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


Language Learning

Radio Lingua resources

27 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free resources from the team at Radio Lingua:

French

  • If you are looking for some authentic but challenging content for your French learners, why don’t you take a look at the latest episode of Coffee Break French To Go Season 2: qu’est-ce qui t’embête le plus ?  is this week’s question with Pierre Benoît.  Throughout the episode, you'll pick up some useful words and phrases to help you express the things that annoy people the most in life. Click here to hear what annoys the French native speakers we spoke to in the streets of Nantes
  • For advanced learners of French - teachers and pupils alike - the wait for Part 2 of La Vérité éclate toujours is over! The second part of our crime drama for advanced learners of French is now available and episode 11 of the podcast is published in the usual podcast feeds here.

Spanish

  • This week we're revisiting Episode 9 of our Coffee Break Spanish Magazine series aimed at intermediate to advanced learners. In each episode we present cultural topics and grammar study in an enjoyable way, allowing you and your pupils to build your vocabulary and increase your range of expression. We're revisiting Episode 9 this week and we're working up an appetite as we're heading to Mexico to talk about food.Click here to access the episode 

Italian

  • As with our French episode, in this latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go Francesca asks the question: cosa ti fa arrabbiare? (What makes you angry?) Join native Italian speakers in the streets of Stresa as they share some interesting words and phrases to express the things that make them angry. Listen to what they have to say about this topic here. You can share this episode with your learners to see how much they understand at the first playing, and then use the subtitles the second time to help discuss any new language or grammar points.
  • If you’re thinking of starting to learn Italian, or have pupils who are interested, why don’t you try out the very first season of Coffee Break Italian. Whatever your language level, you'll be sure to pick up some useful tips in this episode where Mark and Francesca equip you with everything you need to know to acquire the important skill of using the phone in Italian. This episode also features a Caffè Culturale section in which Francesca talks about Italian opera.

German

  • Don't miss out on the valuable content included in Seasons 1 and 2 of our Coffee Break German To Go series. Developed for beginner and intermediate learners of German, we help you put what you've been learning into practice with access to interviews featuring native German speakers. We cover a different topic in each lesson so by the end of the series you and your learners will be well equipped with the necessary vocabulary and expressions to share your opinions in German. Access all episode from Seasons 1 and 2 for free here
  • In Season 2 of Coffee Break German for lower intermediate learners, we take a closer look at grammatical constructions to help you develop a better understanding of how the language works so that you can communicate more confidently in German. This week, we're revisiting  Episode 13 from Season 2 to learn how to translate 'much', 'many', 'some', 'few', and lots more quantifying words – something learners often find difficult. By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to talk confidently in German using the words viel(e), wenig(e)etwasmanche, and say how much chocolate you eat, how many glasses of water you drink, or how many portions of fruit you have.

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.

Read more...

Connecting Classrooms partnership funding

24 November 2020 (British Council)

There’s no more authentic way for pupils to learn about global issues than by working with their peers in another country.

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning can help UK-based schools find partner schools in more than 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Once you’ve made a connection we have a range of support to help you get started and build a strong and sustainable school partnership, including the best online platforms to use for your international school collaboration. One to one partnerships or cluster groups can also apply for funding to cover a range of activities to share learning. The next funding deadline is 2 December 2020.

Visit the 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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Radio Lingua resources

20 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Live Lessons

  • Do you and your learners need some help with sounding more like a native speaker when talking in the foreign language? This week saw two live lesson with a focus on pronunciation. You can view the German video here and the Spanish one, where we looked at how to pronounce the r / rr sound  here.

French

  • We're more than halfway through our brand new series of Coffee Break French To Go! In Episode 6, we're discussing different times of the year as we're asking passers-by which season they prefer - summer or winter. Préféres-tu l’été ou l’hiver ? - Do your learners prefer summer or winter? To find out how to express your own opinion in French, join Pierre-Benoît in the latest episode and ask your pupils to state their preference.
  • We are always looking to include different sayings and expressions in our teaching, so why don’t you have a look at our Coffee Break French Facebook page where last week we looked at the expression: faire froid dans le dos, which is the equivalent of ‘to send shivers down your spine’. We asked our community to comment below the post with something that sends shivers down their spine, and we received some great replies, like this one from Jean: Quand je vois une araignée, ça me fait froid dans le dos. Can you encourage your pupils to come up with their own example? Click here to view the full post for some inspiration.

Spanish

  • If you finished our Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries and are missing being virtually in Spain, why not join Mark and the Coffee Break Spanish team 'on the road' in the south of Spain with our popular En Marcha series for intermediate learners of Spanish. Throughout the season we visit some beautiful places in the Málaga area and talk to people who live or work in the area or who are visiting the area. In Episode 2 we find out what it's like to live and work in Málaga as Mark talks to Sara who works in the Tourism department of the Ayuntamiento de Málaga. These conversations feature authentic Spanish, with a whole range of different accents and speeds of delivery, so it’s the perfect way to improve your listening comprehension. ¡Vamos!
  • In our Spanish Grammar Builder post last week, we recapped the different uses of the words bien and bueno, which can often be quite confusing for learners. Click here to see the full post and a full explanation of when to use bien and bueno.

Italian

  • Preferisci l’estate o l’inverno? - Do you prefer summer or winter? This is the question Francesca asks native Italians in the streets of Stresa in the latest episode of Coffee Break Italian To Go for intermediate learners. Click here to hear how native Italians express their thoughts on these seasons and listen out for any new words or phrases you're not familiar with.
  • Have you ever had a dream that you’ve set aside, which will hopefully come true one day? In Italian, this type of dream is called a sogno nel cassetto, literally a 'dream in the drawer’. We love the idea of keeping a dream in a drawer until it’s ready to come true! Do you have any 'dreams in the drawer'? Click here to see the full post and to see the impressive dreams shared by our community.

German

  • If you’re looking for help with Grammar in German for yourself or learners, have a look at Season 2 of Coffee Break German for lower intermediate learners. This week, we're revisiting  episode 13 from Season 2 to learn how to translate 'much', 'many', 'some', 'few', and lots more quantifying words – something learners often find difficult. By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to talk confidently in German using the words viel(e), wenig(e)etwasmanche, and say how much chocolate you eat, how many glasses of water you drink, or how many portions of fruit you have.
  • Do you know the English translations of the German words nach and zu? They are both translated as ‘to’ which means it can be quite tricky for an English-speaking German learner to know when to use each word. In our Grammar Builder Facebook post last week, we gave our community an explanation of the differences in use between these two small words. Click here to see the post, then try and come up with two example sentences using nach or zu correctly.

Fèis Rois launches new songwriting project for young Gaels passionate about the environment

18 November 2020 (The Herald)

Young Gaelic speakers who have a passion for the environment and a talent for songwriting could have their chance to shine, thanks to a new songwriting project launched by Highland arts organisation, Fèis Rois. 

The competition, which is open to applicants until November, Monday 23, is calling on budding Gaelic songwriters from secondary schools across the Highlands to come up with new Gaelic material, connected to the environment and Scotland's landscape. 

Fèis Rois, an arts organisation based in Dingwall, Ross-shire, has collaborated with NatureScot to launch 'Caithream na Cruinne', aimed at emerging Gaelic songwriters who take their inspiration from nature and the current environmental challenges. 

Read more...

Beyond the Panda free virtual sessions

18 November 2020 (RZSS)

Beyond the Panda flyer

FREE virtual Beyond the Panda sessions available for all primary levels linking science with Mandarin language learning. Delivered on Microsoft Teams within Glow. Fully booked this term but taking bookings now for the new year. Booking up fast! Email srobb@rzss.org.uk.

Also see the Beyond the Panda website for follow-on resources.

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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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Radio Lingua resources

13 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free resources from the Radio Lingua team.

French

  • Are you talking to your learners about the benefits of continuing to study a language? It might be useful to hear how native French speakers respond to the question: pour toi, est-il important d’apprendre une langue étrangère ? (Is learning a foreign language important to you?). How would you respond to this question in French? Take some ideas from the responses we receive in the episode by watching here.
  • With autumn well and truly here in the northern hemisphere, we thought that it would be useful to share some autumn-related vocabulary with our community over on the Coffee Break French Facebook page last week. Do you know the French words for rain, pumpkin, wind, chestnuts and dead leaves? Try and test yourself, then click here to view the post and see if you were right.

Spanish

  • We're going back to basics this week as we're revisiting Episode 14 from Season 1 of Coffee Break Spanish to talk about the town. In this episode we look at places in the town and help learners talk about places in their own town with a very catchy song. After listening to this lesson you'll be able to tell Spanish speakers all there is to offer in the town where you live. 
  • As we mentioned in last week's newsletter, on the 2nd of November, countries around Latin America celebrate El día de los muertos, or the Day of the Dead. We decided to base all of last week’s Spanish Facebook posts around this event, starting with a vocabulary list at the start of the week. Click here to learn a bit more about El día de los muertos, and learn some interesting vocabulary associated with this celebration, from calacas and calaveras to ofrendas.

Italian

  • As with our French series, this time with we're talking about the importance of languages. Francesca asks the question: pensi che sia importante studiare le lingue straniere? (Do you think that studying foreign languages is important?) and we received many interesting responses. Click here to take a look at what native Italians had to say about the subject . Their responses might help your learners see the benefits of continuing to study languages.
  • Over on the Coffee Break Languages Instagram page last week, it was time to share an Italian idiom with our followers. The idiom was tutto fa brodo, which translates literally as ‘everything makes broth’ but is used to express the idea that everything, no matter what it is, can be made into something useful. Had you heard of this idiom before? Can you use it in a sentence? Click here to see the full post.

German

  • If you're looking for some authentic material to use with your beginner or intermediate learners of German then you can take your German 'on the road' with Seasons 1 and 2 of Coffee Break German To Go. In these series, our German presenter, Julia engages with a range of native speakers on location in Germany. We hear their views on a range of topics from family to sport, food, languages, work and more. There are 10 video episodes ready and waiting for you in each season. Access all episode from series 1 and 2 for free here
  • How many different ways of greeting people do you know in German? Have you heard of the phrase Grüß Gott? Used in rural areas of South Germany and in Austria, this greeting literally means “God greet you”. Last week, we challenged our Facebook community to come up with any more regional greetings that they knew, and to share them with their fellow learners.

Facebook Lives

Next week our Facebook Lives are focusing on pronunciation. If you can’t watch the Live, the videos are available to view on YouTube any time after the event. 

  • Wednesday 18 November at 15.30 is German pronunciation
  • Thursday 19 November at 15.30 is Spanish pronunciation

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.

Read more...

“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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Oxford German Olympiad 2021

10 November 2020 (Oxford German Network)

The 2021 Oxford German Olympiad run by the Oxford German Network at the University of Oxford is now open.

A range of age-specific tasks can be found on the competition website along with a taster category for entrants with no prior knowledge of German.

All the activities centre around this year's competition theme of Die Alpen.

Visit the website for more information. Closing date for entries: 11 March 2021.

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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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SQA Modern Languages course reports

9 November 2020 (SQA)

Advanced Higher course reports for the 2019 diet have been added to the SQA website for Gaelic (Learners), German and Spanish.

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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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Radio Lingua resources

6 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

French

  • Are you teaching negatives in French to your classes? We cover ne … plus meaning “no longer”, and ne … que meaning 'only', as well as about ne … plus quein this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn French
  • Qu’as-tu fait hier ? (What did you do yesterday?). Being able to use the perfect tense accurately is fundamental for pupils studying for national qualifications.? Click here to watch Episode 4 from our new season of Coffee Break French To Go, to see the ways in which native speakers use the past tenses in their responses.

Spanish

  • We have come to the end of this series of the Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries. We hope that you've enjoyed discovering some beautiful locations in the north of Spain from the comfort of your own home as we’ve not been able to travel ourselves this year. We arrive in the vibrant city of Santiago de Compostela and take a look at the Spanish language throughout the episode including the word picoteo and the lo + adjective grammatical structure. Listen to Episode 10 for free here 
  • Our Coffee Break Spanish To Go series allows you to take your Spanish 'on the road'. Learners can join Spanish host Marina, as she takes to the streets in Spain to interview native speakers on a number of interesting topics. From the responses we hear, your learners can develop their comprehension skills and learn new natural words and phrases. Access Series 1 and 2 for free here 

Italian

  • In a similar vein to our French series, in the latest episode of Coffee break Italian To Go, Francesca asks passers-by in the streets of Stresa: cos’hai fatto ieri? (What did you do yesterday?). We hear lots of interesting responses which will help our intermediate Italian learners with the use of the past tense. Click here to see how native Italian speakers responded to this question 
  • Have you joined our Facebook community? We introduced a very useful little expression in a Facebook post last week. The expression was farcela, which means ‘to make it’ or ‘to manage’. Here’s an example of the expression used in context: L'esame era difficile, ma ce l'abbiamo fatta. Can you use farcela in a sentence? Click here to see a more detailed explanation of how to use this phrase

German

  • Join us in the 10th and final episode for this series of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries. Karin and her family are back in the camper van, driving the last few kilometres of their memorable 450km trip. As they make it to their last stop in Lindau, Karin reflects on the time she has spent travelling with her family and the wonderful places they have visited - einen besseren Familienurlaub kann man sich kaum wünschen (one could hardly wish for a better family holiday). While listening to Mark and Andrea discuss the language in Karin's diary entry, listen out for the use of the perfect tense. 
  • Our cultural post on Facebook last week talked about the popular German Jahrmarkt-Süßigkeit (funfair candy): gebrannte Mandeln (candied almonds). Have you ever tried this delicious treat? If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine the sweet smell wafting through a cosy Christmas market. Click here to see the full post on Facebook, and click here for a recipe to make your own gebrannte Mandeln.

Languages and Music

  • Have you ever tried listening to music in a foreign language as a way of developing your vocabulary and range of expression? Here at Coffee Break Languages we love combining music with language learning which is why we created our Tune for Tuesday series on our blog. In each article, we introduce you to some new styles of music from around the world, while helping you develop your language skills. You can find our full range of carefully selected songs in French, Spanish, Italian and German over on our blog. Be sure to check out our Spotify playlist while you're there.

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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Still & Sparkling: UK-German Youth Newsletter

5 November 2020 (UK-German Connection)

With details of upcoming opportunities, fun language features and inspiring alumni stories the UK-German Youth Newsletter brings young people from both countries closer together and helps them discover both cultures through the eyes of other young people.

Written by young people, for young people, the newsletter is aimed at the 14-25 year old age group and contains content in both English and German.

Young people can read the latest edition and sign up to receive the newsletter on the UK-German Connection website. Here they can also find guidance on how to submit a contribution.

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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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Learn German with the Goethe-Institut

4 November 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut offers a range of initiatives for language teachers and students of German. Here is their latest selection of upcoming opportunities. Click on the relevant link to find out more:

  • Fun Ways to Teach Syntax and Grammar (10 November 2020) - Presentation of a variety of cooperative games and whole class activities which can be easily adapted to different groups at primary level. Register by 9 November.
  • Arsenal Double Club online workshop (12 November 2020) - Open to primary and secondary teachers, the award winning educational programme combining football and language learning will introduce you to their German language learning resources in this online session. Register by 11 November.
  • German Quiz Challenge drop in session (18 November 2020) - This session is to help teachers get to grips with this new and exciting resource for them and their 13-16 year old learners of German. See a presentation of the new German Quiz Challenge app on YouTube.
  • Poetry workshop with world poetry slam champion Harry Baker (27 November and 4 December 2020) - Pupils in Years 10 and 11 are invited to take part in a poetry workshop allowing them to actively use the German language in a fun setting while also getting to know other secondary school students from across the UK. Register by 20 November.
  • Christmas traditions in the German classroom (1 December 2020) - This session for primary teachers will focus on the traditions and rituals around Christmas and how to integrate them into your German lessons. This is a fantastic way to expand cultural knowledge and motivate your students. Register by 30 November.

FOKUS: Films from Germany

2 November 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

Fokus, films from Germany 2020 is still happening! In keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and to keep our audiences and performers safe, the annual celebration of German cinema will be an all-digital online affair. The virtual festival will be shorter and smaller than in previous years, and will also move from its usual late November start to December 3-17.

The programme will be available mid-November. Meanwhile you can visit the Goethe-Institut website to find out more about the event and what was on offer last year.

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Japan Foundation funding programme

2 November 2020 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation's annual grant programmes are now open for applications. There are various grants available in the fields of Arts and Culture, Japanese Language and Japanese Studies. 

Important Information:

Government guidelines on work and travel may affect the application process. Please make sure you contact the relevant department before you begin your application. 

The deadline for most of our programmes is 1 December 2020 (except Support Program for Translation and Publication on Japan: deadline is 20 November).

Visit the website for more information about all the programmes funding is available for.

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4 top tips for using Scots language in the classroom

30 October 2020 (TES)

Student Len Pennie – better known online as Miss Punny Pennie – has become an internet star with videos that share a Scots language word of the day. One of her most popular videos, in which she recites her poem I'm No Havin' Children (see below), has been viewed nearly 250,000 times on Twitter.

Here are her four top tips for using Scots in school.

(Subscription required to access full article).

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Radio Lingua resources

30 October 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here is this week's selection of resources from the team at Radio Lingua:

French

  • Do you teach daily routines in French to your classes?  In the second episode of Season 2 of Coffee Break French To Go, Pierre-Benoît asked passers-by about their daily routine with the question: C’est quoi une journée typique pour toi? (What is a typical day for you?). How would you answer this in French? Click here to get some inspiration from the answers we received in the streets of Nantes to share with your pupils.
  • Last Friday we decided that the best way to end the week would be with some music, so we asked the Coffee Break French Facebook followers to share the cheeriest French-language songs that they know. We had some great responses in the comments section such as Je veux by Zaz and Alors on danse by Stromae. Click here to see even more toe-tapping recommendations. Please send us any of your own!

Spanish

  • We also recently released Season 2 of Coffee Break Spanish To Go for intermediate learners which you can access for free here. In each episode Marina interviews native speakers about a range of topics but this time she's in the city of Málaga, in the south of Spain. These videos are great starter activities for beginner learners of Spanish.
  • Do you follow us on Instagram? Last week, we shared a Spanish idiom over there with our followers: en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Have you heard of this expression before? It’s equivalent to the English expression ‘in the blink of an eye’. Follow us by searching for @coffeebreaklanguages on Instagram to help your learners build up a bank of useful and natural phrases to use in their classwork.

Italian

  • We're also back with Episode 2 of our brand-new season of Coffee Break Italian To Go for intermediate learners of Italian. This week, our host Francesca is talking to native Italian speakers in the streets of Stresa to ask the following question: com’è la tua giornata tipica? (What is your daily routine?). Watch the video and listen to the podcast version here to find out what our respondents get up to on a daily basis.
  • Last week in our Grammar Builder post on Facebook, we talked about the verbs portare and prendere: ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’ in English. We provided our community with a gap-filling exercise as an opportunity to practise using these two verbs. See if you can complete this sentence with the correct verb: Laura ____ la sua borsa dalla sedia. What do you think? Click here to see the answer in the comments section, and to have a go at two more exercises. Follow us on Facebook for some more ideas and practice.

German

  • Last Friday, we asked our Facebook learners if they had any cultural recommendations to share with their fellow German learners, whether it be a TV series, book or film. As we said in the post, “no one understands the challenges and tricks to do with learning a language better than the community you're learning with.” Click here to see some great suggestions left in the comments.

Live Lessons

We have started our next series of Live lessons which may be difficult for teachers to access during the day. However the videos will be available to view on both YouTube and Facebook. You can download our full schedule of live lessons planned for October to December from the website: click here for more information.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig calls on young people to help guide Gaelic into a new era

30 October 2020 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Gaelic organisations are asking young people across the country to stand up and be heard as Bòrd na Gàidhlig launch opportunities for their voices to be listened to. 
 
BnG will be running online surveys for young people based on their opinions and ideas for Gaelic usage and how to increase this within their communities. 
 
The two surveys, which will be distributed to schools and community groups, are for Primary 5-7, Secondary pupils S1-S6 and for school leavers. The surveys will run until 15 November as the Gaelic development body collates opinions critical to the future of the language and how young people can help contribute to this across Scotland. 

More information can be found on the attached press release or by visiting the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website.

Read more...

Related Files

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.”

Read more...

P1 & P2 French language teachers needed for Creative Puppetry Research Project

29 October 2020 (Le Petit Monde)

Cover of Lapin is Hungry book

For her Masters in Education’s Final Year Project, Teaching Artist Tania is planning to conduct a case study to research if a play and creative puppetry based approach to learning can bring changes to Early Years language teaching and learning and if any, which ones. Health & Well-Being potential effects will also be analysed and discussed.

For this:

  • She is looking to remotely collaborate with 2 teachers of French language (one P1 and one P2) to deliver 4 lessons each and 2 suitable observers of the sessions. Ideally, the school will be within the Central Belt.
  • The project will be based on the bilingual picture book Lapin is Hungry, which contains food vocabulary and greeting words. Pupils and teachers will make simple puppets and playfully re-enact the story, speaking French in the process.
  • Lessons will be planned and evaluated through a community of practice method (via online chats) and could be part of the usual time allocated to French learning.
  • Teachers’ time could count as CLPL hours.
  • Possible timeline: sparingly from November with lessons delivered in Jan / Feb 2021.

To register your interest or ask any questions, please fill in this short form.

Learn French with Alliance Française Glasgow

28 October 2020 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow provides a range of language learning opportunities for adults and children. Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about forthcoming classes:

  • Free taster sessions (5 & 10 November) - If you have reservations about joining an online class, we are offering free taster sessions so you can find out all the necessary information on how our current classes are being run before enrolling for a course.
  • Adult classes (commencing 16 November) - Enrolling now for the next term.
  • l’heure du conte (10 November and 8 December) - Join us to hear our librarian’s historiettes/short stories, comfortably wrapped in a blanket at home with your little ones. Free and suitable for all.

Visit the Alliance Française Glasgow website to discover the full range of activities and events on offer. 

Read more...

New drive to bring Arabic into Scottish schools

27 October 2020 (TES)

A new initiative aims to bring the teaching of Arabic into both primary and secondary schools in Scotland.

This week the Scottish primaries involved in a new programme offering an insight into Arabic language and culture will receive boxes of Arabic artefacts, such as books, scarves, musical instruments and tea sets.

Scottish schools are open but movement in and out of buildings remains restricted as a result of Covid-19. Scilt, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, has, however, found a way to bring the wider world to pupils at a time when their ability to travel is also much reduced.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is offering an insight into Arabic language and culture in 15 primary and secondary schools around Scotland. The courses include online lessons from native-speaking teachers of Arabic in the UK and link-ups with native Arabic speakers overseas.

The centre was keen to make the experience tangible, hence the delivery of the boxes.

Scilt director Fhiona Mackay says: “It’s really important that we encourage diversity in language learning. That’s what the 1+2 approach to language learning [in Scotland] should be all about – particularly language three should be an opportunity to explore languages that otherwise children would not be exposed to. It is absolutely right that they should have the chance to experience a language that does not have the same script or alphabet as Latin or Germanic-based languages.

“We also wanted to make sure that children were getting a view of the Arabic world that was not about war, terrorism or refugees. We wanted them to see there is something quite wonderful about this ancient civilisation and help them relate that back to their own experience in Scotland.”

The courses offer learners the chance to explore the secular culture of Arabic nations and to receive a grounding in the Arabic language, which is a first language in more than 20 countries and the fifth most widely spoken in the world.

Read more...

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. 

Read more...

£10m Mandarin scheme set for expansion despite teacher recruitment struggles

24 October 2020 (Schools Week)

A £10 million programme to improve children’s fluency in Mandarin is set to be extended.

The government-funded Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) was launched in 2016 to get “at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020” and train “at least 100 new qualified Chinese teachers by the end of the programme”.

When the programme, run by University College London’s Institute of Education (IOE) and the British Council, started there were 1,000 pupils across England learning Mandarin.

The IOE said the 5,000-pupil target had been exceeded by the last academic year.

The contract has been extended to this year, with about 7,000 pupils now taking part in 75 schools nationally.

But in contrast, 69 teachers have achieved qualified status on the UCL IOE Chinese Language PGCE – 31 shy of the target.

An IOE spokesperson said by summer next year, 83 IOE PGCE graduates will have finished their courses, adding that “in collaboration with other providers a grand total of more than 100 newly qualified teachers of Chinese will have been trained since 2016”.

A spokesperson for the Association for Language Learning praised the MEP for its success, but said it wanted “to see the funding of such projects extended to other languages to allow everyone access to learning a language”.

Read more...

French Film Festival 2020

23 October 2020 (French Film Festival)

Running from 4 November to 17 December online and in cinemas up and down the UK, the 2020 Fête du cinéma offers a range of films, documentaries and shorts along with a selection specifically aimed at French language learners in schools.

Visit the French Film Festival website for full programme details.

Read more...

BSL:  New case study alert!

23 October 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT is delighted to announce the publication of its new case study on engaging parents with languages. This study, in conjunction with Education Scotland, highlights how Moorfoot Primary and Garvel Deaf Centre in Gourock support parents of deaf and hearing children with learning BSL. It provides insightful information on how BSL features greatly within the school, in addition to the other languages taught. Parents, pupils and staff share their experience of using and learning BSL and emphasise the value, significance and importance of all language learning and the impact it can have locally and beyond.

Read more...

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. 

Read more...

Secondary school Gaelic immersion study reports positive effects of bilingualism on language and cognition

20 October 2020 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A ground-breaking study into how Gaelic is perceived by secondary school pupils and how it develops their linguistic and cognitive skills found significant benefits of speaking the language alongside a global language such as English.

The immersion study, funded by Bord na Gàidhlig, was led by Dr Maria Garraffa and a team from Heriot-Watt University, together with Prof Bernadette O’Rourke from University of Glasgow and Prof Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh.

They worked together with senior pupils from The Glasgow Gaelic School, the largest provider of Gaelic medium education in Scotland, to find out how our younger generation of Gaelic speakers view and use the language. It examined for the first time particularly whether older teenagers, after 15 years of education in Gaelic, continued to speak Gaelic or what might lead them to stop.

The research revealed that speaking Gaelic does not affect the ability to speak well in English – and that being bilingual provides more opportunities for those fluent in both.

Read more...

Königspost German writing competition

20 October 2020 (King's College London)

The German Department of King's College London is seeking to publish one original piece of writing in German on the topic of Die Digitale Zukunft, written by a student of German in Year 12 or 13 (S5 or S6 in Scotland). 

The winning submission will be published in the winter edition of the Königspost, the Department newspaper, which has a wide circulation among university students and learners of German across the UK.

Visit the website and see the attached document for more information. Submission deadline is 20 November 2020.

Read more...

Related Files

Tutoring sessions - Higher French & Advanced Higher Spanish

19 October 2020 (Language Learning Scotland)

Language Learning Scotland has added free drop-in tutoring sessions for Higher French and Advanced Higher Spanish to their offering. Open to S5/S6 students these sessions begin week commencing 19 October 2020.

Visit the website to find out more and to sign up. 

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Discovery Film Festival 2020

18 October 2020 (Discovery Film Festival)

Welcome to the 17th edition of Discovery Film Festival – the first to be online – and another collection of the finest films handpicked for young audiences from around the world.

All films in the online festival programme will be accessible from Saturday 17 October to Sunday 1 November 2020. There's an exciting collection of shorts and brand-new features with accompanying curriculum-linked resource packs. The added benefit this year is that current restrictions and the move online means access to our programme will now be possible for schools across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The school's programme includes some new shorts for language practice! Visit the festival website for full programme details.

Read more...

The Glasgow teacher who has led Gaelic education surge

18 October 2020 (The Herald)

The head teacher who has overseen a surge in demand for Gaelic Medium Education in Glasgow has said her own childhood experience of English-only lessons as a native speaker fuelled efforts to improve access to the language in schools.

Donalda McComb will now say “Beannach Leibh” to teaching after 34 years and heading up the city’s first joint campus, which combines a nursery, primary and secondary that was ranked ninth best performing high in this year’s league tables.

Glasgow is home to the largest number of Gaelic speakers outwith the Highlands and Islands, a mix of native speakers who move for university or jobs and those coming through Gaelic medium education (GME) or learning independently. 

Read more...

Radio Lingua resources

9 October 2020 (Radio Lingua)

This week's selection of freely available resources from the team at Radio Lingua:

French

  • Have you been following our Advanced French novel? This week sees a brand new episode of La Vérité éclate toujours and secrets are revealed!  Listen to Chapter 10 here . Don't forget to pay attention to the spoken register of French featured in this dialogue with words such as les flics (cops) and colloquial questions including comment ça ? (how come?) and où ça ? (where's that?).
  • As we know, learning new verbs and how to conjugate them is key to pupils’ success in developing their range of expression in another language. Knowing which verb to use and of course, how to conjugate it can often be tricky for language learners. That is why we developed our French Verb Fix course, in a bid to help learners 'fix' their verbs with conjugations of various verbs in the present, perfect, imperfect and future tenses. We use the art of repetition, interactive quizzes and even musical backing tracks, to help our learners build their confidence when learning and using verbs. Take a look at the very first lesson of the series where we focus on the verb parler meaning “to speak” or “to talk”. This is an example of a regular -er verb so we not only learn how to conjugate parler in the present, perfect, imperfect and future tenses, but also how to conjugate hundreds, if not thousands, of other regular -er verbs.

Spanish

  • Our latest episode of our Spanish Travel Diaries takes our couple from San Vicente de la Barquera in Cantabria as they make their way to the village of Lastres in Asturias and visit the Bufones de Arenillas geysers and the Playa de Gulpiyuri – an inland beach. Mark and Anabel talk about these places being de ensueño (dreamlike) and discuss the use of the verb madrugar (to get up early) among many other interesting expressions and phrases. Access the podcastAccess the course
  • The Coffee Break Spanish team is in the classical Spanish city of Salamanca for Season 2 of Coffee Break Spanish To Go. Our host Marina, takes to the streets of this beautiful city and approaches native Spanish speakers to hear their views on a number of interesting topics such as, food, film, languages and much more. You can catch up on all 10 episodes for free on our YouTube channel

Italian

  • Are you an intermediate learner of Italian? If so then take a look at our Coffee Break Italian Magazine. In each of the 10 episodes, CBI hosts Mark and Francesca present cultural topics and grammar study, allowing you to build your vocabulary and increase your range of expression. We cover a whole range of topics and in Episode 2 we head south to the region of Puglia and, more specifically, to the area known as Il Gargano. Francesca and Mark also have some advice on how to learn vocabulary, based on listener, Tricia’s question. The episode concludes with a scioglilingua – a tongue twister.
  • Are you following our Coffee Break Italian Facebook page? Our community enjoyed a task we set for them on Italian diminutives, which are used to make nouns sound ‘smaller’. We provided them with three words and asked them to pick the correct diminutive ending from -ino, -ina, -ini or -ine, based on the nouns’ gender and number. Click here to have a go.

German

  • It’s also Episode 6 of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries where we head to spend a day in Garmisch-Partenkirchenm, one of the most popular German skiing areas. Although skiing isn't on the cards for the family, they still have a fantastic, fun-filled day and even make some new friends. As Mark and Andrea discuss Karin's travel diary entry, we hear examples of the pluperfect tense as well as some interesting expressions and vocabulary including the word hetzen and the demonstrative pronoun diejenige. Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • If you have completed Seasons 1 and 2 of Coffee Break German and are ready to take the next step then our Magazine might be the right course for you. In each of the 10 episodes, CBG hosts Mark and Andrea focus on a text, based around a particular topic, and discuss the interesting language points alongside some useful cultural information. In this musical episode, our theme is Schlager, an immensely popular style of music with catchy melodies and happy-go-lucky lyrics. Find out more about this cultural phenomenon, and learn about reflexive verbs and using the perfect or Präteritum with als.

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.

Vacancy: General Manager (CISS)

6 October 2020 (CISS)

Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), based in Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) requires a General Manager to support the network of Scotland’s Confucius classrooms across Scotland. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward the strategic languages agenda in Scotland.

The successful candidate will be part of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools team based within SCILT at the Ramshorn building in Glasgow’s city centre but flexible working is supported. The centre leads 46 Confucius classrooms across Scotland, including secondary, primary and specialist classrooms.

The General Manager will support the Director with the strategic overview, management and quality assurance of CISS projects. S/he/they will take a lead role in the promotion of Chinese language and culture in response to the Scottish Government’s China Strategy and the 1+2 languages policy. S/he/they will contribute to the development of corporate and operational plans in order to achieve the strategic aims and objectives of CISS, in line with priorities determined by Scottish Government, Confucius Institute Headquarters (CIH), the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF) and the University of Strathclyde.

The successful candidate will be a fluent Mandarin speaker and able to use language to negotiate and conduct business. The candidate will have substantial management experience within institutions/organisations. An understanding of the Scottish education system would be an advantage. An excellent networker with an entrepreneurial flair, will be able to work effectively with a wide range of Chinese and UK stakeholders in government, academia and industry. S/he/they will be confident to develop strong partnerships with all stakeholders. 

For full details and to apply visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal. Closing date for applications is 19 October 2020. 

Read more...

Calling all schools hosting a German Language Assistant!

5 October 2020 (UK-German Connection)

*Boost German and intercultural learning in your school with a Cultural Exchange Ambassador*

While travel is out of bounds, give your pupils an authentic taste of Germany: encourage your German Language Assistant to become a Cultural Exchange Ambassador, join a UK-German network and run a class-to-class project with a German school. 

This programme, offered by UK-German Connection, has wide-reaching benefits:

  • Pupils gain an authentic connection to their German peers, helping improve both their linguistic and cultural understanding and increase their motivation
  • Language Assistants learn & strengthen valuable skills, including project management, teamwork & communication, and benefit from peer-to-peer exchange
  • Schools benefit from curricular-focused projects, which connect their pupils with another country, culture & language

“A brilliant initiative by our FLA, thoroughly enjoyed by all participants, most of whom have now opted for GCSE German.” (Head of German department)

More information about the programme can be found on the UK-German Connection Cultural Exchange Ambassadors webpage, where you can also sign up for an online Q&A session on selected dates during October. 

Application deadline: Monday 26 October 2020

For questions and further information, please contact ambassadors@ukgermanconnection.org

Read more...

Class acts: three lockdown teaching stars discuss being back in school

3 October 2020 (The Guardian)

Staff who made headlines for their dedication during closures talk about the joy of reuniting with pupils and the impact of more restrictions.

[..] When James Innes, AKA the “Joe Wicks for French”, made the decision to share videos of his French lessons online over lockdown, he had no idea that he would return to his school a YouTube sensation.

Read more...

'Teachers key to development of Gaelic language in Scotland' claim as new three-year plan unveiled

2 October 2020 (Ross-shire Journal)

The vital role of teachers in the promotion of the Gaelic language in Scotland is acknowledged in a new three-year plan.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) has launched its revised Gaelic Language Plan.

The plan sets out four key commitments:

  • To raise awareness of Gaelic as a language and to support its use through integrated communications.
  • To support the development of learning and teaching in Gaelic throughout Scotland.
  • To encourage growth of the Gaelic language both within GTC Scotland and externally.
  • To promote and support teacher professional development in the Gaelic language.

It complements the National Gaelic Language Plan which aims to promote the language and culture in Scotland. It outlines the need to explore new routes to promote, recruit, educate and retain the Gaelic education workforce and review existing routes into the profession.

And it acknowledges the role GTC Scotland has to play in addressing these challenges.

Read more...

Related Links

New plan to promote Gaelic revealed (The Northern Times, 3 October 2020)

 

Radio Lingua resources

2 October 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here is this week's selection of free resources from the team at Radio Lingua

French

  • Chapter 9 of La Vérité éclate toujours, our course for Advanced Learners of French has now been released. This episode offers the chance to  look again at the past historic and present subjunctive, as well as the use of the present participle in structures such as tout en + present participle and rien qu’en + present participle. Plenty of challenge here for Advanced Higher pupils and teachers alike. Click here to listen to the episode
  • Our Coffee Break French Magazine series is another course suitable for intermediate learners. Each stand alone lesson helps you build your vocabulary, increase your understanding of grammar and learn to use the French language in a more natural way. Take a look at Episode 5 where we find out more about how the French spoken in Quebec is different from the French spoken in France. We also look at the very useful expression il s’agit de, and learn about how to use this in context.

Spanish

  • Our Spanish Travel Diaries sees us reach the halfway point of our trip around the north of Spain. In Episode 5 we’re making the most of our time in Santander before heading to our next stop in the Cantabria region of northern Spain. We’re visiting Santillana del Mar, often considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. Join hosts Mark and Anabel as they discuss the language used in Victoria’s travel diary entry, focusing on interesting vocabulary such as the adverb bien and the phrase en rumboAccess the podcast Access the course
  • If you're a teacher looking to boost or refresh your Spanish, but short on time and would like a quick 'espresso shot' of some Spanish learning then our Coffee Break Spanish Espresso course is for you. The short lessons in this series have been developed to help you deepen your understanding of the language and help you learn to express yourself in a more authentic way. In Episode 7, Mark talks about the word por and also looks at feminine nouns which use masculine articles. Native Spanish speaker Fernanda introduces the expression es una lástima que in the Subjunctive of the Week segment, and we have a quotation to share with you, focusing on knowledge and how little – or how much – we have. Can you guess which quote we're talking about? Click here to find out.

Italian

  • We're almost ready to release Season 2 of Coffee Break Italian To Go so there's not much longer to wait. Until then, we're taking a look back at Season 1 of Coffee Break Italian To Go so that we're ready to move on to the next level in the coming weeks. This time, we're talking sport as Francesca asks the question: qual è il tuo sport preferito? We receive a range of answers from native Italian speakers, featuring a variety of vocabulary and expressions which will help tune your ear to the language used in everyday speech. Click here to hear what passers-by in the city of Milan had to say.
  • It was time to revise a common Italian verb in our Grammar Builder post over on Facebook last Wednesday. The verb was ‘to play’, which is interesting as it can actually be translated in several different ways in Italian, depending on the context. Do you remember which verb would be used for the phrase: ‘to play the guitar’ and which verb would be used for: ‘to play football’? Click here to have a go at translating some sentences which use the verb ‘to play' in different ways.

German

  • We've also reached Episode 5 of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries which means that we're halfway through our journey along the Deutsche Alpenstraße. This week, we're joining Karin and her family as they climb to the top of the mountain, Der Herzogstand and enjoy the cable car on the way back down before lunch. As Mark and Andrea discuss Karin's travel diary entry, they identify and review a number of verbs, including separable verbs, reflexive verbs and modal verbs. Listen to the podcast Access the course
  • Do you understand station? Over on our Instagram page last week, we learned a curious German idiom. Where English speakers may say 'it's all Greek to me', meaning they don't understand something at all, German speakers say 'I understand only station' or ich verstehe nur Bahnhof. Do you know any similar idiomatic phrases in other languages? Click here to see the post.

Apply for the new Erasmus+ Key Action 2 deadline

1 October 2020 (Erasmus+)

In response to COVID-19, the European Commission announced a new decentralised call with the deadline of 29 October 2020, 11am (UK time). Schools are invited to apply for Partnerships for Digital Education Readiness (KA226) and Partnerships for Creativity (KA227).

As virtual cooperation opportunities are key to successful partnerships in the Covid-19 context, schools are strongly encouraged to use the eTwinning and the School Education Gateway to find partners and work together before, during and after the project activities. 

Visit the Erasmus+ website to access application forms and guidance documents.

Read more...

Autumn immersion week

1 October 2020 (Language Learning Scotland)

Calling all S5 and S6 Modern Languages students studying French, German Spanish and Mandarin. From 12-16 October 2020, Language Learning Scotland is running a virtual language immersion week. Come along to learn more about the culture, the course and so much more!

Meet like-minded language lovers and hear talks from native young people and industry professionals. Get help and advice on navigating your way through Higher and Advanced Higher with tips for memorising grammar and vocabulary.

Visit the LLS website for more information and to apply. 

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eSgoil study support webinars

1 October 2020 (eSgoil/SCILT)

SCILT is proud to partner with colleagues at e-Sgoil in order to offer additional support to sixth year language learners.

Free live webinar lessons for young people studying Advanced Higher French and Spanish are available on line for eight weeks from the beginning of November.

Advanced Higher Spanish

Wednesdays 5 pm from 4 November 2020

Advanced Higher French

Thursdays 5 pm from 5 November 2020

Going by the response to previous live-streamed lessons, interest is likely to be high.  Please encourage young people to sign up as quickly as possible to guarantee their place. They will need their pupil Glow login details and Scottish Candidate Number to register.

More information and the registration link can be found on the eSgoil website.

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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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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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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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Radio Lingua resources

24 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

The team at Radio Lingua has collated this week's selection of their language learning resources which are freely available.

French

  • The Coffee Break French team is busy preparing materials for Season 2 of our Coffee Break French To Go series in which Pierre-Benoît is talking to locals in Nantes, the town where he studied. Ahead of the launch, why not take a look back at Season 1? Join Pierre-Benoît in the town of Pornic, in the west of France and take a look at this episode where we're talking sport. Quel est ton sport préféré ?
  • In our cultural Facebook post, we were talking about la bise. Despite the need to practise social distancing at the moment, it’s important to know how to do la bise when life goes back to normal. How many kisses should one give? This depends on where you are in the French-speaking world. Here’s a useful video which explains everything you need to know to prepare yourself for la bise in the future.

Spanish

  • Have you seen our Coffee Break Spanish to Go videos?  They are ideal for authentic content in your classes or for sharing for online learning. We took to the streets of Málaga in the south of Spain to ask native Spanish speakers their thoughts on a number of topics. In Episode 9 we ask passers-by: ¿qué haces en tu tiempo libre? - what do you do in your free time?
  • Every Tuesday on our Coffee Break Languages Instagram account, we share an idiom of the week. Our latest idiom was a piece of cake to remember… in Spanish to say something is really easy, we can say that it is ‘eaten bread’ or pan comido. Why don’t you follow our account or share with your learners?  Click here to view the post and see the responses we received.
  • In Episode 4 of the Coffee Break Spanish Travel Diaries, we’re leaving Bilbao behind and heading to the capital city of the Cantabria region of Spain – Santander! Listen out for the interesting vocabulary featured in this episode, as well as some useful phrases such as costarle a alguien (to find something difficult). This is a great way to improve your own Spanish or to challenge your advanced learners. Access the podcast Access the course

Italian

  • One of last week's Facebook posts was centred around the following question: cosa fai nella vita? which literally means: 'what do you do in life?' This question can be used to ask ‘what do you do?' or 'what is your job?'. We loved hearing about our learners’ jobs in the comments. Check out the post here and try answering the question.
  • It's almost time to release Coffee Break Italian To Go Season 2! In the meantime, we're catching up on episodes featured in Season 1 and this week, we're asking passers-by: di dove sei? (where are you from?). Do you know how to explain where you come from in Italian? Watch Episode 2 to find out how to structure a response to this question in Italian.

German

  • In Episode 4 of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries, Karin and her family approach the Austrian border. They explore the new area and take in the nature around them before having some family fun on the Sommerrodelbahn (summer toboggan on metal tracks). Listen out for an example of the pluperfect tense as well as the preposition bei. Los geht's! Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • Join Mark and Coffee Break German To Go host, Julia as they take a trip to the beautiful town of Potsdam, where Julia grew up. Mark puts his German into practice with Julia’s help and together they visit various parts of Potsdam including the Russische Kolonie Alexandrowka, the Holländisches Viertel, and Park Sanssouci. We’ve provided English captions for the whole video, and all German used in the video has both German and English subtitles. Click here to watch the video, explore Potsdam and brush up your German along the way.

La Fête du Cinéma d’Animation

24 September 2020 (Alliance Française)

The online animated film festival is back with a selection of Francophone animated films which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

From Wednesday 14 to Saturday 31 October you can access and stream for free 2 films and 11 short films.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information.

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Watch the webinars from the Welcome to the Arab World event

22 September 2020 (British Council)

In June 2020 we held our Welcome to the Arab World event for pupils, and the recordings are now available.

There are four sessions each lasting approximately 20 minutes.

  1. An introduction to Arabic language and cultures by Tony Calderbank from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI).  
  2. A traditional Arab story told by Elias Mattar. 
  3. Stereotypes of the Arab world by Hana Mohamed who works for Caabu (The Council for Arab British Understanding). 
  4. A live performance and conversation from Syrian American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum.

Visit the website for more information and to view the webinar recordings.

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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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Radio Lingua resources

17 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Here's this week's selection of free language learning resources from the team at Radio Lingua.

French

  • In the latest instalment of La Vérité éclate toujours, our course for advanced learners of French, there’s a huge rebondissement (plot twist) as we discover the identity of the mystery visitor. Tune in to find out.
  • Do you know how to thank someone for something in French? Find out exactly when to use when to use merci de and merci pour in this episode of Walk, Talk and Learn French, the series in which we WALK around the streets of France, we TALK about the language we see around us to help you and your pupils LEARN more French!

Spanish

  • Have you been following our Spanish Travel Diaries? As we all missed out on our trips to Spain, join, Victoria and Abel as they travel through the north of Spain. This episode takes us to the Basque city of Bilbao Access the podcast Access the course
  • The video content included in our Coffee Break Spanish To Go series features our Spanish presenter, Marina in the streets of Salamanca asking passers-by their opinion on a variety of topics. We have two seasons available which are free to watch on our YouTube channel.and are an excellent resource to show authentic Spanish to your learners.

Italian

  • Our Italian Travel Diaries series has now been published and you can access all ten episodes. We discover a different area of Tuscany while discussing the language used in diary entries from protagonists Giulia and Paolo as they travel around the wonderful region. Have a listen to the free podcasts 
  • While we're busy preparing materials for Season 2 of Coffee Break Italian To Go, we're taking a look back at lessons from Season 1. This time, we're talking about family as Francesca is in Milan asking passers-by: hai fratelli?. How would you answer this question in Italian? Click here to take some inspiration from responses we received from native Italian speakers.

German

  • Join Karin, Johannes, Alex, and Janina in this week’s episode of the Coffee Break German Travel Diaries exploring the Wendelstein and the Wasserfall Tatzelwurm before relaxing by the Lagerfeuer (campfire) on the banks of the lake bei Sonnenuntergang (at sunset). As we enjoy the journey, Mark and Andrea review the language used in Karin’s travel diary, this time, focusing on methods of transport and prepositions in German. Listen to the podcast | Access the course
  • For beginner learners of German, our  Coffee Break German To Go Season 1 features simpler questions and answers. In Episode 2, Julia asks the question: woher kommst du? (Where do you come from?). Wondering how you would respond to this question in German? Check out the episode by clicking here.

Les Pépites internationales

17 September 2020 (Institut français)

The Institut français is partnering with the Salon du Livre et de la Presse Jeunesse (SLPJ) in Montreuil to promote French-speaking children's literature to French learners around the world.

In addition to literary selections for 3-14 year olds and associated teaching materials, videoconferences between classes and several authors and illustrators from the book selection are available during October and November 2020.

Visit the Pépites internationales 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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The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators

17 September 2020 (University of Oxford)

The Queen’s College Translation Exchange is inviting expressions of interest in our new competition for schools, The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators. The prize launches this month with ready-made resources designed to be used around European Day of Languages (26 September) and International Translation Day (30 September). The competition is for students of French, German, Mandarin, or Spanish across four levels in Key Stages 3-5. 

The competition is inspired by the 'Juvenes Translatores' competition run by the European Commission, for which UK students are no longer eligible. 

More information can be found on the attached document or on the competition website.

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Worldwide Napier magazine - call for submissions

16 September 2020 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Worldwide Napier, the magazine in foreign languages designed by language students to encourage language studies, is currently looking for contributions in French, German and Spanish for its sixth issue, desirably on cultural icons of the XXI Century, our next issue's overarching theme. 

Students at secondary school, college or university are invited to submit contributions by 1 November 2020.

More information is available on the attached document.

Related Files

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.

Read more...

e-Sgoil Study Support Webinars

11 September 2020 (e-Sgoil)

Young people from across Scotland are participating in a series of live study support webinar lessons being delivered by e-Sgoil. 

Building on the success of the e-Sgoil ‘lockdown’ offer - where over 3,000 young people from across the country participated in real-time e-Sgoil lessons from their homes - the package of study support seeks to complement the work being done by schools by providing free, live, interactive webinar lessons in an extensive range of courses at Level 5 (National 5) and Level 6 (Higher). 

Twenty courses are currently on offer in the evenings, in a range of subjects including French, Gaelic, Gaidhlig, Mandarin, Spanish, Business Management, Chemistry, Computing Science, Eachdraidh, English, History, Maths, Music, Physics and RMPS. 

e-Sgoil Study Support live webinar lessons are scheduled to run for a period of eight weeks in the first instance and employ a ‘flipped’ learning approach, where participants undertake prior learning using supplied resources before attending the real-time 45-minute webinar lesson, hosted in Glow. All e-Sgoil live webinar lessons are delivered by subject specialists and are scheduled after school in the evening.  

Angus Mclennan, Head Teacher of e-Sgoil commented:
“e-Sgoil is delighted to offer Senior Phase pupils from across Scotland the opportunity to participate in a wide-range of live webinar lessons that will reinforce school-based learning. Each webinar lesson is a stand-alone learning experience, so new participants are welcome to sign-up to join future sessions”. 

Young people can sign-up directly by simply accessing the e-Sgoil Study Support registration form at www.e-sgoil.com

(Pupil Glow login details and Scottish Candidate Number (SCN) are required as part of the registration process). 

In Quarantine, Kids Pick Up Parents’ Mother Tongues

10 September 2020 (New York Times)

A few days into the lockdown here in London, I noticed a surprising side-effect of the pandemic: My 3-year-old son was speaking more German.

German is my mother tongue, and I have used it with him since he was born, but because everyone around us speaks English, including my British husband, we settled into a pattern typical of mixed families. I spoke to my son in German, and he replied in English. Then Covid-19 reshuffled our linguistic deck. As all of us quarantined at home, my son embraced German with unprecedented enthusiasm. Now, almost six months on, it has become his preferred language. In a complete reversal, he even replies to my husband in German.

Read more...

Online French exam support classes

8 September 2020 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow will be running online classes to support pupils studying for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams and students studying French at university. Follow the relevant link below for more information.

StampIT language learning resources

7 September 2020 (StampIT)

StampIT offers resources to help teach primary learners different languages using the medium of stamps. Follow the relevant link below to find out more about the latest additions to the resource bank:

  • Let's Look at China - StampIT’s new Let’s Look at China Mandarin learning pack with workbooks, Powerpoint presentation for teachers; detailed CfE links across literacy, arts, language and social studies aimed at upper primary level. Investigates the culture and language of China.  
  • Find out all about StampIT - Sandie Robb, Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies Development Officer and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Language Project Coordinator, explains the concept in this video and how the various courses and resources can assist with language learning but also include links to the wider curriculum.  

Boost your job prospects or do what you love? How to pick the right uni subject

5 September 2020 (The Guardian)

For many students, working out what to study at university is guided by whether they want a route directly to a job, or to keep their options open. But sometimes it’s not easy to decide between the two.

This was Morgan McArthur’s experience. She’s now a 21-year-old languages student at the University of Sheffield – but she nearly became a dentist. 

Read more...

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2020-21

1 September 2020 (Japan Foundation)

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit making activities which promote Japanese-language education in the UK. Priority is given to projects falling within one of the following categories:

  • Introducing Japanese into the curriculum
  • Supporting GCSE or A-level courses
  • Japanese clubs
  • Projects that enable links between secondary institutions and institutions of higher education

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and apply by 25 September 2020.

Read more...

German language courses

1 September 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow is now enrolling for new blended learning courses commencing 14 September 2020.

Visit the website for more information.

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TECLA magazine - Issue 2/2020

1 September 2020 (Consejería de Educación)

The latest edition of TECLA has been published with lots of ideas for the teaching of Spanish. It includes, among other contents:

  • the project HolaCandela.com, with online resources for teachers and students of Spanish;
  • the use of PADLET in the Spanish classroom;
  • a presentation of the 7th edition of Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival, that includes a special program for schools;
  • a sequence for the classroom using posters, labels, signs and other public messages.

Read more...

CISS Alumni Association webinar series

1 September 2020 (CISS)

The CISS Alumni Association has organised a webinar series which aims to showcase the various experiences the alumni have had with further education, jobs, internships and Mandarin.

The webinars take place on Zoom on 8, 15 and 22 September at 6:30pm and will last just over an hour. 

The speakers are all alumni who will talk about their experiences after the scholarship and the impact the scholarship has had on such opportunities. (Please note - the scholarship opportunity is only available to Confucius hub schools, however all pupils considering studying abroad will hear about the resulting benefits of pursuing similar initiatives).

The details of each webinar are below:

  • 1st Webinar – Education
    8 September at 6:30pm
    Speakers: Sara Cassidy, Leah Duncan-Karim, Grace Paterson
  • 2nd Webinar –Jobs
    15 September at 6:30pm
    Speakers: Cameron Smyth, Connor Cloughley, Natalie Hotchkiss
  • 3rd Webinar – Internships and Summer jobs
    22 September at 6:30pm
    Speakers: Erin Duffy, Owen Wilson, Robin Wilson

All school pupils and teachers are welcome and we kindly ask you to pass on these details to all interested parties. 

Please register via this link and the details of the Zoom will be made available to you.

 

Virtual after school programme

26 August 2020 (LFEE)

LFEE Europe has created a virtual after school programme (VASCO programme) to offer live language sessions in French and Spanish for primary pupils.

For more information, see the attached flyer.

Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) - School Programme October 2020

24 August 2020 (Consejería de Educación)

The Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival is back for its seventh edition and it includes a School Programme aimed at Spanish learning students (6, 7 and 8 October). 

Due to COVID-19, the regular format has changed to an Online Event: the film will be available for  48 hours. The way this would work would be through a link sent to teachers, allowing them access to watch the films in class within a set time. In this edition, the School Programme films are ‘Los Futbolísimos’ (P7-S2) and ‘Una vez más’ for (S3-S6). 

This programme for Spanish students gives them the opportunity to better their language skills as well as cultural awareness. ESFF has also prepared a set of post-film activities available for students to delve more deeply into films and practice vocabulary. 

Tickets £25 per class. For tickets reservations and further information, please contact info.esff@ed.ac.uk 

#oekoropa competition

24 August 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

#oekoropa is a Europe-wide digital youth competition on sustainable travel.

Pupils between the ages of 16 and 19 and teachers from all EU member states are invited to create innovative proposals for a climate-neutral journey across Europe. With the competition, the Goethe-Institut aims to demonstrate that travel is still possible in these times – at least as a concept, and later in a very real way. 

Form teams online and devise an innovative roundtrip from your hometown to the trio capitals of the EU Council Presidency (Berlin, Lisbon, and Ljubljana) and inspire us with your idea of a sustainable Europe. The deadline for submitting proposals is 1 October 2020.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

Read more...

GCSEs 2020: French and Spanish revival continues

20 August 2020 (TES)

New figures show more pupils were entered for GCSE French and Spanish this year than in 2019.

Combined GCSE entries for the main modern languages have risen again this year, with Spanish seeing the biggest increase.

Tables published this morning by Ofqual show that there were 3 per cent more pupils entering either French, Spanish or German in 2020 in England than in the exams of 2019.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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How technology kept Scotland's Gaelic-speaking community connected during lockdown

19 August 2020 (The Herald)

With lockdown cutting us off physically from the communities around us, technology has been a vital tool for keeping connected.

This was particularly true for Scotland’s Gaelic-speaking community, with some pioneering young people using online methods to keep the language alive - and its community of speakers connected.

Calum Ferguson, 25, and Donnie Forbes, 23, decided to team up to combine their passion for Gaelic with a love of football. During lockdown, they created YouTube videos that challenged youngsters to practice football tricks while speaking Gaelic phrases.

“If I film myself passing a ball while saying the phrase ‘pass the ball’ in Gaelic, kids eventually put two and two together and learn the language that way,” explains Donnie. “People are seeing us deliver the action, say the action at the same time- that helps the language click.”

“People learn languages in different ways,” adds Calum. “Some will learn by sitting down and reading a textbook, some by speaking it, but others might find that visual learning is best. What we feel is important is giving as many resources as you can to people, to offer plenty of opportunities to speak the language.”

Read more...

French Film Festival UK 2020

18 August 2020 (French Film Festival)

The French Film Festival UK’s Learning programme has always been a class act, bringing French-speaking cinema to thousands of pupils and teachers over the years. In these challenging times instead of welcoming school groups to participating cinemas we will bring the festival to you on either DVDs or blu-rays which can be shown to suit your schedules over a two month period. They will be available from 26 October until 18 December 2020. Accompanying a selection of films for different age groups, teachers can find learning resources online prepared by Lise Morel and Edinburgh Film House.

Visit the Festival website for more information about the programme and to book your dates and titles.

Read more...

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)

Why employ a language assistant?

11 August 2020 (British Council)

UK schools, colleges and universities can benefit from a language assistant. They can help enrich classroom activities and bring fresh perspectives to language learning, helping to boost results.

Our language assistants are native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Irish, coming from 14 partner countries across the world. They are keen to bring knowledge of their culture and language into your classroom, helping to make your students more socially conscious.

Visit the website to learn about the impact language assistants had in schools in Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles and apply today to host a modern language assistant in your institution.

Read more...

Revealed: A levels with teacher grades odds-on to stay

10 August 2020 (TES)

New analysis has produced a list of A-level subjects where the grades that teachers have assessed are least likely to be changed.

On Friday Tes revealed that teacher assessed grades will not be used as part of the final grade calculation where GCSE and A-level subjects in a school have more than more 15 entries, with statistical modelling used instead.

By contrast, in subjects with no more than five entries in a school, pupils will be awarded their teacher-assessed grades, as statistical modelling would be inaccurate with such a small cohort. 

Now in a blog by Philip Nye for FFT Education Datalab, A-level subjects with the greatest share of entries coming from schools or colleges with five or fewer entries has been estimated. 

"There are three subjects – German, Latin and music – where we estimate that over half of the total number of entries come from establishments with five or fewer entries," Mr Nye said.

Read more...

StampIT website updated

10 August 2020 (StampIT)

StampIT is the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth programme where children can discover a world of stamps through interactive games and activities. StampIT also provides a number of ideas for teachers to use stamps across the curriculum. Stamps are a great medium for learning about a wide range of subjects including arts, music, history, geography, science, sport, culture and languages.

StampIT is 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!

See the attached flyers for more information and visit the website for a range of games and activities for learners of French, Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese.

Read more...

Related Files

Fall in Welsh-capable teachers risks missing language target, report warns

6 August 2020 (The Guardian)

A “striking” decline in the number of newly qualified teachers able to teach in Welsh could undermine the country’s ambition to have a million speakers of the language in 30 years’ time, a report warns.

The Welsh language commissioner, Aled Roberts, expressed concern about the trend and called for the devolved government to take urgent action to reverse the fall.

Three years ago ministers in Wales launched a plan to almost double the number of Welsh speakers by 2050, with a key plank of the strategy being a steady increase the number of professionals teaching through the language.

Read more...

Host a teacher / Have your say

4 August 2020 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection provide support to schools in the UK wishing to forge partnerships with schools in Germany. The following opportunities are currently open:

Stay international: Host a Teacher from Germany

You can still bring authentic German language and culture to your classroom next year, without going anywhere: welcome a teacher from Germany to any department for 1, 2 or 3 weeks! This free opportunity is now even more flexible; you can host at a time to suit you.

Applications are open throughout the summer period and up to 18 September / 1 December*, and we're here if you have any questions.

Deadlines:

  • 18 September (to host later in the autumn term)
  • 1 December (to host in spring/summer 2021)

Find out more and sign up on the Host a Teacher webpage. 

*Schools unable to host so far this year due to Covid-19 do not need to re-register.
 

Have your say on the future of UK-German opportunities!

In light of the Covid-19 situation and with the changing landscape of international relations, we’re keen to make sure we’re still offering you the right kind of opportunities and support to keep connections with Europe, and in particular with Germany, alive.

We’re reviewing the opportunities and services we offer and would like you to tell us how we can best support you and work with you and your pupils to bring German and Germany alive in your school.

Deadline: 15 September

Complete the form on the Have your say webpage.

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...

Language learning vital to pandemic recovery, the British Academy and partners urge

8 July 2020 (British Academy)

A coalition of partners is today putting forward to the Government a strategy to boost language learning, which has fallen drastically in recent years. The British Academy, the British Council, Universities UK and the Association of School and College Leaders believe this strategy is essential to the economic and social strength of the UK as it emerges from COVID-19.

The economic cost of the UK’s linguistic underperformance, in terms of lost trade and investment has been estimated at 3.5% of GDP. Languages are vital for fostering effective international cooperation and commercial links, as well as for improving educational performance, cognitive function and skills, opportunity, intercultural understanding, and social cohesion.

Towards a National Languages Strategy: Education and Skills is the first UK-wide languages initiative in a generation, and consists of short and medium-term actions for schools, colleges, universities, employers and others. It takes account of the different language and policy landscapes of the UK’s four jurisdictions.

Read more...

The Big Interview: Meet the Moray man helping to keep dying languages alive across the world

29 June 2020 (Press and Journal)

From the age of 10 Finlay Macleod was fascinated with languages – how they are formed, how they are spoken and what they represent.

Today dozens of tongues across the world continue to be spoken due to the work the linguist has done to help keep them alive.

For weeks at a time the Western Isles native, who runs the Moray Language Centre from his home in Portessie near Buckie, travels to the US and Canada to work with indigenous groups to teach techniques about sustaining one of the most sacred parts of their culture.

Some have blossomed again from being spoken by as few as 10 people in remote locations, while others have grown from hundreds to communities of thousands that have spanned entire regions.

The projects the 65-year-old runs with the worldwide Indigenous Language Institute are on top of the work he does to grow Gaelic in Scotland through nursery classes and immersive experiences – a move he says is in opposition to the UK school curriculum for leaning new tongues remaining rooted in centuries-old traditions.

Read more...

Surge in online Gaelic learners during coronavirus lockdown

24 June 2020 (The Herald)

It seemed to be on a one-way road to extinction but now signs of a revival are emerging.

The number of people looking to take online lessons in Gaelic has surged to a record high since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, new data shows.

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, said that over 114,000 unique users accessed the LearnGaelic website between March 23 and June 2.

Read more...

Furloughed Eurostar staff become French teachers

24 June 2020 (BBC)

Eurostar staff furloughed during the lockdown are helping London schools with online French lessons.

Rail staff not currently working, including train drivers, have volunteered to help pupils learning at home online.

Only a limited number of Eurostar's services to France and Belgium are running - and about 30 staff have been helping with French lessons.

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...

‘I just need a connection’: the refugees teaching languages across borders

17 June 2020 (The Guardian)

A unique platform lets teachers from Venezuela to Syria to Burundi earn a living teaching their language online.

Louisa Waugh and Ghaith Alhallak have met for language lessons in seven countries. “We counted it up the other day,” says Waugh, recalling the list of places from which she has video-called Alhallak: Britain, Mali, Senegal and Greece. Alhallak has answered from Lebanon, France and Italy, where he is now studying for a master’s degree in political science at the University of Padua.

“You just need a connection,” he says.

The 770 students and 64 teachers at NaTakallam - “we speak” in Arabic – conduct their lessons entirely online, allowing refugees to speak to students who might not otherwise have contact with displaced people. The service also circumvents restrictions on work for refugees and asylum seekers in their new countries of residence, which means they can earn money.

“I really see it as solving two problems,” says one of NaTakallam’s founders, Aline Sara. “Refugees need access to an income, but with no work permit they’re often stuck in limbo. Yet they have innate talents within them in the form of their language, their story and culture, while so many people want flexible language practice,” she says. “There’s an idea that people always want to train and help refugees, but really they can help us.”

Read more...

Latest SLEA recipients announced!

17 June 2020 (SCILT)

The latest verification round of the Scottish Languages Employability Award (SLEA) has taken place, and two more schools were delighted to receive recognition for their successful partnership working in promoting languages as a key skill for employment.

Bathgate Academy in West Lothian received a Bronze Award for their projects with partners including Clarke Fire Protection Products, Mitsubishi and WL Gore. The awarding panel commented: “The links made with local businesses are strong and purposeful and have excellent long-term potential.”

Broughton High School in Edinburgh received a Gold Award for their projects with a range of partners, including Visit Scotland, The Balmoral Hotel and Social Bite. The awarding panel commented: “The projects are impressive in the variety of ways in which they convey the importance of languages to pupils, fostering the importance of citizenship and cultural understanding as well as language skills.”

Congratulations to both schools on their excellent achievements! 

The SLEA, developed by SCILT in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, encourages innovation and creativity in the promotion of language skills through meaningful engagement between employers and schools. Find out how to submit your entry for the next verification round on the SCILT website.

Read more...

University of Dundee Graduate Diplomas in French, German and Spanish by Distance Learning

17 June 2020 (University of Dundee)

Registration for the 2020-22 cohort of the Graduate Diplomas in French, German and Spanish by Distance Learning of the University of Dundee is now open until 11 September 2020.

These 2 years online Graduate Diplomas by Distance Learning for part-time study are accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. They are ideally suited for Secondary MFL teachers seeking an additional qualification in French, German or Spanish.

'A must for any modern languages teacher.' (Diploma student)

They aim to provide the challenge of an undergraduate curriculum in the relevant practical language. They carry a rating of 120 SCOTCAT points (SCQF Levels 9-10). The qualification outcome is bench-marked at C1 in the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Languages. Applicants will normally have a pass in Higher the relevant language (or equivalent, such as the Dundee Intensive/Revision languages courses by distance-learning).

At the University of Dundee, we have a long-established tradition of language teaching, both with students at the University and via distance learning. We use a combination of online tools to give students a range of experiences in the language. Experienced staff are responsible for the course design, delivery and student support.

'I myself am a language teacher. I have been teaching English in Japan for the last 9 years, so it is with a teacher’s perspective in mind that I tell you that the preparation, delivery and assessment of this diploma was excellent.' (French Diploma student)

'The materials were totally relevant as I need the course for teaching and the topics match that very well. I really enjoyed doing the course and would think about doing it for French (down the road)!' (German Diploma student)

'The course is very interesting with its amazing variety of tasks from different domains in different forms and it has opened my eyes to a brand new world so rich with talented people, their literature and arts. Thank you so much for working so hard in making the whole experience so fulfilling and enriching.' (Spanish Diploma student)

For more information visit the Dundee University website or to discuss any aspects of the course or your application, please contact Claire Nicoll c.z.nicoll@dundee.ac.uk 

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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...

IFcinéma à la carte

9 June 2020 (Institut français)

The French and African online film festival, « IFcinéma à la carte » is free and open to all.

From Friday 12 June to Monday 13 July 2020, 11 short films and 10 feature films from France and Africa are available online, free of charge and without registration.

The films are subtitled in various languages (English and Spanish at least as well as, in some cases, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, etc.) and accessible worldwide.

Visit the website for more information about the programme.

Read more...

Coronavirus: French teacher's Hebridean lockdown

9 June 2020 (BBC)

A French language assistant who remained in the Western Isles during the coronavirus lockdown has been praised for the unique contribution she has made to young people's education.

Mathilde Forgerit arrived in Lewis last August for what was her first experience of teaching French abroad.

During the pandemic she has been able to use the islands' digital learning facilities to deliver classes to young people in other parts of Scotland too.

She said that despite being far from her family, the kindness of islanders stopped her from feeling isolated.

[..] Mathilde returned home to France last week, but the comhairle said she had left behind a positive language learning legacy across island schools.

Senior education officer Mary Clare Ferguson said: "She proved to be such an asset and a natural teacher.

"The pupils loved working with her and gained so much insight from a young person about her life in France, her culture and language. She really motivated them to improve their language skills."

Read more...

Russian Language & Culture Education Pack

6 June 2020 (British Council)

To celebrate Russian Language Day, the British Council has a new teaching resource to help primary teachers introduce some aspects of Russian language and culture to their pupils. It contains lessons and assembly plans, factual information and resources to help pupils develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the rich language and culture of Russia and the lives of young Russians.

Read more...

Scots Story Competition 2020

3 June 2020 (The Story Is)

Could you be Young Scots Writer of the Year 2020? Enter our fantastic competition for young people aged 11-18 to write a poem, a story, a play or a song in the Scots language.

Visit the website for more information about the competition and submit entries by 24 June 2020.

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...

Transform your playground into an outdoor classroom

1 June 2020 (La Jolie Ronde)

Outdoor play is great for encouraging children to be physically active as well as improving health and well-being. So why not transform your playground into an outdoor classroom with one of La Jolie Ronde's award-winning language learning Theme Days? The Theme Days are perfect for small groups of children, across the school, to join in a fun and worthwhile language learning activity, in either French or Spanish, plus "no specialist language skills" required so any teacher or teaching assistant can participate.  

Schools why not replace Sports Day with our Olympic Theme Day? Create your own mini Olympic games! Perfect for pupils to learn all about the history of the games. Includes: Mini Olympic events, templates for coloured flashcards of the events, role play activities, templates for passes, ideas for certificates, 3 board games to revise language learning.

French - www.language-resources.co.uk/products/theme-days-fr-olympics

Spanish - www.language-resources.co.uk/products/theme-days-es-olympics

If you're wanting an abundance of playground games, then our Around My School Theme Day ticks all boxes - Such a great topic for everyone to have fun with! There are plenty of outdoor activities in this Theme Day. Includes: Video clips of French/Spanish children showing us their school, lots of typical French/Spanish playground games, a school treasure hunt, and a fun non-uniform day activity to reinforce items of clothing & colours. Buy here:

French - https://www.language-resources.co.uk/products/theme-days-fr-around-my-school

Spanish - https://www.language-resources.co.uk/products/theme-days-es-around-my-school

Celebrate on 14 July, with our Bastille Day Theme Day.  Perfect for teaching pupils all about France's very important holiday. Includes: the story of the storming of the Bastille, ideas for a Bastille Day picnic, traditional French games like pétanque, instructions for making French flags and rosettes. Buy here:

French - www.language-resources.co.uk/products/theme-days-fr-bastille

***SPECIAL OFFER FOR SCILT  - We're giving you 20% OFF all our Theme Day, simply use promotional code TD20 at checkout.

We can invoice you as well - simply email your order to schools@lajolieronde.co.uk quoting SCILT.

Goethe on Demand

1 June 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

In collaboration with Filmgalerie 451, the Goethe-Institut has launched Goethe on Demand, an online streaming programme. It contains a small but exquisite selection of films, is free of charge and will be available worldwide through the end of June.

Visit the website for more information and to request your passcode.

Read more...

Genes And Musical Ability Both Affect How People Hear Tonal Languages

27 May 2020 (Forbes)

In some languages, the meaning of each word is not only conveyed by the order of its syllables, but also by the pitch. Tonal languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin or Yoruba are difficult to learn for people who are used to non-tonal languages like English. They require you to be able to pick up on subtle pitch differences, and new research suggests that your ability to do so may be genetic. However, they also noted that genetics only played a small role. Whether or not someone had taken music lessons was more likely to affect how well they hear lexical tones.

Read more...

Gary Lineker: Learning a language is one of the most important things you can do – in Spain once I really ballsed it up

27 May 2020 (The Sun)

Want to get a real sense of Spanish? Then learn from a footie legend who picked up the lingo while playing for one of the country’s top teams.

Sports pundit Gary Lineker is among a host of famous faces who have signed up to teach kids on CBBC show Celebrity Supply Teacher.

[..] Gary will be livening up the classroom by helping little ones learn Spanish through football.

The ex-England striker learned the language when he transferred from Everton to Barcelona in 1986. He also attempted to master Japanese during two seasons at League club Nagoya Grampus Eight.

Read more...

New Website Harnesses The Power Of Music And Drama To Teach Welsh And Spanish

27 May 2020 (Wales 247)

Primary school teachers and parents can now harness music and drama to help children learn Welsh and Spanish by using a new, free to use website. 

The website includes more than 30 activities, such as simple drama games and songs in three languages.

Everything needed to lead children through the activities is provided, including full instructions, demonstration videos, downloadable sheet music, lyrics, audio files and suggestions for extension and reflection.

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...

Connecting Classrooms - Learning for sustainability

26 May 2020 (Learning for Sustainability Scotland)

Get funding to collaborate locally and internationally on the big issues that shape our world.

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is here to help you bring Learning for Sustainability and the Global Goals to life for your learners! There are a host of learning opportunities and support on offer through the Connecting Classrooms programme. Whether you are looking for personal development opportunities, or want to collaborate with other schools.

Visit the website to find out more. Next funding application deadline is 15 June 2020.

Read more...

Watch new PowerLanguage Challenge videos

25 May 2020 (PowerLanguage)

Pupils in Scotland have been using their language skills to produce some quality videos. Take a look at these podcasts made by learners, for learners. Why not take up the challenge in your school? 

Read more...

Scotland Learns - Gaelic medium resources

21 May 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has created a new portal, Scotland Learns, to help practitioners and parents support children's home learning during school closures.

This week on Scotland Learns the team has added a range of learning activities for parents and carers whose children learn through the medium of Gaelic. Learning activities are also available in English to support parents and carers who may not speak Gaelic. 

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...

Online French classes

14 May 2020 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française offers a variety of opportunities for learners of French. Follow the relevant link below to find out more:

For information on all other initiatives offered by the organisation, visit the main website.

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.

Read more...

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...

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!

Thousands sign up for Birmingham teen's BSL lessons

6 May 2020 (BBC)

A 15-year-old has created a series of videos teaching British Sign Language (BSL) during lockdown.

Tyrese Dibba, who has Charge Syndrome, and is deaf and partially sighted, released the videos with charity Sense in a bid to tackle isolation among people with disabilities.

The Birmingham student said more people learning BSL would "help the deaf community feel part of wider society".

More than 7,000 people have signed up for the free classes.

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!

Virtual activities for school partnerships

30 April 2020 (UK-German Connection)

Have you had to postpone your exchange visits due to the Coronavirus situation? Keep your partnership going with some virtual joint activities!

Read more...

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...

How generations are joining forces to give the Scots language its proper place

26 April 2020 (The National)

The Scots language is the source of many of the first words we hear. Bairn. Greet. Bonnie. For many of us it is the language of those we love most, those who raised us, who taught us about the world. The tongue of couthy grannies, freenly neebors, loving parents. It’s the language of funny rhymes an sangs like Ally Bally Bee an the Three Craws.

For a huge number of us it is the language of childhood but for almost as many it is not the language of adulthood. When we go to school, Scots switches to English. Scots has its place in the playground but not in maths or chemistry. So we store away so many great words – shoogle, bahookie, fankle, haver – that mean so much to us but that we seldom get to use.

Scots is the language of 1.5 million of us, about 30% of the population. In entire chunks of the country – the Borders, Shetland, the north-east – it is the everyday language of the clear majority. But there are many more areas of Scotland, particularly urban areas, where Scots is strictly socially policed. And across the nation as a whole, Scots remains almost entirely absent from classrooms, from publicly funded media and from the business of government.

Read more...

Education Scotland News Digest

24 April 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest news digest is now available to view online. This edition includes resources available to support schools and parents during closures, information about new Gaelic Bookbug stories and the Young Scots Writer of the Year Competition.

Read more...

Live-streamed classes: SCILT support for schools

22 April 2020 (SCILT/e-Sgoil)

SCILT is delighted to have partnered with e-Sgoil to contribute to their national offer of timetabled, live, online classes that will support youngsters of all ages throughout the period of school closures. 

These interactive, real-time classes are all led by experienced language educators on a secure platform. All participants will require is access to a computer and their Glow password.

Aimed at supporting youngsters who are about to enter new senior phase classes, the NQ courses will focus on providing an overview of the year ahead and will develop the skills required for success at each level. Complementing what will be offered by their own schools and classroom teachers, these courses will give young people the best possible start to their new language courses under the present circumstances.

It is equally important that we create opportunities for language learning throughout all stages of the school curriculum. We have, therefore, developed a range of classes in a variety of languages that will appeal to learners at all ages and stages of the curriculum. Interactive, culturally rich and suitable for family learning, youngsters can explore new languages and cultures that might not be otherwise available to them.

Download the attached flyer for the full timetable and links to enrol. 

Please share this offer as widely as you can so that the maximum possible number of children and young people can benefit from this innovative and creative partnership.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Life on the inside: 10 educational activities to make the best of lockdown

18 April 2020 (Largs and Millport News)

People in the UK are spending more time at home than ever before during the coronavirus lockdown. While this may mean less activity outdoors, it can also be the perfect opportunity to learn something new.

Here are 10 educational activities to try during lockdown:

1. Learn a language

Learning a language can be time-consuming, and with plenty of unfilled hours, understanding an extra vocabulary may be a useful skill to acquire. Though it always looks good in a CV, learning a language could also enable you to work abroad, or to socialise with locals while travelling overseas.

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Coronavirus: Homeschooling in a language you don't speak

18 April 2020 (BBC)

Until a few weeks ago, non-Welsh speaking parents who had chosen Welsh-medium education assumed their children would spend about 30 hours a week immersed in the language - at school. Now attempting to "home school" in a language they don't speak, they face an extra layer of challenge.

In Cardiff, for example, about 63% of pupils in Welsh-medium schools come from homes where no Welsh is spoken. On top of anxiety about coronavirus and general concern about education, some parents are worried their children's Welsh language skills will suffer.

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Competition - Ich habe einen Traum (I have a dream)

17 April 2020 (German Foreign Office)

Are you between 5 and 19 years old? Do you love books and stories? Do you like to write? If so, please take part in our competition and get your prose, short story, essay or poem published in the next Foreign Office e‑book!

Tell us about your dream for the future. 

All entries submitted in German or English will be edited by professionals and accepted in the following age groups:

  • 10 years and under 
  • 11‑14 years
  • 15‑19 years

The deadline for entries is 1 July 2020. The e-book will then be published and launched in August, when it will be available to download for free.

Visit the German Federal Foreign Office website for more information about the competition. You can also access previous editions of the e-book.

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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.

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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

More Gaelic TV from BBC Alba to help pupils in lockdown

14 April 2020 (The National)

Gaelic broadcasting bosses are to show more children’s content to support young speakers while schools are off.

Extra programmes on science, maths and other curriculum mainstays will be shown on BBC Alba from today.

The Gaelic-medium channel already runs children’s shows from 5pm-7pm every day. Additional content will also be available on the BBC iPlayer.

It is hoped that “children won’t even realise they are learning and developing their skills” when watching the tailored material.

Margaret Mary Murray, head of service at BBC Alba, said: “We hope these fabulous learning programmes will offer useful support to teachers, parents and carers and fun learning opportunities for children.”

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Number of Gaelic learners outstrips entire population of Highlands and Islands

13 April 2020 (The Scotsman)

Around 300,000 people are now learning Scottish Gaelic on the free Duolingo app with the course launched just over five months ago.

The number of Gaelic learners using the app now outstrips the entire population of the Highland and Western Isles council areas, where a total of around 265,000 people live.

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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.

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Around the World resources

8 April 2020 (British Council)

We all know the importance of keeping connected whilst distancing. That’s why we’ve curated a special collection of our favourite resources about life and culture in different countries around the world. Designed by specialists and tested by teachers, our resources are packed with ideas and projects to help you plan face to face or online classes and support parents with home-learning.

Why not plan a virtual trip around the world for your students and choose which countries you’d like to explore together? We’re always here to help you bring the world into your classroom, wherever your classroom is.

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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...

Coronavirus: How can parents help with home schooling?

2 April 2020 (BBC)

Schools are likely to be closed until August in a bid to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Teachers have provided learning packs and online activities for students and many parents will want to help.

So what should parents be doing?

Education correspondent Jamie McIvor posed some common questions to a number of experts in Scottish education to get a sense of what they would advise.

None of this advice is statutory and there will be a range of different opinions. Parents with specific concerns should speak to their child's school, most practically via e-mail.

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...

SCEN surveys

31 March 2020 (SCEN)

SCEN has drawn up two short surveys, one to gather information ahead of our website revamp, and another to gather information on people's experience with our events and ambassador programme. 

Together, they take under ten minutes to fill out, and would be a great help to us in gaining a better understanding how we can improve our engagement and communication. 

If you could please complete the surveys from the two links below, and share them with any peers, colleagues, students, or friends you know have an interest in or affiliation with SCEN, it would be much appreciated.

We ask that you please complete the surveys by Monday the 20th of April, so that we can act on the data gathered as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your participation. 

SCEN Website Survey - 3 Minutes to Complete
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KD7CH37

SCEN Events and Ambassadors Survey - 4 Minutes to Complete
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KQJCNQD

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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...

Online beginner Mandarin classes

30 March 2020 (CISS)

banner advertising upcoming online Mandarin beginner classes

Related Files

Lockdown surge in language learning

30 March 2020 (University of Oxford)

A surge in interest in language learning has emerged as a phenomenon of the current social distancing. One popular language learning apps has claimed increased usage of more than 200%, while others are reporting new sales up more than 50%.

Academics maintain it shows a pent-up interest and wish to study languages. For a nation supposedly averse to speaking other languages, the British have been turning in numbers to foreign tongues as a first resort – in the absence of more traditional forms of entertainment.

Read more...

Beyond the Panda resources for home learning

30 March 2020 (RZSS)

New online books for home learning. Everyone can access these and they include a good mix of science and Mandarin. These are different from our other online content as they don't require to be downloaded and printed. They also all include sound files and Mandarin learning points. 

At present, there are books which provide an online experience of the giant panda expert visit aimed at upper primary level and the Chinese Endangered Species outreach. In addition there is a book version of the Science Specialist Confucius Classroom 'China's animals and habitats'. Finally, a section comparing China and Scotland. This China/Scotland project is in partnership with the JASS scheme.

All the books are available on the Beyond the Panda website.

Read more...

Mathématiques sans Frontières 2020

26 March 2020 (UWS)

Announcement from Alan Walker, University of the West of Scotland:

Due to the current pandemic, we've had to make a big change to the marking of the entries this year, and unfortunately we won't be able to hold our annual prize-giving. However, the overall winner of the Scottish side of the competition will still be offered a prize, and certificates to all schools who entered will be made available (once I can get back into my office).

With regards to the Top 10 teams of each competition, I'll release these over Twitter, in a countdown over the next couple of weeks. If you (or your school/department) don't already follow the MSF twitter account, please do so at https://twitter.com/MSF_Scotland.

For those of you not on Twitter, I'll email the Top 10s after announcing, and will be in touch with the winners directly.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting this competition each year. Thanks also to those who volunteer to mark each year (even though they got a year off this year!). A big thanks too to my colleagues Wan and Ken for their help in putting the questions together for the Scottish side of the competition.

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.

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French Institute in Scotland's new cultural blog

26 March 2020 (Institut français)

Created with the hope that it will provide you with content to keep in touch with French culture and activities during the confinement period, this blog will also allow you to know our team better by offering articles written by different members of staff on their favourite topics. Please get in touch with us at frenchclassesife@gmail.com and tell us what you’d like to see or hear from us on our blog and social media! Don’t forget to take care of each other, to keep your spirits up and to stay safe and healthy.

Two new posts will be uploaded each day at 10am and 3pm.

Read more...

The Great Languages Challenge

26 March 2020 (British Council)

The Great Languages Challenge can be completed during a planned lesson or also set as a language-themed homework task. We even have a blank version available that students can use to design their own challenges for their classmates or peers in their partner school overseas.

Read more...

SecEd Newsletter

26 March 2020 (SecEd)

SecEd is the voice of secondary education. Their latest bulletin has a focus on teaching and learning during the Coronavirus pandemic, with a range of advice and links to numerous resources for teachers continuing to practice in schools and parents who are now homeschooling.

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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.

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BTS want to teach you Korean while self-isolating

25 March 2020 (Esquire Middle East)

South Korean superstars BTS have said they will be holding language learning sessions to “make it easy and fun for global fans who have difficulty enjoying BTS’s music due to the language barrier.”

The announcement could not have come at a better time, as millions shelter at home in self-isolation. 

Each episode (which will be available in 30 languages) will focus on specific Korean grammar and expressions. Each lesson plan was developed with help from the Korean Language Content Institute and the Department of Korean Education at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. 

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.

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How to keep your kids educated and entertained during lockdown

25 March 2020 (Wired)

We've collected together the best products and resources to keep your children educated, entertained and exercised without having to leave the house.

Article includes offers for a range of subjects, including languages.

Read more...

How to homeschool your kids with free apps and videos

24 March 2020 (STV)

As schools close due to coronavirus, here's some handy resources for educating children at home.

[..] Natasha and Kelly-Ann will host British Sign Language workshops every day from 1pm live on Facebook and YouTube. Search for Natasha Lamb.

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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Interested in learning Scotland's mother tongue? Then choose Gaelic Duolingo

20 March 2020 (The Herald)

The decision by the world’s most popular language learning platform to offer courses in Gaelic has sparked renewed interest in the ancient tongue.

Gaelic Duolingo only launched last November but around 120,000 people have signed up to it - more than the 58,000 speakers of the language in Scotland.

It has also had a positive effect on other Gaelic language providers such as Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye and LearnGaelic, a free online companion for beginners, intermediates and advanced learners. LearnGaelic editor Eilidh Lewsey believes it shows people are interested in reconnecting with their heritage.

Read more...

Estonia offers its digital education solutions for free to support other countries

16 March 2020 (Estonia Ministry of Education)

Estonia, the leading education nation in Europe (No 1. in PISA test in Europe), announced that it is humbled to share all of its digital education tools to support other countries’ education systems during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Young Scots Writer of the Year Competition 2020

16 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has a fantastic competition for young people aged 11-18 to write a poem, a play, or a song in Scots Language. The competition is run in partnership with Scottish Book Trust, Scottish Government, Scots Hoose and Hands up for Trad.

Visit the competition website for more details and submit entries by Wednesday 24 June 2020.

Read more...

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.

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PALINGUI – Language learning pathways of young children – Making early language learning visible: webinar recording (5 March 2020) online

10 March 2020 (ECML)

The new PALINGUI project from ECML aims to explore the diverse linguistic journeys of young learners in educational contexts and how to make these visible through a range of methods and tools. These will make it possible to identify, understand and document language learning of children age 3 to 12 and thereby create learning opportunities allowing them to progress along their language learning pathways.

The first project webinar held on 5 March is now available to view online.

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Should all children learn sign language?

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?

Read more...

Making the Most of Language Learning on School Trips

The School Travel Company (6 March 2020)

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational trips in destinations all over the world.

Today’s teachers of languages face something of a challenge: persuading their students to invest time and commitment into learning to speak another language. It is a challenge that teachers are embracing with increasingly innovative and proactive solutions.

Faced with reluctant teenagers who repeat messages such as, “The Europeans all talk our English much better than we can talk their language, which is why we don’t bother,” teaching professionals are constantly searching for arguments and incentives that will persuade their students that language learning is just as relevant to their education as maths, science, English and other subjects.

The importance of motivating children to learn a second language cannot be overstressed. We all know that universities still set a high value on a potential student’s ability to read and write something other than English. And, it goes without saying that actually being able to talk in another language puts your students streets ahead of their counterparts when applying for a job on the international platform.

It is beholden upon every school to find ways to ignite an interest and hunger for language learning among their pupils, and to bring this subject back to the centre stage.

Learning in Context

Study after study continues to demonstrate that one of the best ways to inspire a child and to interest him or her in learning is to get them out of the classroom and into an environment that is conducive to the specific area of learning. Bringing any subject to life enhances understanding and often leads to increased motivation. By organising school trips to other countries, young people are transported to a place where they can be fully absorbed in the culture and language without even thinking about it.

Benefits of School Trips to Foreign Countries

Increase Confidence

In the United Kingdom we are by nature quite reserved and we certainly don’t like to make mistakes. This is a cultural commonality among us and unfortunately has an inhibiting effect on our language learning. When children are taken to a place in which they hear people speak in the language they are learning and are encouraged by locals to have a go, they will be more motivated to try. On such trips, teachers often split the group of students, meaning that an individual may not feel so intimidated to try a sentence or two, as they will be less fearful of appearing silly in front of their peers.

By challenging themselves students will learn more about who they are and the achievements they make, and hopefully this will be transferred to other aspects of their continued educational and personal development.

Speaking in Context

If pupils speak the language they are learning in real-life situations, they are often incentivised by a sense of empowerment when they are able to make themselves understood. While they may make mistakes, they are more likely to remember the mistake and correct it the next time; this is down to the fact that the error was made in context.

Starting with simple exchanges in shops and then encouraging students to continue conversations with the people running the hotel they are staying in, helps them grow in confidence. Every conversation has a purpose and can give the student a great sense of achievement when they get a response. Such an experience has far more impact than the role play scenario in a classroom where children often feel inhibited by the anxiety of embarrassing themselves in front of their peers.

Encountering New Cultures

When we talk about the benefits of school trips to other countries, alongside a student’s learning we are talking about the impact it has on them personally. Many youngsters don’t have the opportunity to develop acceptance and tolerance for other cultures and yet this is the basis for positive social and professional success. Those same youngsters may choose not to learn French or German, for example, because neither bears any relevance to them, but once they have visited France or Germany, they may well have their eyes opened and be inspired to learn more.

Lessons in Situ

While learning by absorption is a real privilege for students, a language focused school trip can also include structured lessons to support learning. In those circumstances where a student can not only have time in the classroom, but also have the opportunity to join in with sports, social events and other interesting activities their language practice is enhanced.

 

There is no doubt that school trips offer the perfect platform for encouraging the youngsters of today to engage with language learning. Strong foundations are more likely to sustain future growth when it comes to learning a subject and if we can persuade our teenagers of the benefits of having a language string to their bow, we know that they will also grow in confidence and success as adult individuals.

Posted in: Language Learning

DiscoverEU free travel passes for young people

6 March 2020 (Erasmus+)

Do you know an 18-year-old up for an adventure? DiscoverEU is back – giving them the chance to travel across Europe!

If you’re unfamiliar with this European Union initiative, it offers young people aged 18 the opportunity to discover Europe by providing them with a free travel pass. They can travel by themselves or with a group of up to four friends.

The next round of applications takes place from 12 to 26 March 2020 and 30,000 travel passes are available.

Visit the Erasmus+ website for more information, including a short video about the initiative.

Read more...

'I was lucky': the asylum seeker campaigning for others to learn Welsh

6 March 2020 (Guardian)

When Joseff Gnagbo arrived in Cardiff as an asylum seeker he did not realise Wales had a language of its own. “To be honest I didn’t know much about Wales at all,” he said. “I knew about the dragon flag but not a lot else. When I discovered Wales had a language I decided to learn it. If you live in a country, it’s normal to speak that country’s language.”

Gnagbo, who fled persecution in Ivory Coast, worked hard and is now a fluent speaker, playing a lead role in a new campaign to help ensure other asylum seekers and refugees get the chance to learn Welsh.

Read more...

The German Olympics (IDO)

3 March 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The German Olympics (IDO) is the biggest competition for the German language. Every two years over 100 students from all around the world meet to compete in their most beloved foreign language.

The competition is open to secondary school students born between August 2002 and July 2006.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information about eligibility and how to enter the competition. Submission deadline is 27 March 2020.

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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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Japanese Language Proficiency Test

2 March 2020 (Japan Foundation)

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is designed to evaluate and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of non-native speakers of Japanese. The test is conducted twice a year, in July and December, in Japan and various locations around the world.

Registration is now open for the July JLPT to be held at the two UK test locations:

SOAS, University of London
Opens: Tuesday, 17th March 2020
Closes: Friday, 3rd April 2020

University of Edinburgh
Opens: Tuesday, 10th March 2020
Closes: Friday 3rd April 2020

Visit the Japan-Foundation website for more information.

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Nihongo Cup 2020

2 March 2020 (Japan Foundation)

Last chance to apply for this year's Nihongo Cup, the Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School students.

Finalists will be invited to perform their speech at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford in front of a panel of judges and VIPs from the field of Japanese language education and Japan-UK relations, for the chance to win some fantastic prizes – including a trip to Japan!

Visit the website for more information and to download an application pack. Closing date is 20 March 2020.

Read more...

Gaelic-English book sent to Moray primary schools

28 February 2020 (The Northern Scot)

A children's book written in a mixture of English and Gaelic has been sent to primary schools in Moray.

Bheat an Sù (The Zoo Vet) was sent to schools all across Scotland. It's the first bilingual book from the educational publisher Twinkl, which creates books and online resources used across the world.

The book provides an accessible and inclusive route into Gaelic for all learners, regardless of their background or previous experience of the language. The book has been designed to help schools deliver the Scottish Government's Languages 1+2 policy, where all pupils have the opportunity to learn one other language from primary one and a second from primary five.

Read more...

Language Linking Global Thinking 2020-21 - registrations now open

28 February 2020 (SCILT)

Applications are still being taken for this programme with the intention of it running as planned in session 2020/21. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
 
SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking project for session 2020-21. 
 
The project links students on their year abroad with primary and secondary schools. Students communicate with a designated class in their partner school during the course of the year to illustrate how enriching it is to spend a year abroad using a language other than English. 
 

While the student is abroad they keep in regular contact with the partner school using blog posts, emails and other resources. The correspondence between student and class brings the language alive for pupils and shows them the real relevance of learning a language. New for this year - you can now be linked with a CISS scholar spending a year in China! Just complete the registration form with 'Mandarin' as your preferred language for a link. 

Key points for teachers

  • Please note this is a two-way correspondence, and schools are expected to reply to blog posts, submit questions, and fully engage with their link student. 
  • A representative from the school, ideally the class teacher using the link, must attend the training afternoon on 12th June in Glasgow. 
  • There is no cost for schools to participate in the programme, however schools will need to cover travel costs for teachers attending the training session. Students are expected to visit their link school before they go abroad, and schools may wish to help with the travel costs for that visit.

Visit the LLGT webpage for more information on Language Linking Global Thinking, and to read some of the student blogs from previous years.

Please note places are limited. Please email scilt@strath.ac.uk to request a registration form. 

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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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Spring break revision courses

25 February 2020 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is running semi-intensive revision courses in April for Secondary School pupils and University students who are due to sit their French examinations in 2020.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol by 30 March 2020.

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Gaelic CLPL Opportunity - Streap: Postgraduate Certificate in Gaelic Medium Education

24 February 2020 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

The fully funded Postgraduate Certificate in Gaelic Medium Education (Streap) is a Master’s Level qualification of 60 credits at SCQF Level 11. 

The programme is aimed at Gaelic speaking GTCS registered teachers (nursery, primary or secondary) who are seeking Gaelic medium education CLPL, or those who are currently in English medium education and who wish to further develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in order to teach in Gaelic medium education. 

Visit the website for more information and apply now for September 2020 start.

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Skye's the limit at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - a unique Gaelic-only college set in a stunning island location

24 February 2020 (The Herald)

As global interest in Gaelic grows, students from across the world are travelling to Skye to study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

Situated in the stunningly beautiful peninsula of Sleat in the south end of the island, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a unique Gaelic-only environment and the only college of its kind offering further and higher education through the medium of the language.

The college offers a range of provision from beginners’ courses to a PhD, with the flexibility of studying part-time or full-time, on campus or via distance learning. At a crucial time in the survival of the language, graduates have helped create a Gaelic speaking workforce that now holds key posts across a wide range of sectors in Scotland.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is one of the key partners in fulfilling the government’s objectives in the National Gaelic Plan, which aims to increase the number of people speaking the language and accelerate the growth of Gaelic.

Many people are keen to learn more about the language because of its rich culture and the college provides a wide range of short courses in Gaelic language, song and traditional music. Ceilidhs, workshops, conversation circles and music sessions all create an encouraging atmosphere that bring together students from 30 countries across five continents. 

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French pop video competition 2020

24 February 2020 (Institut français)

Do you think you could sing or rap in French? Do you have the skills to make a video clip for your song? If so, this competition is for you!

The competition is open to any student or groups of students in full time education in the national-curriculum primary and secondary schools of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Channel Islands, in 3 age-group categories: 7-11, 12-15, and 16-18.

Entries should be original compositions around 3 minutes long and must be performed in French.

Visit the competition website for more information and submit entries by 3 April 2020.

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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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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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Edinburgh's fight for Gaelic school immortalised in new book

19 February 2020 (The Scotsman)

It was a fight that deeply divided language activists and their opponents and rumbled on in the Capital for 14 long years.

Now the campaign to have a dedicated Gaelic primary school in the Capital has been turned into a new book.

Ever since 2013 the city has had its first Gaelic medium education (GME) school at Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pàirce, a formerly mothballed primary school in Bonnington.

Previously the Gaelic “school” had been simply a unit within Tollcross Primary.

Às na Freumhan, “From the Grassroots”, by Gaelic language expert Tim Armstrong tells the story of the sometimes bitter debate which raged around the subject of Gaelic medium education in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and the fight to get agreement for Taobh na Pàirce to be built.

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Gaelic education detractors 'like bad 1970s comedians'

19 February 2020 (TES)

Critics of Gaelic-medium education are so out of touch they are like embarrassing 1970s comedians, the Scottish Parliament has heard.

And Gaelic's "very existence is at stake" so debate around the language must be depoliticised, according to a Tory MSP, whose comments were in marked contrast to recent pronouncements from his party.

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), said: "Thirty years ago, I remember hearing a prominent Scot – one who should have known better – offering the opinion on the radio that he was 'grateful' that his Gaelic-speaking parents had never spoken Gaelic to him when he was growing up in case that had 'held him back'.

"Let me be clear: the idea that Gaelic or any form of bilingualism might hold children back is a view that I thought had been long relegated to the same embarrassing corner as the views that were expressed by comedians on Saturday night TV around the year 1975."

Dr Allan was speaking – in Gaelic – to a motion calling on MSPs to welcome the decision by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) to enrol Primary 1 pupils into Gaelic-medium education (GME) as the default choice.

His motion also noted that the percentage of children entering GME in the Western Isles has steadily increased over the past decade, and commended the council's "progressive step to consolidate the national language in its heartland communities".

Dr Allan, a former junior education minister, added that "there is an overwhelming consensus among academics and researchers in support of the cognitive benefits of bilingual education". He highlighted a 2010 University of Edinburgh study showing that GME pupils, on a whole, were by Primary 5 outperforming their English-medium education peers in English reading.

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Le Grand Quiz de la Francophonie 2020 - Spécial Québec

18 February 2020 (Francophonie UK)

Vive la Francophonie Quiz is back!

Last year's quiz was a huge success, with more than 787 entries (individuals or collectives) around the UK. 

This year the quiz is prepared by the Québec Government Office in London, together with the group Francophonie UK;  so expect lots of question about la Belle Province, and not only about poutine, maple sirup, circus or Céline Dion!

There will also be the same number of questions about la Francophonie and french speaking countries.

The quiz is a fun way to test your French (or the French of your students) and learn more about the culture of the 88 countries part of l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)!

This quiz is open to UK learners of French in the United Kingdom. For the first time, we are also introducing a new category open to anyone living in the UK (all ages). Here are the categories:

● UK Secondary Schools : KS3 pupils (S1,S2, and S3 in Scotland) - can enter as teams or individuals

● UK participating Alliances Françaises and Instituts Français : all students, teens and adults

● UK people interested in French and French speaking countries

Registration is open until 13 March 2020. The quiz will be available online during la Francophonie week, from 14 to 22 March 2020. 

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Radical Gaelic campaign group reveals plans to stand raft of local election candidates

17 February 2020 (Brinkwire)

A radical Gaelic campaign group that argues the language has been subjected to an “ongoing process of cultural genocide over many centuries” has revealed plans to field a raft of local election candidates as part of efforts to revive it.

Misneachd – which translates as confidence or courage – says all adults in the Western Isles and other Gaelic heartlands should have the right to six months’ free, full-time tuition in the language in islands-based “immersion centres”.

This would take the form of a paid sabbatical for those in work.

It also wants to phase out English-medium education in the islands and limit the number of second homes.

Read more...

Welsh language education scheme rolls out across Wales

17 February 2020 (BBC)

A scheme to help preschool children learn Welsh more quickly is being rolled out across the country.

Croesi'r Bont, or Crossing the Bridge, has been developed by Mudiad Meithrin, which runs most Welsh-medium early years provision.

The focus is on ensuring staff at playgroups and primary school teachers use the same language patterns.

The aim is to ease the transition into Welsh-medium education for children whose families do not speak Welsh.

Mudiad Meithrin is taking a key role in the Welsh Government's aim of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

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Mandarin dream: The UK pupils vying for a trip to Beijing

17 February 2020 (BBC)

Pupils from across the UK headed to London for the national final of a Mandarin speaking competition.

At stake is an all-expenses-paid trip to Beijing where they can test their language skills for real.

See the video.

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Call for all schools to teach sign language 'to make world more inclusive'

16 February 2020 (Sky News)

Nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition set up by an 18-year-old calling for all schools to teach basic sign language.

Jade Kilduff, 18, launched the campaign after seeing how sign language transformed her younger brother's life. Christian, four, has brain damage and cerebral palsy and his family were told he would never be able to communicate, so Jade spent two years teaching him sign language.

"Christian communicates by using sign language and a lot of people when talking to Christian would have to talk through me," Jade told Sky News.

"And I thought it was unfair that he could only communicate to me and a few of our family members and I thought if everybody just knew a little bit of sign then it would make the world more inclusive."

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‘Enormous’ interest in Gaelic language over last 18 months

15 February 2020 (STV News)

A surge in the number of people taking up Gaelic in the last 18 months has raised fresh hopes for the revival of the historic Scots language.

Community leaders say interest is at its highest in the past decade and are welcoming the introduction of online learning platforms, which are helping to swell the numbers of speakers.

One factor being credited with a recent spike is online language tutorial service, Duolingo. The global service launched a Gaelic version on November 30.

Around 200,000 people have signed up to learn the language in just 11 weeks.

Read more...

Corpus Christi Primary pupils celebrate tapas night at Tennent’s Cook School

14 February 2020 (Clydebank Post)

Pupils from Corpus Christi Primary School marked the end of a weekly cooking club by celebrating a Spanish tapas night.

Youngsters who attend Spanish Club “El Club Español Familiar” along with family members, travelled to Tennent’s Cook School last Thursday - coinciding with Language Week Scotland.

The event marked their final week with a family celebration theme to apply all of their new language skills.

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Modern Language Assistants 2020-21 applications open

14 February 2020 (British Council)

The British Council Language Assistants team is now welcoming requests from host schools, colleges, universities and local authorities for the 2020-21 academic year.

Language Assistants are an invaluable resource for the development of language skills and the raising of inter-cultural awareness. Language Assistants can help learners build their confidence while gaining new cultural insights. Assistants are native speakers of French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin from our 14 partner countries around the globe.

Visit the website to apply or contact the Language Assistants team for more information at Languageassistants.UK@britishcouncil.org

British Council Language Assistants banner

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Gaelic Sports Leader SCQF Level 4 Award

14 February 2020 (Highland Council)

A Gaelic sports leader’s level 4 will be running in Plockton High School for pupils aged 13+ between Monday 30 March and Thursday 2 April (3 overnight stays).

The feedback from previous courses has been positive and this gives participants a great chance to enhance their leadership whilst also using Gaelic as the tool to do this.

There are up to 16 places available (8 Highland 8 Western Isles to begin with but this could be flexible depending on demand).

The course is free of charge and all accommodation and hot food is provided - breakfast, lunch and dinner all served at the hostel which is on site at Plockton High School.

See the attached flyer for more information and the booking form.

Multilingualism and additional language learning

13 February 2020 (RiPL)

Summaries of research papers that relate to multilingualism and additional language learning are available on the Research in Primary Languages (RiPL) website. Each summary is worded to be reader-friendly, and covers no more than one side of A4.

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eTwinning 2020 Annual Theme - Climate Change and Environmental Challenges

12 February 2020 (eTwinning)

Supporting the European Green Deal, eTwinning acknowledges that students of today are the adults of tomorrow most likely to experience the effects of climate change. That is why it is imperative to learn to live sustainably in order to counteract climate change and other environmental challenges.

2020 is the year of 'climate change and environmental challenges' for eTwinning. It's free to sign up, meet and partner with teachers from schools in 44 countries and start an international classroom project.

See the website for more information and get involved.

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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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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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The Twinstitute - Learn a language

6 February 2020 (BBC)

In the heart of Birmingham, doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken have set up a unique centre for science. 

But theirs is no ordinary lab because inside it is crammed with 30 pairs of identical twins! Thanks to their matching DNA, identical twins are the perfect candidates for scientific comparison.

In this episode, two pairs of identical twins are finding out the best way to learn a language - putting the two most popular styles of learning head to head in self-taught versus taught. With 65% of us saying we would like to be able to speak another language, this test will determine the best way to go about it for you! 

Watch the programme (available on iPlayer until 6 March 2020).

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Funded summer courses in Germany - applications now open!

6 February 2020 (UK-German Connection)

We offer three summer course opportunities for pupils and teachers, all combining language-learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families. All are part or fully funded. Follow the appropriate link to find out more about each course.

Application deadline for each programme: 1 March 2020.

If you have any questions about the courses, don't hesitate to get in touch with the UK-German Connection team at pupilprogrammes@ukgermanconnection.org

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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Scotland-China Association primary schools competition 2020

6 February 2020 (Scotland-China Association)

Open to all pupils in P5, P6 and P7 in Scottish schools, this year's competition from the Scotland-China Association asks students to design a kite.

Kites have been made and flown all over the world for thousands of years, and are very popular in China. The aim of the competition is to inspire the creativity of Scottish primary school pupils and to encourage them to learn more about Scotland and China. Entries should explore ideas which demonstrate understanding of links between Scotland and China through the design for a kite. We are working in partnership with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, where the prize giving will be held.

Individual or group entries are welcomed and should take one of the following forms:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Craftwork (for example an actual kite)
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Video/media/film (no more than 10 minutes long)
  • Embroidery/stitching/textile

See the attached flyer for more information and the entry form, which must accompany all submissions. The deadline for entries is 15 May 2020.

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How Nicaragua's deaf children invented a new sign language

5 February 2020 (BBC)

In the 1980s deaf children in Nicaragua invented a completely new sign language of their own.

It was a remarkable achievement, which allowed experts a unique insight into how human communication develops.

"What we learnt from Nicaragua about language still isn't over," says American linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, who documented the emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language.

Visit the website to watch the video report.

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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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Erasmus+ funding deadline extended

3 February 2020 (Erasmus+)

Due to technical issues with the web forms, the European Commission has announced an extension to the first funding deadline of the 2020 Call. The new deadline for online application forms to be submitted is Tuesday 11 February.

Erasmus+ offers funding to UK schools for life-changing international opportunities. You can apply for one or more of the following funding streams:

  • School Education Staff Mobility (Key Action 101):
    Revised application deadline - 11 February 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    School staff can teach, train or job shadow abroad - to develop their professional practice, build relationships with international peers and gain fresh ideas.
  • School Exchange Partnerships (Key Action 229):
    Application deadline - 24 March 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    Pupils and students can take part in international exchanges and study experiences, and staff can do training and teaching assignments overseas - to develop new skills, get inspired and gain vital international experience.
  • Strategic Partnerships for School Education (Key Action 201):
    Application deadline - 24 March 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    Schools can collaborate with international partners - to drive innovation, share best practice, and offer new opportunities to young people.

The funding is open to UK schools and colleges providing general, vocational or technical education to pupils aged 3 – 18 years. Local and regional authorities, school coordination bodies and consortia can also apply.

Please visit the website to find out more and apply for Erasmus+ schools funding now.  There are online guides and video tutorials to assist applicants, but any queries can be directed to the Erasmus+ UK National Agency at: erasmusplus.enquiries@britishcouncil.org.

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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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Securing Gaelic in the Western Isles and beyond

31 January 2020 (The National)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) recently attracted a flurry of media attention by announcing that Gaelic-medium education (GME) will become the default model in the islands’ schools, so that parents preferring English-medium education will have to opt out. GME has been offered in the islands’ schools since 1987, but English has been the default option up to now.

The new policy is welcome but hardly radical. GME is a long-established and successful model, not only in the Western Isles but across Scotland. Parents will still have the option of English-medium education, unlike in northwest Wales where only Welsh-medium education is available.

There is a consensus in Gaelic circles that more must be done to secure the position of the language in the Western Isles, the only part of Scotland where the language remains widely spoken in the community. There is much less agreement on what steps ought to be taken – indeed there has been relatively little serious, focused discussion.

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Championing Gaelic is an easy win for language learning

31 January 2020 (TESS)

When Scottish Conservative Liz Smith criticised Gaelic-medium education, she was way off the mark, writes Henry Hepburn.

Monsieur Boudon adored the English language. In a rural corner of France, where hardly anyone could string together more than a few words of English, he spent evenings decoding Bruce Springsteen concept albums and parsing the prose of Charles Dickens’ most doorstep-like novels.

I had just started as an English language assistant at a lycée in Le Puy-en-Velay, in Auvergne, where Monsieur Boudon was an English teacher. In what was both a benevolent gesture and a prime opportunity to test his linguistic mettle, he quickly invited me over for dinner along with two Irish students who were working in other schools.

[..] I thought about Monsieur Boudon last week for the first time in many a year when there was a political stooshie over Gaelic-medium education. Following news of the landmark move that Gaelic would become the default language of schools in the Western Isles, the Scottish Conservatives’ education spokesperson, Liz Smith, was quoted in The Scotsman describing this as a “deeply troubling step” that could put children “at a distinct disadvantage to their peers”.

This felt like an echo of culture wars from a bygone era. There are still a few mutterings on social media about whether train station signs should be in Gaelic, but you rarely hear the overblown denunciations of the language that you used to get.

Now, middle-class parents in Edinburgh and Glasgow – often with no heritage in Gaelic’s heartlands – are clamouring for their children to be taught in the language. And a few weeks ago, it was reported that the Gaelic version of the Duolingo language learning app had become the company’s fastest-growing course ever, with 127,000 sign-ups in the month since its St Andrew’s Day launch.

[..] Attempts to boost Gaelic education should be celebrated, not disparaged – because we are all enriched by a plurality of languages.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

Science Specialist Confucius Classroom / Beyond the Panda

29 January 2020 (RZSS)

The RZSS offer the following education programmes to support the teaching and learning of Mandarin in schools.

  • Science Specialist Confucius Classroom - limited FREE sessions at Edinburgh Zoo extended to June 2020. We have two sessions available within our Specialist Classroom. Please note the updated conditions. Please see the attached pdf for details. 
  • Beyond the Panda - new booklet available which details the overall Beyond the Panda programme and provides guidance on the website. The booklet includes a planning and learning map detailing various Mandarin language topics, the games within the programme and where to find them. See the attached pdf for more information.

The German Olympics (IDO)

28 January 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The German Olympics (IDO) is the biggest competition for the German language. Every two years over 100 students from all around the world meet to compete in their most beloved foreign language.

We are happy to welcome the German Olympics for schools worldwide to the United Kingdom in 2020 for the third time. The competition is open to secondary school students born between August 2002 and July 2006.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information about eligibility and how to enter the competition. Submission deadline is 27 March 2020.

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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.  

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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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Dr Michael Dempster: More people are speaking up for Scots

24 January 2020 (The Scotsman)

While we’re celebrating the legacy of world-famous Scots ­language speaker Rabbie Burns tomorrow, it’s also a time to celebrate the many firsts that have taken place for the Scots language recently, and to celebrate its bright future.

Twinty nineteen wis a year o firsts fir Scots language...

There was the first Doric Film ­Festival, the first Scots Gaitherin conference, the first Scots Language Awards, and, of course, the first, free to all, 40-hour introductory course on Scots language and culture was launched by The Open University.

The first digital map of Scots place names was launched by the Deputy First Minister and the first Scottish Government Scots Publication Grant saw support going to many publishers to put out new work in Scots.

Read more...

Write Away!

24 January 2020 (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 Issue 4. The closing date is 23.59 on Friday 31 January 2020.

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines and to read previous editions of the magazine.

Read more...

Espacios Increíbles 2020 – Get your school involved!

24 January 2020 (SCILT)

Following the successful pilot last year, this exciting competition, using Spanish, design team work and creativity is now officially open to secondary schools across all local authorities in Scotland to take part in this year.

Aimed at S3, learners will work in teams to research and design a building in a Spanish speaking area. They will present their design in Spanish, and then go forward to represent their school at national level. The finalists will take part in a live event at the University of Strathclyde where their designs will be judged by industry professionals and academics. The winners (as part of their prize) will have their model made in 3D by the School of Architecture.

This highly motivating project for learners has had a positive effect on uptake in the senior phase for those schools who participated in the pilot in 2019. The skills focus delivers on key aspects of Developing the Young Workforce. The learner materials that are designed to fulfil evidence requirements for achieving Level 4 Benchmarks are available on the SCILT website, and can be easily adapted to suit your chosen group. 

Visit the Eventbrite page to find out more and register your interest by Friday 27 March 2020. 

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MSPs demand apology for 'highly offensive' Tory comments on Gaelic education

23 January 2020 (The Scotsman)

Children's education could suffer by a move which will see Gaelic as the main teaching language for all primary one pupils in the Western Isles from next year, the Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary has said. Liz Smith, MSP, described the new policy which will see Gaelic become the "default" language for P1 pupils as a "deeply troubling step".

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is demanding that Ms Smith withdraw her “highly offensive” remarks and apologise.

John Finnie, Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands and Island, also said Ms Smith's comments were "offensive and inaccurate".

Pupils starting lessons in Gaelic will learn English from P4 onwards. Parents who want to opt out of the new system can have their children taught in English from P1.

However, Ms Smith, said Gaelic should not be promoted over English: “This is a deeply troubling step and one that could put children in the Western Isles at a distinct disadvantage to their peers."

Read more...

German Educational Trainees Across Borders 2020/21

23 January 2020 (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz / SCILT)

Expressions of interest are now being taken from local authorities who would like to host a German student teacher for a 6 month placement during the 2020/21 school session.

German trainee teachers from Universities in Mainz, Leipzig and Koblenz are available to work in Scottish schools for a six month placement from September/October 2020 to March/April 2021. Participating students are native German speakers, training to become secondary teachers of English. 

German Educational Trainees (GETs) support language teaching and intercultural understanding, bringing language alive for learners with a trained and motivated native speaker. 

Local authorities interested in hosting GETs should register with SCILT by Friday 31st January. For more information and to register your interest please contact SCILT

Read more...

Gaelic to be 'default' language for new pupils in Western Isles schools

23 January 2020 (BBC)

Children starting school in the Western Isles this summer will be taught in Gaelic, unless their parents opt-out.

Until now parents had to opt in to Gaelic-medium education (GME) on the islands, where lessons in English was the default.

But from August, all new P1 children will enrol in GME unless their parents request otherwise.

The move was prompted because more than half of parents were expected to choose Gaelic-medium education.

Western Isles council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, is the first of Scotland's 32 local authorities to make the move.

The islands has Scotland's largest Gaelic speaking community.

GME sees lessons delivered in Gaelic until P4 and then English is introduced, with the aim of giving children a bilingual education.

Read more...

Language competitions

22 January 2020 (RZSS)

RZSS and our partner StampIT have launched language competitions. All are based on a fantastic activity which covers many curriculum objectives starting with just one postage stamp. Tell the story of a Spanish, French, Chinese or in fact any country/language stamp. Full details are on the attached pdf leaflets. There are specific leaflets for Spanish, French and Mandarin. There is also another leaflet 'Stamps from around the World' and for this competition any topic (including any language) can be entered. This activity links to the RZSS & StampIT language series.

The competition will continue to run each year, therefore there is no time limit for entries. However for entries to be shown in the 2020 Scottish Annual Congress, please send by 1 March 2020. Entries are encouraged from all age groups. Example pages are shown but younger pupils can still enter and possibly draw around the stamp and write a word or two in the language as appropriate. Pupils can enter more than one of the competitions.

Check out the attached leaflets for more information on each of the competitions. If anyone has difficulty in finding stamps, please contact Sandie Robb - SRobb@rzss.org.uk.

Multilingual Debate 2020

21 January 2020 (Heriot-Watt University)

Heriot-Watt University's Multilingual Debate is an annual event that showcases the interpreting skills of undergraduate and postgraduate students. The event takes the form of a formal debate with two multilingual teams arguing for and against a motion of topical interest in a range of languages. The teams deliver their views in their various native languages (French, German, Spanish, English, Arabic, Chinese, British Sign Language (BSL)).

The audience is mainly made up of pupils coming from Scottish and English secondary schools, along with university undergraduate students considering entering the interpreting profession, as well as government and local authority representatives, The audience participates by listening to the arguments, putting questions to the speakers in the languages represented and voting on the motion.

The Multilingual Debate 2020 will take place on Wednesday 25 March at Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh campus. Two sessions are available and bookings are now being taken. Schools can book up to 15 tickets free of charge.

Visit the website for more information.

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£2.5 million to boost international exchanges for schools

19 January 2020 (Department for Education)

Thousands more young people will have the chance to take part in international exchanges and visits thanks to a new £2.5 million programme, the Education Secretary announced today (19 January).

Schools in England will be able to apply for grants to take pupils aged 11 and above to visit partner schools around the world, giving them the chance to experience different cultures, improve language skills and build independence, character and resilience.

The programme, which will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be run in partnership with the British Council – whose own research has found that only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges. For independent schools, the figure is 77%.

As education ministers from around the world prepare to gather in London for the Education World Forum, Damian Hinds has stressed the importance of ensuring disadvantaged young people don’t miss out on the life-changing experiences and academic opportunities offered by overseas visits.

Evidence shows that businesses are increasingly looking for employees with international experience and language skills – and, according to a British Council survey, almost two-thirds of university language students said that an international exchange helped inspire them to choose their degree course.

The programme will build on the government’s work to encourage more pupils to study a foreign language, including their inclusion in the English Baccalaureate. Since 2010 we have seen 45% more entries in GCSE Chinese and 51% more entries in GCSE Spanish.

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e-Sgoil National 5/Higher Gaelic (Learners) course

17 January 2020 (e-Sgoil)

e-Sgoil is taking applications from S4-S6 pupils for its 2020-2021 Nat 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) courses. These courses are fully funded by the Scottish Government, are delivered online and are open to pupils from anywhere in Scotland. See the attached flyer for more information.

Read more...

Related Files

Immersion courses in France and Spain

17 January 2020 (LFEE)

LFEE Europe has been an international course provider since 2002. Our team of experienced and fully qualified native teachers are committed to promoting French and Spanish language and culture throughout Europe.

Teachers wishing to apply for courses in France and Spain for 2020-2021 can also benefit from Erasmus+ funding to cover the tuition fee, accommodation, subsistence and travel costs. The next funding application deadline is 5 February 2020.

Please contact LFEE Europe as soon as possible to pre-register and receive guidelines to help your application.

For more information, see the course brochure.

Read more...

DofE scheme draws up 'experience list' to build teen resilience

16 January 2020 (The Guardian)

The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme’s leaders are calling on the government to support character building in schools.

Teenagers who want to grow in confidence and resilience are being urged to try “character building” activities such as trying veganism, performing random acts of kindness, taking a digital detox, attending a music festival and going dancing.

The DofE scheme, best known among its millions of graduates for its intrepid, all-weather expeditions into the wilds of the British countryside, has drawn up the checklist of 25 experiences.

Other suggested activities on the list include: public speaking, learning a foreign language, doing work experience, spending time getting to know an older person, volunteering for a charity, campaigning for something you believe in, spending time in nature, engaging in politics, learning about climate change and becoming a mentor to someone younger.

While most teenagers will be able to tick off at least some of the activities on the list, leaders of the DofE scheme are calling on the government to do more to support character building in schools to help develop resilience in all young people.

Read more...

Ofsted starts subject reviews with maths and languages

13 January 2020 (TES)

Applies to England

Ofsted's reintroduction of thematic subject reviews will be "state of the nation" looks into teaching in maths and languages, it has been revealed

The reviews will be using data gathered by inspectors from "deep dives" into these subjects during school inspections.

Daniel Muijs, Ofsted’s deputy director for research and evaluation said the thematic subject reviews would be the the inspectorate’s "biggest programme of new research".

"For this, we will be using data from inspection deep dives to look at the state of the nation in different subject areas across key stages," he said.

"The first subjects we will be researching will be mathematics and languages. 

The plan for Ofsted to return to producing thematic subject reviews was first announced by chief inspector Amanda Spielman last year.

Ms Spielman told the Association of School and College Leaders conference, in Birmingham last year, that she hoped these reviews would start "thoughtful debate informed by evidence."

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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Everyone in Wales will be able to speak Welsh in 300 years - believe scientists

12 January 2020 (Wales Online)

Researchers say that the Welsh language will "thrive" and by 2300 two-thirds of the population could be Welsh speakers.

More than a third of the world's 7,000 languages are currently classified as endangered and more than half are expected to go extinct by 2100. There are a number of strategies in place in those countries to boost the language.

The researchers have developed a model which can predict changes in proficiency levels over time and, ultimately, whether a given endangered language is on a long-term trajectory towards extinction or recovery. The data, published by the Royal Society, compares Welsh and te reo Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand, as a case study. That shows that while Māori is on a pathway towards extinction, Welsh will "thrive in the long term".

The model is based on Welsh in Wales, where researchers say "significant development in bilingual and Welsh-medium education and the presence of the language throughout the public and private sectors have positively contributed to an increase in the number of Welsh speakers."

Read more...

Worldwide Napier magazine - Call for submissions

10 January 2020 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Worldwide Napier, the magazine in foreign languages designed by language students to encourage language studies, is currently looking for contributions in French, German and Spanish for its fifth issue, desirably on [changing] places, our next issue main focus.

Students from secondary schools, colleges and other universities are invited to submit articles, written individually or collaboratively in the language(s) they are studying. The magazine will be published by the end of April and will be available in digital and hard copy format, distributed for free in Scottish schools, Edinburgh cafés and cultural institutions.

See the attached flyer and poster for more information. Submission deadline is 1 March 2020.

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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Discover the Arabic world – A unique experience for Scotland’s schools

10 January 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT, in partnership with Qatar Foundation International and eSgóil is currently looking for ten state schools in Scotland who would be interested in opening the door to the Arab world with an innovative new pilot project. 

The collaboration will provide an opportunity for both primary and secondary schools to offer L3 learning experiences in Arabic language and culture.  Courses will be co-created by the SCILT team and a specially commissioned writing team of native speakers, with language lessons delivered online by a native speaker of Arabic via e-Sgoil. For learners in primary schools the course will be offered as a ten-week inter-disciplinary block of learning.  For secondary schools, the course will focus on developing employability skills and be aimed at S6 senior phase learners who are seeking to enhance their language learning experience and their CVs.  Participating schools will also receive the support of a fully-trained, native speaking, language assistant. The lessons will give learners the chance to explore aspects of Arabic culture as well as providing a solid linguistic foundation for learning the world’s fifth most spoken language.

In addition to teaching support and professional learning opportunities, schools participating in the pilot phase will also receive a grant of £2000.  This can provide schools with resources and experiences that enhance and support the language learning and promote a positive experience of Arabic culture.

If you would like your school to be considered to take part in the pilot, please note your interest at SCILT scilt@strath.ac.uk before close of business on Friday 31 January 2020.

School Partnership Bursaries for 2019-20

9 January 2020 (UK-German Connection)

Did you run any activities with your German partner school last year?

School partnership bursaries are available once more to help you to keep your UK-German partnership alive.

All you need to do is answer a few short questions about your partnership activities last year and your plans for 2020.

For further details and to enter your information, please visit the UK-German Connection website and submit your information by 31 January 2020. 

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Winter 2020: C’est la rentrée!

9 January 2020 (Institut français)

The Institut français in Edinburgh is now enrolling for winter term classes commencing 13 January 2020.

Visit the website for information on the courses available and to enrol.

Read more...

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...

Mandarin eclipses French, say private school heads

8 January 2020 (TES)

Mandarin is the best language for pupils to learn in today’s world, while French lags far behind in importance, according to girls’ school headteachers cited in a poll published today.

The survey, conducted by the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA), which represents independent all-girls schools across the UK, found that 38 per cent of heads feel Mandarin is the most important modern language for pupils to learn.

This is despite pupils' quicker progress in European languages, according to a language expert, who also argues that more job opportunities area available for French and German speakers.

Spanish was the second most popular option among the headteachers polled, with 31 per cent choosing it as the most important language, while 7.1 per cent chose Russian.

Just 2 per cent of those surveyed said French is the most important language for pupils to know.

A further 21 per cent selected “other”, with many commenting that any modern foreign language is useful for pupils.

[..] But Teresa Tinsley, who wrote the British Council’s 2019 Language Trends report, said schools needed to consider the practicalities of opting for Mandarin over languages spoken by geographical neighbours, such as French and German.

[..] Ms Tinsley said she supported the introduction of Mandarin to give pupils more variety in the languages they learnt, but said European languages tended to support pupils’ literacy in English, which could not be said of Asian languages.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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JACT Greek Summer School

7 January 2020 (JACT Summer Schools)

The UK’s largest classical summer school now offers teachers’ Greek courses at Beginner, Intermediate and GCSE levels.

Students cover a large amount of Greek within a scholarly and academically-intensive environment. The courses represent an ideal CPD opportunity for those wishing to acquire new expertise.

Teacher courses in 2020 will last for one week (Sunday to Saturday), with options as follows:

  • Week 1 (26 July - 1 Aug): Beginner - A course for those with little or no Greek at present - no prior knowledge is assumed. 
  • Week 2 (2 - 8 Aug): Intermediate - This course assumes some knowledge. 

It will be possible for teachers to attend the Beginner course in Week 1 and stay on for the Intermediate course in Week 2 if they wish.

Applications will open in January. For the best chance of gaining a course place and/or bursary apply by 31 March 2020.

Visit the JACT Summer Schools Trust website for more information.

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What are the hardest GCSE subjects? A student's view

6 January 2020 (TES)

When it comes to GCSEs, a mixed bag of results is often expected by teachers and students alike. 

It’s generally accepted that students have stronger and weaker areas; some are more Stem-oriented, while others perform better in English and the arts.

But are all GCSE subjects of the same difficulty? 

And should we be concerned about this?

I propose that the difference in performance across subjects is partially down to disparities in the difficulty of the courses and exams.

I achieved 10 grade 9s last summer, but I did not find it easy. 

These are the subjects that I – and others – found the most difficult.

Read more...

French Pop Video Competition 2020

6 January 2020 (Institut français)

Do you think you could sing or rap in French? Do you have the skills to make a video clip for your song? If so, this competition is for you!

The competition is open to any student or groups of students in full time education in the national-curriculum primary and secondary schools of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Channel Islands, in 3 age-group categories: 7-11, 12-15, and 16-18.

Entries should be original compositions around 3 minutes long and must be performed in French.

Visit the competition website for more information and submit entries by 3 April 2020.

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French classes in Glasgow

6 January 2020 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is currently enrolling for the following courses/examinations. Click on the relevant link for more information.

For further information about the organisation, visit the Alliance Française website.

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SEND: Why your school should sign up to BSL

3 January 2020 (TES)

How can you make inclusion a key part of your curriculum? One mainstream primary in London has taken the radical step of including British Sign Language – so that every child learns to use it. Headteacher Dani Lang and deaf instructor Tina Kemp explain how it’s benefited deaf and hearing pupils alike

It’s Tuesday morning and a Year 5 class are doing their daily maths lesson. A child looks confused and puts her hand up, but before the teacher can come over, the boy next to her puts his pencil down and signs “Can I help?”

The girl smiles back at him and signs that she can’t work out the answer and points to the question in her maths book. His quick, nimble fingers sign back to help her overcome her confusion about place value, and then they both pick up their pencils and continue with their work.

All this, without a single audible word uttered. This fluent interaction in British Sign Language (BSL) is common at Brimsdown Primary School in Enfield. We are a mainstream primary in North London with a hearing impairment resource base (HIRBiE). This is not an intervention tool, it’s a teaching tool. HIRBiE runs staff and family signing lessons during the day and after school, and teaches BSL to all children from Nursery to Year 6 in class time.

It works for us and we firmly believe it could – and should – work for you, too.

Admittedly, it has taken us some time to get to this point: HIRBiE has been operating for 13 years in the school but its full integration into the school day has been going on only for the past four years.

HIRBiE was set up because there were (and still are) a number of deaf children and staff at the school, and the leadership firmly believed that every child deserved the right to be treated equally and to receive the same quality of education. However, leaders also felt there was a need to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf people and so took the decision to make BSL a significant part of our school curriculum.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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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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Duolingo sparks Gaelic boom as young Scots shrug off 'cringe' factor

2 January 2020 (The Guardian)

Almost double the number of people in Scotland who already speak Scottish Gaelic have signed up to learn the language on the popular free platform Duolingo in over a month, concluding a proliferation in courses, prizes and performance in Gaelic and Scots during 2019, as younger people in particular shrug off the “cultural cringe” associated with speaking indigenous languages.

The Duolingo course, which was launched just before St Andrew’s Day on 30 November and looks likely to be the company’s fastest-growing course ever, has garnered more than 127,000 sign-ups – 80% from Scotland itself, compared with just over 58,000 people who reported themselves as Gaelic speakers in the 2011 Scottish census.

And last month, the Open University Scotland launched a free online course – which has already attracted nearly 7,000 unique visitors from the UK, US, Canada and Australia – that teaches the Scots language in the context it is spoken, as well as highlighting its role in Scottish culture and society.

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Duolingo's Scots Gaelic course reaches 127,000 users (The National, 3 January 2020)

West Lothian Council to promote Gaelic language and Gaelic education

30 December 2019 (Daily Record)

West Lothian Council’s executive has agreed a draft Gaelic language plan for the authority. It will now be presented to the Bòrd na Gaidhlig. 

The body was set up by the Scottish Government in 2005 to promote the use and understanding of the Gaelic language and Gaelic education.

West Lothian is one of only four councils - the others are Midlothian, East Lothian and Scottish Borders - who have not created a Gaelic plan. A six-week public consultation produced 127 responses. The bulk were in favour of developing language classes and cultural events.

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Why we offer Mandarin and Spanish, not German and French

20 December 2019 (TES)

Secondary head Chris Woolf explains why he ditched the modern language stalwarts in favour of giving all students the chance to learn Mandarin and Spanish.

It was very quiet. There was no one to talk to. There were no phones to ring. There was no one knocking on the door. Getting in early to make some progress before students and staff arrived for the day was pointless: they wouldn’t be here for another nine months. It was June 2015 and I had been appointed founding headteacher of Pinner High School.

Much of the next year was spent making and enacting plans. But foremost in my mind, on those quiet days when the school had not yet come into being, was the curriculum. What should it look like?

A lot of it would be traditional, of course: English, maths, science. However, there was an opportunity to make it a bit more exciting, too. This is how we came to ditch French and German, teaching Mandarin and Spanish to every child in the school instead.

Mandarin teaching has increased over the past 20 years but it is still offered by only a minority of state schools. Even then, it is usually in addition to the more traditional languages. We didn’t want it to be an add-on – we wanted it to be the main event.

Meanwhile, the number of students taking Spanish at GCSE has soared, while French has fallen markedly. But trying to counter the former and respond to the latter were not our only drivers.

Governors asked appropriately challenging questions. Why? What’s wrong with French and German? Through telling audiences about our language options as I toured local primaries to promote the school, I honed my response. When schools first started teaching modern foreign languages, we looked to our nearest neighbours in Europe for the most useful ones to learn: French and German.

But the world has changed. If we look to the future, we want jobseekers of the 2020s to be equipped for success, and that means a more dynamic approach. Teaching students in an English-speaking school Mandarin and Spanish means that they get to study the top three most widely spoken languages in the world. That must be a good thing.

Having settled on Mandarin and Spanish, I had to consider who would be eligible for these languages. This was an easy decision: everyone. We are a truly inclusive school and we believe that everyone can access the same curriculum, given the proper support.

Then I had to actually make it happen. I had expected recruiting Mandarin teachers to be difficult. However, when I advertised, there was a strong field to pick from and we now have brilliant colleagues.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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Chinese New Year

19 December 2019 (British Council)

Get ready to celebrate Chinese New Year on 25 January 2020!

This education resource from the British Council is packed full of exciting ideas and activities from across the curriculum, helping you and your pupils celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 and the Year of the Rat.

Play the sound files and practice saying the names of different Chinese festivals and greetings in Mandarin. Read a traditional story about a pair of ambitious rat parents trying to find a husband for their daughter. Get creative making rat finger puppets, Tangram puzzles and steamed rice dumplings. Learn together about Tomb Sweeping Day, the Spring, Moon and Dragon Boat Festivals and read letters from Chinese children about how they celebrate with their friends and families.

This resource is suitable for primary years and adaptable for early secondary years and older.

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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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Latin / Latin and Classical Studies

16 December 2019 (University of Edinburgh)

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Secondary - is a one year (36 week) programme which begins mid-August. Places are available for 2020.

Visit the University of Edinburgh website for more information and to apply.

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School partnership bursaries

16 December 2019 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection is again offering bursaries of £1,000 to help keep UK-German school partnerships alive. The bursaries can support pupil visits and joint activities taking place in 2020.

Visit the website to find out more and submit your application by 31 January 2020.

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Mathématiques sans Frontières 2020

16 December 2019 (UWS)

Mathématiques sans Frontières is an annual international mathematics competition for S4-S6 schoolchildren, centrally run by the Académie de Strasbourg since 1989. This interclass competition involves a number of mathematical puzzles where one of the puzzles is posed, and must be answered, in a foreign language. The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is organising the competition in Scotland and invites schools to register for the competition by 31 January 2020.

More information can be found in the attached invitation letter. Also attached is the registration form and a competition training test and answer sheet.

Further information about previous competitions can also be found on the UWS Mathématiques sans Frontières website.

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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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Japanese online course for teachers

10 December 2019 (Japan Foundation)

Why don’t you teach your pupils Japanese language and culture at your school? We think your pupils will love it!

The Marugoto A1-1 (Katsudoo & Rikai) Tutor Support Course gives a comprehensive introduction to Japanese language and culture. This course will combine online self-study with submission of assignments to a real-life tutor, in addition to live lessons (1 live lesson covers 1 Topic) with the tutor. The course commences 15 January 2020.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to register for the course by 18 December 2019.

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The popularity of Gaelic on Duolingo should change how Scotland sees itself

8 December 2019 (The National)

Last week saw extraordinary explosion of interest in Gaelic learning on Duolingo – the world’s largest language learning platform. It has attracted about 65,000 learners in five days.

Ciaran Iòsaph MacAonghais – a primary teacher from Fort William and co-creator of the Scottish Gaelic Duolingo course told us: “Previously, there were around 5500 learning Gaelic in Scotland and we have already raised this number significantly and hopefully it will continue to rise in the coming weeks and months.

‘‘There is no single solution that will save the Gaelic language. Much more needs to be done to support native speakers in Gaelic speaking communities, but having a high profile starting point for learning is still a powerful thing. In a small language community like this, every speaker makes a real difference.”

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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.

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The Glasgow school using play to boost literacy and numeracy

6 December 2019 (TESS)

From making imaginary pizzas to becoming interior designers for a doll’s house, learning through play isn’t just for the youngest pupils, argue two Glasgow teachers. They tell Emma Seith how they are using it to support children who speak English as an additional language – and to connect with colleagues around the world.

Have you heard the tale about play-based learning, a viral Facebook page and one of Scotland’s most diverse communities? It involves two young teachers in Glasgow, who have gained thousands of followers around the world for their imaginative use of play in the classroom.

The magic happens at Holy Cross Primary in the Govanhill area, which serves a truly multicultural community. Holy Cross has a significant Romanian and Slovakian pupil population, and there are a large number of children with Pakistani heritage, many of whom speak Urdu and Punjabi. Overall, 80 per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language – something that proved challenging for Rebecca Meighan and Claire Scally when they were both teaching P1.

So, what are they doing that has struck such a chord with teachers around the world?

Meighan and Scally quickly realised that before they could push on with reading and writing skills, they needed to first build up their pupils’ English vocabulary. But they didn’t want to simply show pictures – they wanted pupils to be able to “see and touch and feel these objects”. The solution was to enable them to acquire language in a more natural way: to let them play.

“When we got to teaching phonics, initial sounds and word blends, we were finding it really difficult because the children were coming either with little English or no English at all,” explains Scally. “You always start with the letter S – the ‘sss’ sound – but when we were trying to get them to think of words that start with the letter S, they were just looking at us blankly.”

Meighan and Scally decided to change tack. After brainstorming words with the sound they wanted children to learn that week, they set up play activities related to that sound. For instance, with the “V” sound, one activity was to make a volcano erupt (with lava produced by combining vinegar and baking soda). The children were also given the chance to role-play being a vet; one of the suggested activities was taking a pet dog for a vaccination.

The plan achieved the desired result: instead of looking blank when they were asked to give examples of words featuring the sound they were working on, the children were able to reel off a list. And, importantly, they remembered these words because they had been immersed in a world (albeit an imaginary one) where they were relevant.

“We knew that if we gave children the chance to interact with these objects – to do and not just see – they would remember them and gain some more language from that,” explains Meighan.

Meighan and Scally set up The Power of Play Facebook page to collaborate with teachers outside their school (bit.ly/PowerPlayGla). They quickly discovered that teachers across the UK – as well as from Finland, Norway, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – were on similar journeys and wanted to introduce more play into their classrooms.

At the time of writing, the page had attracted more than 17,000 followers and 16,000-plus likes. Some of Meighan and Scally’s posts, meanwhile, have attracted hundreds of comments.

Many Facebook commenters ask them where they get their resources from, including the miniature apples decorating their cardboard apple trees, brightly painted numbers with googly eyes and “bones” (dog biscuits) used for Halloween activities.

What they have created is a community of teachers helping each other. The ideas that go down well, they say, are the ones that are relatively easy to do, and which feature resources that can be adapted and used again.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Parlons français 2020

6 December 2019 (AMOPA)

The competition for Advanced Higher students of French has now been running for over ten years and is back again for 2020!

To enter, all that's needed is a short recording of students as they prepare for their speaking test. Judges will assess it, provide feedback to everyone and some will be awarded prizes and certificates. It is hoped that taking part will be a useful exercise to support pupils' learning and preparation and not a distraction. Since they are practising anyway, why not let them have some feedback on that?

For more information and how to enter see the attached flyer.

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Scottish school pupils show off their language skills in Mandarin Speaking Competition

6 December 2019 (CISS)

Over 40 pupils from 14 Scottish Schools put their linguistic skills to the test on 26 November as they bid to be crowned Scotland’s best Mandarin speakers. They took part in the Glasgow heat of this year’s British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition, held at the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) within Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT).

The winners of the heat will be announced next month after all the UK heats have been completed, and they will be put forward to the final in London in February 2020 with the overall winner winning a fully-funded educational and cultural visit to China. Now in its sixteenth year, the national competition aims to build interest in Chinese language and culture.

Mr Jiayi Chen, Teacher of Mandarin at Kinross High, said:

“Learning Mandarin has been incredibly important at Kinross High and our pupils gain so much confidence when using the language and taking part in the competition.  We’ve seen a big impact from the opportunity to put language skills to use outside of a classroom setting. It’s also great to see that many of our students have been inspired to continue studying languages to a higher level.”

As the most spoken language in the world, Mandarin is recognised as a valuable skill for young people in the UK to acquire. 77 per cent of British business leaders surveyed in 2018 saying that speaking Mandarin will give school leavers a career advantage. Research by the British Council has found that Mandarin is the second most important foreign language for the UK’s influence on the global stage.

However, the numbers of pupils studying Mandarin are low when compared to other languages. This year, in Scotland for example, just 232 pupils took the Scottish National 5 exam in Mandarin compared to more than 10,720 students who took French and over 7000 pupils who took Spanish.

Jackie Killeen, Director, British Council Scotland said;

“It’s wonderful to see so many Scottish Schools and pupils involved in the Mandarin Speaking Competition this year – and we’re delighted to help host this event in Glasgow. Mandarin Chinese is a vital language world-wide and this competition provides a powerful way for students not only to enhance their language skills but also to broaden their horizons for life and work in the global economy. We wish all the pupils and Schools the very best for the heats and the final”.

Fhiona Mackay, Director, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, added;

“SCILT is delighted to host the Scottish heats of the British Council’s annual Mandarin Speaking Competition.  These events highlight the importance of languages as key skills for life and work and showcase the talents of youngsters across the country who are enthusiastically learning Mandarin. It’s certainly not easy an easy task to speak in a language you are learning in front of a panel of distinguished judges and I am impressed by the young people’s courage, motivation and commitment.  The confidence that is developed by taking part in such an event will serve them well throughout their school careers.  Regardless of the outcome of the judges’ final decisions, everyone who takes part is a winner!”

Since 2003, around 3,000 young people from across the UK have entered the competition – with some of these pupils later going on to graduate in Mandarin Chinese.

Pupils can compete in the Individual Language Ability or the Group Performance section. In the Individual section, contestants give a short presentation in Mandarin and translate sentences from English into Mandarin. In the Group Performance section, groups of five students of mixed Mandarin experience perform a piece of drama in Mandarin, involving imaginative performances and drama.

The national final of the Mandarin Speaking Competition will take place in London on 5 February 2020.

photos from the Mandarin Speaking Competition

The German Olympics (IDO)

6 December 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The German Olympics (IDO) is the biggest competition for the German language. Every two years over 100 students from all around the world meet to compete in their most beloved foreign language.

We are happy to welcome the German Olympics for schools worldwide to the United Kingdom in 2020 for the third time. The competition is open to secondary school students born between August 2002 and July 2006.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information about eligibility and how to enter the competition. Submission deadline is 27 March 2020.

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Gaelic National Schools Debate 2019

6 December 2019 (Scottish Parliament)

Well done to all the semi-finalists and finalists of the Gaelic National Schools Debate. And congratulations to winners Sgoil Lionacleit and Raonaid Campbell from Sir E Scott.

The final was hosted at the Scottish Parliament on 5 December and is available to watch on the Scottish Parliament's TV channel.

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Tom McKean: Speaking from the heart in Doric, the language of home and family

5 December 2019 (Press and Journal)

The north-east of Scotland is home to an unmatched heritage of music, song, and story, history and folklore, and the creativity of the people who live and work here.

A significant part of this inheritance, and one which runs through all the others, is north-east Scots, often known as ‘Doric’ in the northern and western parts of our region, and by many other names as well – Mearns, Toonser, Aiberdeen, Fisher Doric, Buckie, oor tongue, spikkin, and more.

For well over a century, North-East children arriving in school would be taught, and at times coerced, to ‘talk’ as opposed to ‘spik’.

To ‘spik’ meant to use the language of family, hearth, and home, while English was thought to be the way to get ahead in the world.

This language of home and family is part of people’s character, world view, and wry sense of humour.

But it is less used in the more formal walks of life and we don’t hear enough north-east voices in the media, in civic life, and in our schools.

But the language of home, it turns out, is what’s needed for real progress, and real progress is not just about exams and university.

No, real progress is raising children who have confidence in themselves, their language, and in their communities.

[..]  But Doric is not just for native speakers. In fact, some of the best pupils doing Scots/Doric at Banff Academy are from outwith Scotland and they’ve picked up the language in no time at all.

Language is a great way to build bridges across communities and with people from other parts of the world.

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'Gie it a shot' - OU offers free Scots language course

5 December 2019 (BBC)

A free online course has been developed that teaches the Scots language in the context it is spoken.

Developed by The Open University (OU) and Education Scotland, the course also highlights the role of the language in Scottish culture and society.

It takes about 40 hours to complete, and aims to boost understanding of Scots and its history.

The creators hope the course will be used in the classroom by teachers and other educators.

The Scots Language Centre defines Scots as the national name for Scottish dialects that are known collectively as the Scots language.

The new course will be split into two parts, with the first now available on the OU's OpenLearn Create platform.

The second part is expected to be online by the end of the month.

Sylvia Warnecke, OU senior lecturer in languages, said Scots was growing in popularity.

She said: "It feels right to show how as a language it has developed over time as a vital aspect of Scottish culture and history, and how it links to other European languages."

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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.

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Teach abroad as an English Language Assistant

4 December 2019 (British Council)

Every year, around 2,500 language assistants from the UK support the teaching of English in 14 countries around the world. 

We offer the opportunity to teach English overseas on a paid six-month or one-year placement working as a language assistant. 

As an English Language Assistant, you will: 

  • strengthen your CV
  • improve your fluency in another language
  • gain a number of skills including communication, presentation, time management, organisation, teamwork, and problem-solving
  • immerse yourself in another culture and improve your cultural awareness
  • develop professional confidence

Teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week, giving you plenty of time to experience the country and pursue other interests.

Visit the British Council website to find out more and to apply to be an English Language Assistant in 2020-21. Closing date: 5 February 2020.

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Why are British people such nervous linguists? Shame

4 December 2019 (The Guardian)

Adrian Chiles says he's failed at French, German and Croatian and now he's learning Welsh.

No other subject,” says my language teacher, “is the cause of so much shame. You might struggle with other subjects, but you’ll probably never berate yourself like you do about your shortcomings in language learning.”

That’s a good point or, as they say in Welsh, mae e’n gwneud pwynt da.

I’m learning Welsh because I thought it was about time I did so, having spent so much time there on holiday all my life. It struck me that I wasn’t much different to the kind of expats in Spain I might sniff at for not knowing any Spanish beyond dos cervezas por favor.

I expect many Guardian readers made a resolution earlier this year to learn a new language or “brush up” their school French. And now, as they are preparing to make the same resolution, they will be feeling a little, yes, ashamed.

What is this self-flagellation all about? My Croatian teacher thinks it is a peculiarly British thing.

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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.

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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.

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Greenock pupils impress First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a show at the Scottish Parliament

3 December 2019 (Greenock Telegraph)

It's a case of mind your languages for Greenock school pupils who impressed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as they put on a superb show at the Scottish Parliament.

Whinhill Primary were invited to bring their culture and diversity showcase to Holyrood and blew everyone away with a special performance.

The Greenock school uses performing arts to bring languages to life and the children were able to express themselves in Gaelic, German and Tamil.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan arranged for them to come to parliament and said they proved great ambassadors.

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French courses in Glasgow

2 December 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is currently enrolling for the following courses taking place during January and February 2020. Click on the relevant link for more information.

Western Isles Gaelic debate comes to its conclusion this week

2 December 2019 (Stornoway Gazette)

The semi-finals of the National Secondary Schools’ Gaelic Debate will take place on Wednesday this week.The first semi-final will see Inverness Royal Academy B up against Lionacleit School. The second debate will see Bishopbriggs High School take on Sir E Scott.The two winning teams will meet in the Final, at The Scottish Parliament on Thursday, December 5th, at 7pm, where they will debate, ‘In 20 years time, the real Gàidhlig communities will be situated in the big cities’.

Looking forward to the final, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said: “Gaelic matters. “It is part of who we are and part of Scotland’s rich cultural identity. The humour, insight and linguistic skill displayed by young people in this competition year after year, convincingly demonstrates that the language continues to flourish. “It gives me immense pleasure that the final will be held on the floor of Holyrood’s debating chamber, marking this, our joint twentieth anniversary.”

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Thousands sign up for new online Gaelic course on Duolingo

28 November 2019 (BBC)

More than 20,000 people have signed up to learn Scottish Gaelic on a free online learning app which launches the new course on St Andrew's Day.

The Duolingo course has been created on a "record-breaking timescale" with the help of bilingual volunteers.

Its official release on Saturday is eight months ahead of schedule and the course has already attracted more than 7,000 learners using its Beta version.

Duolingo has 91 courses in 30 languages and more than 300 million users.

It uses artificial intelligence and "gamification", where users compete against each other as they learn.

In the eight years since Duolingo was launched it has added dozens of languages including Navajo, Hawaiian, Welsh and Irish Gaelic.

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‘How learning a foreign language changed my life‘

26 November 2019 (Stock Daily Dish)

The number of teenagers learning foreign languages in UK secondary schools has dropped by 45% since the turn of the millennium.

The reaction to the research was mixed. Why learn a foreign language when English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, some people wondered.

Others questioned the need for a second language when translation technology is advancing so quickly.

But many speakers of foreign languages extolled the benefits. Four native English speakers tell how making the effort to learn a second language is important – and how it changed their life.

When Alex Chaffer moved to Germany four years ago, he could only say “hello” and “thank you” in German.

He had not learnt the language at school, but was starting off a career in sports journalism and had the opportunity to go to Germany.

When he first arrived, he discovered his accommodation had fallen through.

“I had been scammed,” he said. “I couldn‘t speak to anyone because I didn‘t have the language, I was lost.”

“The first year I was here I didn‘t learn a lot. I then had a German girlfriend that helped massively, having someone force me to do it and hearing it around all the time. She would speak in English and I would speak in German.”

The 23-year-old is now fluent and works on the website of Germany‘s top football league, Bundesliga.

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Peppa’s bonnie book: Iconic TV porker gets a Scots reboot

25 November 2019 (Sunday Post)

She has become one of the most iconic children’s characters of all time. And now Peppa Pig has developed a Scots twang.

Peppa’s Bonnie Unicorn – translated into Scots by school librarian Thomas Clark – has just hit the shelves, and it’s expected to be a Christmas best seller.

Scottish Borders-based Thomas, 39, who works at Hawick High School, has already translated Jeff Kinney’s best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid. His version won the Scots Language Awards Scots Bairns’ Book of the Year accolade last month.

Realising there was little Scots literature for younger children, he decided to tweak Peppa’s dialect.

Thomas, a member of Oor Vyce, which lobbies the Scottish Government to promote Scots language, said: “There are lots of Scots book translations for teenagers, like Harry Potter and Roald Dahl, but I noticed there’s nothing for pre-school kids, which is really the generation we should be promoting Scots to.

“Peppa was the obvious choice as she’s one of the biggest icons for that age group. Mention Peppa to any four-year-old and they’ll fall over themselves with excitement.”

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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'Brexit or not, MFL cannot be optional for Britain'

21 November 2019 (TES)

Despite the privilege of living in a multilingual country, the UK's monolingual English risk being left behind, writes Dr Heather Martin.

"If we can just get Brexit done", some seem to think, "we won’t have to worry about learning all those other languages!" English, that great linguistic success story, will be sufficient unto itself.

It’s a terrible delusion. All it would do is make the learning harder. 

It’s not as though language is a take-it-or-leave-it option in real life. Nor should it be in schools.

There was a time when we didn’t have language at all. We didn’t have much of anything back then. It was touch and go whether we would win out over our Neanderthal rivals, who by all anthropological accounts were tougher than us and better at tool-making.

But for some reason we were the ones to develop syntactical language, which turned out to be the best tool of all. Why? Because we could coordinate and cooperate with others. We could discuss, theorise, speculate, and line up plans B and C in case plan A fell through.

Later, when writing came along, we could count our crops and keep records and amass evidence. We were ahead of the game because we could speak each other’s language. The choices we made – what we did with that ability to plot and plan and scheme  – is another story.

Needless to say it wasn’t English. Like homo sapiens, modern English as we know it, dating from the late 17th century, is just a blip on the evolutionary calendar. A slightly larger and more luminous blip if you go back as far as Early Modern and Shakespeare.

Such ambiguous progress as we have made  – hey, we put a man on the moon! – is largely down to our hard-wired language-learning ability, our readiness to meet each other half way, to transition from Latin to Celtic to Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman and beyond, to respond, reflect and adapt. 

Which is the pragmatic philosophy behind the pop-up museum of languages that in late October, a ray of light in the wintry shadow of Brexit, popped up in a shopping centre in Cambridge – the first stop on an inaugural tour of Belfast, Edinburgh, Nottingham and London (March 2020).

The Cambridge University brains behind this innovative concept seek to address anyone from 4 to 84, but on the half-term day I was there the average age was around 8. Which seems about right for the ideal target audience. We can learn a new language at any time. It’s never too late to open our minds. But no doubt the sooner the better. 

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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Global partnerships, local learning

20 November 2019 (Stride Magazine)

Gemma Burnside from the Scotland Malawi Partnership, explains why all schools should consider the benefits an international school partnership can bring to their learning communities.

With current events threatening to make the UK ever more insular and closed off from the rest of the world, it’s important to consider the vital role international school partnerships play in introducing young people to other cultures and ways of life. By expanding their view of how their peers around the world experience life and education, these kinds of partnerships are creating the global citizens and activists of the future.

Working with around 250 schools across Scotland as members of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, I have the chance to see the incredible variety of school partnerships between Scotland and Malawi. No two are the same in what they want to achieve or the experiences they share. What they do have in common is the friendships that are created between teachers, pupils and communities in these two countries.

Read more...

Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

20 November 2019 (Education Scotland)

The November 2019 edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Gaelic Medium Education is now available to view online.

Topics in this issue include:

  • National Improvement Hub resources to support GME in the curriculum
  • Music and wellbeing resources
  • Professional learning and leadership opportunities
  • Early years support
  • Sharing effective practice to support improvement

Read more...

SEET school competitions reminder

20 November 2019 (SEET)

Have you registered your school yet for either of the competitions run by the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET)?

The Euroquiz project is open to all P6 pupils across Scotland and sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world. Subjects covered include languages, history, geography, culture and European affairs. Heats commence January 2020.

Our World is a film making project for S3-S6 pupils asking them to use modern languages to express thoughts on topics such as migration and sustainable tourism through the media of film. Deadline for storyboard submissions is 3 December 2019.

More information about each project and how to register can be found on the attached document or visit the SEET website.

Read more...

Related Files

Hour of Code 2019

19 November 2019 (Turn It On)

The ‘Hour of Code™’ is an initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming and this year will be celebrated in Computer Science Education Week, 9th – 15th December 2019. Try a one-hour tutorial designed for all ages in over 45 languages. Join millions of students and teachers in over 180 countries starting with an Hour of Code.

Now in its fourth year there are even more resources out there for schools to use free of charge. The Hour of Code initiative is a really good opportunity for schools that are not that confident in following the computing curriculum to try it out with students for just one hour as well as some good activities for those that are already teaching it. 

On the Hour of Code website there are activities created by many partners for a variety of subjects so that you can bring an hour of code into any lesson, for students, and teachers, of any ability.

Read more...

Win a trip to Paris

8 November 2019 (ULIP)

Studying French at AS/A Level (or equivalent) and fancy a weekend away to the City of Light? 

The University of London Institute in Paris’ (ULIP) annual Win a Trip to Paris competition is now open for students of AS/A-Level French (or equivalent)! The weekend offers the perfect chance to explore the French capital, try out your taste for croissants, and see what it might be like to live and study for your undergraduate degree in one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities.

This year's competition focuses on an important forthcoming event that will take place in Paris. To spur creativity, we have changed our format: this year we are inviting you to create an image caption. Be imaginative and bold! For your chance to spend a weekend in Paris, simply answer two questions and add your snappy caption under the image before midnight UK time 31 January 2020.

Visit the ULIP website for more information and to enter.

Read more...

Advanced Higher pupil workshops - bookings now open

8 November 2019 (SCILT)

Returning for session 2019-20, SCILT will be delivering workshops for pupils studying Advanced Higher modern languages. Bookings are currently open for:

  • Stirling - Tuesday 26 November 10am-12, University of Stirling (this workshop is now fully booked, however you can register on the waiting list via Eventbrite in case of any cancellations)
  • Glasgow - Wednesday 4 December 10am-12, University of Strathclyde (this workshop is now fully booked, however you can register on the waiting list via Eventbrite in case of any cancellations)
  • Glasgow - Friday 6 December 10am-12, University of Strathclyde (this workshop is now fully booked, however you can register on the waiting list via Eventbrite in case of any cancellations)
  • Dundee - Monday 9 December 10am-12, University of Dundee
  • Edinburgh - Tuesday 10 December 10am-12, University of Edinburgh
  • Inverness - Wednesday 11 December 11am-1pm, Millburn Academy

This is a pupil workshop which will focus on what is required at Advanced Higher level and give tips on how to approach key elements of the course. We will look at ways of tackling:

  • the overall purpose question in the reading
  • the discursive writing
  • the portfolio
  • the talking

This will also be an opportunity to meet with your peers and set up links so you can support one another in your studies.

Schools should register on behalf of their pupils. Please indicate when registering how many pupils will be attending. While this event is for pupils, teachers may wish to attend and this should be reflected in the numbers when you register.

Why learning Scots is having a moment

8 November 2019 (TES)

More than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, and now this language is enjoying a resurgence in the classroom. The learning benefits are immense, writes Kirsty Crommie.

There are thought to be more than 7,000 languages spoken across the world, with many more not yet known outside the small communities in which they are spoken. Around 330 are spoken in Europe and more than 2,000 in Asia. Over 850 languages are spoken within Papua New Guinea alone (Miaschi, 2017) and, within the thousands of languages spoken worldwide, there are countless dialects and regional variations, rich in vocabulary and sounds.

Language lets us share, discover and make connections. But it is also a representation of culture and identity, and it symbolises the incredibly diverse world in which we live – so, with 75 per cent of the world’s population not speaking English, it is imperative that we encourage the learning of languages throughout school.

And this must include the Scots language: by studying our minority languages, such as Scots, we are celebrating our diverse and fascinating linguistic heritage, as we should.

In primary schools across Scotland, at least one additional language is being taught. The Scottish government’s 1+2 model for languages has a target of ensuring that by 2021, every Scottish school will offer children one additional language from P1 and a second from P5; many schools are well on their way to meeting that goal.

It is a target that is not without its challenges: staff must receive relevant training if they are to effectively deliver the teaching of a language of which they may have little or no experience. But the benefits are such that these challenges must be overcome.

Curriculum for Excellence: Modern Languages Experiences and Outcomes clearly lays out the benefits. Not only are literacy skills enhanced, but pupils learning a new language will also:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of their first language and appreciate the richness and interconnected nature of languages.
  • Enhance their understanding of their own and other languages and gain insights into other cultures.
  • Develop skills that they can use and enjoy in work and leisure throughout their lives.

The benefits apply just as much to children learning minority languages. In Scotland, there are three native languages: English, Scots and Gaelic. While English is the most common, more than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, while over 57,000 said they spoke Gaelic.

A number of schools exist to provide teaching and learning through Gaelic, particularly in the areas where it is spoken most, but the teaching of Scots is generally left to schools and teachers with an interest in and enthusiasm for Scots, although some have opted to include Scots as part of their 1+2 approach.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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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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RZSS China Mobile Library - What's on offer?

7 November 2019 (RZSS)

The RZSS China Mobile Library is available throughout Scotland free of charge. Choose from the 'panda pack package' which includes panda expert visits with free panda packs of resources or Chinese Endangered Species outreach sessions. More information can be found on the attached pdf flyer. Please include all the details requested in your email if you wish to book. 

RZSS Science Specialist Confucius Classroom - What's on offer?

7 November 2019 (RZSS)

RZSS Specialist Confucius Classroom has limited free places for two sessions at Edinburgh Zoo.

  • Our P3-P4 'It makes Panda Sense' session is available to book from October through to December.
  • Our P5-P7 'China's animals and habitats will be available from January to April but bookings are being taken now. The P5-P7 session is in our new amazing immersive space!

Please read the attached pdf flyer for more information and please include all the details requested in your email if you wish to book. 

Spanish stamp competition

7 November 2019 (RZSS)

RZSS and partner StampIT have launched a great new Spanish competition. It's a fantastic activity which covers many curriculum objectives all starting with just one postage stamp. Tell the story of a Spanish stamp. Full details about the competition and how to enter are on the attached pdf leaflet. This activity links to the RZSS & StampIT Spanish language pack (but you don't need the pack to enter).

The competition will continue to run each year, therefore there is no time limit for entries. Entries will be entered as appropriate to the current year competition, so schools can just send in when complete. All age levels can enter in primary and secondary.

Related Files

International Education Week 2019

5 November 2019 (British Council)

International Education Week takes place 18-22 November 2019, and British Council has a range of ways to help your school #BeInternational.

International partnerships have changed the lives of pupils in thousands of schools. Pupils who have learnt new languages, developed their understanding of different cultures, and discovered more about the global issues that affect us all. Here are some of the ways you can participate in International Education Week 2019:

  • Take the #BeInternational languages quiz 
  • Enter our Unexpected Voices speechwriting competition
  • Partner with a school in Europe through eTwinning 
  • Partner with a school outside Europe with Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning 
  • Download The Great Languages Challenge and get your students to design their own challenges for their classmates or peers in their partner school overseas.
  • Apply for funding to take your students on an international exchange
  • Get recognised for your international work through the International School Award . 
  • Share your international activity with us using the hashtag #BeInternational 

Visit the British Council website to find out more.

Read more...

French and German GCSEs to be marked less harshly, Ofqual rules

5 November 2019 (The Guardian)

French and German GCSEs are to be marked less severely from next year amid concerns that students are being put off studying modern foreign languages (MFL) because it is more difficult to get top grades in these than in other subjects.

The qualifications regulator Ofqual has ruled there should be an adjustment to grading standards in French and German GCSEs – entries for which have declined dramatically – but not in Spanish where numbers have been more buoyant.

The government also announced a review of the content of its recently reformed GCSEs in MFL after complaints from teachers that some of the questions are too difficult – particularly in listening and reading assessments – and may be discouraging students.

Ofqual said there were no plans to adjust GCSE grades retrospectively, but the regulator will now work with the examination boards in the run-up to next year’s exam season to bring the grading of French and German GCSEs in line with other subjects.

School leaders welcomed the move and called for a comparable adjustment in languages at A-level, where there has been a similar decline. The GCSE grading adjustments may need to be phased in over a longer period, and will affect grades 4 and above.

“We have conducted a thorough review of the evidence that GCSE French, German and Spanish are severely graded in comparison to other subjects,” an Ofqual statement said. “On the balance of the evidence we have gathered, we have judged that there is a sufficiently strong case to make an adjustment to grading standards in French and German, but not Spanish.”

The Ofqual announcement comes amid mounting concern about the dramatic decline in the study of modern foreign languages in schools in England over the past 15 years, with entries for language GCSEs down 48%. German has declined by 65%, while French is down by 62%.

Read more...

FOKUS: Films from Germany 2019-20

30 October 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The fifth edition of FOKUS: Films from Germany runs from 21 November 2019 to 31 January 2020. Screenings will take place at various venues throughout Scotland. The programme includes two school screenings of 'the Resistance'. The film is suitable for pupils aged 12+ and is screened in German with English subtitles.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for full programme details.

Read more...

Course to create new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland

29 October 2019 (The Scotsman)

A new Gaelic 'immersion' course is being set up at Glasgow University to help create a new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland.

The one-year course at Glasgow University will offer an intensive language learning experience for students and adult learners.

Students will undertake eight-months of tuition at the university followed by a three-week residential school at Ceòlas Uibhist, the Gaelic education and cultural centre in South Uist.

The course has been set up with a grant of £455,000 from the Scottish Funding Council.

It comes as Glasgow City Council considers a £16m commitment to build a fourth Gaelic Medium Education (GME) school.

The new course will help meet demand for Gaelic-speaking teachers as pupil numbers rise.

Read more...

Related Links

Does Scotland have enough Gaelic teachers? (The Scotsman, 30 October 2019)

Gaelic immersion opportunities expanded in Scotland (Scottish Funding Council, 29 October 2019)

DfE wants British sign language GCSE ‘as soon as possible’

28 October 2019 (Schools Week)

Applies to England.

Ministers are aiming to introduce a British sign language GCSE “as soon as possible” – and have pledged to consult on draft content next year.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has confirmed Department for Education officials are now “working with subject experts to develop draft subject content” for the GCSE.

The government relaxed its position on the creation of a BSL GCSE in 2018 following threats of a legal challenge by the family of a 12-year-old deaf pupil.

Last May, Gibb said the government was “open to considering” a BSL GCSE “for possible introduction in the longer term”, but insisted there were no plans to do so until after the next election, at that point scheduled for 2022, “to allow schools a period of stability”.

But in August last year, Gibb said the government could make “an exception” to its moratorium on new qualifications.

Now, with a general election expected in the coming months, Gibb has given the strongest signal yet that the new qualification could become a reality.

Read more...

School competitions for learners of German

28 October 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut currently has the following opportunities for schools teaching German. Click on the relevant link for more information:

Visit the main Goethe-Institut website for more information about the organisation and the full range of activities offered.

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Concours de la Francophonie

28 October 2019 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse has launched their annual Concours de la Francophonie for schools, which aims to encourage all young French learners and their teachers around Scotland to celebrate the international day of la francophonie.

​All Scottish primary and secondary schools offering French may enter this competition by submitting a short video of a classroom activity in French.

Entries can be submitted in four categories: P1/P4 - P5/P7 - S1/S3 - S4/S6.

The submission deadline is 20 January 2020. 

This school competition is sponsored by TOTAL E&P, the Franco Scottish Society and is organised in partnership with the Alliance française de Glasgow, SALT, SCILT and the University of Edinburgh.

Visit the Institut français website for more information and to discover previous competition winners.

Read more...

Bill for Glasgow's new Gaelic school could top £16 million

27 October 2019 (The Herald)

More than £16 million will be required to build Glasgow's newest Gaelic primary school, a report has revealed.

Glasgow City Council is mulling over a plan to use the disused St James' Primary building as the site of the local authority's fourth school offering Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

The disused school in the Calton area of the city has been listed as being in poor condition by Scotland’s Buildings at Risk register.

The bill for refurbishing the crumbling school is expected to be around £16.5 million, and would see the creation of 12 state-of-the-art teaching spaces and two general-purpose areas for pupils.

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French classes in Glasgow

25 October 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow currently has the following opportunities for French language learners. Click on the relevant link for more information:

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information about the organisation and the activities they offer.

Read more...

Get ready for Hallowe'en!

25 October 2019 (Various)

A selection of spooktastic activities to celebrate Hallowe’en in the languages classroom:

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. 

Read more...

Celtic ace Ewan Henderson hails brother Liam as an inspiration after Serie A venture

20 October 2019 (The Scottish Sun)

Liam Henderson's Italian is coming on nicely — but brother Ewan reckons his success speaks for itself.

Celtic kid Ewan, 19, is following in Liam’s footsteps by coming through the ranks at Parkhead. Liam, 23, is playing for Hellas Verona in Serie A after helping them to promotion last season.

[...]“He’s taking Italian lessons and his language skills have improved a lot since he first went over.

“There aren’t many boys from Scotland who have gone over and done what he’s done. It shows it’s possible for Scottish players to try things like that."

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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.

Read more...

French Film Festival 2019

17 October 2019 (French Film Festival)

The 27th French Film Festival takes place throughout the UK during November and December 2019.

Visit the Festival website to discover screenings near you. Educational packs are available to accompany the following films:

  • La Famille Bélier
  • Gus petit oiseau, grand voyage
  • Une colonie

Read more...

Duolingo issues call for contributors and participants as languages app prepares to launch Scottish Gaelic course

17 October 2019 (Sunday Post)

From Spanish to German, and even Klingon and Valyrian from Game of Thrones, the Duolingo app has over 300 million people across the world learning new languages.

Soon, Scottish Gaelic will join the courses available, and it’s hoped that it will pique interest in the language, which has just under 60,000 speakers in Scotland, according to the 2011 Census.

It was announced on Thursday at the Royal National Mod in Glasgow that the course would be launched on the platform in the coming weeks.

It follows huge demand for the language to be added to the free learning app, and the work of a dedicated team of volunteers working in their spare time to get it off the ground.

Contributor Martin Baillie, an architect from Skye, told The Sunday Post: “It’s a great way to make it accessible to people. In the Gaelic world, we’re always talking about small numbers and Duolingo is a great way to raise awareness not just in Scotland but internationally.

“I teach night classes in Gaelic on Skye, and you go along once a week but what do you do in between?

“Duolingo is a great and fun way to do a wee ten minutes revision every day and that makes a huge difference learning a language if you just run over the words.

“You don’t need to get lost in a book, and it helps get it into your long term memory.”

Currently there are more than four million people learning Irish on the app, with 1.2 million signed up for Welsh courses.

“If we could get a number like that learning Scottish Gaelic then it would really show that there’s an interest there,” Martin says.

“It would give a lot of strength to efforts to keep the language alive.”

Read more...

Erasmus+ newsletter - October 2019

17 October 2019 (Erasmus+)

The latest news from the Erasmus+ UK National Agency is now available to view online. Included in this issue is a statistical animation showcasing funding results broken down across each country in the UK from 2014-2018. Whilst Erasmus+ stories have taken on a Scottish flavour this month, with new additions from Pollokshields Primary School, Glasgow Caledonian University and LEAP Sports Scotland.

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Königspost German essay competition 2019

16 October 2019 (King's College London)

The Department of German at King's College London are again holding their Königspost essay writing competition for year 12 and 13 students of German (senior phase in Scotland).

Students are invited to write an article in German on the subject of Jugend und Protest. The winning entry will be published in our popular newspaper, the Königspost, and there will be further prizes for the winner and runners-up.

See the attached flyer for full details about the competition and how to enter or visit the website. Submission deadline is 18 November 2019.

Read more...

Related Files

SNP conference calls for new quango to promote the Scots language

14 October 2019 (The Herald)

THE SNP's conference has called for the creation of a new quango to boost the use of the Scots language.

Delegates voted to explore the idea of a Scots Language Board – or "Board fir the Scots Leid" – similar to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which promotes Gaelic.

They called for Scots to be more widely taught, learned and promoted as part of Scottish public life, and noted the "years of linguistic prejudice" it has suffered.

Read more...

SQA Advanced Higher Languages Course Reports 2019

14 October 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian and Chinese languages course reports for the 2019 exam diet.

The reports provide information on candidates’ performance.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage to access the reports.  

Read more...

German debating competition for secondary schools

10 October 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut invites secondary school students to take part in a competition to engage with questions about ecology, sustainability and Europe.

There will be different rounds in which the participating schools compete against each other. At the end, all students will be invited to the final in which the two winning teams will show their language skills.
 
The preliminary rounds will take place at participating schools whilst the final will take place at the British Council in London.
 
In order to prepare the students for the competition and to ensure that they can express themselves at the appropriate language level, the Goethe-Institut provides teachers with useful phrases.
 
The debating competition offers a great chance to actively use the German language in an authentic setting and at the same time to get to know other secondary school students from across the United Kingdom. Debating in a foreign language will bring immeasurable benefits to significantly improve the students' communication skills.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register eligible teams of four by 25 October 2019. Spaces for taking part in the competition are limited and you will be confirmed after the deadline.

Read more...

Scotland’s £28m man Oliver Burke enjoying his Spanish adventure at Alaves

9 October 2019 (The Courier)

Twice the Kirkcaldy-born winger has become the most expensive Scottish player in history with big money transfers, costing Red Bull Leipzig and West Brom a combined total of £28 million.

And, after his recent loan move to Alaves, Burke can also tell the grandchildren he has played in the top leagues in England, Scotland, Germany and Spain.

Still only 22, he certainly couldn’t be accused of being reluctant to take himself out of a comfort zone.

“I was keen for another adventure,” admitted Burke, who moved to Alaves on a season-long loan.

“I’m really enjoying it. We’ve started off well and I feel really comfortable there.

“The team is good and have made me feel welcome and I’m playing football which is the main thing. It doesn’t really faze me moving to another country. Because I’ve already done it it’s a lot easier.

“I want to enjoy it because you only live one life so why not live it to the extreme and do everything you can?

“The main focus was to go there get and get game time.  That has happened and everything is going well which is good.”

He added: “We train at 11 in the morning and then of course there is a siesta and shops close at certain times, which is weird.

“It’s pretty normal other than the siesta part of thing where they all go to sleep for two hours and it’s a ghost town.

“I’ll go back and sleep after training and do what they’re doing so I can keep up.

“I’ve got to start having Spanish lessons three times a week. I’ve got a teacher already organised.

“Just now it’s only a short loan until the end of the season, but who knows what will happen after that, but it will be nice to learn the language.

“My team-mates are good. I go out for meals with them and stuff.

“I think a few of the players did some research into me before I went but the rest of them don’t really know anything about me. It is difficult to speak to some of them, because they don’t speak English. Sometimes you need somebody to translate. It’s like ‘tell him that’. So it is quite funny. I see their reaction about a minute later!

Read more...

Discovery Film Festival 2019

8 October 2019 (Discovery Film Festival)

This year's Discovery Film Festival takes place from 19 October to 3 November. Now in its sixteenth year, the festival brings another selection of the best films for young audiences from around the world. With several native language films on offer, and a programme for schools, language learners have a great opportunity to test their listening and comprehension skills.

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Award for lecturer that likes to teach the world to sign

8 October 2019 (Deadline News)

A University of Dundee lecturer has been honoured for using sign language and music to bring youngsters together in harmony.

Sharon Tonner-Saunders, a lecturer in the University’s School of Education and Social Work, has been named as a recipient of a British Council eTwinning National Award for using songs and Makaton to break down international language barriers.

Unlike British Sign Language, which is the language of the UK’s deaf community, Makaton was developed to assist hearing people with learning or communication difficulties. Signs are developed to look like a word and be as simple as possible to perform, making it particularly easy for children to learn.

Her project, Hands of the World, has brought together learners of all ages and student teachers in schools from more than 40 countries, with classes contributing video clips of themselves singing and signing along to popular songs.

Read more...

Be bold and Gaelic will prosper, insists bard of Glasgow Niall O’Gallagher

7 October 2019 (The Times)

Glasgow’s first Gaelic poet laureate has urged Scotland not to treat the language like a “fragile vase that you can’t afford to drop” after a big decline in its use.

Niall O’Gallagher — who was appointed bard baile Ghlaschu, or Glasgow city bard, in July — said that Gaelic was under threat but thinking of it as a dialect that must be carefully preserved could make the situation worse. He also admitted that speaking it in public had become “awkward”.

The poet is urging learners to grapple and experiment with the language, and has called for more public spaces to embrace events in the language.

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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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Learn Latin now: Why are people suddenly so interested in learning Latin?

7 October 2019 (Flux Magazine)

Cognita novum linguarum sunt interesting et fun. Didn’t catch that? Generally, this statement translates to “learning new languages is fun and interesting,” and it’s indeed true. In a world of development and innovations, learning a foreign language presents numerous benefits that people can find useful—not only for travelling to different places, but also for personal development and career advancement. Thus, a lot of people are interested in exploring foreign languages.

Among 6,909 distinct languages around the planet, one might encounter trouble in choosing which languages to learn. Languages and dialects from different parts of the world have their unique histories, and one of the oldest and most significant languages that are still evident today is Latin.

Lately, people suddenly want to learn Latin due to several reasons, and it’s time to know about them.

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eTwinning – what it is and why UK educators should get in quick

4 October 2019 (London Connected Learning Centre)

London Connected Learning Centre’s Peter Lillington reports back from last week’s UK eTwinning Conference.

If you’re a UK educator of 3-19 year olds and you haven’t yet heard of eTwinning – get up to speed and get in quick (and certainly before 31 October). eTwinning is a free online community for schools in Europe and some neighbouring countries, which allows you to find partners and collaborate on projects within a secure network and potentially access Erasmus+ funding.

This fantastic initiative is supported in the UK by the British Council and of the 670,000 registrations on the platform, more than 27,000 are teachers from the UK. Take a look to get a flavour of some of the projects that show the power of online international collaboration between schools: from coding, robotics, Lego and laughter to challenging perceptions on migration, language learning, history and inclusion.

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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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Into Film Festival 2019

3 October 2019 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

Taking place from 6-22 November 2019 in various locations across the country, film titles will include premieres and the latest blockbusters alongside old favourites, documentaries, animations, short films, modern foreign language titles and much more, all mapped against curricula from across the four UK nations, and supported by the Festival's various educational resources.

Visit the website to discover screenings near you.

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Oxford German Olympiad 2020

3 October 2019 (Oxford German Network)

The Oxford German Olympiad competition 2020 is now open!

The 2020 theme is Natur und Technik.

There are four age categories with different competition tasks for each, which can be found on the competition webpage. There is also a category for group/class submissions as well as a Discover German - Taster Competition for those with no prior knowledge of the language.

Visit the website for full details. Submission deadline is 13 March 2020.

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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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UK-German Bears Project

1 October 2019 (UK-German Connection)

The UK-German Bears project is a free two-week bilateral programme, which puts pupils not only in touch with Alex, the teddy bear from Germany, but also with a German school class. The German class hosts Ben, the British teddy bear, at the same time as the UK school hosts Alex, making this a fun, interactive way for primary children to learn about each other’s language and culture! 

If you'd like to host the Bears, dates are still available in the 2019-20 academic session.

Visit the website for more information and to register interest.

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Overseas experiences are 'invaluable' for pupils

1 October 2019 (TES)

Even when digital technology puts so much information at our fingertips, including the possibility of virtual travel, there is still no substitute for lived experience. This enables us to open up our perspective and appreciate fundamental similarities with peers elsewhere – important skills when collaborating with others in any context, especially in the workplace.

Studying overseas offers students fantastic preparation for the world of work. It pushes them to move outside their comfort zones and engage with a breadth of different people – students, teachers, host families – which is invaluable experience in preparing them for life beyond the classroom.

When working and living abroad, you are alert and receptive to all that is new around you, noticing and questioning so much more than when surrounded by all that is familiar. When away from home, our young people are learning to see the world from a completely different point of view, to have some of their values and preconceptions challenged and to see opportunities for themselves in the future that they simply would not have known about otherwise.

Studying overseas also brings a new dimension to learning – seeing something in context to help bring about a better understanding of the how and the why – of history, and literature, of geography, or of a language.

It encourages students to embrace and appreciate diversity, to spend time with people from different cultures and see how the world works elsewhere. It teaches them how to negotiate life overseas, giving them an understanding of cultural conventions and sensitivities that could trip them up otherwise.

Students from St George’s School for Girls who study abroad develop a strong sense of autonomy, essential when undertaking international travel and great preparation for the working world. I see students coming back from time away with much more confidence, having grown in maturity, having learned more about themselves and with a wonderful "yes I can" outlook on life.

[..] While international opportunities are great for our young people, it cannot be denied that the real value lies in exposing students to something that is new – a new environment or experience that leads them to ask questions – and this doesn’t have to be overseas. Our students have taken part in digital exchanges where experiences and learning are shared with peers in a different country online. They also benefit by observing how different countries manage and tackle problems such as climate change.

(Subscription required to access full article)

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School links in Spain 2019-20

30 September 2019 (Consejería de Educación)

Looking for a partner school in Spain in the 2019-20 academic year? The Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK and Ireland can help. They will only promote the links between schools. Any actions decided upon by the schools will be their exclusive responsibility. 

Visit the website to find out more and to make an enquiry.

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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...

Want to boost language learning? Be creative

27 September 2019 (TES)

Could the recent slump in modern languages entries be down to students being put off by boring texts? Researchers Suzanne Graham and Linda Fisher put this idea to the test, and found that a broader range of literature and more creative teaching reaped rewards.

Describe your living room. Tell me about your local town. What is in your pencil case?

These requests are not the most inspiring starters for a conversation. They certainly would not inspire you to overcome the struggles of learning a new language in order to communicate your ideas and opinions: who wants to wax lyrical about the number of hairdressers and bakers in their home town?

And yet such functional questions are frequently used in language learning in the UK. We suspect that this is driving potential learners to boredom and leading them to ditch languages altogether. Are we right? Our research project, Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning, should tell us. It is exploring the impact of using poems (about such themes as love, death and migration) and different teaching approaches (“creative” versus “functional”) on 14-year-old language learners’ motivation and creativity levels.

Before beginning our classroom-based research, we wanted to understand why pupils weren’t choosing to continue with language study to GCSE level and beyond. We asked around 550 French and German learners (14-year-olds) whether they planned to continue studying languages in the future and what they thought of language learning. We also used a metaphor elicitation task to gain a greater understanding of how they viewed language learning, asking the pupils to finish the following sentence: “Learning a language is like …”

The results showed that, contrary to popular belief, most thought that it was important to learn a language, but this did not have an impact on whether they intended to continue with language study. What did impact on their decisions was instead whether they could imagine themselves using the languages in their future lives, and how confident they were in being able to express their thoughts and feelings in the language.

The metaphors revealed the learners’ lack of efficacy or self-belief in being able to achieve in language learning: “Learning a language is like trying to ice skate – I keep falling over and can’t get the hang of it”; “Learning a language is like trying to fly … I just can’t do it”.

We wanted to see whether we could alter this negative self-perception regarding language learning by using creative teaching methods and texts. Could putting the emphasis on feelings and emotions (through the exploration of creative texts), rather than just on grammar and vocabulary, have an impact on a language learners’ efficacy? And what would be the effects on other aspects of language learning, such as vocabulary development?

We devised an intervention where we compared text types (literary versus factual) and teaching methodologies (creative versus functional). Briefly, in the creative approach, learners engage with the text primarily on the level of personal, emotional and imaginative response. In the functional approach, the focus is on the text as a vehicle for teaching language, vocabulary and grammar, and for developing the skill of identifying key information in a text on a factual level.

The first step was to find poems suitable for use with Year 9 learners. We chose six for French and six for German, in consultation with the teachers involved in the project.

We then modified another 12 authentic texts so that they contained the same core vocabulary and grammar structures as the other chosen poems and were of a comparable difficulty level.

Next, we conducted baseline tests so that we could track the impact of the teaching materials and methodologies.

Then, in collaboration with language teachers, we developed around 50 PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans in French and German for the intervention phase. The themes we covered included some not often featured in language-teaching materials – for example, love, death and war. In the creative approach, we addressed them in some unusual ways.

[..] Based on findings from the research, teaching materials that combine both a creative and a functional approach will be uploaded and freely available on the Creative Multilingualism website.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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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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French classes in Glasgow

24 September 2019 (Alliance Française)

The autumn term has now started at the Alliance Française in Glasgow. Below is information on some of the upcoming events and activities this session. Click on the appropriate link for more information:

To find out more about the full range of courses and activities on offer, visit the Alliance Française website.

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Newsletter for Gaelic education

24 September 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published their latest Gaelic education newsletter. This edition includes information on the following:

  • New educational resources
  • Leadership programmes 
  • Sharing effective practice - workshops and resources
  • Professional learning opportunities
  • Links to information and resources from partners supporting Gaelic in the curriculum

Access the newsletter online.

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Chinese tourism boom makes businesses mind their language

21 September 2019 (The Times)

They come for castles, clan history and clootie dumpling only to be thwarted by the language barrier.

Crowds of Chinese tourists who travel thousands of miles to visit Scotland every year are being wooed by canny restaurateurs and retailers keen to help them spend their currency and now Roy Brett, owner and head chef at the Ondine seafood bar, is looking for Mandarin-speaking serving staff.

Subscription required to read full article

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Magical Christmas Trips for primary and secondary schools - deadline reminder: 24 September

19 September 2019 (UK-German Connection)

Apply for funding of up to £10,000 for a Christmas trip to a partner school in Germany this year!

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal cultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up their German and develop their skills as young leaders.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Autumn term Chinese classes

19 September 2019 (Confucius Institute for Scotland)

The Confucius Institute for Scotland in Edinburgh offers a diverse programme of evening classes for the general public to enjoy learning Chinese. Autumn 2019 courses will start week beginning 30 September and booking for these classes is now open.

Visit the website for more information.

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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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German debating competition for secondary schools

16 September 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut invites secondary school students to take part in a competition to engage with questions about ecology, sustainability and Europe.

There will be different rounds in which the participating schools compete against each other. At the end, all students will be invited to the final in which the two winning teams will show their language skills.
 
The preliminary rounds will take place at participating schools whilst the final will take place at the British Council in London.
 
In order to prepare the students for the competition and to ensure that they can express themselves at the appropriate language level, the Goethe-Institut provides teachers with useful phrases.
 
The debating competition offers a great chance to actively use the German language in an authentic setting and at the same time to get to know other secondary school students from across the United Kingdom. Debating in a foreign language will bring immeasurable benefits to significantly improve the students' communication skills.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register eligible teams of four by 25 October 2019. Spaces for taking part in the competition are limited and you will be confirmed after the deadline.

Secondary Scottish education must be reviewed, MSPs say

16 September 2019 (TES)

A review of the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence is needed to ensure that pupils' aspirations are being met and that they have a wide enough range of opportunities in schools, MSPs have found.

This is one of the recommendations of a report published today by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee, following an inquiry into the number of subjects available to pupils and, in particular, concerns over subject choice at S4.

The committee heard that, following the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), there had been confusion and inadequate support from Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

[...] The committee also heard evidence that the changes to curriculum structure have had a negative impact on the number of pupils taking languages and Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, leading to concerns about the future of these subjects in Scotland’s schools.

Read more...

Related Links

Review of senior phase (Scottish Government, 16 September 2019)

Education review ordered amid subject choice concern (BBC, 16 September 2019)

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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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...

Translanguaging has made it to Scottish primary education and it is alive and 'coleando'!

11 September 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

All the World is Our Stage: primary pupils never lost in translanguaging, a multilingual performance showcasing heritage and school languages, has brought pupils and teachers from Whinhill Primary School together with actress-singer, Rebecca Cameron, and creative language learning social enterprise, The Language Hub.

Warm and welcome feelings and emotions engulfed me the first time I set foot in Whinhill. Bilingual signs in English and Gaelic adorn the school, leaving no wall silent, and as you venture inside, the building also speaks through imagery and words in French. What a pleasure to the eye, and a delicacy for the soul!

The school currently offers Gaelic and French under the 1+2 language approach to language learning, and hosts a Gaelic Medium Education (GME) unit allowing pupils to learn through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.

The multilingual realities of our pupils is not always acknowledged, or even recognised, in the school context. English as the societal and school language can stifle pupils’ heritage languages. This project sought to combat that by raising awareness about multilingualism and celebrating linguistic diversity through the performing arts. 

Visit the website to read the full article, which contains links to the resources used in the project.

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British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition 2019/20

10 September 2019 (British Council)

Applications are now invited for the British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition 2019/20.

The competition provides a great, fun opportunity for secondary school students to practice and improve their Mandarin Chinese language skills along with the chance to win a week in Beijing!

Heats will be held in Belfast, Glasgow and London during November and December 2019 with the final taking place in London on 5 February 2020.

See the attached flyer for more information and visit the website for eligibility and entry criteria.

Entry deadline: 14 October 2019.

Read more...

World Wide Napier magazine - call for submissions

10 September 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Building on the success of the first three issues, Worldwide Napier, a magazine in foreign languages designed by our language students to encourage language studies, is currently looking for contributions in French, German and Spanish for its fourth issue.

Students from secondary schools, colleges and other universities are invited to submit articles, written individually or collaboratively in the language they are studying. The magazine will be published by the end of December and will be available in digital and hard copy format, distributed for free in Scottish schools, Edinburgh cafés and cultural institutions.

See the attached flyer for more information. Submission deadline is 1 November 2019.

Related Files

UK-German Connection - Back to School Newsletter 2019

9 September 2019 (UK-German Connection)

As the new school year gets underway, find out about the latest selection of initiatives from UK-German Connection in their autumn newsletter.

This edition includes information about the following opportunities:

  • Host a Teacher from Germany in 2020
  • Youth Seminars in Germany
  • Magical Christmas trips
  • UK-German bears - Alex and Ben

Read more...

SQA Advanced Higher Spanish and French Course Reports

9 September 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published Advanced Higher Spanish and French course reports for the 2019 exam diet.

The reports provide information on candidates’ performance.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage to access the reports.  

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.

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Do left-handed people really learn new languages easier?

5 September 2019 (The National UAE)

A new study suggests that left-handed people are better at verbal tasks, such as learning new languages, because of how they grow in the womb.

The research, conducted by Oxford University and published this week, detailed how scientists had unlocked the genetics hardwired into human DNA that caused people to be left-handed.

Left-handed people’s brains communicate with each other in a more coordinated way, giving them an advantage when it came to being able to speak different languages.

“We discovered that, in left-handed participants, the language areas of the left and right sides of the brain communicate with each other in a more coordinated way,” said Dr Akira Wiberg, a Medical Research Council fellow at the University of Oxford, who carried out the research.

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.

Read more...

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

How K-pop and K-drama made learning Korean cool

1 September 2019 (Forbes)

When Mina Chae first began making videos in 2008, she found less than five Korean language lessons on YouTube. Feeling a need to ”contribute some pixels to the online community,” she created YouTube lessons with the equipment she had on hand: a laptop, some green screen fabric, and an impressive talent for caricature. Playing multiple members of a fun fictional family, she shared common Korean words and their context in a series of KWOW episodes.

[...] “Many k-pop fans want to learn Korean to sing their favorite songs, which can be especially awesome for audience participation at live concerts,” said Chae. “K-drama lovers can watch their episodes in the native Korean language without reading subtitles, which are not always translated accurately. How can you? There are cultural words and feelings that just cannot be perfectly translated into another language. So learning the language is a way to better understand the culture and people."

Read more...

Education Scotland Gaelic resources

30 August 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has recently published the Gaelic version of the Slavery and Human Trafficking resources. The Gaelic versions of the Review of Family Learning and the Review of Learning at Home are also now available.

Monolinguals living in a linguistically diverse environment have an edge in language learning

29 August 2019 (News Medical)

Numerous studies have noted the brain benefits that come from being bilingual – among them increased executive-level cognitive function and a four- to five-year delay in the risk of developing dementia symptoms. A new University of California, Irvine study, however, has found that monolinguals living in a linguistically diverse environment may be reaping some rewards just by being in the vicinity of multiple languages.

"The phenomenon is known as ambient linguistic diversity, and we show – using EEG-measured brain activity – that it has the impact of increasing monolingual brain activity similar to what we see in bilinguals, even if the person doesn't speak or understand a second language." Co-author Judith Kroll, UCI Distinguished Professor of language science.

Kroll and graduate student Kinsey Bice, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, began their research on monolingual brain activity related to language exposure at Pennsylvania State University in 2015. They continued their work after relocations to the University of California, Riverside in 2016 and to UCI in 2019. They examined how single-language speakers responded neurally and behaviorally when presented with a new foreign language, in this case Finnish.

"Finnish was used because it adheres to vowel harmony, a phonological constraint on how words are formed that prevents front vowels from co-occurring with back vowels," Bice said. "We tested whether or not monolinguals would be able to implicitly detect, extract and generalize these patterns to new words."

Read more...

Scots language should be part of everyday teaching

28 August 2019 (TES)

As educators, we are used to teaching our pupils in English. Sometimes we may use French or Spanish, consolidating our learning of these languages into our daily routine. But how often do we teach in or teach through Scots?

Every January, as we celebrate the life of Robert Burns, children across Scotland busily and eagerly learn a Scots poem ready to recite to their peers – but for many learners that is it.

Could we, and should we, be doing more?

In the 2011 census, over 1.5 million people self-identified as being able to speak Scots. With a language that is spoken that widely, shouldn’t we extend our teaching of Scots beyond a once-a-year celebration?

The Scots language is part of our culture and heritage and by teaching Scots – beyond dipping our toe in to celebrate Burns night – we are recognising and placing value on the diverse language and vocabulary that many pupils bring with them to school.

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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.

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What are the most popular subjects in Scotland?

23 August 2019 (TESS)

Earlier this month the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) published annual data on qualifications at all levels.

Tes Scotland has examined the figures to find the most popular subjects at Higher level in 2019, a list that includes all 27 subjects with at least 1,000 entries. Also included are four subjects which had more than 1,000 entries in 2016 – the first year that only the new version of the Higher was run – but which have now dipped below 1,000 entries.

In brackets are the number of Higher entries for each of the 31 subjects in 2016. This offers a better comparison that the figures for 2015, the first year in which the new version of Higher was offered, as for that year only the old Higher was also available.

Finally, below that, we also take a look at which subjects are losing popularity at Higher level, and which are on the rise, by calculating the percentage difference between entries in 2016 and 2019 for each of the 31 subjects.

The figures suggest that social subjects are being squeezed, with geography, in particular, seeing a fall in entries of almost 16 per cent between 2016 and 2019.

But there are even bigger falls in some subjects, including computing science (27.5 per cent) and French (25.4 per cent) and – the biggest fall proportionally – philosophy (34.8 per cent).

Few subjects have seen rises in entries, with Spanish among those to increase (17.5 per cent), although by far the biggest rise proportionally is in politics (55.3%).

For context, overall entries fell from 197,750 in 2016 to 185,914 in 2019, a drop of almost 6 per cent. In italics are all the subjects where the percentage drop in entries is Higher than the overall percentage drop in entries across all subjects.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).

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New Gaelic arm of Dunfermline arts festival is on the ball

23 August 2019 (The Courier)

For the first time, the Dunfermline arts festival, which runs from September 3 to 8, is launching a new strand of Gaelic and Scots events.

The main event is on the ball for Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers alike.

With regular appearances on BBC Scotland and BBC Alba the Gaelic voice of shinty and football, Hugh Dan MacLennan, is presenting an event in partnership with Dunfermline Athletic FC.

The two-hour interactive workshop at East End Park is for anyone who watched football on Gaelic TV channel, BBC Alba and wondered what on earth was going on.

The session will be delivered in English, and will give the participants the opportunity to learn key phrases used in commentating as well as some they can use at their next match.

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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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What’s the best way to teach children a second language? New research produces surprising results

22 August 2019 (The Conversation)

People often assume that children learn new languages easily and without effort, regardless of the situation they find themselves in. But is it really true that children soak up language like sponges?

Research has shown that children are highly successful learners if they have a lot of exposure to a new language over a long time, such as in the case of child immigrants who are surrounded by the new language all day, every day. In such a scenario, children become much more proficient in the new language over the long term than adults.

But if the amount of language children are exposed to is limited, as in classroom language learning, children are slow learners and overall less successful than teenagers or adults. How can we explain this apparent contrast?

Researchers have argued that children learn implicitly, that is, without conscious thought, reflection or effort. And implicit learning requires a large amount of language input over a long period of time.

As we get older, we develop the ability to learn explicitly – that is, analytically and with deliberate effort. Put differently, adults approach the learning task like scientists. This explains why more mature classroom learners have greater success: they can draw on more highly developed, efficient, explicit learning processes which also require more effort.

When it comes to learning a language, however, it is not a question of either implicit or explicit learning. They can coexist, so it is more often a question of how much of each approach is used.

In our new study, we asked whether younger children who are generally thought to learn implicitly had already developed some ability to learn explicitly as well. What’s more, we looked at whether the ability to analyse language can predict foreign language learning success in the classr