge and international connections.
Presented by Oliver Hopwood, Languages teacher.

Followed by Q&A and discussion.

Register for the webinar on the British Council website.

EDL 2020 - how did you celebrate?

1 October 2020 (SCILT)

How did you celebrate European Day of Languages this year? 

Email us a short description and some photos of your activities, and we will feature you in our EDL blog for 2020. We may even include your story in our next SCILT newsletter. 

We already have our first blog entries uploaded, be sure to take a look!

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MTOT is back!

1 October 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT is delighted to announce the launch of Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2020-21!  This exciting competition is now open, and we want to find the next generation of young multilingual poets in Scotland. The competition has been redesigned to suit our new digital era, and we are inviting young people to submit entries focussing on the spoken word.  Videos, sound files, voiceovers, narrated presentations – whatever format fits best, we want to hear the voices of young linguists showcasing their language and poetry skills. It’s a great time to get involved with the creative side of language learning, so visit our MTOT webpages to find out more.

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Action research communities for language teachers: new ECML resource website

28 September 2020 (ECML)

The 'Action research communities for language teachers' website offers resources to support language teachers use action research as a tool for the development of reflective classroom practice, taking them step-by-step through the process of engaging in action research in their respective contexts. It also provides materials for teacher educators in initial teacher education.

Given the challenges teachers and learners have faced during lockdown and the challenges ahead as schools across Europe attempt to return to some kind of normality, the need for teachers to reflect on their practice and to benefit from professional learning communities is greater than ever. These new resources can strengthen teacher development and the provision of quality inclusive language education.

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Why it’s great Scotland is bucking the trend on learning languages

26 September 2020 (The National)

In a report entitled Breaking the Language Barrier, published by Reform Scotland in October 2018, it is noted that the UK Government estimates poor language skills cost the economy £48 billion annually, equivalent to 3.5% of GDP. While Anglophone countries often dismiss other languages, Scotland is demonstrating an appetite to turn the tide.

The flagship for change is the Scottish Government’s 1+2 policy, launched in 2012, providing children with the opportunity to learn a first additional language from primary one and a second from primary five. Seven years later, the 1+2 generation is now starting secondary school.

There are already encouraging signs at Higher level, where, according to recent research by Dr Hannah Doughty on trends over a seven-year period, languages as a whole enjoy a higher percentage uptake than biology or physics.

Further encouragement comes from Holyrood. Ivan McKee, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, recently stated that: “It is essential we inspire young people to learn languages, to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to take full advantage of opportunities in our fast-changing world.”

Crucial here is that McKee mentions “skills”. Languages are not simply about the ability to move between tongues, mechanically expressing information and ideas. Arguably the greatest benefit from the study of languages lies not in their mastery, but in other skills acquired on the journey.

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EU 'CATAPULT' project latest developments

25 September 2020 (TELLConsult)

The latest developments in the EU Project 'CATAPULT' - Computer-Assisted Training And Platforms to Upskill Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Teachers include the realisation of the beta version of the project's Teachers' Community of Practice (CoP) ‘LinguaCoP’. This platform supports LSP teachers to find and share resources and tips and with its matching tool ‘LinguaClick’ facilitates professionals to offer their services, also internationally.

View this short presentation video to see what this online CoP has in store for you and become a member for free.

Furthermore we gladly announce the start of the second (revised) edition of the free online course (MOOC) based on the LSP competence framework on October 10, 2020. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at what course participants can expect. Those interested can already register here

More information about these and other project developments can be found on the website or by following @ProjectCatapult on Twitter.

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26 September: The European Day of Languages

25 September 2020 (ECML)

Statement by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić

Strasbourg, 25.09.2020 – At the Council of Europe’s initiative, the European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September - together with the European Commission. “The European Day of Languages gives us an opportunity to value and promote all languages and cultures in Europe. This year we are putting special focus on inclusive language education, which supports all learners to reach their potential and play an active part in diverse and democratic societies”, declared Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.

Background information on the Day

It is estimated that there are over 225 indigenous languages in Europe, without even including languages which have arrived on the continent through migration.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission work closely together on the co-ordination of the Day.

The dedicated website, which is available in 39 languages, provides details of the hundreds of events taking place in celebration of the Day, as well as a wide variety of resources and activities for everyone interested in languages and language learning. A new app, created specifically for the 2020 Day, encourages users to carry out a series of language challenges thereby developing further competence and confidence in using different languages.

Contact: Giuseppe Zaffuto, Spokesperson/Media officer, tel. +33 3 90 21 56 04

Competition: ‘Rethinking Languages through COVID-19’

24 September 2020 (MLOE)

The competition invites Year 9 language students (S2 in Scotland)  to do a little bit of research on how COVID-19 has affected an area in which a language other than English is spoken. This could be a language you speak outside of school, are learning independently, or are studying in school. 

Students can work individually or in groups up to four to produce a poster submission based on their discoveries. Further guidelines and information about the competition can be found on the Modern Languages Outreach and Engagement website. Submission deadline: 18 December 2020.

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European Day of Languages 2020 - competition for schools

21 September 2020 (ALL)

ALLNE, NfLNE and partners are once again organising the annual European Day of Languages Competition for Schools and in 2020 it is again open to anyone! The organising committee invites language learners in any key stage to create a piece of text in a language they are learning on the theme: International city.

Submission deadline: Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Visit the ALL website for more information.

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Our World film making project

17 September 2020 (SEET)

Our World is a languages and citizenship based film making project for S3 - S6 pupils. It's designed to complement the Curriculum for Excellence and help tackle the Attainment Challenge by providing a free project, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to encourage pupils to become more engaged in their language learning.

Apply now to take part in the 2020-21 project. 

Visit the SEET Our World webpage for more information.

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All the World is Our Stage: Primary Pupils Never Lost in Translanguaging

14 September 2020 (Creative Multilingualism)

This OWRI-funded project celebrates linguistic diversity and reflects on the multilingual, multicultural and superdiverse society represented in Glasgow today. This multilingual performance supports the teaching and learning journey of primary schooling in non-affluent areas of the city. Pupils work together to choose traditional songs and rhymes and script a multilingual play.

Recordings of a webinar series about the project and associated resources are now available on the Creative Multilingualism website. An article about the project can also be found in TECLA Issue 1/2020 (page 11), the magazine resource for Spanish language learning in the classroom.

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SCILT winter newsletter - send us your stories!

11 September 2020 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our winter 2020 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages. We'd love to hear about any exciting or innovative work which took place during school closures, or any new projects being introduced this year. 

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 2nd October 2020.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

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University of Edinburgh short language courses

7 September 2020 (University of Edinburgh)

The University of Edinburgh offers a range of language courses for adult learners and is now enrolling for the autumn classes commencing week beginning 5 October 2020.

With a wide range of language options, whether you are an absolute beginner or have studied and used the language for several years there will be a course for you. All classes will be taught remotely and synchronously.

Visit the website for more information and to book your place.

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Languages beyond school

4 September 2020 (SCILT)

If you have pupils considering language study once they move on from secondary education, the Beyond School section of our website contains a wealth of information about university and college language courses, study abroad and volunteering opportunities overseas. With links to UCAS and university guides it's also a useful resource for careers guidance staff to be aware of and highlight to students as the UCAS application process gets underway.

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CLPL on a theme: bitesize and drop-in professional learning each month

4 September 2020 (SCILT)

From September 2020 to March 2021 the SCILT Professional Development Officers are scheduling a series of themed on-demand and live professional learning that will be open to all in-service and student teachers in Scotland. 

Some months, the theme will be applicable to both primary and secondary teachers, in other months the theme will be sector specific.   

Around the middle of the month, we will post a film or a piece of reading (c.15 minutes) on the SCILT website. Registration will open for the live drop-in on the same theme. 

At the end of the month, the PDO team will host a live drop-in to discuss the bitesize stimulus and the theme in general. The session will last 45 minutes and will feature examples of current practice. Registration is free and open to all teachers and student teachers in Scotland. 

Interested?   

In September we’re kicking off with a theme that’s relevant to both secondary and primary teachers. 

Lessons from lockdown: A look at how our learning and teaching of languages has evolved through the experiences of lockdown. Let’s share our experiences of delivering language education in innovative ways during an unprecedented situation. What works well? What doesn’t? What can we continue to use in post-lockdown practice? Are there methods that actually work better for the “new normal”? 

Watch out for the release of our Lessons from lockdown bitesize film. You’ll be able to watch on demand on the SCILT website from Friday 18 September. 

At the same time, you will be able to register to join the drop-in session at 4pm on Wednesday 30 September. There will be separate drop-ins on the same theme for primary and for secondary teachers or ITE students. 

What’s next?  Themes will be revealed in the first e-bulletin of the month, so you’ll get all the latest details straight to your inbox. 

If you do join in either live or on-demand, you can keep the professional learning conversation going on social media by following and using the hashtags #SCILT_CLPL #SCILT_bitesize #SCILT_dropin.  We are looking forward to connecting with lots of you through this new (to us) approach to professional learning in the coming months. 

European Day of Languages 2020 - how are you celebrating?

3 September 2020 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated on 26 September each year. What is your school doing in 2020?

If you're looking for inspiration SCILT has compiled lots of ideas for primary, secondary and parents & families on our EDL webpage. You will also find links to competitions, blogs and websites with a huge range of celebration ideas and activities. 

Let us know how you celebrate and we'll include you in our EDL 2020 blog! Send a short description and some colourful photos after your event to scilt@strath.ac.uk.

Read more...

CLPL on a theme: bitesize and drop-in professional learning each month

28 August 2020 (SCILT)

From September 2020 to March 2021 the SCILT Professional Development Officers are scheduling a series of themed on-demand and live professional learning that will be open to all in-service and student teachers in Scotland. 

Some months, the theme will be applicable to both primary and secondary teachers, in other months the theme will be sector specific.   

Around the middle of the month, we will post a film or a piece of reading (c.15 minutes) on the SCILT website. Registration will open for the live drop-in on the same theme. 

At the end of the month, the PDO team will host a live drop-in to discuss the bitesize stimulus and the theme in general. The session will last 45 minutes and will feature examples of current practice. Registration is free and open to all teachers and student teachers in Scotland. 

Sound interesting? Themes will be revealed in the first e-bulletin of the month, so you’ll get all the latest details straight to your inbox. We will be revealing our first theme for September in next week’s e-bulletin. 

We are looking forward to connecting with lots of you through this new (to us) approach to professional learning in the coming months. 

The British Academy responds to 2020 A levels data

13 August 2020 (British Academy)

With the release today of this year’s A level results, the British Academy warns that the continuing decline in the number of students in England taking ‘other languages’ poses significant risk to the UK’s linguistic capacity – a key component in trade, soft power and social cohesion.

Today’s Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) data show a continued decline in the number of students taking qualifications in languages, which has fallen 13% this year. There has been a particularly big fall in students taking ‘other languages’ – including languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Russian, and Japanese – where entries this year are 40%  down year on year, following a fall of 14% between 2018 and 2019.

Interest in Spanish continues to increase slightly (up 1%), building on the upwards trend seen at GCSE. Numbers for French seem to have stabilised this year, but at historically low levels. Numbers for German have fallen 6% following a slight upturn last year.

Read more...

Related Links

Press Release: A Level Results 2020 (ALL, 13 August 2020)

A levels 2020: Languages see big leap in top grades (TES, 13 August 2020)

The hidden tragedy of this year's A level figures (Alcantara Communications, 17 August 2020)

Turn on the TV to boost your lockdown language learning

10 August 2020 (SW Londoner)

Watching more TV could be the key to language learning for the two-thirds of the UK population unable to speak anything but English.

Two British polyglots who between them speak more than 65 languages, agreed that popular culture was key to learning a language.

Alex Rawlings, 28, a journalist and documentary filmmaker from Ham, said: “Language learning shouldn’t be: ‘I’m learning French because I want to learn all the irregular verbs’, it should be ‘I’m learning French because I want to understand this amazing detective series better and if I don’t speak French I’m going to miss out on it’.

“That’s essentially how English is learnt in other countries – it’s very deeply embedded in popular culture, so people take it for granted that they’re going to learn English.”

Richard Simcott, 43, the languages director for the Social Element who grew up in Chester, said: “Children from Scandinavia particularly learn very very quickly that people don’t speak their language, and they have TV in English, their films tend to be in English with subtitles.

“When they go to school they don’t start with ‘hello, my name is’, they go straight into literature.”

Neither Mr Rawlings nor Mr Simcott live in the UK anymore – Mr Rawlings has been living in Barcelona since 2018, and Mr Simcott calls North Macedonia home.

Mr Rawlings, who currently speaks 15 languages, was crowned the UK’s most multilingual student in 2012, after starting to teach himself languages at the age of 14 (although he was speaking Greek with his mother by age 8).

He said: “I really can’t imagine my life without speaking languages.

“When you speak multiple languages you can go anywhere in the world, you have all sorts of opportunities, you have a very different feeling about foreign places… they become less foreign, because you understand what’s going on.”

Read more...

Will the UK ever love foreign-language pop?

5 August 2020 (The Guardian)

Three summers ago, Despacito’s lilting Spanish lyrics dominated the UK charts, but since then nearly all pop hits have been in English. Is it just a language barrier – or a sign of a narrow culture?

In 2017, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s huge No 1 summer hit Despacito seemed to herald a new age where the domination of the English language in western pop was eroding. Global streaming has since allowed for the overwhelming popularity of slick K-pop titans BTS, the doleful flamenco flourishes of Spanish artist Rosalía and the multilingual Nigerian superstar Burna Boy among others, suggesting that, at last, non-English-language hits are moving beyond novelties such as The Ketchup Song and Dragostea Din Tei.

But three summers on from Despacito, the UK remains dominated by English-language pop. Latin music hasn’t had nearly the same impact here as in the US, and Christine and the Queens’ “Ne me cherche pas, je ne suis plus la, baby” was a very rare burst of French on British radio, via Gone, her hit song with Charli XCX last year.

Read more...

Survey - Resources to support SQA Modern Languages

28 July 2020 (Hodder Gibson)

Publishers, Hodder Gibson, are keen to commission new resources to support Modern Languages departments at National 3-5 and would be grateful to hear directly from teachers to establish what they would find useful.

Please help by taking part in the research survey. It will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Read more...

Be a positive messenger - Homework challenge: Refugees and migrants

17 June 2020 (British Council)

Inspired by Refugee Week’s 20 Simple Acts campaign, we’ve created a homework challenge to help your pupils find out more about the lives of migrants and refugees, show support, and celebrate the contributions they make to societies around the world. The pack offers the chance to explore other cultures and languages.

Read more...

Language learning needs to be protected from becoming a casualty of coronavirus

12 June 2020 (iNews)

With travel limited and schools closed, our ability to speak to the world is under threat.

When learning a new language, you begin with the words you would normally need every day: words for meeting people, going to cafés and restaurants, asking for the way to the station. Now – in a world where a summer holiday, let alone living abroad, feels like a fading possibility – that rule seems ironic.

While terms like self-isolation and social distancing have become basic vocabulary in English, those classic foreign phrases have evoked a strange sort of wanderlust, tainted by a festering frustration.

With millions of pupils now staying at home until September at the earliest – language degrees and lessons could be among the most disrupted – and foreign travel affected for the foreseeable future, it is vital our ability to talk to the world does not turn into another casualty of coronavirus.

Read more...

Language GCSE entries up but a mixed picture at A level

11 June 2020 (TES)

Provisional data on GCSE entries in 2020 released today reveals a rise in the number of pupils studying for a modern foreign language at GCSE.

Overall, language entries increased by 2 per cent, from 268,955 to 275,000. Entries for Spanish and German rose by 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, while French entries remained stable.

Read more...

Coffee Break Conversations: Season preview

10 June 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Coffee Break Conversations is a new podcast in which we talk about life, learning and languages. Over the past 14 years, Coffee Break Languages podcasts have helped millions of language learners around the world learn French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Swedish and English. In this new podcast we’re going to be having conversations with some of these learners.

Read more...

SEET @ Home: Take Two!

3 June 2020 (SEET)

Whilst we are all carry on with our home learning, SEET continues to offer opportunities for pupils to engage in language learning and citizenship projects from home. Due to such a high demand for our new SEET @ Home project, and the quality of entries for the 'Community in Isolation' theme (judgement of films ongoing), SEET is proud to launch SEET @ Home: Take Two! Once again, all pupils need is access to a smart phone or tablet (any device that shoots video), and to download a free app or two! 

This project is open to all ages (both primary and secondary pupils). We invite pupils to make a short film (maximum 2- minutes) based on the theme 'Sustainability at Home'. We also ask that pupils include at least one language other than English in their films, making this excellent opportunity for pupils to develop and showcase their language learning. Our favourite films will win cinema vouchers! 

If you would like to take part, and we really hope you do, then please get in contact with us by emailing info@seet.org.uk and we will send you more information. Alternatively, you can find more information on our website. We have created an online document that includes a suggested timetable, a list of recommended free apps and a few useful filmmaking tips and tricks which we think will really help.

The deadline for these films is Monday 22 June 2020 at 5pm. Please don’t forget to tweet about your experience using #SEETatHome to @SEET_scotland.

Read more...

eTwinning - Online training, workshops and courses

26 May 2020 (British Council)

eTwinning offers various free online professional development at both a UK and a European level. 

Visit the website for a full schedule of online events beginning in June 2020, including a one hour introduction to eTwinning.

Read more...

Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto

20 May 2020 (University of Oxford)

The Creative Multilingualism research team have published a new 10 chapter book, Creative Multilingualism: A Manifesto. It presents four years of collaborative research on multilingualism across disciplines, from the humanities through to the social and natural science. The book is available to read for free from the Open Book Publishers website, under a creative commons licence. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Episodes of the Linguamania Podcast series are also available based on the same research strands.

Read more...

British Council Campaign

19 May 2020 (UCML)

The British Council has been a major disseminator of knowledge about the United Kingdom and of the English language since its foundation in 1934, working with over 50 countries. Since the start of the Covid-19 public health crisis, the British Council has had to close most of its schools and test centres across the globe, leading to a substantial budget deficit. Although a public body under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the government response to the council’s financial situation has not been positive, and the council’s future is now significantly under threat.

UCML considers the British Council one of its closest allies in its mission to support study, teaching and research in modern languages, and has therefore launched a campaign to raise awareness of the vital role the British Council plays in languages education. To this end we have written a letter to the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, as well as other key stakeholders, and support the campaign launched by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which includes an Early Day Motion in Parliament.

Visit the website to read the letter and find out how you can participate in the campaign.

Read more...

Shadow Heroes

13 May 2020 (RSA)

Gitanjali Patel FRSA believes that translation is a force for change, as well as an untapped resource for teaching students how to harness their linguistic abilities to become critical, yet responsible, global citizens.

Earlier this year, five translators delivered five original workshops in two north London state schools – William Ellis and Camden School for Girls – as part of a Shadow Heroes series supported by the RSA’s Catalyst fund. Our aim was to demonstrate the power of translation in teaching critical thinking and as a socially inclusive endeavour, highlighting the fun, varied and cross-disciplinary nature of working with languages. Following on from our earlier introduction to the series, here are some of our reflections. 

Shadow Heroes workshops aim to introduce students to a range of languages and perspectives from outside western Europe, and this series was no exception. Our opening workshop, got students thinking about how our different perspectives, interests and worldviews influence the way we read and interpret, and what effect this might have on our translations. A second workshop on translating Arabic comics, led by Nariman Youssef and Sawad Hussain, introduced concepts of foreignisation and domestication, helping students to make self-aware decisions as they adapted translations for different audiences. Next, Ayça Türkoğlu’s workshop used Turkish pop songs to offer an in-depth look at voice, idiom and onomatopoeia. This emphasis on the complexities of translating voice continued throughout the series. Yuka Harada-Parr guided students in their retranslations of the Japanese dialogue of a Dragon Ball Z trailer, and the final session, on translating slang, drew on the skills built during previous workshops to highlight the power structures evident in the language(s) we use.

The workshops drew on contemporary fiction, film, music and art from across the world. Each looked to shift the idea of language as simply a system for communication and emphasise its grounding in people and societies, cultures and politics. Feedback showed an enthusiastic response from students and teachers at both schools to a broader presentation of language learning. 

[..] We would love to hear from teachers and educational practitioners who are interested in getting involved with future iterations of our project, or who have questions about this one.

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Tackling the languages ‘crisis’: Supporting multilingualism in the new curriculum for Wales

13 May 2020 (BERA)

A commitment to languages is front and centre of the Welsh government’s education policies. This is evident in the pledge to achieve 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 (Welsh Government, 2017) and the Global Futures strategy and plan (Welsh Government, 2016) to build a ‘bilingual plus one nation’. Nonetheless, there remains an alarming decline of uptake of GCSE modern foreign languages (MFL).

What can be done to inspire an uplift for modern foreign languages across Wales in the future?

As a non-compulsory subject beyond KS3, the landscape for language learning in Wales (beyond English and Welsh) has been challenging for the last two decades, with entries for GCSEs in MFL falling by 60 per cent between 2002–2019 (Tinsley, 2019). However, in our article, ‘Multilingual perspectives: Preparing for language learning in the new curriculum for Wales’ (part of a new special issue of the Curriculum Journal), we discuss how the New Curriculum for Wales 2022 could offer hope for arresting and reversing the decline (Gorrara, Jenkins, Jepson, & Machin, 2020).

It focusses on the value of promoting a younger learner’s experience of all languages: Welsh, English and what are now termed ‘international languages’ (encompassing all non-indigenous languages in Wales). In this context, languages are positioned as ‘key to understanding the world around us’ (Welsh Government, 2020).

This commitment to the social and cultural benefits of multiple language learning creates opportunities for schools to diverge from a traditional emphasis on transactional language learning towards a multilingual approach. In our article, we argue that such multilingual practices and methodologies can reinvigorate a younger learner’s connection to languages by making them more dynamic and relevant to our globalised and connected world.

Read more...

Issue to action – an online course for secondary teachers across Scotland with an interest in Global Citizenship

12 May 2020 (Scotdec)

This 6 week online course will start on 19 May 2020 and focuses on Modern Languages, English, Science, Maths and Social Subjects.

See the course leaflet for more information. 

Register for the course on the Eventbrite webpage. 

SCILT's COVID response: Live streamed classes

7 May 2020 (SCILT)

This Monday (4 May) saw the launch of the first week of language classes, courtesy of our partnership with e-Sgoil. Demand was far greater than anticipated and despite some issues with registration, valid email addresses and technical challenges, hundreds of youngsters from P1 to Advanced Higher took part in a range of interesting classes. We have now had to stop taking new registrations for BGE and senior phase classes in French and Spanish and Give it a Go Italian as classes are full. Spaces are still available for NQ classes in Gaelic, German, Italian and Mandarin. For secondary pupils who would like to try something new, there are some places available on "Discovering the Arabic World". This gives the opportunity to learn a language that is less frequently taught in schools and explore the fascinating cultures of Arabic speaking countries. Spaces are limited and are allocated on a first come basis.  

See the attached timetable with links to enrol.

Related Files

The future of language education in Europe: case studies of innovative practices

7 May 2020 (ECML)

This new analytical report aims to explore emerging innovative approaches and strategies of language teaching in Europe supporting learners’ plurilingualism, inspire educators and policy makers to innovate and implement forward-looking policies and practices in language education, and contribute to the implementation of the EU Council Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages (adopted in May 2019).

The publication also refers to the work of the Council of Europe’s European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) and highlights 8 projects and tools promoting plurilingual pedagogies.

Read more...

Fancy a PowerLanguage challenge?

7 May 2020 (PowerLanguage)

Get your learners to take the PowerLanguage Challenge and to create short podcasts in order to teach their language as well as share their culture and passion, and to learn from other young people around the world. Watch the existing videos on  www.powerlanguage.school/challenge and find out how to publish your own creation!

SCILT Spring 2020 newsletter published

7 May 2020 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter has been published. Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning partnerships, our support for DYW and our new 'Discovering the Arabic World' initiative. Find out how schools celebrated Languages Week Scotland, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland.

Read more...

SEET @ Home

4 May 2020 (SEET)

Whilst schools remain closed and we all continue to work from home, we will not let COVID-19 interrupt what SEET does and what we can offer you. We love making films and know that many of you do too. So, whilst schools are out, we are asking you to make short films at home, with a little guidance from us. All you need is a smart phone or tablet (any device that shoots video), and to download a free app or two!

Normally we open our filmmaking project up to young people in S3-S6, but this project is open to all ages  (both primary and secondary pupils). We invite pupils to make a short film (maximum 2-minutes), based on the theme 'Community in Isolation'. As always, we want to see pupils using languages; even if it is just a few words, we want to hear it! Let’s share our films far and wide and connect with communities across the globe. Our favourite films will win cinema vouchers!

If you would like to take part, and we really hope you do, then please get in contact with us by emailing info@seet.org.uk and we will send you more information. This includes a recommended timetable that should allow pupils to make these films within one school week, and some useful tips about filmmaking, amongst other things!

To be in with a chance of winning cinema vouchers, the deadline for film submissions is Monday 1 June 2020 at 3pm. 

Don't forget to tweet about your experiences using the hashtag #SEETatHome to @SEET_scotland. Lights, camera, action!

The Stephen Spender Prize and Polish Spotlight 2020

28 April 2020 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2020 Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation and the Polish Spotlight are now open for submissions! There are some exciting changes this year – as part of our aim to make the prize more inclusive and vibrant than ever, we are welcoming translations from rap and spoken word, as well as from BSL poetry. There will also be more prizes and commendations in our youth categories.

Stephen Spender Prize

Translate into English any poem from any language – ranging from Arabic to Uzbek, from Danish to Somali—and win cash prizes! There are categories for young people (14-and-under, 16-and-under, and 18-and-under) as well as an open category for adults

The ‘Polish Spotlight’

This is a special strand of the Stephen Spender Prize for the translation of Polish poems. Open to all UK or Irish citizens or residents, or pupils at British Schools overseas, there are usually three age categories for entrants: 18-and-under14-and-under and 10-and-under. Additionally this year there will also be a 16-and-under category. This year, we are inviting entrants to translate one poem from our curated selection of Polish poetry.

Visit the website for more information about both strands of the competition and submit entries by 17 July 2020.

Read more...

SCILT's languages lockdown playlist

23 April 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Are you looking for something to lighten your lockdown spirits? Well we might have just the thing!

The SCILT and CISS team have compiled a YouTube playlist of our favourite songs sung in or featuring languages other than English. From French chanteuses to K-pop, there's something for everyone. You might even discover your new favourite artist!

So far you can hear Arabic, Cantonese, Estonian, French, Gaelic, German, Irish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Mongolian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Welsh, and we’ll keep adding more.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch, listen, or dance along in your living room.  

Read more...

Six ways to bring language learning to life at home

21 April 2020 (BBC Bitesize)

Learning a new language is a great way to spend your time while staying at home - even Harry Styles is doing it!

And guess what? It doesn’t have to be all vocab lists and verb tables.

The first stages of learning a language are often all about you and your life - what time you get up, what you have for breakfast, what your dog watched on TV last night…

We checked in with the director of languages at the Share Trust in West Yorkshire, Juliet Park, about how to make our homes the perfect location for language learning.

Here are our top tips for bringing languages to life at home.

Read more...

Language learning resources during school closures

21 April 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

If you are a parent or carer looking for materials to support language learning for your child while the schools are closed, we have compiled a list of materials for children of different ages/stages and in different languages. These resources:

  • are free to access
  • children can do independently and
  • can be enjoyed together as a family

They can be found on the 'Home learning' page of the Parents section of our website.

Read more...

Survey - Language learning across the lifespan

20 April 2020 (University of Edinburgh)

The University of Edinburgh is hoping to gather the opinions and experiences of both teachers and students in language learning classrooms across the lifespan. The survey should not take more than 10/15 minutes to complete.

Read more...

SCHOLAR Modern Languages online tutor sessions

17 April 2020 (SCHOLAR)

The schedule for online SCHOLAR tutor sessions for the coming term is now available online. Modern Language students should note next dates are:

  • 20 April - Introduction to Higher Modern Languages
  • 27 April - Introduction to National 5 Modern Languages
  • 4 May - Introduction to Advanced Higher Modern Languages

Sessions are all led by Modern Languages tutor, Douglas Angus, and commence at 6:00 pm.

Visit the SCHOLAR website for more information.

Read more...

Pedagogy Professional Learning for Language Teachers

16 April 2020 (Various)

The following resources have just been added to our Professional Learning for Teachers during the school closures web section:

Pedagogy Professional Learning

  • On Education Scotland’s Digital Learning Community blog you will find collections of online resources to support teaching and learning in a wide range of languages. Click on the Gaelic Education Wakelet and the Modern Languages Wakelet. Resources will be updated over the period of the school closures.
     
  • Language teachers adapting pedagogy to online delivery may be interested in two new resources created by the languages education experts at the European Centre for Modern Languages. The Treasure Chest and the Wakelet are packed with resources for engaging activities in multiple languages. Activities are differentiated for multilingual pupils and language learners from pre-school to secondary age and will be updated during the period of school closures.

Supporting Bilingual Learners

Further resources are available on our Professional Learning pages.

Read more...

uTalk Classroom

16 April 2020 (uTalk)

uTalk Classroom - an offer free for all UK secondary schools from now until the end of July. 

  • Choose 3 languages out of over 140, plus EAL if required.
  • An unlimited number of students can use the award-winning uTalk app to play speaking and listening games in over 60 topics. 
  • Works on any standard device - tablets, phones, laptops... online or offline.
  • Each learner has their own account.
  • Teachers get a dashboard to monitor pupil progress and attainment.
  • Easy set-up; we do the work so your students can start learning immediately!

See the attached document for more information.

Interested?

Get in touch - susannah@utalk.com 07749288578 so we can get you up and running straight away.

Related Files

Coronavirus: ‘Pupils need live online teaching’

13 April 2020 (TESS)

Scotland’s e-Sgoil – based in the Western Isles – has revealed its plans to deliver a national timetable of live lessons that will be streamed online in a bid to support teachers and pupils in the wake of the UK wide school closures, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking exclusively to Tes Scotland the e-Sgoil – which has four years’ experience in beaming lessons into schools across the country – said it was hoping to partner with online learning platform Scholar in order to deliver live national qualification lessons in a wide range of subjects, as well as offering some lessons aimed at primary pupils.

Scholar – a partnership between Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and education directors’ association Ades – runs online courses in a range of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher subjects, providing pupils with learning materials and assessments.

Meanwhile e-Sgoil – which was set up to ensure equal access to courses and subjects for pupils irrespective of where they live – has a team of teachers on its books who have experience of delivering remote lessons in real time in everything from Higher physics, to primary Gaelic. This year it has had a presence in 15 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The plan is to start streaming the lessons incrementally, beginning with maths and languages – thanks to Scotland's National Centre for Languages (Scilt), and Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.

Together the languages bodies and e-Sgoil plan to offer taster courses in Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Gaelic and Mandarin suitable for primary and secondary pupils, as well as delivering national qualification courses in French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Gaelic.

Read more...

Coronavirus: top tips on how to learn a language in lockdown

5 April 2020 (The Herald)

Here is some secret good news. Even with planes grounded, borders closing and a deadly virus stalking the planet you can take an exciting journey that will take you right under the skin of other nations and cultures. And from the comfort of your own home. How? By learning another language. 

To be fair, thousands of people in lockdown have figured this out. A lot are dusting down old textbooks or downloading the phone app Duolingo. But can you really learn to speak "foreign" without leaving your house? Can your children? Can you or your family refresh or improve existing skills.

The short answer is yes – thanks to the internet and its incredible resources, especially teachers using Skype, Zoom or other video links.

Read more...

Professional learning for teachers during the school closures

2 April 2020 (SCILT)

Are you a teacher, a student teacher or aspiring student teacher? Are you looking for some professional learning to do online, at your own time and at your own pace?

Visit our professional learning pages to view our collated list of courses, webinars and materials that are free to access. Scroll down to the 'Professional learning for teachers during the school closures' section.

Read more...

Scottish Languages Employability Award - apply now!

2 April 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

The Scottish Languages Employability Award (SLEA) celebrates innovation by schools in promoting languages and employability together through partnerships with businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations. The award, which is available initially at bronze, silver and gold levels, supports teachers in raising awareness of the importance of languages in their school community.  

For full guidelines, case studies and futher information visit the SLEA page on the SCILT website.

The next deadline for submissions is Friday 15 May 2020

Read more...

uTalk Language Games

1 April 2020 (uTalk)

In case you are looking for fun language learning activities for your schools - we've responded to the need for home learning with a competition, called the uTalk Language Games, the format gives entrants access to any one of our languages -  pupils and teachers from the same school or class can learn together and compete, learning the same language - tracking their scores and rankings on a leaderboard exclusive to their group.

The competition builds on our award-winning Junior Language Challenge competition (JLC) which has helped more than 25,000 children learn languages over the last 15 years, but is now open to all - this has resulted rather amusingly in people of all ages, from grandchildren to grandparents competing against each other - spread around the country - indeed world ... entrance is £5, $5 or €5 and the competition runs until the end of July 2020.

Read more...

Addressing the needs of language professionals in times of Covid-19: new ECML resource website “e-lang”

31 March 2020 (ECML)

Are you a language teacher in upper secondary or in the university sector now adapting to the challenge of delivering your classes online? Would you like to discover motivating real-world tasks for your learners which will help develop their learner autonomy?

Are you a language teacher educator looking for creative ways to develop your teachers’ digital literacy skills, so that they in turn can support their language learners?

Are you a language researcher, interested in pedagogies based on social interaction?

If so, this new open-access resource website, developed through expert cooperation in the field of language education across geographic Europe and beyond, is most definitely for you.

Read more...

Five exciting challenges launched for Year 12 students

26 March 2020 (University of Cambridge)

Could you imagine how the English language might change in the next 500 years? How about devising a sustainable long-term strategy for freight transport in the UK? Or could you write an object biography to bring history to life?

These are just three of the five exciting challenges Gonville & Caius College have launched this week for Year 12 students in any UK school (S5 in Scotland). This year set in Engineering, History, Linguistics, Modern Languages, and Natural Sciences, our Schools Prizes are designed to prompt lower sixth form students to think creatively and individually about the subjects they love. Each competition carries a first prize of £600, to be split equally between the winning candidate and his or her school or college, and a second prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

Visit the website for more information. Entry deadline: Friday 5 June 2020.

Read more...

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2020 - **CANCELLED**

26 March 2020 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Unfortunately, due to the current uncertainty relating to COVID-19, it has been decided with careful consideration to cancel the Summer School this year.
SCILT and Education Scotland will continue to work closely and plan for next summer 2021. Further updates will be communicated in due course.

SCILT and Education Scotland's flagship national leadership programme has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in 2017 and 2018.

Read more...

Supporting online learning - links for practitioners

25 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has compiled resources and links which are intended to support practitioners in developing online opportunities for learning at home. There are resources for all areas of the curriculum which will be supplemented as time goes on. See the Supporting Online Learning webpage on the Education Scotland website.

Read more...

WATCH: How can you home school your children effectively during the coronavirus crisis?

24 March 2020 (East Anglian Daily Times)

With schools closed to all but the children of key workers and the vulnerable, one educator has released a handy guide of how to home school successfully. Watch the video online.

[..] Rosetta Stone is offering children free language classes for three month, while British Sign is offering British Sign Language (BSL) classes online for just £3 for students or those struggling financially during the coronavirus crisis.

Read more...

COVID-19: SCILT and CISS update

24 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Given last week's announcement about the cancellation of the exam diet, the SCILT and CISS teams are refocusing their efforts on supporting the BGE. Officers are currently collating high quality, freely available, online materials into an easily accessible section of the SCILT website. Teachers, parents and youngsters  will be able, therefore, to find interesting resources and activities in a range of languages, appropriate to their age and stage, all in one place. As you can imagine, this is a huge task, but we are determined to have it completed by mid-April. 

In addition, we are currently in discussion with our friends at e-Sgoil so we can provide live streamed classes in Mandarin suitable for beginners in both primary and secondary school stages of the BGE. More news about this and other language learning opportunities via e-Sgoil will be announced nearer the time. 

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Bring the world into your classroom

13 March 2020 (TES/British Council)

We believe every young person should have intercultural and international experience. As the UK’s cultural relations organisation, the British Council creates opportunities for schools and teachers in the UK and worldwide to connect and work together to share ideas and practices.

Our range of international education programmes can help develop teaching skills with funded professional development, connect schools across the globe and bring language learning to life.

TES and the British Council have joined forces to explore different ways to bring the world into the classroom and open the door to a host of international learning opportunities.

Read more...

SQA Markers

12 March 2020 (SQA)

The SQA is currently recruiting for new markers who would like to be considered for a marking team for 2020.

A Marker marks candidates’ work in line with detailed marking instructions and in accordance with SQA policy and procedures. The prime role is to ensure consistent application of national standards when marking candidate submission(s).

Applications which meet the selection criteria will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Thereafter applications will be reserved for future opportunities in marking in your selected subject.

Visit the SQA website for more information and submit your application by 27 March 2020.

Read more...

Never Such Innocence competition

10 March 2020 (Never Such Innocence)

For the 2019/20 academic year, the Never Such Innocence competition will be bigger than ever! We have expanded our focus to include all conflicts throughout history and today, and have broadened the age range to 9-18. We are also delighted to open a new speechwriting category!

This year’s theme is ‘The Impact of Conflict on Communities’ – We invite young people all across the world to write a poem, speech, or song, or create a piece of art reflecting on how a conflict has or is affecting a community. This conflict could be past or present; international, national or local.

Entries can be in any language.

Visit the competition website for more information and submit entries by 20 March 2020.

Read more...

Living Languages 2020

6 March 2020 (SCILT/University of Strathclyde)

Due to the current situation concerning COVID-19 the events below have been postponed until further notice. Please keep an eye on the SCILT e-bulletin for details of further Living Languages events in the future. 

Living Languages 2020 is a joint initiative from Languages@Strathclyde and SCILT, focusing on employability.

This series of events offers language learners at all stages an opportunity to hear from high-profile guests and early career graduates, from a variety of sectors, on the role of languages in their professional lives.

Guests will share their experiences through a relaxed conversation format and the audience will be encouraged to ask questions. These events allow learners to hear about languages in the workplace as well as practise their own language skills.

Living Languages 2020 Programme

Registrations are now open for the following events in the series:

  • Monday 23 March - A conversation with Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive Scottish Engineering
  • Monday 30 March - A conversation with Ben Sharrock, Writer and Director and Irune Gurtubai, Film Producer
  • Tuesday 28 April - A conversation with Karen Betts, Chief Executive Scottish Whisky Association and former Diplomat

eTwinning Spring Campaign - Climate Change and Environmental Challenges

2 March 2020 (eTwinning)

We are launching the eTwinning Spring Campaign around the annual theme of Climate Change and Environmental Challenges on 2 March.

Our Spring Campaign in 2020 celebrates eTwinning and eTwinners on a local level while raising awareness on climate change and environmental challenges.

During this campaign, eTwinners are encouraged to get inspired by the annual theme and to create on-site events in their schools and the classrooms! Activities and resources are aimed at both experienced eTwinners and newcomers.

Visit the website for more information about how to get involved.

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Exclusive: DfE funds undergrad MFL GCSE volunteer force

28 February 2020 (TES)

The Department for Education has backed a deployment of specially trained undergraduate MFL mentors in secondary schools designed to boost the number of pupils studying languages at GCSE.

The Language Horizons Mentoring Scheme, which is led by Cardiff University's School of Modern Languages, has been awarded a £430,000 grant from the DfE and involves degree students are working with Year 8 and 9 students either through face-to-face or digital sessions.

[..] During a recent pilot in ten schools in South Yorkshire, 53 per cent of students who took part went on to choose a modern foreign language at GCSE, and most said it "changed the way they think about languages in relation to their future lives" say scheme organisers.

(Subscription required to access full article)

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Creativity with Languages in Schools: bringing research into the classroom

27 February 2020 (Creative Multilingualism)

Having already featured some of the inspiring work of the Creative Multilingualism initiative on episode 3 of the #mfltwitterati podcast, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend one of their recent free events at SOAS in central London in person to find out more, writes Joe Dale.

The day focused on the theme of creativity in languages in schools and showcased the work that the Creative Multilingualism team of researchers have carried out with secondary and primary schools since the start of the project, encouraging students to engage more creatively with language learning.

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Being bilingual at any age is an advantage because of how it changes the brain

27 February 2020 (i News)

Here’s a moral dilemma: a train is speeding towards five people. You’re standing next to a large man wearing a heavy backpack. If you push this man on to the tracks below, he will die, but he and his heavy backpack will stop the train, thus saving the five workmen. Do you push him?

You might rationally know it makes sense to kill one person to save five others, but it’s an emotionally horrible choice to make. Scientists have found that someone who speaks two languages is more likely to make a utilitarian, less emotional choice when asked this moral dilemma in their second language. A bilingual person will probably kill one to save five.

This is one of the most interesting findings in The Bilingual Brain, a new book by neuropsychologist Albert Costa. All humans make choices based on some element of emotion – perhaps a fear of loss, fear of risk, or a sense of morality. The decision you make will depend on the way it has been phrased to you, which words have been used that will trigger different emotions. Costa’s research shows that if you make a decision in your second language, it is more likely to be more rational than emotive.

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Glasgow Film Festival 2020

25 February 2020 (Glasgow Film Festival)

The Glasgow Film Festival 2020 takes place from 26 February to 8 March. There are lots of foreign language films in the programme, so it's an ideal opportunity to test your skills!

Visit the website for full programme details.

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SCHOLAR Modern Languages tutor sessions

25 February 2020 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR’s next on line tutor sessions with tutor Douglas Angus will be as follows:

  • Monday 2 March at 6pm - Higher Modern languages and will focus on preparing for external assessment of Reading Listening and Directed Writing. There is an associated worksheet available from SCHOLAR, which includes a task learners can attempt in advance
  • Monday 9 March at 6pm - Advanced Higher, looking at preparing for Reading, Listening and Discursive Writing. There will also be a worksheet accompanying the session.

Visit the website for more information and login.

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Cuts to teacher subject advisers could explain declining exam results

23 February 2020 (Brinkwire)

Cuts to subject specialists, advisers and teacher support networks may be the cause of falling exam results, according to a new report.

An analysis of the falling exam pass rates, published on Thursday evening by the Scottish Government, also cites an growing gap in attainment between the richest and poorest pupils in the country.

Bridging that gap, as well as improving education standards, has long been a key priority for the Scottish Government, which critics now argue they have failed on.

Last night, trade unions and experts spoke out about the contents of the report which had been commissioned by Education Secretary John Swinney last year.

[..] The number of teachers who are specialists in their fields has also declined in the past decade, which has been cited by trade union chiefs as part of the decline in standards.

Figures obtained by the Herald in 2018 show that between 2008 and 2018, the number of subject specialists in secondary schools in Scotland had fallen by 11 per cent overall, with some areas seeing as much as a 44% fall in numbers.

The number of English teachers had fallen by 20% in the decade up to 2018, while the number of French teachers had plummeted by 32%.

German teachers fell by 44%, maths teachers by 15% and general science teachers had declined by 11%.

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Using more than one language matters now more than ever

22 February 2020 (The Big Issue)

Conflict is all too common when intolerant eavesdroppers hear foreign languages being spoken, says Marek Kohn. But multilingualism is here to stay.

Anja McCloskey was on a bus to Hove when her phone rang. It was her mother, calling from Germany. They chatted in German for a few minutes. When the conversation ended, a man turned round to her and said, “Excuse me, but we speak English in this country.”

Anja was shocked – it’s not the sort of thing people expect to hear in Brighton and Hove, a city that enjoys a reputation for openness and produced a 68.6 per cent Remain vote in the Brexit referendum. She didn’t come up with a rejoinder at the time, and she won’t need to now. Facing uncertainty about her status in this country after Brexit, she went to live in Hamburg. We – whoever we may be these days – are left with the question: what do you say to that?

Read more...

Education Scotland Modern Languages Newsletter

21 February 2020 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Modern Languages is now available to view online. This issue includes links to the second suite of resources to support progression from Second to Third level.

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Secondaries failing to deliver ‘right’ to languages

20 February 2020 (TESS)

The Scottish government has been accused of a "dereliction of duty" as new figures show almost a third of Scottish secondaries are failing to teach their pupils a modern language for the first three years of high school – even though Scottish government policy is that children should be learning two foreign languages from upper primary onwards.

A new survey of Scottish councils has revealed that 30 per cent of secondaries are not delivering a second language consistently from S1 to S3.

Scottish government policy states that “language learning is an entitlement for all from P1 to S3”, with the government committed to delivering its 1+2 languages policy by August 2021. This means that pupils should learn two foreign languages – one from P1 and the second from P5 – as well as their mother tongue.

However, the research shows that many secondaries are struggling to deliver even one foreign language for the first three years of high school, let alone two.

These new figures come at a time when there is real concern over the uptake of languages at qualification level in Scottish secondaries, with Higher French entries last year 27 per cent down on entries in 2012 and German Higher entries down 30 per cent over the same period.

Spanish entries at Higher have, on the other hand, almost doubled but this increase has not compensated for the decreases seen in French and German.

The Languages Strategic Implementation Group set up in 2013 to lead the practical implementation of the 1+2 language learning policy has expressed concern that the term “entitlement” – as in the entitlement to learn a language up to S3 – is too vague and could be being “misinterpreted” by schools as “optional and not a right of the child”.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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SCILT summer newsletter - send us your stories!

17 February 2020 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our summer 2020 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages.

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 13th March 2020.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

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New job profile on the SCILT website

14 February 2020 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of careers where languages are in use. Our most recent addition comes from Roddy McDonald, a tour operator who works mainly with British school groups in Europe.

Roddy can speak a range of languages and believes his skills are an immense benefit enabling him to deal with suppliers from across the globe.

Teachers help support the Developing the Young Workforce initiative and use this resource with your pupils to demonstrate the benefits of language learning as a life skill.

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Issue to action: Teaching toolkit for a fairer world

11 February 2020 (Scotdec)

An online course for secondary school teachers across Scotland with an interest in Global Citizenship Education.

From the comfort of your own home, at a time and location that suits you, you can take part in the Issue to action in a way that fits around your other commitments.

Open to all Scottish Secondary school teachers of Maths, English, Modern Languages, Science and Social Subjects, Issue to action will connect you with a network of teachers across Scotland and equip you with the skills to teach your subject through a Global Citizenship lens. You’ll come away having undertaken a minimum of 12 hours of CLPL and a subject-specific toolkit of classroom activities, along with inspiration, ideas, a network of like-minded practitioners and practical activities that will empower you to teach through a global citizenship lens.

The course kicks off with a face-to-face meet up of all teachers involved across Scotland on 21 March 2020 in Edinburgh. The remainder of the course is delivered digitally.

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Frozen 2’s ‘Into the Unknown’ gets a sweeping multilingual Oscar performance with 10 Elsas

9 February 2020 (Polygon)

Frozen 2’s only Oscar nomination is for “Into the Unknown” for Best Original song. But that didn’t stop Idina Menzel and nine other Elsa voice actresses from around the world from putting on one killer performance.

Joined by Norwegian singer-songwriter AURORA (the voice that goes “WoooO-oOOooh-oOOh-OOOoooH” in the background of the song), Menzel took the stage to start off the song clad in an icy white dress. Pretty soon, she was joined by Elsa voice actresses and singers from nine different countries singing the song in their own native languages, also while wearing white ensembles to channel their inner Elsas.

View the video of the performance.

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New app launches courses in 150 languages with Scottish-voiced tuition

8 February 2020 (The Sunday Post)

A new app is aiming to help Scots learn 150 different languages from across the world, with the help of a Scottish voice.

Bluebird Languages, based in Wyoming, has teamed up with Highland broadcaster Colin Stone for the interactive audio lessons, which can be narrated in both Gaelic and English.

Scots can learn any of the 150 languages in their own dialect, something which creator Robert Savage saw as a gap in the market.

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Mastering foreign languages is like playing a video game

6 February 2020 (Study International)

Did you know that for every native English speaker in the world, there are five non-native speakers? Approximately 96 percent of all English conversations involve non-native speakers. You could say that this language is an essential tool to navigate today’s world.

That’s why communication skills trainer Marianna Pascal has trained thousands of Southeast Asians to communicate effectively over her past two decades in Malaysia. Having observed several approaches to speaking in English, Pascal shared how the secrets to mastering foreign languages can be found in everyday behaviour.

Here are some tips from her speech at TEDxPenangRoad.

Pascal noticed that many non-native English speakers feel pressured when interacting with native speakers. However, she says that proficiency level should not be a barrier to getting your message across.

“In schools all around the world, English is not being taught like it’s a tool to play with. Students are judged more on correctness than clarity,” she said. “Instead of looking at a foreign language as an art to be mastered and perfected, think of it as a tool you can use to get a result.”

Languages are essential tools we use to navigate everyday life. When we begin to view them as such, we are able to shift our perspective and move past any fear or insecurity.

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Attitudes to education: The teaching profession, higher education and foreign languages

6 February 2020 (FE News)

Applies to England

Today (6 Jan) DfE have published the research report ‘Attitudes to education: British Social Attitudes Survey 2018’.

The report represents a broad survey of 3,000 adults across a range of subjects including the teaching profession, higher education and foreign languages in school.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: 

“Foreign languages are not only increasingly important to a modern, global economy; they also open up opportunities for young people. It’s clear that society recognises the value in having a language qualification in later life, which is why we are working to increase language uptake in schools.

“The introduction of the EBacc helped halt the decline in languages. Since 2010 the proportion of pupils studying a language at GCSE has risen from 40% to 47% in 2019. We recognise that we need to increase that further which is why we are creating a network of schools to spread best practice and introducing funding schemes like the Mandarin Excellence Programme.”

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We need to start using these strangely brilliant bits of workplace jargon from around the world

6 February 2020 (The Metro)

Bored of the overused buzzwords of the UK workplace? Tired of reminding yourself that teamwork makes the dream work? Rather than giving up saying meaningless career-themed platitudes, we have a far more fun idea: just adopt the idioms used in other languages around the world. Premier Inn has put together a list of the strangely brilliant buzzwords and phrases used in offices in countries other than the UK, including the inspiring ‘now it’s about the sausage!’ and ‘rubber time’.

Here's a breakdown of workplace phrases from around the world.

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SCHOLAR Modern Languages revision sessions

4 February 2020 (SCHOLAR)

The remaining online revision sessions for this year for Modern Languages are as follows. Each will be presented by Douglas Angus, the SCHOLAR online tutor for Modern Languages:

  • 2 March 2020, 6:00pm - Exam skills - HIGHER MODERN LANGUAGES
  • 9 March 2020, 6:00pm - Exam skills - ADVANCED HIGHER MODERN LANGUAGES

Visit the SCHOLAR website for more information and log-in.

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Martina Navratilova: ‘Learning multiple languages helped me on the court and in life’

3 February 2020 (The Independent)

Frustrated in her desire to learn the piano and unable to find anyone in her small Czech village to teach her English, Martina Navratilova sought out French and German lessons instead. Here, in an extract from a new book, the tennis superstar says the sport that made her name is a language too.

Two “passports” expanded my horizons, transformed my life and opened up the world: the game of tennis and languages. To learn a different language is to encounter a different logic, a different cadence, a different sequence of words. It prepares you to think differently and to adapt, and tennis is all about adapting, every point, every shot. You have to figure things out fast and react to instantly changing circumstances.

Subscription required to read full article

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The Linguacuisine ‘LinguaChef’ Prize 2020

3 February 2020 (Newcastle University)

The LinguaChef Prize will be awarded to the person who uploads the best language learning recipe using the Linguacuisine recipe author software during the period 1 February to 15 June 2020. The prize consists of a payment of £200 plus a LinguaChef Gold Certificate. There are 2 runner-up prizes with £50 each plus a LinguaChef Silver Certificate. All will feature on the front page of all Linguacuisine media and the recipes will be promoted around the world on the website.

The language learning recipe can involve learning any language and any recipe. Entry to the competition is open to all and is free.

Visit the website for full details and submit entries by 15 June 2020. For any queries regarding the competition, contact Professor Paul Seedhouse - paul.seedhouse@ncl.ac.uk.

(PLEASE NOTE, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE LINGUACHEF COMPETITION PREVIOUSLY RUN BY SCILT.)

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The cost of Britain’s language problem

31 January 2020 (The New Statesman)

As chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne thought he had found a key to boosting British competitiveness: teaching more children Mandarin. In September 2015, he announced a £10m investment in the Mandarin Excellence Programme, which aimed for an extra 5,000 children in the UK to be learning the language by 2020. Two years later, the country’s first entirely bilingual English-Chinese school opened its doors in London. At Kensington Wade, founded in 2017, children shout out answers in Mandarin in one classroom, practice calligraphy in another, and sing English songs in the next. Pinned to the wall of the school’s waiting room is a quote from businessman Sir Martin Sorrell: “Chinese and computer code are the only two languages the next generation should need”.

But the 61 pupils at the £17,000-a-year establishment, expected to be fluent in Mandarin by the age of 11, will be in the minority of young Brits who speak a second language. According to Eurobarometer, only 32 per cent of Britons aged 15-30 can read and write in more than one language. The EU average is 80 per cent. Given that it is compulsory for children in Wales to take Welsh until GCSE, fluency in non-UK languages is likely to be even lower.

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New report reveals stark gender gap in foreign languages

27 January 2020 (British Council)

A new report from the British Council reveals a stark gender gap in foreign languages and highlights the methods of schools who are trying to close the gender gap in language learning by tackling boys’ underperformance.

The report, produced by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), found that boys’ entry and performance in GCSE languages is persistently lower than girls, with a pupil’s gender a stronger predictor of outcomes than a pupil’s level of disadvantage: a girl from a poorer background is more likely to outperform a boy from a more affluent background.  

Boys studying modern foreign languages at GCSE in schools in England  was commissioned to investigate the latest trends in the entry and attainment levels of boys, and examine what schools are doing to tackle the growing gender divide.

This comes as overall entries into languages have undergone a significant decline in recent years. In contrast with all other subjects in the government’s ‘EBacc’ group of core academic subjects, such as maths, sciences and English, foreign languages have seen an increasingly low rate of entries.  

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Related Links

Girls more likely to pass foreign language GCSEs than boys (The Student Room, 28 January 2020)

How do we encourage boys to learn languages? (TES, 28 January 2020 - subscription required to access)

Parlez-vous français? Maybe not if you're a boy

27 January 2020 (BBC)

Applies to England

Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to pass a GCSE in a modern foreign language, a report suggests. Just 38% of boys in England took a foreign language at GCSE in 2018, compared with about 50% of girls, a report for the British Council says.

Using statistical modelling, the Education Policy Institute study found when factors like background and ability were accounted for, boys were 2.17 times less likely to succeed.

But some schools are bucking the trend.

Researchers used a set of characteristics to model the likelihood of different types of pupils achieving a pass in a language GCSE, finding different results for different groups. In most areas of education, the biggest achievement gap is between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers. In languages, however, a pupil's gender has the biggest effect on the likelihood of whether they will succeed.

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The man teaching 300 million people a new language

27 January 2020 (BBC)

If anyone ever doubts the positive impact of immigration tell them about Luis von Ahn.

A 41-year-old from the Central American nation of Guatemala, he went to the US in 1996, aged 18, to do a maths degree at Duke University in North Carolina. After that he studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

[...] Fast forward to today, and Luis is the co-founder and boss of Pittsburgh-based Duolingo, the world's most popular language-learning app, which has more than 300 million users around the globe.

[...] The inspiration behind Duolingo was to create a language learning app that was free for people to use - be it in Guatemala, or around the world - so that they could gain the economic advantages that often come with being at least partially bilingual.

Read more...

'It's no shock that boys are avoiding languages'

27 January 2020 (TES)

We need to think more about how language-learning in schools is seen through a teenage boy's eyes, says Isabelle Dépreux.

The news that boys are eschewing the learning of languages does, while sad to hear, not come as a shock to me.

As the head of language learning at an all-girls’ school, I am also the mother of two boys, one a teenager. Benefiting from a multilingual mother, my children are, I’m glad to say, language and culturally fluent.

However, had it not been for this parental input, I’m not so sure it would have been the case.

Learning a language is like having a baby: you are far removed from you normal comfort zone.

Beginning a new language at the often emotionally-fragile teenage years is hard enough as it is and, what's more, I find that boys are naturally more inhibited in general.

Not to mention that everyone is familiar with the jokes about women asking for directions while men drive around for hours rather than possibly losing face.

It’s the same in a language class. Girls bounce back from mistakes more easily, while boys are concerned about being seen as weak and having their peers’ judge. 

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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No history, no languages… the end of humanities only deepens divides

26 January 2020 (The Guardian)

Sunderland University wants to become more “career-focused”. So it is to shut down all its language, politics and history courses and promote instead degrees that “align with particular employment sectors”. It’s an illustration of what happens when universities turn into businesses, and their ethos is defined by the market. It’s also symbolic of the divisions that now rend Britain’s social fabric.

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Languages for all?

24 January 2020 (MEITS)

On 17th January 2020 the House of Commons published a briefing paper on language teaching in schools in England. It highlights results from a European Commission survey which reported that only 32% of 16-30 year olds in the UK felt confident reading and writing in two or more languages. To put this in (a rather dismal) perspective, the average across all EU member states is 80%. Yet, it is perhaps unsurprising that this number is so low given that fewer than half of secondary school students in England currently choose to study a language at Key Stage 4 (age 14-16). Given the strategic importance of languages both socially and economically, the Government has set a target to increase the proportion of students studying languages at Key Stage 4 to 90% by 2025 (as part of the English Baccalaureate).

But what do languages teachers think of this and what needs to be taken into consideration in order to achieve these targets? I took to social media to find out. A total of 229 teachers responded to a (very) informal poll I posted on Twitter and several Facebook groups for UK Modern Languages teachers. First of all, I asked when they felt language learning should be compulsory in schools. Here’s what they said.

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Scottish Education Awards 2020

16 January 2020 (Education Scotland)

If you haven't already done so, make sure you get your nominations in for the 2020 Scottish Education Awards! The awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education.

The annual event recognises those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcases the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

Among the wide range of categories are the awards for Gaelic Education and the Internationalism and Languages award. 

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for further information and to submit your nomination by 14 February 2020.

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Government decision to scrap Erasmus scheme will harm UK's bottom line

10 January 2020 (City AM)

The UK has always lagged behind its European neighbours in foreign language learning, and the vote this week to eradicate the Erasmus scheme will only slow that adoption further. 

For many, Erasmus was an opportunity to live and learn a new culture and language, free from class and income boundaries. The programme gave the UK’s youth an international edge. But now that the government has denied university students this exchange scheme, following Wednesday’s Brexit votes, it runs a serious risk of making British students more insular, constricted, and less culturally open.

Concerns about this decision don’t just begin and end with the loss of cultural and social benefits for students — it will inevitably affect the UK’s future workforce and bottom line. 

In the midst of the Brexit process, where we have already seen a reduction in net migration since the referendum, how will British industries fair without this source of diversity in learning and incoming talent?

This decision is arguably the worst one made for the British education system since 2004, when Tony Blair’s Labour government chose to scrap compulsory foreign language learning at the GCSE level, which led to a severe drop in the number of UK pupils taking subjects such as French and German. In fact, there has been a huge 63 per cent fall in GCSE entries for French and a 67 per cent for German since 2002. 

The government is setting a dangerous precedent. It sends the message to young Brits that foreign language skills aren’t important, and that English is the language of the world. 

It isn’t. In fact, only 20 per cent of the world’s population speaks English — this includes both native and second language speakers. 

In 2013, the now-dissolved Department of Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that the UK’s language skills deficit could be costing the economy up to £48bn each year. So it is concerning that this Brexit-driven decision has gone ahead without a regard for its implications. 

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SCHOLAR Online Tutor Sessions - Modern Languages

10 January 2020 (SCHOLAR)

The next online tutor sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages take place on Monday 13 January 2020.

  • 6:00pm - Higher Modern Languages: Interactive translation
  • 6:45pm - Advanced Higher Modern Languages: Interactive translation

Visit the SCHOLAR website for further information.

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Learning foreign languages should be compulsory, says report

9 January 2020 (The Guardian)

Learning a new language should be compulsory for pupils up to the age of 16, according to a new report highlighting the UK’s recent abysmal record in encouraging young people to study languages other than English.

The report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) cites an EU-wide survey showing that just 32% of young people in the UK say they are able to read or write in more than one language, compared with 79% of their peers in France and more than 90% in Germany.

The report calls for the overturning of the government’s 2004 decision to drop compulsory study of languages at key stage four – when pupils take GCSE exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – which has led to a steep decline in the numbers in England going on to study languages at colleges and universities.

It also recommends that the government should start subsidising the teaching of languages at universities, “in light of declining enrolments and growing vulnerability for lesser taught languages”, for strategic and cultural reasons.

Read more...

Language apps: Can phones replace classrooms?

2 January 2020 (BBC)

Can apps ever replace classroom language learning or even help revive minority or dying languages?

Apps offer languages - real or invented - not popular enough to be taught at evening classes or most universities. Esperanto, invented to create world peace, Avatar's Na'vi, Elvish and Star Trek's Klingon are all on the table.

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European Language Gazette Issue 49

19 December 2019 (ECML)

The latest issue of the European Language Gazette is now available.

The e-newsletter provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as our partners. The current issue is dedicated to the ECML 25th Anniversary Conference "Languages at the heart of learning: 25 years of inspiring innovation" (Graz, Austria, 5-6 December 2019), the forthcoming resources resulting from the ECML programme 2016-19 "Languages at the heart of learning programme" and the launch of the new programme 2020-23 "Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences".

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Scotland’s language communities and the 1+2 Language Strategy

12 December 2019 (MEITS)

Scotland’s school population is becoming increasingly more linguistically diverse. Data from the Scottish Schools Census 2018 (all publicly funded primary, secondary and special schools) identified 44,311 pupils (6.5%) learning English as an additional language (EAL) and speaking 149 different languages. This current number of EAL pupils shows an increase of 95% from 2010 when the data was first recorded nationally. At present there are very few opportunities for these children and young people to use and develop their first languages in mainstream schools for educational purposes.

The Scottish Government's 1+2 Language Strategy, launched in 2012, has refocused attention on language policy in education and the provision for language learning in Scottish schools. This radical reform of language learning is based on the 1+2 model recommended by the European Union (EU) and adopted in many European countries and beyond. The ambitious aim is that, by 2021, every school will offer children the opportunity to learn a first additional language from Primary 1 (4-5 years of age), and a second additional language by Primary 5 (8–9 years of age). This 1+2 provision will continue until learners reach the end of Secondary 3 (13–14 years of age).

The 1+2 Language Strategy document includes a commitment to further develop links involving “language communities” to “derive maximum benefit from foreign language communities in Scotland” (Scottish Government 2012, p. 24). The responsibility for putting the strategy into practice is devolved to the 32 local authorities in Scotland and schools can make informed choices about the additional languages to introduce, including languages of the strong economies of the future and community languages of pupils.

However, a review of progress on implementing the strategy shows the languages on offer in mainstream schools remain dominated almost entirely by a narrow range of European languages, such as French and German, and a small number of classes teaching Mandarin and British Sign Language (BSL) (Christie et al. 2016). As yet, there are no established examples in primary schools of teaching community languages such as Polish, Urdu and Arabic.

This narrow provision means it is left to concerned parents from language communities to organise schools and classes themselves in order to develop their children’s heritage languages and literacies as it is integral to cultural traditions. These complementary schools (also known as “community”, “supplementary” or “heritage language” schools) operate in the evenings and weekends and play a key role in ensuring productive parent-teacher engagement. As community-led schools, they enjoy parental support and therefore foster greater engagement with parents compared with mainstream schools (Ramalingam and Griffith 2015). Although the different language communities are aware of the complementary schools in their geographical area through social networking, the provision remains a hidden and untapped national resource for language planning and valuing the linguistic diversity of school communities.

This policy paper reports on a national survey of complementary school providers in order to gain insights into the perspectives of “language communities” in relation to community language learning and their awareness of the 1+2 Language Strategy. This evidence is then used to identify aspects of the 1+2 Language Strategy that could be enhanced and strategies for achieving this.

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Secondary students urged to learn foreign languages to boost career prospects

6 December 2019 (Irish Times)

Some 3,000 students attended an event in Dublin’s Convention Centre aimed at highlighting the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of language learning.

While most Irish students study foreign languages in school, surveys show Irish adults lag behind other Europeans in language competence.

Karen Ruddock, director of Post Primary Languages Ireland, said the global dominance of English has given rise to the mistaken belief that “English is enough”.

This, she said, can result in complacency and a lack of motivation to learn other languages.

“Today’s event is about delivering a message that learning a foreign langauge will create more work opportunties, more chances to make friends and have great life experiences,” she said.

Read more...

Language Ambassadors: Encouraging Pupils to Learn Languages

5 December 2019 (University of Stirling)

Over the course of this Autumn/Winter semester at Stirling, we’ve continued to develop our work with secondary schools, sometimes focusing primarily on French, sometimes working in collaboration with our colleagues in Spanish, always underlining the advantages that come through studying languages. We’re hoping to post a few more updates about these activities over the coming weeks and, to start with, we’re pleased to be able to post the following article, co-written by Laura, who is in the final year of a BA Hons in English Studies and French, and Michael, who is in Year 2 of his BA Hons programme in Professional Education (Primary) with a specialism in Modern Languages. Laura and Michael’s day saw them representing French at Stirling as Language Ambassadors at Williamwood High School in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire.

Read more...

Professional learning - Issue to action: Teaching toolkit for a fairer world

4 December 2019 (Scotdec)

Scotdec offers this online course for secondary school teachers across Scotland with an interest in Global Citizenship Education.

Open to all Scottish Secondary school teachers of Maths, English, Modern Languages, Science and Social Subjects, Issue to action will connect you with a network of teachers across Scotland and equip you with the skills to teach your subject through a global citizen lens.

From the comfort of your own home, at a time and location that suits you, you can take part in the Issue to action in a way that fits around your other commitments.

Visit the website to find out more and register your interest for the Spring cohort.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2020

4 December 2019 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education.

The annual event recognises those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcases the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

Among the wide range of categories are the awards for Gaelic Education and the Internationalism and Languages award. 

Nominations are now invited.

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for further information and to submit your nomination by 14 February 2020.

Read more...

Modern Languages Newsletter - December 2019

3 December 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Modern Languages newsletter is now available online. This edition includes updates and support resources for 1+2.

Read more...

SCILT Christmas 2019 webpage now live

29 November 2019 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to lesson plans and festive facts. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

Read more...

SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages update

25 November 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published updates to the Advanced Higher Modern Languages course. The document outlines changes to take effect from 2020 and can be found on the SQA AH Modern Languages webpage under subject updates.

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The crisis in language education across the UK — what it means for schools and the future of business

16 November 2019 (iNews)

As a nation, we are not known for our proficiency in foreign languages. The stereotype of the Brit abroad, repeating English slowly and loudly to the locals, has more than a grain of truth.

In England, language study has declined so much that the exam regulator, Ofqual, recently decided to lower grade boundaries in GCSE French and German to encourage teenagers to take them.

Can anything be done about our struggles? Or should we lighten up about it? A former Downing Street education expert has told i that seriously improving our language ability is not a high-enough priority to justify the vast expense involved.

In Britain, 34.6 per cent of people aged between 25 and 64 report that they know one or more foreign language, compared with an EU average of 64.8 per cent.

GCSE and A-level language entries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been declining since the turn of the century, although a rise in Spanish entries provides a shred of comfort.

In Scotland, language entries at National 4 and 5 level have dropped by about a fifth since 2014.

This has been accompanied by the quiet death of the foreign exchange, suffocated in part by exaggerated safety concerns. A survey by the British Council five years ago found that just four in 10 schools run trips involving a stay with a host family. Martha de Monclin, a British expat living in France, is often asked whether she knows British families who are happy to be involved in exchanges, but in seven years has found only one.

Where they do happen, pupils just go sightseeing and stay in hotels, she says. “With mobile phones, they are constantly connected to their friends and family at home. This makes it incredibly difficult to learn a language.”

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Languages: We can do better for our bilingual students

7 November 2019 (TES)

The UK is famously bad when it comes to learning languages, but this means we’re missing out on an amazing resource already in our schools, says Sameena Choudry.

One language, one person; two languages, two persons” – Turkish proverb

The lack of a coherent languages policy is evident in England. 

Our learning of languages is quite poor compared to many other countries (in 2016, we were voted the worst country in Europe for learning other languages).

This is despite calls from industry (and others) to increase the number of pupils learning languages. 

There is, however, a possible part-solution to this dire situation that needs to be drawn to the attention of policymakers: approximately 1.5 million young people in schools in England are either bilingual or multilingual in more than 300 different languages. 

This extremely valuable and rich resource is largely untapped and little attention, if any, has been given to how their linguistics skills could be nurtured and developed to support the individual, the community and the country as a whole. 

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Do we think differently in different languages?

24 October 2019 (BBC)

This short video explores how much of an impact the language you speak has on how you actually think. 

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Language museum hopes to stem a loss in translation

19 October 2019 (The Times)

Cambridge academics are opening the country’s first museum of languages today but it will be located in a shopping centre, not one of its historic colleges.

World-renowned professors of linguistics are desperately trying to stem the decline in modern foreign languages at schools. The number of teenagers taking French GCSE has more than halved in the 15 years since taking a language ceased to be compulsory.

The museum has been set up in a shopping centre alongside high street stores like Clintons and Claire’s accessories, to encourage people – particularly children – to learn.

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Everyone should learn a second language

18 October 2019 (Varsity)

Olivia Halsall gives an account of her experiences learning Chinese Mandarin and French, whilst encouraging students to take the plunge into foreign language learning.

"But you’re British.” In a quaint hostel in Xiamen, a coastal city dubbed the “Mansion Gate” of China, I’ve been helping two new French arrivals translate their needs into Chinese Mandarin. The lack of English language between both parties has been making the process difficult, and it would be cruel not to step in and help. Caught in the act, a passing German soon discovers I’m British only to astutely declare that he’s never met a multilingual Brit.

Wanting to refute his seemingly absurd claim, instead I find myself reddening in shame. My parents and most of my British friends are monolingual. Their abridged reason is that where English is the world’s lingua franca, on the outset there seems no urgent need to learn an additional language. The age-old maxim confessed when a Brit is expressing remorse at their poor language skills is conventionally, “but I’m so bad at languages!” As a nation, we do not have the plethora of multilingual exposure and resources that many others take for granted. In 2019, this should no longer be an excuse.

Had I been brought up in Switzerland, I would have grown up surrounded by German, French, Italian, Romansh (and English). Had I been born Chinese, I would have spoken a provincial dialect at home and Chinese Mandarin at school. Like many countries around the world, had I not been born British, I’d have been pushed to learn English fluently before completing my secondary education. Brits shouldn’t look to these nations in awe; the linguistic vibrancy in other countries is simply a way of life, and multilingualism the norm.

The latest data from the European Commission (2016) shows the percentage of the population aged 25–64 reporting to know one or more foreign languages in the UK is 34.6%. This rises to 60.1% in France, 78.7% in Germany, and a staggering 96.6% in Sweden. The average across the European Union is 64.6%, which sets us apart not only linguistically, but culturally.

To make matters worse, a 2018 survey report by the British Council on language trends found that “just over a third (34%) of state secondary schools report that leaving the European Union is having a negative impact on language learning, either through student motivation and/or parental attitudes towards the subject”. In the aftermath of Brexit, there has never been a better time for the UK to plunge itself into foreign language learning.

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Unleashing the creative potential of linguistic diversity in our classrooms

15 October 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

Many of our students are already multilingual, but our classrooms often don’t reflect this. In our action research project, we were amazed by the transformation that occurred when we invited students to use their home languages in class.

Imagine walking into any science or humanities-based lesson in a UK school or elsewhere in which all of the students are engaged in the same task yet using different languages. For most of us that would probably be an unusual sight. Yet we have to ask ourselves why. Why does this seem such an unlikely scenario when our schools commonly serve a multicultural and multilingual student body with home languages that are not English? If we are to promote multilingualism and encourage students to learn languages other than English, shouldn’t we also value and welcome all the languages that already exist in our school communities?

Think of the wealth of knowledge and intercultural exchange as well as language learning opportunities that students from different backgrounds can bring to the classroom. Also, when charged with the education of children whose primary home language is not English, we need to consider how we can facilitate and encourage our students’ development in their home language too. Multiple longitudinal studies by UNESCO have consistently revealed that a student’s academic proficiency in their home language plays a significant role in their success in additional language learning and across the whole curriculum.

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Write Away!

7 October 2019 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

All primary schools across the UK are now invited to enter submissions for the next issue. The closing date is 23.59 on Friday 29 November 2019.

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines and to read previous editions of the magazine.

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The Ramshorn Renovation

7 October 2019 (University of Strathclyde)

Find out more about the Ramshorn Theatre renovation that was completed in summer 2019, with Estates Services managing the project.

The Ramshorn is a category A-listed building, reflecting its regional importance and local interest. Working with listed buildings comes with its own challenges, as it was necessary to preserve the unique architectural and historical features of the church.

This project saw the transformation of a neglected historic building into a bright modern office environment and multi-use space. The old theatre space and the hall were turned into flexible event and teaching spaces that will act as a hub for cultural exchange, performances and engagement work with schools, scholars, local government and the public.

[..] SCILT and CISS are settling in well in their new home, and are thrilled to be giving the building a new purpose and continuing the story of the Ramshorn.

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Languages Beyond School

4 October 2019 (SCILT)

Do you have students looking to continue or develop their language studies when they leave school? Our aim is to provide all the information necessary for students to make an informed choice about their future language learning. To that end we invite visitors to the Beyond School pages of our website to submit feedback by completing a short survey. Responses are anonymous and will be used to help improve the user experience. We would appreciate it if teachers could share the survey with learners and encourage them to respond.

Whether they want to follow a course of study in the UK or further afield, work or volunteer abroad, the Beyond School section of our website has links to language courses at further and higher education establishments in Scotland along with opportunities UK-wide and in Europe. The site also outlines the support Scottish universities can provide to teachers and schools in their language learning.

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure pupils and careers guidance staff are aware of the information available on our website.

Modern Languages Newsletter - October 2019

3 October 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Modern Languages Newsletter is now available online. This edition includes an update on 1+2 policy on the delivery of L3 in the secondary context.

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Why you Should Introduce Writing Early in MFL

3 October 2019 (Teachwire)

Writing is often the skill that is left alone by the teachers of MFL beginners: “They’ll get mixed up with English… we have to focus on speaking… it’s too hard.”

However, learners will start to write in the new language whether we want them to or not, on any scrap of paper they can find, while we’re teaching.

They like to note down words to help them with speaking activities, for example. Primary language learners enjoy writing – it’s seen as “proper work” – and being able to write successfully in another language gives them a great sense of achievement.

What is writing all about in language learning? We want learners to:

  • Make intelligible marks on a piece of paper or other surface, and have the confidence to form those marks correctly
  • Put the marks together in a way that forms words, sentences and texts, according to the rules and conventions of the languages they’re studying
  • Give meaning to the words and use them to communicate

So, when children write in the foreign language, we want them to form the individual shapes and letters correctly, to be attentive to accuracy and spell correctly, and to understand structure and grammar and in order to create sentences that communicate.

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Private schools warn uni cap would lead to brain drain

2 October 2019 (TES)

Private schools heads have warned of a possible “brain drain” if Labour were to introduce its proposed 7 per cent cap on university admissions from the independent sector, with pupils opting to study abroad instead.

Chris Ramsey, co-chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) universities committee, said some subjects like modern foreign languages could be severely impacted by such a cap.

“If you take a subject like MFL, our latest survey told us that 2,500 of our independently educated upper-sixth-formers were applying for modern languages courses," he said, speaking at the HMC annual conference in London.

"That’s one-fifth of the modern languages undergraduates that there are in the country. 

"So if you just take that one subject, if only 7 per cent came in, where are the modern linguists going to come from, or are we just going to shrink the numbers of language students in our country?

(Subscription required to access full article)

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Developing multilingualism in primary schools in Wales: an impact study

30 September 2019 (British Council)

The British Council report sampled 10 primary schools across Wales, surveying both headteachers, staff and pupils, and interviewed stakeholders from the four regional consortia. By surveying schools who had already used both traditional and innovative methods of including languages in the school’s curriculum the report looks ahead and is able to analyse the benefits of embedding international languages, discussing the differing approaches and make recommendations for other schools based on best practice.

The report outlines some of the innovative methods teachers are using to integrate international languages into the classroom. 

The headteachers surveyed in the report saw international languages provision as representing the international ethos and aspirations of their school and supporting children to become ‘global citizens’.

Pupils themselves recognised this; “We like languages because you can go to other countries and meet people, travel the world, do good jobs”.  

Read more...

How to inspire pupils to love language learning

26 September 2019 (TES)

From sporting events to exchange programmes, there are many ways schools can spark an interest in modern languages.

This year’s GCSE results have provided a glimmer of hope that the long-term decline of students studying languages may be starting to change.

However, there is still more to be done. French entries have fallen by more than 40,000 and German by 25,000 since 2010.

So, how are we going to make language learning more appealing? How are we going to inspire our students to take up languages?

By taking languages out of the classroom, we can make them more real, relevant and fun. At our school, we have run Languages Weeks connected with sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics.

This involves activities such as an Opening Ceremony with flags, anthems and the draw conducted in French. Each class adopts a language of a team competing – anything from Chinese, Portuguese or Russian to Danish or Swedish – and different subjects look at the geography, history, music, food, famous scientists and artists of the countries involved.

Teachers can learn at the same time as their students. Or pupils who speak other languages can act as the teacher to explain the rudiments of their native tongue to their classmates – and their teacher.

The key thing is to give it a whole-school focus and get everyone involved with the idea of learning new languages and understanding different cultures.

Another fun way to boost language engagement is to take an MFL class into your local area to make a promotional tourist film in French, German or Spanish.

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Is AI the future of language learning?

26 September 2019 (AHRC)

As we mark the European Day of Languages, Professor Matthew Reynolds from AHRC’s Creative Multilingualism project reflects on artificial intelligence (AI) in the world of languages and the valuable role of arts and humanities researchers.

What do language-learning and literary research have to do with artificial intelligence? A workshop at Pittsburgh University, organised by Professor Karen Park as part of Oxford’s AHRC-funded research programme in Creative Multilingualism, aimed to find out. It brought together experts in language conservation, teaching and testing with literary scholars and representatives from Duolingo, Wikitongues, Google, Amazon, TrueNorth, and other AI innovators, for a day of interesting discussion.

AI creates some immediate practical benefits. In the past, you needed a human being to test how well somebody else could speak a language. Oral exams were cumbersome and expensive and limited to only being able to take place at a specified time and place. But now it’s possible for an online test – developed by Duolingo – to measure not only written but also spoken competence, up to a medium-to-good level of proficiency. This means a student in a developing country wanting to prove their level of English doesn’t have to make a journey to a city to do it: the test can be taken anywhere with internet access, at any time.

This technology has the potential to help with less-often learned languages too. In UK schools, lots of students have some knowledge of languages that are not commonly taught (such as community languages for example); but it’s not always so straightforward to turn that knowledge into a qualification because of the difficulty in finding examiners. 

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EDL blog 2019

19 September 2019 (SCILT)

How are you planning to celebrate European Day of Languages 2019? 

Email us a short description and some photos after your event, and we will feature you in our EDL blog for 2019. We may even include your story in our next SCILT newsletter. 

If you are still looking for ideas on how to celebrate you can visit our EDL webpage which has lots of suggestions for activities, downloadable resources and links to useful websites. 

Read more...

Our World film making project has launched for 2019-20

18 September 2019 (SEET)

Want to get pupils more engaged in language learning, global citizenship and encourage uptake? Are you keen to improve their confidence and win an award or two? Then get involved!

SEET’s popular Our World film making project has now launched for the 2019-20 year! Our World uses film making and global citizenship as a means to help pupils explore and improve their use of foreign languages. It’s totally free, and all you have to do is sign up. Last year over 70% of participant pupils said they were more likely to continue with their study of languages after taking part.

Teams of four, from S3-S6, need to come up with a creative idea for a film based on one of this year's themes and submit their storyboard by 3 December 2019.

See the attached flyer or visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Related Files

Reigniting the love of languages

17 September 2019 (Erasmus+)

With multilingualism being a key ingredient in making your CV stand out from the crowd, language skills are in high demand.

As well as boosting employability, learning a language also helps people to become more culturally aware, and can even improve cognitive skills in observation, memory and creativity.

In the UK less than half of the working age population can speak a foreign language. The BBC reported earlier this year that foreign language learning was at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium.

However, the Erasmus+ programme, which supports language learning in schools, is making a difference by providing funding to UK schools to run vital international activities. 

Ahead of the European Day of Languages on 26 September, let’s take a look at the UK language landscape and how Erasmus+ is helping school staff and pupils to reignite their love of languages.

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In Britain, command of a foreign language is still à la mode

13 September 2019 (The Economist)

Unemployed Londoners hoping to work for Gucci, an Italian fashion retailer, may be surprised by the skills required. As well as knowledge of luxury products, including accessories and leather goods, and industry trends, candidates to be a “brand ambassador” at the outlet in Harrods need something extra. Because the posh department store’s customers include rich visitors from the Gulf, you must also speak Arabic.

Foreign languages remain a coveted skill in Britain, according to an analysis of data from Indeed, a recruitment website. Of the millions of jobs in Britain listed there, around one in 200 requires require foreign languages. German and French, the most desirable languages, feature in about 115 out of every 100,000 postings, over twice as often as Chinese, Italian or Spanish. Twenty-nine in 100,000 listings require Dutch; 20 call for Japanese, Polish or Russian. Despite the rise of translation software, people prefer to be served by fellow humans who can speak their mother tongue.

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Work experience opportunity at Radio Lingua

13 September 2019 (Radio Lingua)

Radio Lingua is a leading publisher of language resources including the award-winning Coffee Break French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese courses and the High Five courses for primary. Through our podcasts and strong presence on social media we strive to provide a high quality learning experience for a worldwide community of learners, delivering over 2.5 million language lessons every month. Our team is based in Glasgow and we work with a local and remote team of native speakers and teachers to produce our resources.

As part of our outreach programme we are delighted to offer a work experience opportunity to students currently in S6. This will take place from Monday 21st to Friday 25th October 2019 and aims to allow young people with an interest in languages first hand experience of a dynamic workplace where languages are used on a daily basis. There will be a total of six places available.

Before submitting an application, pupils must ensure they meet the following criteria:

• must be intending to study a language at university after leaving school.

• must currently be in S6.

• must have successfully passed at least one Higher in a language in S5.

• must live within one hour’s commuting distance from our Glasgow city centre offices and will be responsible for making their own way to and from the office for a 9:30 start and 4:30 finish each day.

• must have permission from school to be out of school for the duration of this five-day programme.

Interested students should complete the application form on our website by Friday 27 September at the following link: https://radiolingua.com/work-experience-2019/

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DfE uses Snapchat to continue languages revival at GCSE

11 September 2019 (TES)

Snapchat is being used by the Department for Education to nudge pupils into choosing to study a modern foreign language at GCSE.

A DfE video posted on the social media platform shows pupils reaping the benefits of knowing a foreign language: including playing video games online against opponents around the world, texting people around the world and "playing football in Spain".

The DfE says the video was posted too late to be a factor in helping the revival in GCSE languages entries this year, for which it says it has still to do analysis. 

But the Snapchat video is one of a number of measures being taken to pique pupils' interest. These include the opening of the country’s first modern foreign languages centre for excellence, a £4.8 million centre based within the University of York that coordinates the work of nine MFL hub schools across the country to promote pioneering teaching practices.

“In addition to this, we have launched a pilot project where undergraduates mentor secondary school pupils in MFL to drive up participation in the subjects, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages to all pupils,” a DfE spokesperson said.

Read more...

Working together for Languages evaluation report

6 September 2019 (AHRC)

UCMLS, SCILT and AHRC's evaluation of four collaborative language promotional initiatives is now available. The Working Together for Languages report covers the impact of these initiatives on learner attitudes and uptake in secondary school after a three-year collaboration from 2014-15 up to 2016-17. The report can be accessed on the AHRC website.

Read more...

SCHOLAR Modern Languages online tutor sessions

4 September 2019 (SCHOLAR)

Our upcoming Online Tutor Sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages for the academic year 2019/20 have been scheduled.

For more information please visit the SCHOLAR website.

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World Wide Napier magazine

4 September 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Napier University publishes a magazine filled with interesting and topical articles written by young people learning languages, for young people learning languages. Access to the magazines is free of charge and could be useful classroom resources for those studying higher and advanced higher. Our colleague at Napier is also keen to accept submissions from language learners in schools, offering young people the opportunity to share their learning in print. 

See the attached flyer for more information.

Related Files

Paul McNamee: Languages can cut through the class gap

26 August 2019 (The Big Issue)

I am hugely impressed by people who can speak more than one language. If you’re up at three or more, I’m at your feet. I would have kept Roy Hodgson as England’s football manager for as long as he wanted purely because he once gave a post-match press conference moving easily from English to Italian to Swedish. He also has some Norwegian and Finnish.

There was a strange mixture of support and sniffiness when Boris Johnson spoke French last week during his meeting with Emmanuel Macron. On the one side, his supporters said, well he can’t be a non-European bigot because he speaks French. On the other, the argument was, well he still is. Neither stack up. And both miss the point.

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Our World film making project 2019-20

23 August 2019 (SEET)

Our World is a languages and citizenship based film making project for S3 - S6 pupils run by the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET). It's designed to complement the curriculum for excellence and attainment challenge by providing a free project, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to encourage pupils to become more engaged in their language learning.

Participants submit a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make. This year's films should explore the idea of global citizenship and touch on one or more of the following themes:

  • Migration and welcome
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Trade

The film must also include the use of a language other than English. Entry deadline is 3 December 2019.

Schools wishing to take part should visit the SEET website for more information and to register.

Read more...

Juvenes Translatores 2019

23 August 2019 (European Commission)

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation (DG Translation) runs Juvenes Translatores 2019, an online translation contest for secondary schools in the European Union. Up to now, we’ve been asking Juvenes Translatores contestants to put pen to paper. Now we want to bring them closer to the real world of professional translation world by going digital. This time round, contestants will be translating online for the first time. 

Interested schools can enter 2-5 participants who must have been born in 2002. Schools can register on the official website between 2 September, 12 noon (Central European time), and 20 October 2019, 12 noon (Central European time). A random electronic draw will be held to select schools for the contest from among those that have registered. The contest will be held on 21 November 2019.

Visit the Juvenes Translatores website for more information.

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Monolingual island and the “B word”

22 August 2019 (The Notification)

Everyone speaks English, don’t they? Isn’t it the third most common mother tongue and most frequently-learnt second language in the world, and anyway isn’t it the de facto international language of business, tourism, music and academia? And how are a Swede and Slovak meant to communicate otherwise, without resorting to mime or the questionable suggestions of Google Translate?

Comparing broad Glaswegian, Aussie drawl and Canadian lilt shows us the incredible diversity and geographical spread of our language, arguably the most useful mother tongue on the planet. However, the Anglophone phenomenon comes with its own bear traps. 61% of British people can’t speak a single other language. We thus receive the dubious award for the most monolingual country in Europe.

There’s something very British about the way we consistently overestimate the importance of our own language (only 38% of EU citizens outside the UK and Ireland know enough English to have a conversation, and 6 of the world’s 7.5 billion people speak no English at all) and find excuses not to learn anyone else’s.

We have an unfortunate tendency to reduce language to its functional value of bare bones communication: if person A from country B learns our word for C, we’re good. We persistently neglect that language is also intrinsically tied up with culture, identity and personality.

“A different language is a different vision of life”, quipped the Italian film director Federico Fellini. Speaking only the language handed down to us by our parents means we miss a whole dimension of the human experience, and the pleasure of authentically discovering another layer of the cultural richness of our world.

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SCILT vacancy - Professional Development Officer

22 August 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT requires a Professional Development Officer to advise and support primary schools across Scotland with language learning and teaching. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward Scotland’s agenda for languages at a strategic level.

The Professional Development Officer will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures for teachers of languages. This would include, for example, leading professional learning, managing projects, assuming responsibility for national awards/competitions and other language related events.

It is expected that the postholder will support practitioners in turning policy into practice to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the aims of the National Improvement Framework, the 1+2 languages policy and Developing the Young Workforce. The postholder would need extensive experience of leading recent modern language initiatives in a primary school context. Established expertise in creative approaches to learning, teaching and assessment is essential.

Ideally, the post holder will have experience of external partnership working with the aim of developing interesting contexts for learning and intercultural awareness. The successful candidate will be competent in the use of digital technologies and will have the ability to work not only on her/his own initiative but also as part of a team. Excellent organisational, ICT and communication skills are essential, as is an ability to be flexible and responsive to our stakeholders’ needs.

Visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal for further information and to apply. Closing date: 3 September 2019.

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Languages for All

20 August 2019 (University of Edinburgh)

The Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh offers short courses in Arabic, BSL, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and 13 other languages.

Courses are two hours a week over ten weeks. Enrolment for Autumn courses (30 September – 6 December) is now open online.

Read more...

SQA specimen papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages

19 August 2019 (SQA)

SQA has updated Listening and Discursive Writing and Reading and Translation specimen question papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages.

The specimen question paper updates can be accessed on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages page.

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Discovery Film Festival 2019

15 August 2019 (Discovery Film Festival)

Discovery is Scotland's International Film Festival for children and young people. Taking place from 19 October to 3 November 2019, the Festival is in its sixteenth year and brings another selection of the best films for young audiences from around the world. With several native language films on offer, language learners have a great opportunity to test their listening and comprehension skills.

Teachers visit the Festival website to take a look at the programme for schools. The programme contains information about associated CPD sessions taking place during August and September which you can attend prior to your school visit.

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EU Code Week 2019

14 August 2019 (European Schoolnet Academy)

Are you keen on bringing innovation to your classroom but don't know where to start? Why not get involved with Code Week this October? Teachers from all subject areas with no prior experience of coding are invited to join the EU Code Week - Deep Dive MOOC run by the European Schoolnet Academy. The five-week course begins on 16 September 2019. Enrol and discover how you can incorporate coding into your subject lessons.

Visit the website for more information.

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Bring the world into your classroom

8 August 2019 (TES/British Council)

We believe every young person should have intercultural and international experience. As the UK’s cultural relations organisation, the British Council creates opportunities for schools and teachers in the UK and worldwide to connect and work together to share ideas and practices.

Our range of international education programmes can help develop teaching skills with funded professional development, connect schools across the globe and bring language learning to life.

TES and the British Council have joined forces to explore different ways to bring the world into the classroom and open the door to a host of international learning opportunities.

Visit the TES and British Council websites to access a wide range of resources and information.

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We need languages graduates to steer us through our post-Brexit troubled waters

31 July 2019 (The Guardian)

Just after the first world war, the UK produced its most comprehensive review of languages provision, the Leathes report. In the Brexit era we’re now faced yet again with different ideological, cultural and economic battles that have us examining our languages capacity, and discovering it falls well short of what is required.

After Brexit we will need a strong language base for trade, international relations and soft power. Yet instead of a growth in languages, we’re experiencing steep decline: the number of modern languages undergraduates fell by 54% between 2008–9 and 2017–18. With fewer students applying, at least 10 modern languages departments have closed in the last decade (the University of Hull is the most recent casualty), and many others have shrunk in size or reduced their range of languages. By one estimate, the number of German units has halved from more than 80 in 2002 to fewer than 40 today.

Second, if Brexit and the debate over the Irish backstop have taught us anything, it is that we need subject specialists with language skills – lawyers, economists, geographers, engineers, and business graduates with the language skills to understand, negotiate, and argue the details.

Third, we urgently need more language graduates with at least two languages to degree level to teach in schools and rebuild and sustain primary and secondary languages. At present we risk most state schools offering pupils only one language to GCSE and many offering none at all to A-level, in a way that would never be tolerated for the sciences.

To win back students, a new approach is needed. 

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Write Away!

28 May 2019 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is an exciting new project from Light Bulb Languages.

It's a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

Open to all primary schools across the UK, submissions are now invited for issue 2. Closing date is 23.59 on Friday 27 September 2019.

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines.

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Survey: Education & careers abroad with #Globescotters

7 November 2018 (Young Scot)

As part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, Young Scot have partnered with British Council Scotland to encourage you to embrace the international experiences available to you at home and abroad as part of our joint campaign, ‘GlobeScotters’.

In this short survey we want to find out your thoughts on all things international when it comes to education and careers abroad!

Visit the website and complete the survey by 17 December 2018 to earn reward points!

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Slump in school language learning hits Scottish universities

6 November 2018 (The Herald)

The number of students from Scotland learning a modern language at university has fallen by more than 500 in the past five years.

New figures show 3,400 students chose languages at a Scottish university in 2016/17 compared to nearly 4,000 in 2012/13.

The decline, which shows numbers are falling for German, French, Russian and Spanish, has sparked fears Scotland will become increasingly isolated in the world, particularly following Brexit.

This summer, opposition politicians called on the Scottish Government to launch an inquiry into the decline in the number of pupils studying modern languages at school.

The drop has been blamed partly on curriculum reforms which mean pupils experience a broader education in the first three years of secondary.

That means exam subjects are chosen a year later than previously with a shorter time to prepare - resulting in some subjects getting squeezed out.

Professor Vicente Perez de Leon, Head of the School of Modern Languages at Glasgow University, said the school squeeze was hitting university recruitment.

And he argued language learning at school should be protected and resourced to ensure numbers increase.

“Languages are something that can open possibilities for employment abroad or having better jobs here,” he said.

“They can open minds and allow students to make connections with new people, new cultures and new literature. It should be a priority within the curriculum.”

Dr Dan Tierney, an independent languages expert, said the decline was also fuelled by the closure of some university departments.

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40% more MFL teacher trainees needed for 2020

5 November 2018 (TES)

An extra 641 teacher trainees in modern foreign languages are needed to start work in schools by 2020, according to government forecasts.

But this is among “challenging targets” for teacher recruitment which the government will yet again fail to meet, training providers have said.

Figures released by the Department for Education show that the number of MFL trainees for postgraduate initial teacher training needed for 2019-20 is 2,241 – compared to 1,600 this year – in order to provide sufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers for the autumn of 2020.

This represents a 40 per cent increase in postgraduate ITT places for MFL compared to 2018-19.

But James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said the government had already failed for the last five years to meet recruitment targets for secondary schools and said this was another target which was unlikely to be met.

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Report on language provision in Modern Foreign Languages Departments 2018

2 November 2018 (UCML)

The UCML has issued a new report on the language provision in UK modern languages departments.

The report investigates the provision of language modules (ie modules whose object of study is language) in MFL departments alongside models of collaboration between Languages departments and Institution-Wide Language Provision (IWLP) in UK universities. 

Read more...

Related Links

Modern (Foreign) Languages: time to rename? (University of Oxford blog, 8 November 2018)

UK to recruit 1,000 more diplomatic staff to maintain international clout after Brexit

31 October 2018 (The Indepedent)

Jeremy Hunt will vow to recruit 1,000 more diplomatic staff and boost their language skills, as he fights warnings that Brexit will weaken Britain’s international clout.

In a major speech, the foreign secretary will promise “the biggest expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network for a generation”, opening new embassies in Africa and South East Asia.

There will also be a doubling of diplomats who speak the local language to 1,000, Mr Hunt will say – and an increase in the number of languages the Foreign Office teaches, from 50 to 70.

Read more...

Related Links

Jeremy Hunt to cast net wider to recruit top diplomats (The Guardian, 31 October 2018)

The 100 greatest foreign-language films

30 October 2018 (BBC)

BBC Culture polled 209 critics in 43 countries to find the best in world cinema.

We felt it was time to direct the spotlight away from Hollywood and celebrate the best cinema from around the world. We asked critics to vote for their favourite movies made primarily in a language other than English. The result is BBC Culture’s 100 greatest foreign-language films.

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International Education Week 2018

29 October 2018 (British Council)

Teachers and school leaders in the UK and across the world are being encouraged to bring the world into their classrooms to celebrate International Education Week (IEW).

Each year, the British Council encourages schools to celebrate International Education Week to promote the benefits of international collaboration, languages and cultural exchange. During International Education Week, 12-16 November, The British Council is focusing on global communication and particularly language learning, believing these skills are more important now than ever. That is why this year’s theme is ‘Be International’.

Visit the British Council International Education Week website to find out more about how your students can take part in the Great Schools Online challenge and to access the IEW teaching resources.

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Open eTwinning: Project-Based Learning and the Community for Schools in Europe

28 October 2018 (School Education Gateway)

Join this course to learn about eTwinning and how it can help you design a project-based learning experience for your students in cooperation with colleagues across Europe and beyond. During the course, you will learn about the principles of project-based learning and how to start a project in the eTwinning community.

Throughout the activities, we will look at the entire life cycle of a project, starting with the initial idea, including finding a partner and negotiations to design a common project, and ending with the implementation and evaluation of the project. We will include principles of project work and collaboration, as well as the educational use of various ICT tools that facilitate project work. We will also look at the social aspect of collaborative projects, showing eTwinning not only as a platform in which to implement educational projects, but also as a meeting place between colleagues, an environment where we can share ideas and participate in various professional development activities.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol on the free course, commencing 5 November 2018.

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What is the best age to learn a language?

26 October 2018 (BBC)

When it comes to learning a foreign language, we tend to think that children are the most adept. But that may not be the case – and there are added benefits to starting as an adult.

It’s a busy autumn morning at the Spanish Nursery, a bilingual nursery school in north London. Parents help their toddlers out of cycling helmets and jackets. Teachers greet the children with a cuddle and a chirpy “Buenos dias!”. In the playground, a little girl asks for her hair to be bunched up into a “coleta” (Spanish for ‘pigtail’), then rolls a ball and shouts “Catch!” in English.

“At this age, children don’t learn a language – they acquire it,” says the school’s director Carmen Rampersad. It seems to sum up the enviable effortlessness of the little polyglots around her. For many of the children, Spanish is a third or even fourth language. Mother tongues include Croatian, Hebrew, Korean and Dutch.

Compare this to the struggle of the average adult in a language class, and it would be easy to conclude that it’s best to start young.

But science offers a much more complex view of how our relationship with languages evolves over a lifetime – and there is much to encourage late beginners.

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Calls for Scots children to be taught Chinese and Urdu

24 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

A new study suggests more pupils could learn Chinese and Urdu as part of a shake up in learning foreign languages.

The independent think tank, Reform Scotland, has published a report calling for a fresh approach to be taken towards the education of languages in Scottish schools.

The report indicates a practical model of learning should be introduced to help adapt to changing demand.

The number of Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) entries in “traditionally taught” languages has decreased over the last 20 years, with entries for higher grade French down by 18.2% and entries for German at the same level reduced by 58.4%.

In contrast, entries for higher Spanish exams increased by 219.8% increased over the same period, while Chinese entries have increased by 17.8% in the past two years.

Reform Scotland argue this highlights a changing global economy, with Asia seen as a growing economic market.

The report also calls for an end to distinctions between “community” and “modern” languages so that learning reflects the increasing number of communities in Scotland speaking languages such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.

Reform Scotland Director Chris Deerin said: “If we want to see genuine growth in language skills in Scotland, rather than just paying lip service to the idea, we need to rethink our approach.

“There is a danger the languages currently on offer within the education system are not keeping up with Scottish or global society.

“We need to think much more freely - as many other countries do - about how best to equip ourselves to thrive in the modern global economy. Brexit, the shift of power from West to East, and Scotland’s pressing need to secure greater economic growth, all demand fresh ideas.”

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‘Teaching linguistics improves language skills’

19 October 2018 (TES)

How much do your students know about linguistics? Probably not much, because linguistics (the scientific study of language) is conspicuously absent from the modern foreign language syllabus in schools. This is a shame, because linguistics has much to offer students.

(Note - registration required to read full article).

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How language assistants can make a difference in your school

17 October 2018 (TES)

At Dane Royd Junior and Infant School, we’ve been employing modern language assistants (MLA) – mainly European and Chinese language assistants for over 15 years. We also lead training and support for schools within the local authority who employ language assistants.

Our MLAs have been key in boosting not only our teaching of modern foreign languages but also the teaching of global citizenship and British Values. We’ve seen our pupils’ understanding of their cultural heritage and place in the world grow by being able to compare and contrast their experiences and beliefs through their frequent interactions with an MLA.

In supporting other schools, I’ve seen the wealth of activities that MLAs can contribute which enable schools to deepen their language teaching, as well as dramatically improve language skills among pupils. Here are a few of the most effective activities to try in your school.

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Language Perfect Northern Championships 2018

12 October 2018 (Education Perfect)

Raise the profile of languages at your school. The competitive element threaded through Education Perfect can excite and engage even the most unenthusiastic students!

The championships are a brilliant chance for revision of vocabulary and celebration of achievements in language learning. Students compete live and online from computers and iPod/Android apps.

The competition runs from 6 - 13 November 2018 and registration is now open!

Visit the website for more information.

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Book Week Scotland 2018

12 October 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. This year's event is taking place from Monday 19 – Sunday 25 November 2018.

There are a range of events, some with specific appeal to Gaelic and Scots readers. Visit the website to find out more on these and other ways you can get involved. Why not host a foreign language reading club or book sale?

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Our World film making project 2018-19

11 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET’s popular Our World film making project has now launched for the 2018-19 year! Our World uses film making and language learning as a means to help pupils explore the themes of LfS and the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s totally free, and all you have to do is sign up.

The project has been running for the past 6 years, has a proven track record of encouraging languages uptake at higher secondary levels, and is open to any team of four from S3 - S6 (no previous film making knowledge is required). All teams have to do to enter is come up with a creative idea for a film, based on one of this year's themes. Then, with SEET’s help teams put that idea into storyboard form and send it to us with an audio or video clip explaining it. The deadline for storyboard submissions is 5th December 2018.

Themes:

As part of a team of four, come up with a creative idea for a short film about being a citizen of the world. Your team should consider one of the following themes to get you started:

  • Sustainable Tourism (going on holiday, exploring other countries and cultures and making a positive impact on the environment)
  • Migration and welcome (refugees, moving abroad, how people are treated)
  • Trade (how businesses work in different countries, importing and exporting)

All films must include the use of at least one language other than English - but the more the merrier!

After all the entries are submitted, 18 teams from across Scotland will be invited to one of three regional film making workshop days (roughly 6 teams per workshop) where they will get the opportunity to make their film a reality. Pupils are given technology and professional film-making training on the day to help them, so don't worry if they don't have experience - all they need are their ideas. 

Throughout the project SEET staff are happy to make trips to schools to work with classes and answer any questions you might have. 

If you'd like to register or sign up a team visit the website, where you can also hear previous participants talk about their experience of the project, OR contact Madeleine McGirk at SEET (madeleine@seet.org.uk).

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The British Council's International School Award

8 October 2018 (British Council)

The International School Award (ISA) can help with your vision for school improvement. If you are writing your School Improvement Plan, and you’re looking for something new that has a proven track record of making a difference, then the International School Award could be what you are looking for.

It works in all profiles of schools: primary and secondary, inner-city and rural, thriving and struggling. Everyone has something to gain.

Experienced head teachers like Kevin McCabe, now Director of Improvement at Drb Ignite Multi-Academy Trust, testify to the ISA’s effectiveness as a tool to change the culture of your school. It does this by opening up the classroom to the world, giving the students the motivation they need to change the way they work and enriching the curriculum with cross-curriculum work.

Visit the website for more information and to register interest. Action plans should be submitted by 18 November 2018.

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Vocab Express League of Champions 2018

2 October 2018 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school by taking part in a global online vocabulary competition.

The competition is free to all existing school subscribers to Vocab Express. There are also a limited number of free places available for schools not currently subscribed. 

Our week-long global competitions are a great way to get your school enthused about language learning. We run our League of Champions competition in the autumn term from the 10th - 16th of October and our Global Challenge competition in spring. 

Each sees 10s of thousands of students competing to win the top spot on our overall and individual language leaderboards. There are competitions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, Mandarin and Japanese.

Applications for the next League of Champions are now open. Visit the Vocab Express website for further information and to register by 9 October 2018.

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Global Treasure Apps / Rocket Fund £100 Boost

27 September 2018 (Global Treasure Apps)

Global Treasure Apps allow schools to publish their own local walking tour content. These tours could be of a local tourist attraction or of the local area. The school could choose to develop the content in L2 or L3, providing students with a practical, hands-on approach to language learning.

Global Treasure Apps workshops are on the school crowd funding site Rocket Fund. Rocket Fund are currently offering a £100 funding boost to the first 50 projects launched before 5th October.

Visit the site to find out about a project at Edinburgh Castle where digital and language students at Edinburgh College worked together to produce a digital treasure trail.

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European Day of Languages – 26 September 2018: Statement from Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland

26 September 2018 (ECML/COE)

“Understanding each other is the key to benefitting from Europe’s rich cultural diversity. Language education helps us to do this and to embrace other cultures and ways of life.

The European Day of Languages, initiated by the Council of Europe, is held each year on 
26 September. It provides an opportunity to celebrate Europe’s unique linguistic context, and serves as an impetus for people of all ages and backgrounds to broaden their horizons and discover the added value of being able to communicate in other languages.

Languages and culture go hand in hand. This year, which is the EU-designated European Year of Cultural Heritage, hundreds of events are being organised around the continent by schools, universities, and cultural institutions and associations to mark the European Day of Languages and send a powerful message of openness to one another. My best wishes go to all of those taking part.”

www.coe.int/EDL

-------------------------------------------------------

Background information on the Day

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is an annual celebration day to encourage language learning across Europe. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, EDL has been celebrated every year, on 26 September, since the European Year of Languages in 2001.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The dedicated website for the EDL is available in 37 languages and hundreds of activities are registered in the events’ calendar. The EDL activities which take place in Europe and increasingly on other continents are organised mainly by schools, universities, language and cultural institutes, associations and also by the European Commission’s translation field offices. In 2017 over 1250 events involving tens of thousands of participants were recorded.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (The Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

Read more...

Languages Beyond School

21 September 2018 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies check out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

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Learn another European language – and give two fingers to Brexit Britain

21 September 2018 (The Guardian)

For someone who occasionally seems unsure whether their wife is Japanese or Chinese, Jeremy Hunt seems to speak pretty good Japanese.

Unless bits of it were Chinese, obviously. Given the way things have gone lately for Theresa May’s government we probably shouldn’t rule anything out, but let’s just assume the Tokyo audience he addressed in their native tongue this week wasn’t just being polite and that he did actually deliver the whole speech in the correct language.

Whatever you think of Hunt’s politics generally, there was something endearing about the sight of a foreign secretary actually trying to speak some foreign, at a time when much of Britain seems belligerently convinced that if the world doesn’t understand us then we should just shout louder at them. Foreign languages have been in decline in British schools for years, especially at A-level; German in particular is so unpopular now, with a 45% drop in entries since 2010, that some schools will be seriously debating dropping it from the timetable. Languages have become seen as subjects in which it’s too hard to excel, partly because native speakers tend to scoop the A* awards and push the bar higher for everyone else, which makes them too much of a risk for kids intent on getting the grades for university.

Lately there has been some tinkering with grade boundaries to encourage uptake. But while mathematicians and scientists have gone to great lengths to popularise subjects once seen as geeky or intimidatingly difficult, there has been no concerted push behind French or Spanish.

And if we’re honest, Britain’s solid international reputation for being rubbish at languages isn’t just down to the kids. How many of us slogged through years of irregular verbs and asking the way to the station, only to be reduced in middle age to fumbled holiday conversations in shops and frantic pointing?

But watching Hunt reminded me of something I’ve been wondering for a while, which is whether the prospect of leaving Europe will finally make learning a language feel less like a slog and more like a thrillingly subversive act; one great defiant two fingers to everything Brexit Britain stands for.

Languages are lovely things to learn in their own right, of course, if you’re so minded; living, breathing entities that weave in and out of each other, exchanging sounds and words and ideas. But they’re also one of the purest forms of soft power. Speaking to someone in their own tongue is a disarming act, a gesture of empathy and respect. If you’re not actually very good at it then in some ways all the better; at least it’s obvious you’re making an effort, which is why typing furiously into Google Translate doesn’t quite have the same effect.

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Inspire your students with new funding for global learning

19 September 2018 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is back, and we have some exciting updates for the new school year.

If you are thinking about taking your school on an international journey this year, it’s time to take a look at how you can join the new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme.

You can apply for Connecting Classrooms opportunities either as an individual school, or part of a cluster, which will be overseen by a lead school.

Becoming a lead school provides a host of benefits, including access to grants to develop your cluster, the opportunity to deliver CPD to other schools in your area and cover support for your co-ordinator’s time. 

Visit the website for more information and apply by 28 October to be included in the first round of grant awards.

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Into Film Awards 2019

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

Submissions to the 2019 Into Film Awards are now open!

The Into Film Awards is the best place to showcase young filmmaking talent, with categories designed to highlight the large pool of young creatives in the UK. Set out to find the most talented filmmakers, reviewers, Into Film Clubs and educators, we encourage children and young people aged 5-19 from all backgrounds and with all abilities to get involved. 

A great place to start is by entering the 'Film of the Month' competition. These entries are also eligible for submission to the Into Film Awards. Why not get your students to create a short film in the language they are learning?

You have until 14 December 2018 to get your entries in and there are resources and guides on the website to help you.

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Erasmus+ funding for schools: twilight sessions

17 September 2018 (Erasmus+)

Interested in funding for international pupil exchanges, staff overseas teaching/training placements and partnerships with schools across Europe?

Erasmus+ and eTwinning offer fantastic opportunities for UK schools to connect with schools across Europe.

Taking place in September to November 2018, we are running free sessions in cities across the UK for school staff interested in beginning or enhancing international collaboration. There's an event in Glasgow on 30 October.

Whilst the twilight session offers a particular focus for schools, there is also a daytime information session more specifically for organisations who are new to the Erasmus+ programme and are considering submitting an Erasmus+ application in 2019.

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17 September, 2018 - Minister Bruton Launches Campaign to Encourage Learning of Foreign Languages & Announces Funding for School Exchanges

17 September 2018 (Department of Education and Skills (Ireland))

(Applies to Ireland) The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. today (17th September 2018) launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of foreign languages and announced new funding for teacher upskilling and school language exchanges.  

The campaign is aimed at school principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, students and higher level institutions. Embassies, cultural services and bodies such as IBEC and Enterprise Ireland (EI) are also involved in supporting the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of learning foreign languages.  The campaign will be supported by a new website (www.languagesconnect.ie) which will act as a one stop shop for schools, parents and students on language learning. 

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ECML Gazette 43 - July-September 2018

17 September 2018 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's newsletter is now available online. This edition has a focus on the European Day of Languages on 26 September with a round-up of events, activities and competitions taking place to celebrate the event.

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition 2018-19

14 September 2018 (SCILT)

Today we're launching the 2018-19 Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition in Scotland.

All students who are learning a language at school, college or university, or who speak a native language at home, can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. All entries must be the students' own, original work.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! The closing date for registrations is 26 October 2018.

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1+2 Modern Languages in Parliament

13 September 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

Read the First Minister's response when asked at the Meeting of the Parliament 13 September 2018 what action the Scottish Government will take to improve the implementation of the one-plus-two modern languages policy in broad general education.

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The Local Storytelling Campaign

13 September 2018 (SISF)

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) takes place 19-31 October. Across Scotland, schools and communities are encouraged to take part in an initiative that celebrates the art of storytelling under the theme Growing Stories. The Local Campaign, running from Monday 17 September – Friday 30 November, aims to highlight how stories help communities connect, grow together and play a vital part in preserving heritage and cultures for new generations.

To celebrate, audiences are invited to book a storyteller for a local event, strike-up new community activity and engagement with storytelling. 

Visit the Scottish International Storytelling Festival website for more information and suggested ways to take part.

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Time to Move T-shirt contest

13 September 2018 (Eurodesk)

The Time to Move T-shirt contest returns in 2018! 

If you are at least 13 years old and not more than 30, design a Time to Move themed T-shirt that best represents the spirit of the campaign, share it with us and have a chance to travel around Europe by train!

Time to Move is a collection of events for young people organised all over Europe during the month of October. The activities focus on introducing hundreds of possibilities through which you can go abroad and take part in an international project, explore Europe or gain experience you need for your future.

Visit the website for more information and submit entries by 31 October 2018.

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UK Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) 2019

13 September 2018 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. It’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

Teachers can now register their school for the United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) 2019. Round 1 will take place from 4-8 February.

Visit the UKLO website for more information about the competition and registration.

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EAL: Working with new arrivals

12 September 2018 (SecEd)

This September, many secondary schools will have new arrivals from abroad who have English as an additional language. Continuing our series on EAL, Dr Ruth Wilson gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of this diverse group of learners

New arrivals with English as an additional language (EAL) are a very diverse group. Their language proficiency can range from “new to English” to “fluent”. The young person can arrive at any age and with widely different socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Some students may come from an advantaged context with a high standard of education; others may have had little or interrupted schooling or experienced traumatic events. A new arrival could for example be a refugee from a war-torn country or a child of a German banker working in the City of London.

Data show that, on average, pupils arriving late into the English school system do less well in external exams than their first language English peers, and that the older the pupils are when they arrive the less likely they are to achieve good results in year 11 (Hutchinson, 2018).

This article gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of EAL learners who are newly arrived from abroad. 

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Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years

12 September 2018 (ECML)

ECML are hosting professionals in early years’ education at a workshop on “Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children aged 3-12 years” in Graz, Austria on 12-13 September 2018.

The project is designed to help professionals harness opportunities inherent in linguistically diverse classrooms and use them for the benefit of all pupils. Those involved in early-years education, at whatever level, can in particular find evidence here of good practice and a variety of teaching and learning tools to develop learners’ language competence. 

Visit the ECML website for more details and developments.

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Bilingual Brain: Here's what happens when you flip between languages

10 September 2018 (Newsweek)

A study has shed light on the brain mechanisms which allow bilingual people to switch effortlessly from one language to another.

Neurolinguistics researchers already believe parts of the brain in charge of decision-making, the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, light up when we toggle between languages. Now, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents a potential new piece to the puzzle.

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, graduate student at the NYU neurolinguistics lab, told Newsweek, “The process of switching languages entails [minimally] disengaging from the language that was being used until that point, and engaging in a new language. This study showed that it is turning off the previous language, and not ‘turning on’ a new language, that is effortful.”

And while those who swap between languages may make it seem easy, it is in fact “a remarkably complicated process that involves the successful coordination of two independent language systems,” he explained.

Article includes a video of polyglot, Alex Rawlings, providing 10 tips for learning a new language.

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The return of Business Brunches 18-19: Language skills in the world of work

7 September 2018 (SCILT)

Would you like to invite 10 of your S3-S6 pupils to discover the benefits of language skills in the world of work and engage with a variety of dynamic employers to encourage learners to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their education, and beyond school? Look no further….

For the fifth year in succession, SCILT, in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce and the University Council of Modern Languages Scotland will be hosting a series of five Business Brunch events in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness over the course of December this year, and January 2019.  Registration will open at 9am on Friday 14th September.

Find out more on our Business Brunches webpage.

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Languages in the Lords

6 September 2018 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the All-Party Group on Modern Languages, calls for language skills to be prioritised in careers advice in schools in today's Lords' debate.

In contributing to the debate she highlighted the specific need for careers education and advice to convey the enormous and increasing value of language skills to school leavers and graduates as they make their career choices. Stating this advice must also start early enough for school students to have the opportunity to choose one or more foreign languages among their GCSE options. 

She went on to stress that it is often wrongly assumed that studying foreign languages is just for the brightest students, and that they can be beneficial for anyone, at whatever level. Foreign language skills are in use in practically every sector in the economy, with higher than average demand in the financial services, IT and telecommunications, passenger transport, fashion and design and hotel and catering industries. They are in use at all levels in the workforce, not just senior management. In fact, the greatest skills gaps are among administrative and clerical staff, and those working at elementary grades. All that is before we even mention the need for languages and linguists in diplomacy, defence and security.

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Trust me, I'm a doctor

5 September 2018 (BBC)

In last night's episode of the BBC2 series 'Trust me, I'm a doctor', Michael Mosley found out how learning a new language can stave off dementia.

The programme is available online until 4 October 2018. 

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Where have all the modern language assistants gone?

31 August 2018 (TESS)

The number of modern language assistants in Scotland has taken another tumble this year, Tes Scotland can reveal.

New figures also show that employing MLAs – native speakers who typically spend a year working in Scottish classrooms – is increasingly the preserve of independent schools, with nearly half based in that sector, including all of Edinburgh’s contingent of 18.

Data from the British Council, which arranges for MLAs to work in Scotland, reveals that there are only 61 MLAs, 27 of whom are based in independent schools. This is the lowest figure since current records began in 2003: the next lowest was 72 in 2013-14 and the current number is less than a quarter of the 2005-06 high point of 278. The number of local authorities with MLAs is also falling, from 15 (out of 32) in 2017 to 13 in 2018.

From a recent high of 146 MLAs in Scotland in 2016-17, numbers fell sharply to 80 in 2017-18 – including 23 based in independent schools – with some fearing that this was related to the 2016 vote to leave the EU (“Brexit blamed as language assistant numbers dive”, Tes Scotland, 17 November 2017).

The British Council, however, has played down any suggestion that Brexit has had an impact. Liz Neil, acting head of education for British Council Scotland, says: “The reduction in the number of modern language assistants in Scotland is disappointing and we are working with stakeholders to explore options for addressing the issue – for example, by getting more placements in primary schools where the impact on primary learners can be significant.”

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Support for promoting languages via DYWScot Founders4Schools

30 August 2018 (SCILT/CISS/Founders4Schools)

SCILT/CISS would like to bring the DYWScot Founders4Schools online platform to the attention of all teachers, especially language teachers looking for support for promotional events.

This free platform allows teachers to explore businesses in their area and invite them to visit their school to attend language promotions, careers events, deliver workshops or meet with school parents.

To find a business in your area simply visit the Founders4Schools website and select 'Create event+'. Enter the school postcode, and the platform will allow you to explore who is available to support your event. You can select what type of support you are looking for and your preferred date.
 
Remember requests do not necessarily have to be only for one-off events, and you may be able to build a lasting relationship with the business contact.

Visit the DYWScot Founders4Schools website for more information. 

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Brexit prompts surge in Brits signing up to learn languages online

30 August 2018 (Sky News)

Some Britons unhappy with the UK's decision to leave the European Union have opted for an unusual form of protest - learning a new language.

In the days leading up to Article 50 being triggered on March 29, 2017, a leading language-learning app reports that it saw a 24% increase in new user sign-ups in the UK.

The CEO of Duolingo, which has 300 million users, told Sky News that the company noticed a spike in sign-ups at the time and saw its users commenting online that they had been motivated by Brexit.

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Yakety Yak Language Cafés

30 August 2018 (Yakety Yak)

Looking to brush up your conversational language skills? Yakety Yak host a variety of language cafés in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Next sessions begin 3 September 2018. Visit their website for details.

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Caution over drop in numbers sitting language exams

30 August 2018 (SecEd)

Another fall in the number of pupils taking French and German exams does not reflect an overall decline in the health of languages in Scottish classrooms, according to a leading linguist.

French National 5 entries fell by about 10 per cent on last year, while at Higher the level was 17.5 per cent below 2016. German Higher entries were down 20 per cent on two years ago.

Spanish and Mandarin have made modest rises overall.

However, Fhiona Mackay, director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, said it was misleading to focus on this criterion alone because primary schools were “normalising” languages from P1 in a way that is widening exposure hugely.

“The French figures were disappointing, no doubt about it. But to say languages are disappearing from our schools is very far off the mark and really unfair on our teachers.

“Of course I would like to see more youngsters choosing languages because I fundamentally believe that is a good thing. But it needs to be voluntary – so we need to evaluate the barriers and do more to remove them.” 

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Help us continue collaborative cross-sector action for languages

27 August 2018 (SCILT/UCMLS)

To make 1+2 a reality we need to act with one voice for languages! So do join us at the University of Dundee on Saturday, 15 September 2018 for a half-day conference where SCILT/UCMLS evaluate past actions and plan new ones.

We will finish with a networking lunch and wine to celebrate 25 years of UCMLS. For catering purposes, please sign up by 7 September via Eventbrite. 

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SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

27 August 2018 (SQA)

SQA is running three webinars in September covering updates to Higher Modern Languages:

  • Tuesday 4th September 5-6pm

  • Monday 10th September 5-6pm

  • Thursday 27th September 5-6pm

Content will be the same on all three dates. Register on the SQA booking system.

If colleagues are finding they cannot get a place on the webinar they can contact the SQA events team sqaevents@sqa.org.uk or 0345 213 5580 who would in turn contact colleagues if spaces on webinars become available. 

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Updates from SQA - Modern Languages

24 August 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

Revised Higher Specimen Question Papers for use in session 2018-19 onwards are now available on the main Higher Modern Languages webpage.  Revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are currently only available in the Specimen Question papers.

Exemplars of Higher Directed Writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are now available.  There are currently 8 exemplars in French and Spanish with other languages available in due course.

Exemplars of Higher Assignment-writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for assignment-writing are now available. There are currently 6 exemplars in French, German and Spanish, with other languages available in due course.

All exemplars can be found on www.understandingstandards.org.uk

Exemplars of talking performances at Higher valid from session 2018/19 are now available. These include associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for performance-talking.  Exemplars of talking performances at National 5 are also available. Both can be found on the understanding standards area on the SQA secure website.

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SCILT CLPL

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

SCILT CLPL

Refreshed and raring to go? Us too! New school year = new SCILT CLPL menu. Featuring a variety of workshops for primary colleagues, for secondary colleagues and one workshop specifically aimed at bringing primary and secondary colleagues together. Our free professional learning is learner-focused, practice-led and evidence-informed. Booking now open! More information on our CLPL menu.

OU/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme

There is still time to register for the sector-leading Open University Scotland/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme. The course will be available to all primary practitioners but also secondary teachers who teach at primary level. We have produced an FAQ document with further detail about the course for your information.

This blended professional learning programme combines primary languages pedagogy and beginner's language learning.  Choose from beginner's French, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The course fee is £240.00 per student. There are plans to offer teachers, who enrol on the course, a summer school experience which will offer immersion in the language to boost confidence and provide ample opportunities to learn more about the cultures in which the language they are studying is spoken. The summer school is not part of the course, it is optional and can be booked separately. More information on this will be published in due course.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, don't delay! Speak to your local authority languages Development Officer first, then they can contact Sylvia Warnecke at the Open University (s.warnecke@open.ac.uk ) to confirm your enrolment on the programme.

European Day of Languages 2018

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2018 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL 2018 blog.

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GCSE results: Language entries rise for first time since 2013

23 August 2018 (TES)

GCSE entries for modern foreign languages have increased for the first time in five years.

The small increase will give linguists hope that modern foreign languages (MFL) have turned the corner after four consecutive years of decline.

Today’s GCSE results show that total MFL entries across the UK rose from 298,066 in 2017 to 299,172 this year – a 0.4 per cent increase.

The increase is more impressive against the backdrop of a 2.7 per cent decline in the 16-year-old population – the age at which most pupils sit their GCSEs.

However, the overall increase in MFL entries masked varying fortunes for different subjects.

French, which continues to be the most popular language subject by a distance, saw its entries decline from 130,509 in 2017 to 126,750 this year – a 2.9 per cent fall.

German entries rose from 43,649 in 2017 to 44,535 this year – an increase of 2 per cent. This was in marked contrast to A-level German, for which entries plummeted by 16.5 per cent this year.

In Spanish, GCSE entries rose by 4.4 per cent from 91,040 in 2017 to 95,080 this year.

Chinese – which is now the third biggest language subject at A-level – saw its GCSE entries rise.

GCSE entries in Mandarin increased by 7.5 per cent from 4,104 in 2017 to 4,410 this year. The subject is now the fifth most popular GCSE language, after Italian.

While total MFL entries rose in 2018, they have a long way to go to regain the ground that has been lost in recent years.

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The benefits of language learning

17 August 2018 (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Listen to Antonella Sorace from Bilingualism Matters talking to Stephen Nolan about the multiple benefits of language learning on BBC Radio 5 Live. (Listen from 1:54). Broadcast is available until 15 September 2018.

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Compulsory language education should be reintroduced, says Brighton College head

16 August 2018 (ITV)

A headmaster has called for the reintroduction of compulsory language classes in schools to prevent what he called the “worrying insularity” of society getting worse.

Richard Cairns, headmaster of Brighton College, said the “sorry decline” in the number of students studying languages is “damaging on so many levels” and that the Government needs a plan to reverse the problem.

His comments came as several of his students at the independent school in East Sussex achieved top marks in a range of languages at A-level, including Mandarin.

Experts have raised concerns because the number of students studying languages at state schools has dropped, and recent Press Association analysis of Ucas data revealed the number of applications for foreign language degrees plummeted in the last decade.

More students took A-level Chinese than German this year, according to data from the Joint Council for Qualifications released on Thursday, sparking fears that the European language is heading for extinction.

Mr Cairns said: “The sorry decline in numbers studying languages is damaging on so many levels but must be of particular concern to a Government that espouses a vision of Britain as open for business with the world.

“Compulsory language education needs to be reintroduced, with a national strategy emulating the success of those in the Netherlands or Scandinavia. Otherwise, the worrying insularity in our society will only deepen.

“Contrary to what seems to be happening nationally with pupils choosing not to study languages any more, we have seen a real interest in pursuing languages.

“Pupils can study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian and Mandarin here. Back in 2006, we introduced Mandarin for our pupils from the age of four and the culture of language learning and its benefits are instilled early.”

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Applications for languages degrees plummet, figures show

15 August 2018 (The Herald)

The number of applications for foreign language degrees has plummeted in the last decade, figures show.

Applications for both European and non-European language degree courses have fallen, according to an analysis of Ucas data carried out by the Press Association.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Related Links

Number of students interested in studying foreign languages drops (The National, 15 August 2018)

SQA: Scottish education exam results 2018

7 August 2018 (Relocate Magazine)

Scottish exam results are in - and more than 2/3rds of independent school pupils sitting exams achieved a Higher grade A in foreign languages, including Mandarin. 

Although the number of entries for Highers and the proportion of students who received a pass mark has fallen slightly, data from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) reveals that 68% of pupils studying foreign languages have achieved a Higher grade A.

The data, collected from SCIS’s 74 member schools, shows that 72% of students achieved a Higher grade A in Mandarin, while 72% of those studying German, 69% of those studying French and 63% studying Spanish also achieved an A.

Read more...

Related Links

Language exam entries are falling, but pourquoi? (TESS, 17 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read article.

Review call after fall in pupils studying languages and science (The Herald, 10 August 2018)

John Swinney urged to review school subject choice after figures show collapse in modern languages (The Telegraph, 9 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Two-thirds fewer Scottish S4 pupils passing French exams under new curriculum (The Telegraph, 8 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Attainment Statistics (August) 2018 (SQA, 7 August 2018)

Government to Improve Foreign Language Teaching in Schools

3 August 2018 (Good Morning Britain)

The government has announced plans to improve teaching to boost the number of students opting to take foreign languages at GCSE level. Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, believes that learning an extra language is good for young people for traveling and opens more opportunities within the workplace. 

See the video interview broadcast on Good Morning Britain.

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Free language learning and cooking app now available

1 August 2018 (Linguacuisine)

For anyone interested in languages and food!

The free Linguacuisine web app helps you learn a language while you’re cooking a meal! Choose a foreign language and a delicious recipe from that country. Then your own smartphone or tablet will speak to you in the foreign language and talk you through all of the stages of cooking the recipe in your own kitchen. If you can’t understand, just press a button to get a photo or video explaining what to do. When you’ve finished, eat the food you’ve cooked and learn something about the culture of the country. Linguacuisine has a range of recipes now available for language learning from around the world. We now have recipes available in: English, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Quechua, Chinese and Korean.

You can also use the free recipe builder app so that you can upload your own favourite recipe in your own language. That means that anyone anywhere in the world will be able to watch videos and listen to audios of you guiding them through cooking your recipe and learning your language! Use your own smartphone or tablet to make recordings of yourself and upload them using our user-friendly software to create your own recipe.

You can also join our worldwide online community so you can rate and discuss other people’s recipes and post information, stories and photos. They can do the same for your recipe, so it’s a good way to make friends in other countries.

So Linguacuisine is a really fun way to learn about foreign languages, cultures and cuisines and you get to eat what you produce. You can also tell other people around the world about your own cooking, language and way of life. You learn foreign words better when you are physically touching food and cooking utensils and using them to prepare food. When you are cooking, you involve all of your senses in the learning experience – touch, smell and taste as well as hearing and seeing. So this is multi-modal and multi-sensory language learning. This is task-based language learning with a real product at the end of it and is intended to improve international understanding and communication.

Linguacuisine is available now for all devices, smartphones, tablets and computers from our website, where the online community will also be located https://linguacuisine.com/

The Linguacuisine app is the end result of a 10-year collaboration between computing scientists and linguists at Newcastle University. The Linguacuisine project is a collaboration between Newcastle University, Action Foundation (UK), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy) and the Workers’ Educational Association (UK). It is funded by an Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership grant of €324K.

For Teachers

The Linguacuisine app can be used for foreign language lessons, but also for cookery lessons and cross-curriculum projects. Students can use the app to cook and learn in the kitchen at home as well as at school.

The app is a good way of preparing students for a foreign trip as it helps engage them with the cuisine, culture and language in advance. Students can also write their own recipes in their own language, informing people abroad about their culture and cuisine.

It is also an excellent way of getting learners to communicate with learners in other countries. Video links have been available for some time, but Linguacuisine means that learners in different countries can do enjoyable shared activities together, cooking recipes from the other countries whilst learning about the other language and culture.

Digital skills can also be developed by using the ‘recipe builder’ authoring software.  This was co-authored with learners and designed to develop a wide range of digital skills using the DIGCOMP 2.1 framework; it has been shown to be successful in improving learner competence.

For Professionals working with Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Linguacuisine app was co-designed with a group of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Action Foundation, Newcastle, UK and seeks to help them in two ways. Firstly, immigrants to a country can cook the recipes to learn about the language, cuisine and culture of their host country and help their integration. Secondly, immigrants can produce their own recipes in their own language using the recipe builder software, so they are able to have a voice and so people in their host country are able to learn something about their life prior to arrival here. A number of recipes currently on Linguacuisine have been produced by migrants in the UK.

For Catering Professionals

Chefs and other catering staff who are travelling to work abroad can introduce themselves to the language, culture and cuisine of their destination country by using the Linguacuisine app. They can also increase their repertoire and employability by trying recipes from around the world and improving relevant language skills.

Chefs can also produce their own recipes in their own language or English using the recipe builder software. Their recipes can then be tried out by users anywhere in the world. Users can post feedback about the recipes and rate the recipes, so chefs can gain an international reputation and increase their own job opportunities.

Invitation to London Event

Please come to our free London dissemination event in Europe House on 11 September. Book a place.

Try out the app, cook a recipe and learn a new language!

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Language courses at risk amid staff shortage

30 July 2018 (The Times)

Head teachers may have to cut language courses in schools as a staffing shortage worsens.

With weeks to go until lectures begin, some modern language courses for teachers at leading universities are half empty. There is already a widespread recruitment crisis in the profession.

At the University of the West of Scotland only 11 of 20 places for one-year postgraduate teacher training courses in modern languages in secondary schools had been filled by mid-July.

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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 hello@theatresansaccents.co.uk 

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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.

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Language lesson gap means poorest miss out, says report

27 June 2018 (BBC)

Children from poorer backgrounds in England are increasingly likely to miss out on learning a foreign language, suggests a report.

Some teachers blame new tougher GCSEs for putting lower ability pupils off language learning.

There is also a perception that languages are less important since the vote to leave the European Union, says the British Council study.

The government says its reforms are boosting modern languages in schools.

The Language Trends Survey has published an annual report since 2002 when more than three-quarters of pupils (76%) took a modern language GCSE.

By 2011, only 40% of pupils took a language at GCSE.

The subject has recovered in recent years - in 2016 almost half of 16-year-olds took a language GCSE - but this figure fell to 47% last year.

There has been a similar long-term decline at A-level.

Read more...

Higher Modern Languages webinar recordings

21 June 2018 (SQA)

The SQA has published a recording of the Higher Modern Languages webinar that took place on 19 June. The webinar provides guidance on the revised course assessment for session 2018-19.

Webinars can also be accessed from the Understanding Standards website.

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A National Framework for Languages supporting implementation of 1+2

19 June 2018 (SCDE)

The Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) Languages Group, which represents all language strands within the Schools of Education across Scottish Universities, has created a National Framework for Languages (NFfL) and associated digital resource to support teacher educators and teachers at all stages of their careers, with the aim of transforming the 1 + 2 Languages Policy in Scotland into purposeful classroom pedagogies promoting plurilingualism and pluriliteracies.

The NFfL is based on four overarching principles: plurilingualism, diversity, policy and legislation and transformative practice, and reflects the strands of the Professional Standards established by GTCS. For each of these strands the NFfL has identified a series of statements which encourage practitioners to consider a broad and inclusive understanding of the role of language in and for learning. These statements are linked to the associated digital resources: a reflective tool and digital resource bank.
The reflective tool includes a personal biography based on Pepelino and the European Language Portfolio as well as a series of reflective questions. These reflective questions are directly linked to the statements of the NFfL and aim to support teachers in evaluating their own practices.

The digital resource bank was created after a systematic review of the international literature covering formal language learning across all ages and stages, the increasingly complex demands of plurilingual and pluricultural classrooms and the need to develop a shared understanding of the role of languages for learning, which addresses the fundamental role played by languages (including the learners’ first language) in developing global citizens.

The NFfL and accompanying digital resources are now being piloted and can be accessed on the National Framework for Languages (NFfL) website.

Further information can be obtained from Ingeborg Birnie (Ingeborg.birnie@strath.ac.uk).

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Language Futures success at Grainville School

18 June 2018 (ALL/Language Futures)

Language Futures is an exciting, highly personalised and innovative approach to languages teaching and learning which aims to broaden languages provision. It has been designed to foster deep learner engagement and enable students to take responsibility for their own learning, which they are encouraged to extend beyond the classroom. Apart from language development, the approach encourages the development of a wide range of skills such as creativity, tenacity and the ability to carry out research and work both independently and in groups.

As part of the approach, students choose a language they wish to study, with several languages being learnt in any one classroom situation.

Find out more about the initiative, how it's being successfully applied at Grainville School in Jersey and how you can launch the approach in your own school.

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GlobeScotters

18 June 2018 (British Council)

British Council is excited to announce the launch of GlobeScotters! We've partnered with @YoungScot to inspire Scotland's young people to embrace the international opportunities available to them at home and abroad!

Over the next six months the GlobeScotters website will be updated with all things international - from funding opportunities, to fun videos on international foods and some big Young Scot Rewards prizes!

Whether you are studying abroad next term, or want to learn about different cultures in your community, we have you covered!

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Creative Multilingualism

14 June 2018 (University of Oxford)

Creative Multilingualism is a 4-year research programme aiming to release the creative potential of languages, shine a spotlight on the UK's hidden multilingualism and celebrate the many benefits of language learning.

Visit the Creative Multilingualism website to explore the programme and projects.

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Language Linking Global Thinking

12 June 2018 (University of Edinburgh)

French and Spanish MA (Hons) student, Róisín MacFarlane, describes her involvement in SCILT’s Year Abroad schools initiative.

Róisín and three other students from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) recently attended a course with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) preparing both students and teachers for the Language Linking Global Thinking (LLGT) project.

In this article - her first as Web, Communications and Social Media Intern for LLC - she talks about the LLGT programme and explains why so many schools and students are getting involved.

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SQA update for teachers of Higher Modern Languages

11 June 2018 (SQA)

Course support notes and coursework assessment tasks for session 2018-19 are now available, including the new assignment-writing task and performance-talking. Download them from the SQA Higher Modern Languages website ‘2018-19 session’ section.

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The Bilingual Advantage in the Global Workplace

7 June 2018 (Language Magazine)

For the last 30 years, the world economy has been more global and multicultural than ever before. In any given country, foreign-based companies operate every day, while overseas branches of the same companies are often present in various countries. The job market is consequently more global, multilingual, and multicultural in nature, and the workforce of the future will need to be more linguistically and culturally heterogeneous.

In that context, bilingual and bicultural individuals, even with limited knowledge of one or more languages and their attendant cultures, have a clear advantage, since more and more jobs will require experience in international and cross-cultural areas.

On the other hand, we also know that half of the world’s population speaks two or more languages and there are many places where bilingualism or multilingualism is the norm, for example in regions of Africa.2 So, will half the world then benefit from the new job opportunities created by a more global job market? Not exactly. 

Being bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate are not equivalent skills, and being bilingual is not the only condition to be hired for any job. It does not replace a solid further education, but it is becoming obvious that linguistic and cultural fluency enhances one’s “human capital” (the measure of the economic value of a person’s skill set). More and more, at equal technical skills, a bilingual individual will be chosen over a monolingual person.

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ECML European Language Gazette No 42

7 June 2018 (ECML)

The May-June 2018 edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available. In addition to a round-up of activities and initiatives in language education across Europe, this issue includes the opportunity for language professionals to contribute to the brainstorming on priorities in language education for the coming years by completing an online survey. The survey is open until 11 June 2018.

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Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Winners announced!

6 June 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:

  • Larbert High School Cluster (1+2 Languages Award)
  • Greenfaulds High School (Gaelic Education Award

Visit the Scottish Education Award website for information and photos of all the category winners.

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Radio Edutalk: Gillian Campbell-Thow on ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’

5 June 2018 (Radio Edutalk)

Listen to Gillian Campbell-Thow talk about ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’ broadcast on Radio Edutalk on 5 June 2018.

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Why using a foreign language could improve your work

29 May 2018 (BBC)

I recently spent four months working at the BBC in London, and English always sounded far smarter in my head than when it came out of my mouth. I often forgot words, made grammatical slips, and missed the usual precision of my native Spanish. It felt like trying to eat soup with a fork. As I write this, I have a dictionary open in front of me because I have learned to mistrust my ideas about what some words mean.

But there is a silver lining for those who are working in languages other than their native one. Research has recently shown that people who can speak a foreign language are likely to be more analytical. Other studies have suggested that people who are bilingual make decisions in different ways from those with one language.