7 March 2020 (BBC)
A teenager and her brother are leading a campaign to make sign language part of the school curriculum.
Doctors said Christian would never be able to communicate because of brain damage sustained at birth. But his sister, Jade, learned sign language just so she could teach him. Now they have a large following on social media, where they sign along to popular songs to teach others.
Jade also started a petition to make sign language lessons a part of the primary school curriculum - she has had over 100,000 signatures.
Some schools, like the James Wolfe Schools in east London already teach sign language, but would it be possible to roll out on a nationwide scale?
10 September 2018 (Irish Times)
Lithuanian and Korean will be taught from this week as part of a drive to diversify the number of languages on the curriculum in Irish schools.
Lithuanian will be a short course for junior cycle in schools in Dublin and Monaghan where there is the highest concentration of the country’s natives in Ireland.
According to the last census in 2016, 36,683 Lithuanians live in Ireland. However, the Lithuanian embassy estimates the real figure is twice that if the number of children of immigrants are taken into account.
The course is for a minimum of 100 hours over two years. Some 43 applicants were received from teachers of the language.
The introduction of Lithuanian into Irish school is part of the foreign languages strategy which identifies the need to support immigrant communities to maintain their own languages.
It was introduced last year as part of a 10-year strategy to prepare Ireland for Brexit through a series of steps such as potential bonus Central Applications Office (CAO) points for studying foreign languages.
The Korean language, the 17th most spoken language in the world, is being introduced as a module for transition year. Trade between South Korea and Ireland reached €1.8 billion in 2015.
The language will be introduced into four schools in Dublin.
French accounts for more than half of all language sits in the Leaving Certificate, followed by German (13 per cent), Spanish (11 per cent) and Italian (1 per cent).
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the teaching and learning of foreign languages is a priority in the post-Brexit world.
20 August 2018 (Japan Foundation)
If your school is interested in introducing Japanese into the curriculum, supporting Japanese at GCSE or A-Level or starting a Japanese Club, you could be eligible for funding.
Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education in the UK.
Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and apply by 22 September 2018.
Secret Teacher: subjects like art are being sidelined – but they matter
6 January 2018 (Guardian)
In trying to improve outcomes in a limited range of subjects, we may struggle to realise the potential of those whose strengths lie elsewhere.
30 August 2017 (The Courier)
Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, expressed his disappointment to Nicola Sturgeon over the Scottish Qualifications Authority dropping the language from the curriculum.
In a letter, which has been published under freedom of information laws, Mr Yakovenko called on Ms Sturgeon to intervene.
The correspondence also revealed the FM has declined invitations to official Russian functions in Edinburgh and London on four occasions since June 2016.
Mr Yakovenko, who was previously deputy minister of foreign affairs, said: “The cancellation of the exams seriously affected the resources available for cultural and business links, for people-to-people contacts and the personal development of individuals.”
He added: “I believe there may be ways for the Scottish Government to have the above decisions revisited, and I would hugely appreciate your attention to the matter.”
However, he did highlight Dundee Russian School for its valuable work in teaching children and adults the language, which is the fifth most prevalent in the world.
The First Minster left it to her deputy John Swinney to reply, which he did about two months after the original letter was sent in December 2016.
Mr Swinney, who is also Education Secretary, said: “The decision to remove courses was made entirely on practical grounds, reflecting difficulties in maintaining standards in subjects experiencing consistently low uptake.”
He added: “I would assure you that SQA’s decision bore no reflection on the relative merit or value of Russian language or literature – which are considerable.”
Mr Swinney said Scots could learn the language through modern languages for work purposes units and the Language for Life and Work Award.
28 January 2017 (TES)
It's not enough to grandstand the fact that languages have been introduced at primary school and leave it at that, writes this veteran journalist.
I can remember my first German lesson at school only too clearly.
The first two phrases that I was taught were "Mutti bleibt zu hause" and "Vater geht zu arbeit". For the uninitiated, that means "mother stays at home" and "father goes to work".
Apart from giving a rather forlorn view of the state of society in the early 1960's, it also shows how mind-bogglingly dreary were the German textbooks of the day.
16 March 2016 (SecEd)
The curriculum is hampering schools’ efforts to improve and develop the employability skills of their young people, argues Phil Crompton.
Everyone spends at least 11 years at school. That’s a long time. So surely it is not unreasonable to expect young people emerging from the education system to be ready to make a positive contribution to the working world?
I am not talking about examination results. They are just one indicator of someone’s capacity to be a great employee, or even an employer. I am talking about the skills that actually matter in the workplace.
Shouldn’t pupils in our schools be given the chance to develop skills in communicating with confidence, working in teams, bouncing back from failure, being polite, and organising themselves. And once they have developed the skills fully shouldn’t some recognition be available? Employers certainly think so. And so do I.
[..] At my three schools, we recognise the existing curriculum isn’t going away and that exams have to be passed, but we are working with local businesses to breathe life into some of the duller parts of the curriculum and to equip our pupils for working life.
Science classes are advising a housing company on how to promote their new eco-homes, German and French students are producing foreign language leaflets for visitors to a local hotel, computing students have worked with an IT firm to create mobile phone apps, A level students have been practising Spanish conversation at a city tapas bar, and a professional actress has worked with a drama class.
27 February 2016 (Eastern Daily Press)
Applies to England
We have seen a little surge in the past 20 years of hearing people wanting to learn British Sign Language, either to head down in the professional career track of deaf relations such as interpreting or communication support workers or just for casual use to communicate with a deaf friend.
16 October 2015 (ECML/Council of Europe)
Mastery of the language of schooling is essential for developing in learners those skills that are necessary for school success and for critical thinking. It is fundamental for participation in democratic societies, for social inclusion and cohesion.
This Handbook is a valuable resource for education authorities and practitioners in Council of Europe member states. It will help them to reflect on their policy and practice in language education, and support them in developing responses to the current challenges of education systems.
18 December 2014 (TES)
(Applies to England) Real Madrid, French rap music and Germany’s Aldi and Lidl supermarkets are among the topics that university academics have recommended for study in new “academically rigorous” foreign language AS- and A-levels unveiled today. The subject areas are listed in suggestions for individual project work from the A-level content advisory board (Alcab), made up of university academics and other subject experts.
[..]The recommendations from universities come as the government has published new “academically rigorous” compulsory subject content for reformed AS- and A-levels in languages, maths and geography this morning (see related item below).
15 October 2013 (The Guardian)
Lenient grading at GCSE, curriculum context and teaching methodologies are all also to blame for the decline of language students, says Dr Robert Vanderplank.
30 September 2013 (Great Education Debate)
Teaching foreign languages to English speaking children in a world where the international lingua franca is English is a proposition that deserves some exploration and justification. In non-English speaking countries, learning English is more akin to studying a key skill or a core subject, such as mathematics. There is no reason even to hesitate over its importance or centrality, just as no one in medieval Europe would have questioned the importance of Latin in the curriculum of the educated.
However, for us, it is different. How does one justify the inclusion of a (randomly or historically chosen) language in the curriculum for our secondary or primary schools?
8 July 2013 (Department for Education)
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to
other cultures. A high quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and
deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express
their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its
speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to
communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature
in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning
further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
27 November 2012 (Engage for Education)
Sarah Breslin, Director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde, talks about the importance of the Scottish Government’s 1+2 languages policy.
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