Latest News

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


Language Learning

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...

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

Read more...

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

31 March 2020 (ECML)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2020 - **CANCELLED**

26 March 2020 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Unfortunately, due to the current uncertainty relating to COVID-19, it has been decided with careful consideration to cancel the Summer School this year.
SCILT and Education Scotland will continue to work closely and plan for next summer 2021. Further updates will be communicated in due course.

SCILT and Education Scotland's flagship national leadership programme has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in 2017 and 2018.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

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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.

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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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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%.

Read more...

Education Scotland Modern Languages Newsletter

21 February 2020 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Modern Languages is now available to view online. This issue includes links to the second suite of resources to support progression from Second to Third level.

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Secondaries failing to deliver ‘right’ to languages

20 February 2020 (TESS)

The Scottish government has been accused of a "dereliction of duty" as new figures show almost a third of Scottish secondaries are failing to teach their pupils a modern language for the first three years of high school – even though Scottish government policy is that children should be learning two foreign languages from upper primary onwards.

A new survey of Scottish councils has revealed that 30 per cent of secondaries are not delivering a second language consistently from S1 to S3.

Scottish government policy states that “language learning is an entitlement for all from P1 to S3”, with the government committed to delivering its 1+2 languages policy by August 2021. This means that pupils should learn two foreign languages – one from P1 and the second from P5 – as well as their mother tongue.

However, the research shows that many secondaries are struggling to deliver even one foreign language for the first three years of high school, let alone two.

These new figures come at a time when there is real concern over the uptake of languages at qualification level in Scottish secondaries, with Higher French entries last year 27 per cent down on entries in 2012 and German Higher entries down 30 per cent over the same period.

Spanish entries at Higher have, on the other hand, almost doubled but this increase has not compensated for the decreases seen in French and German.

The Languages Strategic Implementation Group set up in 2013 to lead the practical implementation of the 1+2 language learning policy has expressed concern that the term “entitlement” – as in the entitlement to learn a language up to S3 – is too vague and could be being “misinterpreted” by schools as “optional and not a right of the child”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The man teaching 300 million people a new language

27 January 2020 (BBC)

If anyone ever doubts the positive impact of immigration tell them about Luis von Ahn.

A 41-year-old from the Central American nation of Guatemala, he went to the US in 1996, aged 18, to do a maths degree at Duke University in North Carolina. After that he studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

[...] Fast forward to today, and Luis is the co-founder and boss of Pittsburgh-based Duolingo, the world's most popular language-learning app, which has more than 300 million users around the globe.

[...] The inspiration behind Duolingo was to create a language learning app that was free for people to use - be it in Guatemala, or around the world - so that they could gain the economic advantages that often come with being at least partially bilingual.

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'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.

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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.

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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."

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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Learning foreign languages should be compulsory, says report

9 January 2020 (The Guardian)

Learning a new language should be compulsory for pupils up to the age of 16, according to a new report highlighting the UK’s recent abysmal record in encouraging young people to study languages other than English.

The report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) cites an EU-wide survey showing that just 32% of young people in the UK say they are able to read or write in more than one language, compared with 79% of their peers in France and more than 90% in Germany.

The report calls for the overturning of the government’s 2004 decision to drop compulsory study of languages at key stage four – when pupils take GCSE exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – which has led to a steep decline in the numbers in England going on to study languages at colleges and universities.

It also recommends that the government should start subsidising the teaching of languages at universities, “in light of declining enrolments and growing vulnerability for lesser taught languages”, for strategic and cultural reasons.

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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.

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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.

Read more...

Related Links

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.

Read more...

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.”

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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

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

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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.

Read more...

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.

Subscription required to read full article

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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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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”.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.  

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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.

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SCHOLAR Modern Languages online tutor sessions

4 September 2019 (SCHOLAR)

Our upcoming Online Tutor Sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages for the academic year 2019/20 have been scheduled.

For more information please visit the SCHOLAR website.

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World Wide Napier magazine

4 September 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Napier University publishes a magazine filled with interesting and topical articles written by young people learning languages, for young people learning languages. Access to the magazines is free of charge and could be useful classroom resources for those studying higher and advanced higher. Our colleague at Napier is also keen to accept submissions from language learners in schools, offering young people the opportunity to share their learning in print. 

See the attached flyer for more information.

Related Files

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."

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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."

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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.

Read more...

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 classroom.

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UK must regain strength in language skills after GCSE results, says British Academy

21 August 2019 (British Academy)

As nationwide GCSE results are published, the British Academy today responds to the modest rise in students choosing to study a language in England.

A rise of 4% in entries for language GCSEs has been driven by growth in French and Spanish, although in entries in German continue to decline.

The British Academy highlights these positive signs in language take-up, but cautions that there is still a long way to go to turn around the long-term decline in language-learning in the UK, noting that 10% fewer pupils took a language GCSE in England this year than in 2014.

The fall in language GCSEs has knock-on effects for take-up at A level, which declined 5% in 2019 compared to last year, and subsequently affects the provision of modern languages in higher education, where at least 10 language departments have closed in the last decade.

While French and Spanish GCSE saw increases in entry numbers, rates of entry for other language GCSEs continued to show a small decline, suggesting that more pupils could be encouraged to take exams in languages that are a vital part of the vibrant multilingual heritage of Britain such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.

Read more...

Related Links

Education Secretary says post-16 options better than ever, as GCSE results released (Department for Education, 22 August 2019)

GCSE results 2019: Languages enjoy surprise revival (TES, 22 August 2019)

GCSE language entries 2019 (Alcantara Communications, 22 August 2019)

ALL comments on GCSE results (ALL, 22 August 2019)

SQA specimen papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages

19 August 2019 (SQA)

SQA has updated Listening and Discursive Writing and Reading and Translation specimen question papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages.

The specimen question paper updates can be accessed on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages page.

Read more...

Beyond the Panda resources - update

19 August 2019 (RZSS)

The China Mobile Library panda packs are now available online and free! Although the expert visits and outreach have been free of charge since November 2018, the resources in the panda packs used to be either on loan or available to purchase. They are now available online to all - beyondthepanda.org.uk under the China Mobile Library section. 

Associated expert visits and outreach sessions are still free and include different materials and resources which are only available on booking. These enhance the learning from the panda packs. Free teaching training sessions can also be booked. See the attached document for more information and visit the website.

Read more...

Related Files

Discovery Film Festival 2019

15 August 2019 (Discovery Film Festival)

Discovery is Scotland's International Film Festival for children and young people. Taking place from 19 October to 3 November 2019, the Festival is in its sixteenth year and brings another selection of the best films for young audiences from around the world. With several native language films on offer, language learners have a great opportunity to test their listening and comprehension skills.

Teachers visit the Festival website to take a look at the programme for schools. The programme contains information about associated CPD sessions taking place during August and September which you can attend prior to your school visit.

Read more...

RCS Haven e-Bulletin – August 2019

15 August 2019 (RCS Haven)

The Russian Centre in Scotland (RCS) latest news bulletin is now available to view online. It contains information on classes for adults and children who are interested in studying Russian language, literature and culture as well as news about upcoming events. 

Read more...

A-level results: Spanish overtakes French

15 August 2019 (TES)

Spanish has overtaken French as the most popular modern foreign language at A level for the first time, figures show.

A total of 8,625 candidates were entered for Spanish A level this year, compared with 8,355 entries in French. In Spanish, the number of entries increased by 4.5 per cent compared with last year, while in French, the number of entries fell by 4.1 per cent.

The change could partly be due to higher numbers of specialist Spanish teachers. Data from the Teaching Regulation Agency’s annual report and accounts published in August showed that 1,365 Spanish-born teachers received QTS in 2018-19 compared with 46 French teachers.

The news backs up provisional A-level entry data from Ofqual released in May, which showed that while Spanish rose from 7,705 to 7,995, French fell slightly, from 7,945 to 7,680. 

It also echoes predictions in a report by the British Council in December 2018 that Spanish would overtake French as the UK’s most popular language at A level.

(Note - subscription required to access the full article).

Read more...

Related Links

ALL comments on A-level results 2019 (ALL, 15 August 2019)

A-level results 2019 (Alcantra, 15 August 2019)

EU Code Week 2019

14 August 2019 (European Schoolnet Academy)

Are you keen on bringing innovation to your classroom but don't know where to start? Why not get involved with Code Week this October? Teachers from all subject areas with no prior experience of coding are invited to join the EU Code Week - Deep Dive MOOC run by the European Schoolnet Academy. The five-week course begins on 16 September 2019. Enrol and discover how you can incorporate coding into your subject lessons.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Into Film Awards 2020

13 August 2019 (Into Film)

The Into Film Awards is the best place to showcase young filmmaking talent, with categories designed to highlight the large pool of young creatives in the UK. Setting out to discover and honour the most talented filmmakers, reviewers, Into Film Clubs and educators, we encourage children and young people aged 5-19 from all backgrounds and with all abilities to get involved.

The 6th annual Into Film Awards will take place in March 2020, and this year sees some exciting new changes. Entering the Awards now not only gives you the chance to be nominated and join us at our star-studded ceremony in London, but this year, every single verified submission will also be entered into a prize draw to win £1,000 worth of filmmaking equipment for the filmmakers, film clubs or schools!

Visit the Into Film website for more information about the award categories and submit your entry by 6 December 2019.

The site also contains a wide range of films and teaching materials, including a selection for the languages classroom.

Read more...

How Friends taught the world to speak English – from Jürgen Klopp to Korean pop megastars

9 August 2019 (The Guardian)

They were there for him. Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, has credited Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Joey and Chandler with teaching him English. Watching the long-running sitcom Friends helped him bridge the gaps in his language comprehension, he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast on Wednesday. “The easiest to follow for Germans in English is Friends. It’s easy conversation. You can understand pretty much each word, pretty early,” he said.

Friends is, in fact, a time-honoured English teacher. Both Luis Severino of the New York Yankees baseball team, who is from the Dominican Republic, and the Venezuelan Wilmer Flores, formerly of the rival Mets, have spoken about learning colloquial language from the show. (Flores, who has said he watches Friends almost daily, even changed his walk-up music to the theme tune by the Rembrandts.)

Read more...

Bring the world into your classroom

8 August 2019 (TES/British Council)

We believe every young person should have intercultural and international experience. As the UK’s cultural relations organisation, the British Council creates opportunities for schools and teachers in the UK and worldwide to connect and work together to share ideas and practices.

Our range of international education programmes can help develop teaching skills with funded professional development, connect schools across the globe and bring language learning to life.

TES and the British Council have joined forces to explore different ways to bring the world into the classroom and open the door to a host of international learning opportunities.

Visit the TES and British Council websites to access a wide range of resources and information.

Read more...

Language travel still popular for UK students, with Spain gaining foothold

8 August 2019 (The Pie News)

Despite headlines reporting drops in language studies in schools across the UK, youngsters from secondary schools around the UK are continuing to travel overseas in busloads, educational tour operators have said. And Spain – and its language – is becoming increasingly popular.

However, concerns surrounding Brexit and safety have caused issues of their own, and the lower uptake of languages at GCSE level is reflected in language travel industry trends.

The British Council’s Language Trends 2019 report found that entries for GCSE languages had declined by 19% over the past five years. French and German GCSE candidate levels saw reductions of 30%, the report explained.

“Spanish language trips are getting very close to the demand for French language”

At A-level, between 2017 and 2018, German was down by 16%, French by 7%,  and Spanish by 3%. However, provisional entry figures for 2019 show Spanish candidate numbers increasing by 10% and French increasing by 4%.

German instead is set to continue to fall by 2.5%.

Of the 776 primary schools and 845 secondary schools surveyed for this report, 8% said they had offered school trips abroad in the previous year.

In last year’s survey, that number was 12%, but more respondents were included in the 2019 report.

Michelle Evans, head of product & marketing at educational tour operator NST noted that a large proportion of its language trips were for students under GCSE age.

“Teachers are trying to engage the students in lower secondary years in languages, so that they can encourage them to take that subject at GCSE,” she told The PIE News.

Read more...

French classes in Edinburgh

8 August 2019 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse is now enrolling for their autumn term classes. Unsure of your level? Take the free online placement test. Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

French courses in Glasgow

7 August 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is now enrolling for autumn term courses. Follow the relevant link below for more information:

SQA results day 2019

6 August 2019 (TESS)

Higher computing entries fall by 21%. Setting aside computing, the sciences fared better in terms of changes in uptake than the social subjects.

French experienced a 10% dip in entries, whilst Spanish saw a 9% increase from last year.

Read more...

OU/SCILT primary languages course

31 May 2019 (SCILT/OU)

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the OU/SCILT primary languages course, which will be running again from October 2019. In light of positive feedback and popularity of the first year of the course, we are now also delighted to offer a second year, post-beginners’ course. The latter would be suitable for those who have successfully completed year 1 and wish to continue their studies, or for those who are looking to begin studying at a more advanced level.

  • The courses will run from October 2019 to July 2020, and will develop language and pedagogy skills; language learning is provided by the Open University and pedagogy is provided by SCILT.  The courses are aligned to the Scottish curriculum and support the 1+2 languages approach.
  • Both courses are delivered online with two opportunities to attend face-to-face day schools. 
  • Learning is very flexible and participants can study at a time and place of their choosing.
  • Each course carries a fee of £252, reflecting the input and student support for the language and pedagogy strands from both organisations.

Funding may be sponsored through your school or Local Authority who can register on your behalf.   Initial registration information must be submitted to the OU by Monday 17 June 2019 and LAs should contact Scotland-Languages@open.ac.uk.  
Students also have the option to fund the fee themselves. In this case, an interested teacher should contact the OU directly at
Scotland-Languages@open.ac.uk.

Here is some further information:

Beginners level

  • will be offered in a choice of four languages - French, German, Spanish and Mandarin plus study of primary pedagogy with direct application in the classroom.
  • takes students to the end of the equivalent to level A1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages.
  • allows students to gain 15 university credits for the language study.
  • also gives students the option to gain GTCS recognition for the pedagogy study; all students will receive a certificate on successful completion from SCILT.
  • study hours will be approximately five hours per week, including time spent on the direct application of the new skills in the classroom.

Post-beginners level

  • teachers who have started studying one language in the beginners level of the course would need to continue studying the same language at post-beginners level.
  • teachers who already have some basic knowledge in one of the four languages can directly enrol on the post-beginners level course to further develop their skills in that language and learn about primary languages pedagogy (without having to have studied beginners level).
  • will follow the same format as the beginners level course and will be offered in the same four languages (French, German, Mandarin and Spanish).
  • will teach primary languages pedagogy in more depth and cover:
    • the skills of writing and reading,
    • IDL with a special focus on outdoor learning as well as links with other key subject areas through CLIL,
    • learning and teaching of languages in multilingual contexts/communities.
  • will have the same:
    • number of study hours,
    • assessment structure,
    • accreditation with 15 university credits,
    • optional GTCS recognition for the pedagogy strand, as above ;
  • in their language study, students will reach the equivalent of the end of level A2 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (end of post-beginner level).
  • after completing both courses, students would then be in a good position to go on to study one of the standard language courses at the OU should they want to improve their knowledge of the language even further.

Course codes are as follows:

Beginners level

LXT192 French

LXT193 German

LXT197 Mandarin

LXT194 Spanish

Post-beginners level

LXT191 (language choice will come as a second step once students have registered)

Write Away!

28 May 2019 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is an exciting new project from Light Bulb Languages.

It's a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

Open to all primary schools across the UK, submissions are now invited for issue 2. Closing date is 23.59 on Friday 27 September 2019.

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

9 November 2018 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used. 

We have a new profile from David Cant, Managing Director of Albion (Overseas) Ltd, a company which helps UK businesses to enter the Russian market. After learning French and German at school, David tells us that he took up Russian by chance at university - a choice which became life-changing.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how languages can play a part.

Read more...

Survey: Education & careers abroad with #Globescotters

7 November 2018 (Young Scot)

As part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, Young Scot have partnered with British Council Scotland to encourage you to embrace the international experiences available to you at home and abroad as part of our joint campaign, ‘GlobeScotters’.

In this short survey we want to find out your thoughts on all things international when it comes to education and careers abroad!

Visit the website and complete the survey by 17 December 2018 to earn reward points!

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

7 November 2018 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages start again on Monday 12 November 2018. At 6pm it will be Higher, and the session will be on translation. It will be accompanied by worksheets sent out in advance to teachers for pupils to help prepare for the interactive parts of the session. Languages addressed are French, German and Spanish at both levels. Access is by: http://heriot-watt.adobeconnect.com/scholartutorsessions/, and you do not need a SCHOLAR password to attend, just log in as a guest.  

The new ‘Directed Writing’  for Higher will form a session on 26 November, again at 6pm.

Advanced Higher translation and the overall purpose question will form a session on 3 December.

Read more...

Queen Elizabeth II Can Speak This Foreign Language After Learning It Privately

5 November 2018 (International Business Times)

Queen Elizabeth II can speak at least one foreign language fluently after getting a private education by governess Marion Crawford.

Harriet Mallinson, a journalist for Express, revealed that Her Majesty can speak French fluently. French is regarded as the official language in 29 countries. But the Queen has used her knowledge in the language during her visits to France and Canada.

In 2014, the Queen went to Paris for a state visit and met with former President Francois Hollande. The two discussed the weather in French. During her fifth French State Visit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, the monarch also gave an address in both English and French. A year later, the Queen spoke with a schoolgirl from Dagenham in French.

But Mallinson noted that the most impressive instance was when the Queen went to Quebec in Canada and gave a speech in French for a straight 10 minutes. French language expert Camille Chevalier-Karfis commented on the Queen’s French-speaking videos.

“Her reading skills were excellent – both pronunciation and rhythm were very good, but you could feel she was quite tense,” she said.

In related news, the Queen isn’t the only royal that can speak French fluently. Prince Charles and the Queen’s three other children can all speak the language.

Read more...

Related Links

Prince Harry greets audience in 6 languages (CNN, 31 October 2018)

An Comunn Gaidhealach's newsletter

1 November 2018 (An Comunn Gaidhealach)

The organisers of the Royal National Mòd have published their latest newsletter which is available to view online.

Read more...

Harry greets NZ audience in six Pacific languages

30 October 2018 (BBC)

Prince Harry has delighted a gathering of Auckland's local Pasifika community, hosted by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, by greeting them in six languages.

The royal opened his speech by saying greetings in Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands Maori and Maori.

Read more...

International Education Week 2018

29 October 2018 (British Council)

Teachers and school leaders in the UK and across the world are being encouraged to bring the world into their classrooms to celebrate International Education Week (IEW).

Each year, the British Council encourages schools to celebrate International Education Week to promote the benefits of international collaboration, languages and cultural exchange. During International Education Week, 12-16 November, The British Council is focusing on global communication and particularly language learning, believing these skills are more important now than ever. That is why this year’s theme is ‘Be International’.

Visit the British Council International Education Week website to find out more about how your students can take part in the Great Schools Online challenge and to access the IEW teaching resources.

Read more...

La Jolie Ronde free trials

29 October 2018 (La Jolie Ronde)

FREE TRIALS available of La Jolie Ronde's two award winning French and Spanish resources and classes.

La Jolie Ronde Languages For Children is a leading early language learning organisation offering a proven method of teaching young children French and Spanish. La Jolie Ronde’s award winning programmes are unique, modern and of the highest quality. FREE TRIALS on their resources are available as follows:

P1-P3 - Little Languages Resource - FREE TRIAL AVAILABLE

Little Languages is a unique resource for introducing languages to P1-P3. It provides the perfect solution for introducing some of the different languages and cultures from around the world. To support the non-specialist and as a guide to aid the expert language teacher, Little Languages enables you to start teaching straightaway!

Activities demonstrated in French and Spanish:

  • Additional vocabulary & songs in Italian, Chinese, Hindi and African Shona
  • Includes fun, play-based activities including IWB material
  • Real life DVD clips featuring children from around the world

Product contains detailed lesson plans in a sturdy ring binder & software featuring:

  • Lesson plans
  • Resources
  • IWB activities and games
  • Colourful classroom wall frieze (5 x 2m lengths)
  • DVD clips
  • Also includes French and Spanish traditional and original songs plus songs from other languages
P4-P7 - French and Spanish Resource - FREE TRIAL AVAILABLE

La Jolie Ronde’s award winning resource contains everything you need to help plan and implement your policy for teaching a language in one go. The resource is a flexible four-year programme providing support to teachers with no previous experience of teaching languages and a guide for the more experienced, who can modify to suit. One of the biggest benefits of the resource is that everything is already pre-prepared and planned, so you can literally start teaching straightaway!

  • Perfect for the non-specialist or an aid for the more experienced languages teacher
  • Split into two schemes – for years P4-P5 and P6-P7
  • Plenty of material to fill two years and four years
  • Pre-prepared lessons, divided into short sessions for flexibility
  • Comprehensive and detailed lesson notes
FREE French or Spanish Class

Years of development, dedication and experience in the sector of early language learning, La Jolie Ronde has become the market leader, committed to offering the best possible start to young learners. Through their loyal network of over 560 tutors, who teach in over 1,660 centres, they currently teach in the region of 20,500 children. To find your nearest French or Spanish class and book your FREE TASTER CLASS, visit La Jolie Ronde website.

For your FREE RESOURCE OR CLASS TRIALS simply email your request to La Jolie Ronde quoting SCILT - email schools@lajolieronde.co.uk

Open eTwinning: Project-Based Learning and the Community for Schools in Europe

28 October 2018 (School Education Gateway)

Join this course to learn about eTwinning and how it can help you design a project-based learning experience for your students in cooperation with colleagues across Europe and beyond. During the course, you will learn about the principles of project-based learning and how to start a project in the eTwinning community.

Throughout the activities, we will look at the entire life cycle of a project, starting with the initial idea, including finding a partner and negotiations to design a common project, and ending with the implementation and evaluation of the project. We will include principles of project work and collaboration, as well as the educational use of various ICT tools that facilitate project work. We will also look at the social aspect of collaborative projects, showing eTwinning not only as a platform in which to implement educational projects, but also as a meeting place between colleagues, an environment where we can share ideas and participate in various professional development activities.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol on the free course, commencing 5 November 2018.

Read more...

What is the best age to learn a language?

26 October 2018 (BBC)

When it comes to learning a foreign language, we tend to think that children are the most adept. But that may not be the case – and there are added benefits to starting as an adult.

It’s a busy autumn morning at the Spanish Nursery, a bilingual nursery school in north London. Parents help their toddlers out of cycling helmets and jackets. Teachers greet the children with a cuddle and a chirpy “Buenos dias!”. In the playground, a little girl asks for her hair to be bunched up into a “coleta” (Spanish for ‘pigtail’), then rolls a ball and shouts “Catch!” in English.

“At this age, children don’t learn a language – they acquire it,” says the school’s director Carmen Rampersad. It seems to sum up the enviable effortlessness of the little polyglots around her. For many of the children, Spanish is a third or even fourth language. Mother tongues include Croatian, Hebrew, Korean and Dutch.

Compare this to the struggle of the average adult in a language class, and it would be easy to conclude that it’s best to start young.

But science offers a much more complex view of how our relationship with languages evolves over a lifetime – and there is much to encourage late beginners.

Read more...

Euroquiz

25 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET is delighted to announce that registration is now open for Euroquiz 2018-19!

Euroquiz is an annual project open to all P6 pupils across Scotland, which 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 take place in every local authority from January to March, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in May.

See the attached flyer to find out more about how your school can get involved and visit the website to watch the Euroquiz Highlights Film for a taste of the Euroquiz journey, including interviews with previous participants and teachers.

Read more...

Related Files

Grants for UK-German activities

25 October 2018 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of grants for joint activities between schools and youth groups in the UK and Germany.

The next deadline is approaching, so if you have any projects taking place in 2018-19 for which you'd like funding, visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 31 October 2018.

Read more...

Calls for Scots children to be taught Chinese and Urdu

24 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

A new study suggests more pupils could learn Chinese and Urdu as part of a shake up in learning foreign languages.

The independent think tank, Reform Scotland, has published a report calling for a fresh approach to be taken towards the education of languages in Scottish schools.

The report indicates a practical model of learning should be introduced to help adapt to changing demand.

The number of Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) entries in “traditionally taught” languages has decreased over the last 20 years, with entries for higher grade French down by 18.2% and entries for German at the same level reduced by 58.4%.

In contrast, entries for higher Spanish exams increased by 219.8% increased over the same period, while Chinese entries have increased by 17.8% in the past two years.

Reform Scotland argue this highlights a changing global economy, with Asia seen as a growing economic market.

The report also calls for an end to distinctions between “community” and “modern” languages so that learning reflects the increasing number of communities in Scotland speaking languages such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.

Reform Scotland Director Chris Deerin said: “If we want to see genuine growth in language skills in Scotland, rather than just paying lip service to the idea, we need to rethink our approach.

“There is a danger the languages currently on offer within the education system are not keeping up with Scottish or global society.

“We need to think much more freely - as many other countries do - about how best to equip ourselves to thrive in the modern global economy. Brexit, the shift of power from West to East, and Scotland’s pressing need to secure greater economic growth, all demand fresh ideas.”

Read more...

ELAPSE – Embedding Languages across Primary and Secondary Education

23 October 2018 (ALL)

In September, we received some fantastic news from the British Council – ALL is part of a successful KA2 ERASMUS +application and along with our partners has been awarded funding for the ELAPSE project.

ELAPSE (Embedding Languages Across Primary and Secondary Education) aims to develop primary and secondary language teachers’ awareness of CLIL and soft CLIL methodology transnationally and build teachers’ confidence and expertise to adopt a cross-curricular approach to the planning and delivery of language lessons. It will involve the creation of a good practice guide as well as resources for teachers of English, French, German and Spanish as additional languages while focusing on Literacy, Numeracy, STEM subjects and Health and Wellbeing. There will also be an online course and training opportunities for teachers in participating countries.

Read more...

Get ready for Hallowe'en!

23 October 2018 (Various)

It's that time of year again and to help celebrate Hallowe'en in the languages classroom we've compiled a range of spooky resources! Click on the relevant link below for more information:

Schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018

23 October 2018 (eTwinning)

We are pleased to announce the schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018! A total of 1204 projects received the Quality Label for their outstanding work. See the list of the distinguished schools, teachers' name and the project that got them their Quality Label.

Congratulations to all the Scottish schools on the list who have been recognised with an award!

If you'd like to get involved with eTwinning and collaborative projects with schools overseas, visit the website to find out how you can get involved and be rewarded with a Quality Label for your school.

Read more...

‘Teaching linguistics improves language skills’

19 October 2018 (TES)

How much do your students know about linguistics? Probably not much, because linguistics (the scientific study of language) is conspicuously absent from the modern foreign language syllabus in schools. This is a shame, because linguistics has much to offer students.

(Note - registration required to read full article).

Read more...

How language assistants can make a difference in your school

17 October 2018 (TES)

At Dane Royd Junior and Infant School, we’ve been employing modern language assistants (MLA) – mainly European and Chinese language assistants for over 15 years. We also lead training and support for schools within the local authority who employ language assistants.

Our MLAs have been key in boosting not only our teaching of modern foreign languages but also the teaching of global citizenship and British Values. We’ve seen our pupils’ understanding of their cultural heritage and place in the world grow by being able to compare and contrast their experiences and beliefs through their frequent interactions with an MLA.

In supporting other schools, I’ve seen the wealth of activities that MLAs can contribute which enable schools to deepen their language teaching, as well as dramatically improve language skills among pupils. Here are a few of the most effective activities to try in your school.

Read more...

I woke up unable to speak English

17 October 2018 (BBC)

Hannah Jenkins speaks English in the morning and German in the afternoon. It's not a routine she chose to adopt - but something her brain requires her to do. It all started with a cycling accident.

Her partner Andrew Wilde was halfway up a mountain in the US state of Montana when he received a baffling text from Hannah.

He understood only two words - "dog" and "hospital" - but knew instinctively something was wrong.

The text was in German, a language Hannah had grown up with, but Andrew didn't really understand. They only ever communicated in English.

Read more...

Youth committee to lead Mod into the future

16 October 2018 (Press and Journal)

A youth committee is working with An Comunn Gàidhealach to shape the Mods of the future.

The group was set up this year giving a nod to The National Year of the Young Person – and so far has set its sights on modernising the way in which the historic organisation communicates with the public to secure its future.

The committee of three – Shannon MacLean, 21, Padruig Morrison, 22 and Katie MacInnes 18 – is supported by 25-year-old Alison Bruce who is also employed by An Comunn Gàidhealach.

Miss MacLean, from Mull, said: “Being on the committee has been very interesting. Our main goal is to get more young people to come to the mod and get them involved in local mods around the country.

“This is my third mod in Dunoon, and it is certainly the competitions that have helped me, as a non-native speaker, take the language seriously.

“My job is to make sure it survives for a long time yet.”

Read more...

Related Links

Top Gaelic learner blooms at the Mòd (The Scotsman, 17 October 2018)

Another record year for Erasmus+ in Scotland

17 October 2018 (British Council)

Scotland's share of Erasmus+ EU funding is up by more than €1m since last year. This means that a record total of €22.3m will be shared by 172 Scottish organisations working across a range of sectors:

€14.1m for universities and higher education institutions
€5.9m for organisations working in vocational education and training
€865k for youth work organisations
€832k for schools
€614k for organisations working in adult education

With further funding results for 2018 yet to be announced, and 2019 calls due to open, the figure will again rise. 

Erasmus+ enables people from the UK to go abroad to study, train, or volunteer and is delivered in the UK by the British Council in partnership with Ecorys UK.

Most of the new funding is for projects between Scotland and European countries. But Erasmus+ also reaches beyond Europe and in turn helps Scotland to do so. 

€3.8m of this year’s figure is shared between ten higher education projects, which will connect Scottish universities and colleges with their counterparts in the USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Palestine, China, Canada, Mexico, amongst many other countries.

If you want to find out more about Erasmus+, information sessions giving an overview of the programme and available funding are being run throughout the UK during autumn. Check the website for more details.

Read more...

Language Perfect Northern Championships 2018

12 October 2018 (Education Perfect)

Raise the profile of languages at your school. The competitive element threaded through Education Perfect can excite and engage even the most unenthusiastic students!

The championships are a brilliant chance for revision of vocabulary and celebration of achievements in language learning. Students compete live and online from computers and iPod/Android apps.

The competition runs from 6 - 13 November 2018 and registration is now open!

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Königspost competition 2018

12 October 2018 (King's College London)

King's College London's Department of German is delighted to announce its 2018 competition for Year 12 and 13 students of German, the equivalent S5 and S6 in Scotland.

Students are invited to write an article of around 400-450 words in German in response to this quotation from a short story by the German-Japanese author Yoko Tawada: ‘Das Monsterbaby erwartet von der Mutter Meer, immer wieder neue Windeln zu waschen. Das Meer wird als eine überdimensionale Waschmaschine benutzt.’

The winner and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony and seminar at King's College London in early December 2018.

Entries should be submitted by 22 November 2018. See the attached flyer for more information.

Related Files

Book Week Scotland 2018

12 October 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. This year's event is taking place from Monday 19 – Sunday 25 November 2018.

There are a range of events, some with specific appeal to Gaelic and Scots readers. Visit the website to find out more on these and other ways you can get involved. Why not host a foreign language reading club or book sale?

Read more...

Our World film making project 2018-19

11 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET’s popular Our World film making project has now launched for the 2018-19 year! Our World uses film making and language learning as a means to help pupils explore the themes of LfS and the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s totally free, and all you have to do is sign up.

The project has been running for the past 6 years, has a proven track record of encouraging languages uptake at higher secondary levels, and is open to any team of four from S3 - S6 (no previous film making knowledge is required). All teams have to do to enter is come up with a creative idea for a film, based on one of this year's themes. Then, with SEET’s help teams put that idea into storyboard form and send it to us with an audio or video clip explaining it. The deadline for storyboard submissions is 5th December 2018.

Themes:

As part of a team of four, come up with a creative idea for a short film about being a citizen of the world. Your team should consider one of the following themes to get you started:

  • Sustainable Tourism (going on holiday, exploring other countries and cultures and making a positive impact on the environment)
  • Migration and welcome (refugees, moving abroad, how people are treated)
  • Trade (how businesses work in different countries, importing and exporting)

All films must include the use of at least one language other than English - but the more the merrier!

After all the entries are submitted, 18 teams from across Scotland will be invited to one of three regional film making workshop days (roughly 6 teams per workshop) where they will get the opportunity to make their film a reality. Pupils are given technology and professional film-making training on the day to help them, so don't worry if they don't have experience - all they need are their ideas. 

Throughout the project SEET staff are happy to make trips to schools to work with classes and answer any questions you might have. 

If you'd like to register or sign up a team visit the website, where you can also hear previous participants talk about their experience of the project, OR contact Madeleine McGirk at SEET (madeleine@seet.org.uk).

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Inspiring schools: John Paul II Primary, Castlemilk

11 October 2018 (British Council)

Every day at British Council Scotland we hear about how international learning benefits Scottish schools, teachers and pupils. Making this happen is a core part of our work, and we are keen to spread the message far and wide.

Last month, we visited John Paul II Primary School in Castlemilk, where a partnership with a school in Spain has had a powerful effect on pupils. We also heard from our partners at Glasgow City Council, which is a leading example of good practice when it comes to local authorities creating international and intercultural opportunities for their schools.  

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How studying languages got Callum a job at Cardiff City

10 October 2018 (BBC)

There has been a further drop in the number of students from Wales taking language courses at university, according to admissions service Ucas.

The numbers starting foreign language courses was down by a third on the same time last year, in latest figures.

Cardiff University has been working with schools to encourage more pupils to take up subjects such as French.

Helping them is former student Callum Davies, now a player liaison officer at Cardiff City FC. He learnt modern foreign languages at school and spent a year in the south of France as part of the Erasmus programme while doing his degree course at Cardiff University.

He works helping French-speaking players and their families settle in the city.

Read more...

Related Links

French and German language students from Wales fall again (BBC, 10 October 2018)

Edinburgh Council to open new Gaelic schools by 2024

10 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

The city council will press ahead with proposals to open new primary and secondary Gaelic schools despite a “problematic” shortage of teachers who speak the language.

The authority hopes to open a new primary school in 2023 where pupils are taught through the medium of Gaelic - while a secondary school could follow by 2024. A host of short-term improvements will also be taken forward.

The council is facing a growing demand for Gaelic education but council officers admit that at the Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pairce primary school, “as the school has grown, the recruitment of sufficient Gaelic-speaking teachers has proven to be problematic.”

Conservative education spokesman, Cllr Callum Laidlaw, said: “Clearly, there’s a demand for it in Edinburgh for primary expansion. There’s a problem with the citywide catchment area for the current primary school with transport, which is provided by the council. If we move forward with any expansion of primary GME, I would like to see that geographic problem tackled by building it in the south west of the city.

“As it stands, the plan demonstrates ambition rather than reality. There’s a significant recruitment challenge the council has to address first before it moves forward. We need to focus on delivering the six priority high schools in the Wave 4 funding before we commit to the GME secondary school.”

The primary school in Bonnington now has 20 Gaelic-speaking teachers. At James Gillespie’s High School, the city’s Gaelic Medium Education (GME) secondary school, a recruitment drive has helped fill vacancies – but fewer lessons than expected have been taught in Gaelic.

Read more...

Africa in Motion Film Festival 2018

10 October 2018 (Africa in Motion Film Festival)

Africa in Motion is Scotland’s major annual celebration of African cinema, and is delighted to return for the 13th year to bring audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow a wide variety of creative stories from across the African continent.

Screenings will take place from 26 October to 4 November. Several films in the programme will offer the opportunity to brush up your language skills in French, Arabic, Japanese and Swahili.

Find full programme details on the website.

Read more...

French Film Festival 2018

9 October 2018 (French Film Festival)

The 26th French Film Festival takes place during November throughout the UK.

School screenings are supported by free Learning Resources prepared by Institut français d’Écosse and Edinburgh Filmhouse. These resources have been designed in accordance with the Modern Languages outcomes and experiences for the Curriculum for Excellence.

Visit the website for full programme details, booking information and to download the accompanying learning resources.

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BTS and K-pop: How to be the perfect fan

9 October 2018 (BBC)

They're the Beatles for the 21st Century, a global pop sensation that generates mania and devotion in equal measure, and they've sold out London's O2 Arena.

BTS, the South Korean seven-member boyband and pin-up stars of the K-pop genre, are performing in the UK for two nights only.

And their fans, who call themselves the Army, are over the Moon. We headed for the queues to find out what makes the perfect K-pop fan.

[..] Fans talk about how regularly listening to BTS, who mostly sing in Korean, has meant they are inadvertently learning Korean.

"You quite quickly become engrossed in Korean culture," says 24-year-old Najma Akther, from Scunthorpe.

Read more...

Related Links

K-pop - BTS (BBC, 11 October 2018)

The British Council's International School Award

8 October 2018 (British Council)

The International School Award (ISA) can help with your vision for school improvement. If you are writing your School Improvement Plan, and you’re looking for something new that has a proven track record of making a difference, then the International School Award could be what you are looking for.

It works in all profiles of schools: primary and secondary, inner-city and rural, thriving and struggling. Everyone has something to gain.

Experienced head teachers like Kevin McCabe, now Director of Improvement at Drb Ignite Multi-Academy Trust, testify to the ISA’s effectiveness as a tool to change the culture of your school. It does this by opening up the classroom to the world, giving the students the motivation they need to change the way they work and enriching the curriculum with cross-curriculum work.

Visit the website for more information and to register interest. Action plans should be submitted by 18 November 2018.

Read more...

The Pushkin Prizes 2019

4 October 2018 (The Pushkin Prizes)

Somewhere out there, in an S1 or S2 class in a school in Scotland, there are ten writers worthy of the title Pushkin Prize-winner. Are you one of them?

What can you write about? ANYTHING! We're looking for stories, poems, plays, articles, memoirs - anything you like on a subject of your choice. You can write in English, Scots or Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information and submit your entries by 20 December 2018.

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Gaelic centre plan has backing of Inverness public

4 October 2018 (Inverness Courier)

A survey has shown that there is significant public support for a new Gaelic cultural centre in Inverness.

The research, which was carried out by the Alba Heritage Trust with the aim of establishing the level of interest in a project celebrating Gaelic heritage, was met with “overwhelming” backing from members of the public.

Alba Heritage Trust director Alastair Forbes says the reaction has from businesses and individuals across the board has been significant.

“We are delighted to have had so many responses to the survey,” he said.

“The reaction from the public and private sectors and from members of the community for the establishment of a Gaelic cultural centre has been extremely positive which has given us great confidence in moving forward with the project.”

Read more...

National Gaelic Schools Debate 2018

3 October 2018 (Deasbad)

The announcement of the preliminary rounds of the National Gaelic Schools Debate competition has been made and the 2018 competition looks set to be another excellent year! The first two rounds will be held at the Town Hall in Stornoway, on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of November 2018. Last year, for the first time ever the first rounds from Stornoway were available online, through e-Sgoil’s You Tube channel and the Deasbad Committee will be making sure that this year’s first round will also be live streamed to a potentially global audience!

Sixteen teams from fourteen schools are due to compete in the 2018 competition. Following on from the positive feedback received from the new competition format, all the schools will participate in debates over the two days, with the four teams with the highest points, across the two days, progressing to the final stages which will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday the 27th and 28th of November 2018. The Committee welcome Agnes Rennie and Boyd Robertson who will join Iain Stephen Morrison as judges.

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Gaelic Medium Education promotional film previews at An t-Alltan 2018

3 October 2018 (Highland Council)

The 10th annual conference for Gaelic education practitioners, which took place in Aviemore last week, has been hailed a great success.

Around 200 delegates from all over the country attended the conference, held in the MacDonald Aviemore Conference Centre last Wednesday and Thursday (September 26 and 27), which was organised by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government.

Through a programme of talks and workshops, the conference provides delegates with an overview of current best practice and a look at new initiatives for teaching and learning. It caters for staff from the Early Years sector as well as primary and secondary schools.

This year, the conference had a focus that was very much on the whole learner journey through the Gaelic Medium Education system, right from the beginning with Cròileagan and play groups through to developing the young workforce.

A powerful new film which has been created to promote Gaelic Medium Education was shown for the first time at the conference. The film has been made by Fàs Foghlaim – Highland Council’s social media vehicle for promoting Gaelic education – and will be made available to the public later in the year but delegates got a welcome preview of it.

Entitled ‘Gaelic Medium Education – A New Perspective’, the film lasts eight minutes and features testimonies from GME parents and teachers as well as perspectives from leading bilingualism academic Professor Antonella Sorace, of the University of Edinburgh, and Tidelines singer and songwriter Robert Robertson, who came through GME himself.

With 90 per cent of connections in the brain being formed by the age of three, the role of Cròileagan and other Gaelic-speaking pre-school groups has long been recognised for their importance in getting learners started on their journey to bilingualism.

As such, the Early Years sector is seen as an important part of the Alltan conference and representatives from that sector said they gained a lot from this year’s event.

Read more...

New language hub which helps dementia sufferers to open on Glasgow’s south side

3 October 2018 (Glasgow Live)

A new language hub which will help empower older adults living with dementia in Glasgow has opened on the south side of the city.

Lingo Flamingo, based on Deanston Drive in the Shawlands area, will be offering a selection of immersive foreign language courses for all ages.

And all profits from the classes will be used to fund dementia-friendly classes in care homes across Glasgow and beyond.

Read more...

Grants for professional development in Germany

2 October 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is offering German teachers grants for courses in Germany. The programme includes courses on methodology and didactics, "Landeskunde" as well as specialised language courses for teachers.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and apply now for a course in 2019.

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German debating competition for secondary schools

2 October 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut invites secondary school students to take part in a competition to engage with questions about the future of Europe.

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 student’s communication skills.

Applications are invited from teams of four year 12 students (4th year of learning German).

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register by 26 October 2018.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2018

2 October 2018 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school by taking part in a global online vocabulary competition.

The competition is free to all existing school subscribers to Vocab Express. There are also a limited number of free places available for schools not currently subscribed. 

Our week-long global competitions are a great way to get your school enthused about language learning. We run our League of Champions competition in the autumn term from the 10th - 16th of October and our Global Challenge competition in spring. 

Each sees 10s of thousands of students competing to win the top spot on our overall and individual language leaderboards. There are competitions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, Mandarin and Japanese.

Applications for the next League of Champions are now open. Visit the Vocab Express website for further information and to register by 9 October 2018.

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Online Arabic from Palestine - course launch

2 October 2018 (University of Glasgow)

University of Glasgow, in partnership with Islamic University of Gaza, has launched an new course, 'Online Arabic from Palestine for beginners'. 

The course will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn, or promote the learning of, Modern Standard Arabic with a Palestinian ‘flavour’ for work, to communicate with Arabic speaking ‘new Scots’, for linguistic solidarity with the people of Palestine, or simply for the pleasure of learning such an important language.

The Online Arabic from Palestine course will be taught by trained and experienced teachers based at the Arabic Center (Islamic University of Gaza) and will make use of bespoke interactive materials created over the past year by an international team of language experts.  Please see the IUG Arabic Centre website for course details and registration.

The Online Arabic from Palestine course is the result of an international and multilingual project (OPAC) run over the past 12 months by a team based in the University of Glasgow School of Education (PI Dr Giovanna Fassetta) and the Gaza Strip (Palestine). The international team has worked in close collaboration to design and develop an online Arabic course for beginners, through the combined efforts of academics, teachers, administrators, IT experts, videographers and graphic designers.

Please note there is a cost to take part in this course. However, research outputs are freely available from University of Glasgow website.

For the past 10 years, the Gaza Strip has been under blockade. The blockade has resulted in very high unemployment, especially among young graduates, and in forced cultural and linguistic homogeneity. The aim behind the course was to create opportunities for multilingual, intercultural and professional collaboration between graduates of the Islamic University of Gaza and a team of foreign language teaching experts based at the University of Glasgow.

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Highland schools come out top at Shinty@the Bught

1 October 2018 (Highland Council)

Iomain Cholmcille – the Gaelic Shinty Project – has worked in partnership with The Highland Council’s Gaelic Team to organise a six aside national Shinty event for P4 to P7 Gaelic Medium pupils from schools across Scotland.

In August Iomain Cholmchille announced funding of £8000, from Bord na Gàidhlig in order to help develop the use of Gaelic in youth Shinty. The project was launched at Bun- Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh and pupils were presented with new Gaelic strips for the school Shinty team. The funding for community projects aims to build on Iomain Cholmcille’s successful work, in partnership with the Highland Council’s Gaelic Team running Cupa Iomain na h-Òige.

Cupa Iomain na h-Òige – Youth Shinty Cup - is in its third year and although based in the Highlands, the competition, which is held entirely through the medium of Gaelic, is open to schools from across Scotland. This year the competition took place at the Bught Park in Inverness which is a national stadium and 14 teams have entered with approximately 100 pupils participating in the event.

Schools from across Scotland entered which include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dingwall, this is the first time that the smaller schools in Skye have taken part.

Iomain Cholmcille is a project dedicated to encouraging the use of Gaelic in the Shinty world and regularly organises international exchanges with Irish-speaking hurling teams for both men and women.

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International inspiration at Carluke High School

1 October 2018 (British Council)

It’s not often that I get to visit a school, so I was really pleased when Alan Sinclair, Teacher of Music at Carluke High School, invited me along to a special day of sharing and celebration with not one but two of their international partners, writes our Communications Manager, Jordan Ogg.

Last week, pupils and staff from Institut Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia in Barcelona, Spain, and Mercy College Coolock in Dublin, Ireland, were welcomed as part of their Erasmus+ funded 'What’s Ours is Yours' project. A busy schedule saw the pupils collaborating through a variety of activities, taking in Spanish language tasks, multimedia production, a Ceilidh in the PE department and Scottish cookery classes in the afternoon.

It was an insightful opportunity to see first-hand how the schools have embraced international and inter-cultural learning and, in particular from a Scottish perspective, how Carluke High School's approach has complimented the wider curriculum. For example, I was impressed to see film and home economic students engaging with classes on music technology and modern languages – and all through this one partnership. 

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John Edward: Languages skills essential for global citizens

29 September 2018 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s independent schools maintain a track record of academic excellence, and this has continued in 2018 with another set of outstanding exam results, which is only strengthened by individual and collective success in sports, art, music and other community endeavours.

With upwards of 30,000 pupils across Scotland, these schools, represented by The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), strive to deliver the best level of service to their pupils and parents.

Independent schools aim to prepare their pupils for further and higher education, their chosen career and their place as global citizens. As an education sector that can design and implement a bespoke school curriculum, we are seeing modern languages continue as a popular and desired subject of choice within schools.

Nelson Mandela said: ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.” This is a powerful reminder that we can’t just rely on English when wanting to build relationships and trust with people from other countries.

From this year’s recent exam results, we can see that languages are topping the league tables with the highest pass rates within independent schools. A total of 68 per cent of pupils who studied foreign languages achieved a Higher grade A.

The data, collected from SCIS’s 74 member schools, showed that 72 per cent of students achieved a Higher grade A in Mandarin, while 72 per cent of those studying German, 69 per cent of those studying French and 63 per cent studying Spanish also achieved an A.

This demonstrates that independent schools in Scotland are supporting foreign languages as vital skills that children and young people will undoubtedly require in the future. Languages now, as a subject choice, are being held in the same regard as STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in independent school curriculums and elsewhere.

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Global Treasure Apps / Rocket Fund £100 Boost

27 September 2018 (Global Treasure Apps)

Global Treasure Apps allow schools to publish their own local walking tour content. These tours could be of a local tourist attraction or of the local area. The school could choose to develop the content in L2 or L3, providing students with a practical, hands-on approach to language learning.

Global Treasure Apps workshops are on the school crowd funding site Rocket Fund. Rocket Fund are currently offering a £100 funding boost to the first 50 projects launched before 5th October.

Visit the site to find out about a project at Edinburgh Castle where digital and language students at Edinburgh College worked together to produce a digital treasure trail.

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British people 'least likely' to speak foreign language

26 September 2018 (Scotsman)

British people have long been renowned as notoriously bad at speaking foreign languages when compared to our neighbours on the European mainland. Now a study has backed up the myth with hard evidence as people from the United Kingdom are ranked as the least likely to speak another language. The study, carried out by the European Commission for the European Day of Languages, found that on average, almost two thirds of EU citizens said they could speak at least one foreign language. But the UK is one of only four European Union member states where less than half of the population can speak a foreign language, with just 34 per cent of Brits saying they can do so.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (The Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

Read more...

News from the Alliance Française

21 September 2018 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française offers a range of courses and activities for French language learners. Click on the relevant link below to find out more about upcoming events:

Visit the main Alliance Française website for more information about the organisation and their initiatives.

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Languages Beyond School

21 September 2018 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies check out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

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Learn another European language – and give two fingers to Brexit Britain

21 September 2018 (The Guardian)

For someone who occasionally seems unsure whether their wife is Japanese or Chinese, Jeremy Hunt seems to speak pretty good Japanese.

Unless bits of it were Chinese, obviously. Given the way things have gone lately for Theresa May’s government we probably shouldn’t rule anything out, but let’s just assume the Tokyo audience he addressed in their native tongue this week wasn’t just being polite and that he did actually deliver the whole speech in the correct language.

Whatever you think of Hunt’s politics generally, there was something endearing about the sight of a foreign secretary actually trying to speak some foreign, at a time when much of Britain seems belligerently convinced that if the world doesn’t understand us then we should just shout louder at them. Foreign languages have been in decline in British schools for years, especially at A-level; German in particular is so unpopular now, with a 45% drop in entries since 2010, that some schools will be seriously debating dropping it from the timetable. Languages have become seen as subjects in which it’s too hard to excel, partly because native speakers tend to scoop the A* awards and push the bar higher for everyone else, which makes them too much of a risk for kids intent on getting the grades for university.

Lately there has been some tinkering with grade boundaries to encourage uptake. But while mathematicians and scientists have gone to great lengths to popularise subjects once seen as geeky or intimidatingly difficult, there has been no concerted push behind French or Spanish.

And if we’re honest, Britain’s solid international reputation for being rubbish at languages isn’t just down to the kids. How many of us slogged through years of irregular verbs and asking the way to the station, only to be reduced in middle age to fumbled holiday conversations in shops and frantic pointing?

But watching Hunt reminded me of something I’ve been wondering for a while, which is whether the prospect of leaving Europe will finally make learning a language feel less like a slog and more like a thrillingly subversive act; one great defiant two fingers to everything Brexit Britain stands for.

Languages are lovely things to learn in their own right, of course, if you’re so minded; living, breathing entities that weave in and out of each other, exchanging sounds and words and ideas. But they’re also one of the purest forms of soft power. Speaking to someone in their own tongue is a disarming act, a gesture of empathy and respect. If you’re not actually very good at it then in some ways all the better; at least it’s obvious you’re making an effort, which is why typing furiously into Google Translate doesn’t quite have the same effect.

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SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

19 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

The schedule of online tutor sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018-19 is now available online.

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Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan

19 September 2018 (Daily Mail)

A new five-year plan for promoting Gaelic has been unveiled by the Scottish Parliament.

The proposals set out how the language will be supported between 2018 and 2022 within Holyrood.

They include providing awareness training to all front-of-house staff, showing it as much respect as English as well as creating a space where the Gaelic business community can raise issues with representatives.

Read more...

Related Links

Parliament publishes new 5-year Gaelic plan (Holyrood, 20 September 2018)

Castles light up in celebration of Gaelic and Scots (The Scotsman, 19 September 2018)

Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan (Evening Express, 19 September 2018)

Inspire your students with new funding for global learning

19 September 2018 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is back, and we have some exciting updates for the new school year.

If you are thinking about taking your school on an international journey this year, it’s time to take a look at how you can join the new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme.

You can apply for Connecting Classrooms opportunities either as an individual school, or part of a cluster, which will be overseen by a lead school.

Becoming a lead school provides a host of benefits, including access to grants to develop your cluster, the opportunity to deliver CPD to other schools in your area and cover support for your co-ordinator’s time. 

Visit the website for more information and apply by 28 October to be included in the first round of grant awards.

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The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust

19 September 2018 (GLPT)

The purpose of the Gaelic Language Promotion Trust is to support and promote the teaching, learning and use of the Gaelic language in Scotland. The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust offers assistance to full-time and part-time students taking Scottish Gaelic language courses or courses through Scottish Gaelic. 

Currently, the main activity of the Trust is the provision of grants to students of Gaelic at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, the Trust recognises the importance of Gaelic pre-school provision, and following a generous legacy from Urras Gnìomhachas nan Gàidheal, Career Development Funding is now available for Gaelic students studying for an HNC in Childhood Practice, for Gaelic pre-school workers and GLPS primary teachers wishing to improve their Gaelic language skills. Priority is given to individuals currently employed in Gaelic pre-school establishments who are completing their HNC Childhood Practice modules on a part-time basis and primary teachers delivering Gaelic L2.

The Trust acknowledges the contribution that primary schools across Scotland are making to the promotion of the Gaelic language through the 1+2 language model and welcomes applications from GLPS schools for designated funding for Gaelic books. The Trust also provides grants in respect of Gaelic publishing, including digital and traditional printed books, and junior drama projects.

The Cameron Fund, a separate funding stream from the general fund, has been created to support community-based media projects. To this end, the Trust welcomes applications from individuals / communities / organisations for projects involving new media. This might include short films and vlogs which the GLPT would showcase on their website.

The next deadline for grant applications is 19 October 2018. 

Read more...

Into Film Awards 2019

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

Submissions to the 2019 Into Film Awards are now open!

The Into Film Awards is the best place to showcase young filmmaking talent, with categories designed to highlight the large pool of young creatives in the UK. Set out to find the most talented filmmakers, reviewers, Into Film Clubs and educators, we encourage children and young people aged 5-19 from all backgrounds and with all abilities to get involved. 

A great place to start is by entering the 'Film of the Month' competition. These entries are also eligible for submission to the Into Film Awards. Why not get your students to create a short film in the language they are learning?

You have until 14 December 2018 to get your entries in and there are resources and guides on the website to help you.

Read more...

Into Film Festival 2018

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

This year's festival takes place from 7-23 November with UK-wide events and screenings. There are some foreign language options included in the 'Visions of Europe' selection of the programme.

Visit the website for more information and to find events near you.

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What’s on in October – Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival 2018

18 September 2018 (Edinburgh Reporter)

The 5th Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival takes place from 4-20 October 2018.

Festival Opens With First Ever Basque Film Screened At Edinburgh Filmhouse.

The 2018 Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival presents a total of 15 feature films and 7 short films in Spanish from 4-20 October in Edinburgh (Filmhouse), Stirling (MacRobert Arts Centre) and Glasgow (Film Theatre).

[..] Many of the films are suitable for all ages and in addition there will be a special screening of Nur And The Dragon Temple for schools at 10am on Wednesday 3rd October. There will also be workshops which will explore Spanish language, cinema and youth taking place in schools throughout Scotland.

Read more...

Translation apps on the One Show

18 September 2018 (BBC)

Digital translation apps were put to the test by the One Show on Tuesday 18 September, but guest Michael Palin expressed the view that there was no substitute for trying to speak the language on your travels. The programme is available on iPlayer until 18 October 2018 (NB - registration required. View from 13:54).

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Erasmus+ funding for schools: twilight sessions

17 September 2018 (Erasmus+)

Interested in funding for international pupil exchanges, staff overseas teaching/training placements and partnerships with schools across Europe?

Erasmus+ and eTwinning offer fantastic opportunities for UK schools to connect with schools across Europe.

Taking place in September to November 2018, we are running free sessions in cities across the UK for school staff interested in beginning or enhancing international collaboration. There's an event in Glasgow on 30 October.

Whilst the twilight session offers a particular focus for schools, there is also a daytime information session more specifically for organisations who are new to the Erasmus+ programme and are considering submitting an Erasmus+ application in 2019.

Read more...

Agenda: Let’s raise a toast to a decade of BBC Alba

17 September 2018 (The Herald)

In a world dominated by media the importance of broadcasting cannot be overemphasised in efforts to revive lesser used languages and so the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BBC Alba – launched on September 19, 2008 – is cause for celebration for all committed to the survival and advancement of the Gaelic language. That it was set up under the aegis of the BBC was a crucial achievement especially in the context of that year’s global financial crisis and the inevitable questions around the licence fee, charter renewal and the like. Therefore, to have our Scottish Gaelic channel on the first screen of the BBC iPlayer – located between the Parliament channel and S4C (the Welsh language channel) – remains a source of pleasure to language activists.

Indeed the creation of a dedicated Gaelic channel is now acknowledged as one of the key cultural developments of the new millennium in Scotland (cf National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee V & A) and crucially complements Gaelic-medium education; and arguably, in terms of impact, more significant than the Gaelic Language Act (2005).

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17 September, 2018 - Minister Bruton Launches Campaign to Encourage Learning of Foreign Languages & Announces Funding for School Exchanges

17 September 2018 (Department of Education and Skills (Ireland))

(Applies to Ireland) The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. today (17th September 2018) launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of foreign languages and announced new funding for teacher upskilling and school language exchanges.  

The campaign is aimed at school principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, students and higher level institutions. Embassies, cultural services and bodies such as IBEC and Enterprise Ireland (EI) are also involved in supporting the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of learning foreign languages.  The campaign will be supported by a new website (www.languagesconnect.ie) which will act as a one stop shop for schools, parents and students on language learning. 

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ECML Gazette 43 - July-September 2018

17 September 2018 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's newsletter is now available online. This edition has a focus on the European Day of Languages on 26 September with a round-up of events, activities and competitions taking place to celebrate the event.

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition 2018-19

14 September 2018 (SCILT)

Today we're launching the 2018-19 Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition in Scotland.

All students who are learning a language at school, college or university, or who speak a native language at home, can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. All entries must be the students' own, original work.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! The closing date for registrations is 26 October 2018.

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1+2 Modern Languages in Parliament

13 September 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

Read the First Minister's response when asked at the Meeting of the Parliament 13 September 2018 what action the Scottish Government will take to improve the implementation of the one-plus-two modern languages policy in broad general education.

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Lefèvre Trust school grants for French study visits

13 September 2018 (British Council)

The British Council is working in partnership with the Lefèvre Trust to offer a limited number of grants to Scottish secondary schools to facilitate reciprocal visits to partner schools in France. The opportunity marks the final round of Lefèvre funding and recognises the recently re-signed Memorandum of Understanding between Scotland and France. 

Schools interested in applying should have an existing link to France through a partnership or exchange. Projects with a STEM focus, and from schools in underprivileged areas, are encouraged.

A French study visit is the ideal way to instil a love of the French language in learners, give them exposure to authentic language usage and enable them to experience French culture first-hand. Pupils can also benefit from:

  • raised levels of language proficiency in preparation for exams
  • improved confidence in speaking French by practising with peers at the partner school
  • increased motivation in continuing to learn French by exchanging language and culture in an authentic environment
  • strengthened partnership and development of new cross-curricular projects for the whole school.

Visit the British Council website for more information and apply by 19 November 2018.

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One Arabic-English translator shares his experience

13 September 2018 (British Council )

Tony Calderbank has been translating from Arabic to English since 1992. He shares some of the knowledge he has acquired along the way. 

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UK-German Connection - Back to School Newsletter 2018

13 September 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Make this a year to remember for your school; welcome a German teacher, take part in our funded Christmas trips to Germany and support your Language Assistant to become a Cultural Exchange Ambassador!

Find out about these initiatives and more in the UK-German Connection 'Back to School' newsletter.

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Worldwide Napier magazine - Call for contributions

12 September 2018 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Do you have young linguists with a passion for writing? Then here's a great opportunity for budding authors!

Worldwide Napier is a free magazine showcasing the work of language students at Edinburgh Napier University.

Senior pupils at secondary school are invited to submit contributions for the second edition of the magazine in French, German and Spanish by 31 October 2018.

You can read the first issue online and see the attached introductory letter and poster for more information.

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EAL: Working with new arrivals

12 September 2018 (SecEd)

This September, many secondary schools will have new arrivals from abroad who have English as an additional language. Continuing our series on EAL, Dr Ruth Wilson gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of this diverse group of learners

New arrivals with English as an additional language (EAL) are a very diverse group. Their language proficiency can range from “new to English” to “fluent”. The young person can arrive at any age and with widely different socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Some students may come from an advantaged context with a high standard of education; others may have had little or interrupted schooling or experienced traumatic events. A new arrival could for example be a refugee from a war-torn country or a child of a German banker working in the City of London.

Data show that, on average, pupils arriving late into the English school system do less well in external exams than their first language English peers, and that the older the pupils are when they arrive the less likely they are to achieve good results in year 11 (Hutchinson, 2018).

This article gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of EAL learners who are newly arrived from abroad. 

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Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years

12 September 2018 (ECML)

ECML are hosting professionals in early years’ education at a workshop on “Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children aged 3-12 years” in Graz, Austria on 12-13 September 2018.

The project is designed to help professionals harness opportunities inherent in linguistically diverse classrooms and use them for the benefit of all pupils. Those involved in early-years education, at whatever level, can in particular find evidence here of good practice and a variety of teaching and learning tools to develop learners’ language competence. 

Visit the ECML website for more details and developments.

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Dunoon gears up for Royal National Mòd

12 September 2018 (Oban Times)

Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) will return to Dunoon next month (Friday 12 October – Saturday 20 October) for the eighth time – with a very special focus on Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Dunoon for the first time since 2012, with a host of initiatives aimed at encouraging more young people to get involved already under way.

Throughout the year, Dunoon schools have welcomed tutors from FèisSgoil to help them prepare for Mòd competitions, as part of An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Mòd Academy initiative, which aims to help youngsters learn and develop their musical and Gaelic skills.

Local drama workshops for Dunoon’s youngsters were hosted in recent months in a bid to inspire more children to get involved with Gaelic drama, with a group set to perform at this year’s festival; and organisers have been working closely with the Camanachd Association to arrange a junior shinty Mòd Cup match before the annual senior match.

This year also saw the establishment of the first ever Young Person’s Committee, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, which has allowed young Gaels the opportunity to get involved in the Mòd planning process, and to have their say on what they would like to see.

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Bilingual Brain: Here's what happens when you flip between languages

10 September 2018 (Newsweek)

A study has shed light on the brain mechanisms which allow bilingual people to switch effortlessly from one language to another.

Neurolinguistics researchers already believe parts of the brain in charge of decision-making, the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, light up when we toggle between languages. Now, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents a potential new piece to the puzzle.

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, graduate student at the NYU neurolinguistics lab, told Newsweek, “The process of switching languages entails [minimally] disengaging from the language that was being used until that point, and engaging in a new language. This study showed that it is turning off the previous language, and not ‘turning on’ a new language, that is effortful.”

And while those who swap between languages may make it seem easy, it is in fact “a remarkably complicated process that involves the successful coordination of two independent language systems,” he explained.

Article includes a video of polyglot, Alex Rawlings, providing 10 tips for learning a new language.

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Lithuanian and Korean to be taught in Irish schools

10 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Lithuanian and Korean will be taught from this week as part of a drive to diversify the number of languages on the curriculum in Irish schools.

Lithuanian will be a short course for junior cycle in schools in Dublin and Monaghan where there is the highest concentration of the country’s natives in Ireland.

According to the last census in 2016, 36,683 Lithuanians live in Ireland. However, the Lithuanian embassy estimates the real figure is twice that if the number of children of immigrants are taken into account.

The course is for a minimum of 100 hours over two years. Some 43 applicants were received from teachers of the language.

The introduction of Lithuanian into Irish school is part of the foreign languages strategy which identifies the need to support immigrant communities to maintain their own languages.

It was introduced last year as part of a 10-year strategy to prepare Ireland for Brexit through a series of steps such as potential bonus Central Applications Office (CAO) points for studying foreign languages.

The Korean language, the 17th most spoken language in the world, is being introduced as a module for transition year. Trade between South Korea and Ireland reached €1.8 billion in 2015.

The language will be introduced into four schools in Dublin.

French accounts for more than half of all language sits in the Leaving Certificate, followed by German (13 per cent), Spanish (11 per cent) and Italian (1 per cent).

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the teaching and learning of foreign languages is a priority in the post-Brexit world.

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DAAD German writing and video competition 2018

10 September 2018 (DAAD)

In addition to accompanying written texts, competitors are asked this year to make a short video on ‘Auf deutschen Spuren - In the footsteps of German-language culture’.

Find out about historical or current traces of German-language culture in your area and create a short film not exceeding 3 minutes featuring German-language dialogue or voice-over. Judges will be looking for creativity and language use - rather than technical ability.

The competition is open to all German speakers upwards from secondary school level.

Find out more about the competition on the DAAD website and submit entries by 5 October 2018.

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'Host a Teacher' Programme: free CPD opportunity

10 September 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Welcome a teacher from Germany to any department in your school for 1, 2 or 3 weeks in 2019 to give your pupils a real-life learning context for German language and culture.

What are the benefits?

  1. Choose your own timings - it's flexible and free!
  2. Enhance the intercultural dimension in your school community
  3. Share best practice on an international level
  4. Boost speaking confidence in your classrooms
  5. Create a connection with a German school

"The guest teacher's input into our curriculum was excellent. She came equipped with resources and lessons, which she delivered to our classes, helping to boost the numbers opting for German."

To find out how you can take part, please visit the UK-German Connection website and apply by 21 September 2018 to host in spring or summer.

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Curriculum for GLE and GME

10 September 2018 (Education Scotland)

e-Sgoil is an interactive, real-time teaching facility which uses Glow, Office 365 and Vscene to support the teaching of Gaelic and through Gaelic in any school in Scotland. It supports the curriculum for 1+2, Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education. A short promotional video is available on the Education Scotland learning blog.

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Maths Week Scotland - Mathématiques sans frontières / Maths wi nae borders

7 September 2018 (North Lanarkshire Council)

As part of Maths Week Scotland, pupils of all ages can participate in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition, which requires students to respond to one of the questions in either Gaelic or Scots.

The new competition is inspired by 'Mathématiques sans frontières'. North Lanarkshire Council, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot Watt University work together to encourage young language learners to apply their knowledge in a Maths setting.

This stimulating and light-hearted competition for secondary schools combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in both their Maths and Language Learning.  S4 classes attempt 10 questions and S5 classes 13 questions.  Ideally a whole class should tackle groups of questions in order to complete the test within the 60 minutes allowed.

The first question require an explanation in a foreign language.  It is hoped that this competition will encourage cross-curricular working and teamwork.

This year 42 teams from 27 schools took part in 'Mathématiques sans Frontières', the winning team in S4 was Girvan Academy and the S5 winners and overall winning school was Grange Academy.

Look out for the e-mail invitation inviting you to take part in January 2019.

The return of Business Brunches 18-19: Language skills in the world of work

7 September 2018 (SCILT)

Would you like to invite 10 of your S3-S6 pupils to discover the benefits of language skills in the world of work and engage with a variety of dynamic employers to encourage learners to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their education, and beyond school? Look no further….

For the fifth year in succession, SCILT, in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce and the University Council of Modern Languages Scotland will be hosting a series of five Business Brunch events in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness over the course of December this year, and January 2019.  Registration will open at 9am on Friday 14th September.

Find out more on our Business Brunches webpage.

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Languages in the Lords

6 September 2018 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the All-Party Group on Modern Languages, calls for language skills to be prioritised in careers advice in schools in today's Lords' debate.

In contributing to the debate she highlighted the specific need for careers education and advice to convey the enormous and increasing value of language skills to school leavers and graduates as they make their career choices. Stating this advice must also start early enough for school students to have the opportunity to choose one or more foreign languages among their GCSE options. 

She went on to stress that it is often wrongly assumed that studying foreign languages is just for the brightest students, and that they can be beneficial for anyone, at whatever level. Foreign language skills are in use in practically every sector in the economy, with higher than average demand in the financial services, IT and telecommunications, passenger transport, fashion and design and hotel and catering industries. They are in use at all levels in the workforce, not just senior management. In fact, the greatest skills gaps are among administrative and clerical staff, and those working at elementary grades. All that is before we even mention the need for languages and linguists in diplomacy, defence and security.

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CLPL for Beyond the Panda

5 September 2018 (RZSS)

Would you like to find out more about 'Beyond the Panda' and what it offers to assist Mandarin language learning? As the first science specialist Confucius Classroom in the world, we would like to invite you to a FREE session for teachers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo on Tuesday 6 November 2018. 

Find out answers to these questions and more:

  • What is a 'panda box'?
  • How can our programme mix science with language? 
  • What else does the programme offer?
  • What does a science specialist Confucius Classroom mean? 

Two CLPL sessions available 10.30-12.30 and 3.00-5.00 on Tuesday 6 November. Booking essential as limited to 20 teachers per session. Open to Primary and Secondary teachers. 

Meet Sandie Robb, the RZSS language specialist along with Hù Wáng, our Confucius Classroom teacher. 

Contact srobb@rzss.org.uk  or 07963 070654 to book a place. 

Fifth dedicated Gaelic school officially opened

4 September 2018 (Holyrood)

A new Gaelic primary - the fifth school dedicated to the language in Scotland – has been officially opened in Skye.

Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh in Portree is the third Gaelic medium school in the Highland Council area.

It opened to its 133 primary and 47 nursery pupils in April this year, with Education Secretary John Swinney attending a special opening ceremony on Monday.

He said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in supporting Highland Council to realise their vision for the Gaelic language. 

“We are seeing growing demand from parents for access to Gaelic medium education across the country which clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government’s commitments to supporting the language are a having a positive result. 

“I commend Highland Council for their actions and look forward to working with them on future projects.”

Gaelic medium education is available in 14 out of 32 Scottish local authorities to all children and young people.

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Consternation over suggested French grammar change

4 September 2018 (BBC)

The suggestion by a pair of Belgian teachers to drop a rule of grammar drilled into every French speaker at an early age has led to some amusement and consternation in France.

The teachers say rules for past participles that follow the verb avoir (to have) should be simplified.

The change would save some 80 hours of teaching time, they argue.

It has been endorsed by the linguistic authorities of Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region and Brussels.

Currently, the rule is that the past participle of a verb does not agree with the direct object of a sentence if it comes after it, but it does when the object comes before the participle.

So for instance, in the sentence j'ai mangé des frites (I ate chips), mangé remains the same. But in the sentence les frites que j'ai mangées (the chips that I have eaten), the participle agrees with the word chips, which is feminine and plural.

The two teachers, Arnaud Hoedt et Jérôme Piron, argue the rule is overly complicated and inconsistent, and that the participle should remain unchanged regardless of the position of the object in the sentence if used with the verb to have.

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HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese speaking competition 2018/19

3 September 2018 (British Council)

A great, fun opportunity for students to practise and improve their Mandarin Chinese language skills. 

Taking part in the competition:

  • increases students’ motivation for learning the language
  • develops vocabulary and improves pronunciation
  • raises confidence for oral examinations
  • encourages students to interact with their classmates
  • inspires students to discover more about Chinese culture.

The prize is a week in Beijing! Students will visit historical sites, interact with Chinese students and experience Chinese culture with the British Council, who have over twenty years’ experience in running cultural exchanges with China.

Applications for the 2018/19 competition are now open. Apply by Friday 5 October 2018.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to download the application form.

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New School Year – New Season of NALDIC blogging

3 September 2018 (EAL Journal)

NALDIC has an ever-expanding membership, creating a vibrant and supportive national (and increasingly international) community of educators and advocates. If you’re in EAL you need to be in NALDIC! If you’re not yet a member please consider signing up. All members get our flagship magazine The EAL Journal every term, full access to the members’ area of our website, and free or reduced price entry to NALDIC events. 

This year we will be taking the national conference to Leeds on Saturday 17 November, where the theme of the event is Evidence Informed Practice for EAL, and features keynote speaker Jean Conteh author of The EAL Teaching Book, among many other classics on teaching multilingual learners. 

We’d love to hear from you if you would like to write for NALDIC. We are always on the lookout for contributors to the blog. We accept pitches for posts about research, practice, and advocacy around EAL and multilingualism.

Read the blogpost for more information on NALDIC's upcoming events and opportunities.

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Introduction to Kansai dialect self-study course

3 September 2018 (Japan Foundation)

The new free Introduction to Kansai Dialect A2 self-study course is available at Minato, Japan Foundation's Japanese language learning e-platform.

Kansai is a region in the west of Japan famous for its delicious food, fascinating history and distinctive dialect. Studying the famous dialect of the region is one way to really discover the vibrant culture of Kansai. 

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Cognitive science is changing language learning

3 September 2018 (School Education Gateway)

In this article, Professor Jon Andoni Duñabeitia from the Universidad Nebrija in Madrid, Spain, talks about inclusive and scientifically validated approaches to language learning.

While my one-and-a-half-year-old son, who is growing up in a Basque-Spanish bilingual environment, shows a surprising ability to process things in either language, his mother still struggles with English when we go abroad, and his Spanish-speaking grandmother devotes considerable time and effort to learning Basque in a classroom environment. Obviously, the process of native language acquisition for toddlers, which naturally occurs at a very early age, is markedly different from the process of language acquisition for a multilingual older adult enrolled in a formal learning programme.

One could easily draw up an endless list of language learning scenarios between these two extremes – and cognitive scientists are working hard to uncover the role played by their respective factors.

Read more...

SCHOLAR

3 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR has updated the Higher French, German and Spanish pages to reflect the changes to Higher which are now in place. SCHOLAR on-line tutor, Douglas Angus, will be hosting a webinar on Monday 17 September at 6pm for an hour to look at the changes, and to talk about the implications for teaching and learning of the new format for Higher Modern Languages. To take part in this event please log in as guest. The webinar will be broadcast live and recorded so it can be downloaded if you miss it.

There will be sessions for pupils at Higher and Advanced Higher level this year again, starting in November. For Higher, amongst the sessions will be on on the Assignment-Writing and for Advanced Higher on on the Portfolio and Specialist Study. Meanwhile, last year’s sessions are still available on the SCHOLAR website, but are open to all and do not require a password.

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Study of Portuguese and Spanish explodes as China expands role in Latin America

2 September 2018 (The Guardian)

Thousands more Chinese students are taking up Latin American languages with an eye to improved employability.

When Zhang Fangming started learning Portuguese, it was with an eye to becoming a top Chinese diplomat in Brazil.

For Sun Jianglin, a Portuguese degree was about landing a job, but also a deeper knowledge of Brazilian music. “Bossa nova!” the 19-year-old undergraduate cooed. “I really like this kind-of-close-to-jazz music!”

The pair – who also go by the names Rodrigo and Antonia – are part of a new generation of Chinese students hoping a mastery of Latin America’s languages coupled with their country’s expanding role in the region will prove a recipe for success.

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British students are too focussed on getting top grades to go on years abroad, university body says as figures show UK behind Europe and US

1 September 2018 (The Telegraph)

he number of undergraduates at UK universities going on years abroad is lagging behind other countries, a report has warned, amid concerns that British students are more focused on getting top grades than gaining life experience.

A report released by Universities UK (UUK), a body which represents 136 British universities, shows that just 6.6 per cent of British students go on ‘year abroad’ programmes during their degrees, compared to 28 per cent of German students, 16 per cent of students in the United States and 20 per cent of Australians.

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, suggested that UK students may be too focussed on their grades and securing jobs to go on a year abroad while they are studying, and while students worry about their grades, employers in the UK may actually value the soft skills more.

“At a time of political and economic uncertainty in the UK, it is understandable that students are seeking stability by focusing on their studies and getting a foot on the career ladder as soon as possible,” Ms Stern said.

“However, sacrificing opportunities to study abroad means that UK students are actually missing opportunities to enhance their careers: we know that graduates who have studied abroad are 24 per cent less likely to be unemployed than those who haven’t,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Read more...

Where have all the modern language assistants gone?

31 August 2018 (TESS)

The number of modern language assistants in Scotland has taken another tumble this year, Tes Scotland can reveal.

New figures also show that employing MLAs – native speakers who typically spend a year working in Scottish classrooms – is increasingly the preserve of independent schools, with nearly half based in that sector, including all of Edinburgh’s contingent of 18.

Data from the British Council, which arranges for MLAs to work in Scotland, reveals that there are only 61 MLAs, 27 of whom are based in independent schools. This is the lowest figure since current records began in 2003: the next lowest was 72 in 2013-14 and the current number is less than a quarter of the 2005-06 high point of 278. The number of local authorities with MLAs is also falling, from 15 (out of 32) in 2017 to 13 in 2018.

From a recent high of 146 MLAs in Scotland in 2016-17, numbers fell sharply to 80 in 2017-18 – including 23 based in independent schools – with some fearing that this was related to the 2016 vote to leave the EU (“Brexit blamed as language assistant numbers dive”, Tes Scotland, 17 November 2017).

The British Council, however, has played down any suggestion that Brexit has had an impact. Liz Neil, acting head of education for British Council Scotland, says: “The reduction in the number of modern language assistants in Scotland is disappointing and we are working with stakeholders to explore options for addressing the issue – for example, by getting more placements in primary schools where the impact on primary learners can be significant.”

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

31 August 2018 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Gaelic education is now available online.

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Brexit prompts surge in Brits signing up to learn languages online

30 August 2018 (Sky News)

Some Britons unhappy with the UK's decision to leave the European Union have opted for an unusual form of protest - learning a new language.

In the days leading up to Article 50 being triggered on March 29, 2017, a leading language-learning app reports that it saw a 24% increase in new user sign-ups in the UK.

The CEO of Duolingo, which has 300 million users, told Sky News that the company noticed a spike in sign-ups at the time and saw its users commenting online that they had been motivated by Brexit.

Read more...

Caution over drop in numbers sitting language exams

30 August 2018 (SecEd)

Another fall in the number of pupils taking French and German exams does not reflect an overall decline in the health of languages in Scottish classrooms, according to a leading linguist.

French National 5 entries fell by about 10 per cent on last year, while at Higher the level was 17.5 per cent below 2016. German Higher entries were down 20 per cent on two years ago.

Spanish and Mandarin have made modest rises overall.

However, Fhiona Mackay, director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, said it was misleading to focus on this criterion alone because primary schools were “normalising” languages from P1 in a way that is widening exposure hugely.

“The French figures were disappointing, no doubt about it. But to say languages are disappearing from our schools is very far off the mark and really unfair on our teachers.

“Of course I would like to see more youngsters choosing languages because I fundamentally believe that is a good thing. But it needs to be voluntary – so we need to evaluate the barriers and do more to remove them.” 

Read more...

Narrowing of secondary options hits Gaelic

30 August 2018 (TES)

A leading light in Gaelic-medium education is calling for the Scottish government to investigate the impact of the narrowing of the curriculum in senior secondary.

He says teenagers are being “lost to the language” and that the teacher supply pipeline is “in danger of drying up” as a result.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Related Links

Call for the right to be taught in Gaelic (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

Where next for Gaelic as it gains ground in education? (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

French courses in Edinburgh now enrolling

29 August 2018 (Institut français)

Ready for la rentrée? The Institut français will be commencing classes for adults and children on 18 September 2018.

Open Days are available on 8 and 10 September where you can meet the teachers, have your level assessed and see the premises.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

Read more...

WYSE survey shows rise of mixed travel

28 August 2018 (The Pie News)

Young travellers are increasingly combining leisure and study in their holidays, a survey of the youth, student and educational travel market conducted by WYSE Travel Federation revealed.

[..] “More than 20% of the young travellers who responded to the New Horizons IV Survey in 2017 were mixing holiday with language learning. This is up from 14% in our 2012 survey.”

Read more...

The Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF)

27 August 2018 (Consejería de Educación)

The fifth Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) will run from 4 -13 October 2018. Primary and secondary schools are invited to take part in its School Programme.

Also, to link with the Year of Young People, special workshops and screenings have been prepared that will explore Spanish language, cinema and youth.

More information and how to book places can be found on the attached invitation letters.

Help us continue collaborative cross-sector action for languages

27 August 2018 (SCILT/UCMLS)

To make 1+2 a reality we need to act with one voice for languages! So do join us at the University of Dundee on Saturday, 15 September 2018 for a half-day conference where SCILT/UCMLS evaluate past actions and plan new ones.

We will finish with a networking lunch and wine to celebrate 25 years of UCMLS. For catering purposes, please sign up by 7 September via Eventbrite. 

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SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

27 August 2018 (SQA)

SQA is running three webinars in September covering updates to Higher Modern Languages:

  • Tuesday 4th September 5-6pm

  • Monday 10th September 5-6pm

  • Thursday 27th September 5-6pm

Content will be the same on all three dates. Register on the SQA booking system.

If colleagues are finding they cannot get a place on the webinar they can contact the SQA events team sqaevents@sqa.org.uk or 0345 213 5580 who would in turn contact colleagues if spaces on webinars become available. 

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Updates from SQA - Modern Languages

24 August 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

Revised Higher Specimen Question Papers for use in session 2018-19 onwards are now available on the main Higher Modern Languages webpage.  Revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are currently only available in the Specimen Question papers.

Exemplars of Higher Directed Writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are now available.  There are currently 8 exemplars in French and Spanish with other languages available in due course.

Exemplars of Higher Assignment-writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for assignment-writing are now available. There are currently 6 exemplars in French, German and Spanish, with other languages available in due course.

All exemplars can be found on www.understandingstandards.org.uk

Exemplars of talking performances at Higher valid from session 2018/19 are now available. These include associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for performance-talking.  Exemplars of talking performances at National 5 are also available. Both can be found on the understanding standards area on the SQA secure website.

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SCILT CLPL

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

SCILT CLPL

Refreshed and raring to go? Us too! New school year = new SCILT CLPL menu. Featuring a variety of workshops for primary colleagues, for secondary colleagues and one workshop specifically aimed at bringing primary and secondary colleagues together. Our free professional learning is learner-focused, practice-led and evidence-informed. Booking now open! More information on our CLPL menu.

OU/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme

There is still time to register for the sector-leading Open University Scotland/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme. The course will be available to all primary practitioners but also secondary teachers who teach at primary level. We have produced an FAQ document with further detail about the course for your information.

This blended professional learning programme combines primary languages pedagogy and beginner's language learning.  Choose from beginner's French, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The course fee is £240.00 per student. There are plans to offer teachers, who enrol on the course, a summer school experience which will offer immersion in the language to boost confidence and provide ample opportunities to learn more about the cultures in which the language they are studying is spoken. The summer school is not part of the course, it is optional and can be booked separately. More information on this will be published in due course.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, don't delay! Speak to your local authority languages Development Officer first, then they can contact Sylvia Warnecke at the Open University (s.warnecke@open.ac.uk ) to confirm your enrolment on the programme.

GCSE results: Language entries rise for first time since 2013

23 August 2018 (TES)

GCSE entries for modern foreign languages have increased for the first time in five years.

The small increase will give linguists hope that modern foreign languages (MFL) have turned the corner after four consecutive years of decline.

Today’s GCSE results show that total MFL entries across the UK rose from 298,066 in 2017 to 299,172 this year – a 0.4 per cent increase.

The increase is more impressive against the backdrop of a 2.7 per cent decline in the 16-year-old population – the age at which most pupils sit their GCSEs.

However, the overall increase in MFL entries masked varying fortunes for different subjects.

French, which continues to be the most popular language subject by a distance, saw its entries decline from 130,509 in 2017 to 126,750 this year – a 2.9 per cent fall.

German entries rose from 43,649 in 2017 to 44,535 this year – an increase of 2 per cent. This was in marked contrast to A-level German, for which entries plummeted by 16.5 per cent this year.

In Spanish, GCSE entries rose by 4.4 per cent from 91,040 in 2017 to 95,080 this year.

Chinese – which is now the third biggest language subject at A-level – saw its GCSE entries rise.

GCSE entries in Mandarin increased by 7.5 per cent from 4,104 in 2017 to 4,410 this year. The subject is now the fifth most popular GCSE language, after Italian.

While total MFL entries rose in 2018, they have a long way to go to regain the ground that has been lost in recent years.

Read more...

Magical Christmas Trip

21 August 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip this year and build on or set up a partnership with a school in Germany?

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 intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved:

  • apply to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection to set up a link to a school in Berlin
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany.

Application deadline: 18 September 2018.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Graduate distance learning Diplomas in French or German or Spanish

20 August 2018 (University of Dundee)

New intake: The online Graduate Diplomas in French, German or Spanish are accredited by the General Teaching Council Scotland GTCS for teachers wishing to teach another language. The course runs 2 years part-time and starts in October 2018, University of Dundee.

The courses are taught online and via Skype and suitable for learners with an entry level comparable to a Higher or equivalent.  On completion graduates are expected to be at C1 level (CEFR) .

For further information please see the distance learning page of the University of Dundee website. 

Please contact us at humanities@dundee.ac.uk if you wish to discuss any aspect of the courses, or your application. 

Read more...

Runrig say farewell as Stòrlann launch rocking resource

20 August 2018 (Stòrlann)

Legendary Gaelic rock band Runrig said farewell at the end of a 45 year career with a two-night event which attracted 50,000 people to Stirling Castle. At the event were showcases for FilmG, the Gaelic Sort Film Project, and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College. FilmG’s theme this year is “In the Blink of an Eye.” Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig have also launched a newly developed Runrig resource for use in schools, alongside redeveloping their Fileanta website for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary.

Access the resources via the following links:

Gaelic eLearning by eSgoil available to learners all across Scotland

20 August 2018 (eSgoil)

Comhairle nan Eilean’s eSgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) via computer - these will be open to school pupils and adult learners anywhere. All you need is a computer with internet access.

Get in touch with Angus MacLennan or Catriona Currie at esgoil@gnes.net if you or learners within your school would be interested in this opportunity

This is the timetable for the classes.

  • Monday 8:50-10:30 
  • Wednesday 14:00-14:45 
  • Thursday 13:55-15:35 
  • Friday 12:25-13:15

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2018-19

20 August 2018 (Japan Foundation)

If your school is interested in introducing Japanese into the curriculum, supporting Japanese at GCSE or A-Level or starting a Japanese Club, you could be eligible for funding.

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education in the UK.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and apply by 22 September 2018.

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Learning German is just the job for savvy millennials

18 August 2018 (The Guardian)

Learning European languages may no longer have much cachet among schoolchildren, but for millennials eyeing the job market, German appears to be more attractive than ever. Growing numbers of young adults aged between 18 and 30 in Britain are learning the language of Friedrich Schiller, Christa Wolf and Thomas Mann, according to the Goethe-Institut, with more than 3,000 people signing up for courses run by the cultural institution.

Read more...

Dawn and Meg are on course for fabulous French lessons

17 August 2018 (The Courier)

A French language summer school has ensured that two Fife primary school teachers are fired up to teach their eager pupils le français. 

As pupils across Courier Country head back to school this week, one Fife primary school will be saying “Bienvenue” to the new academic year. Teachers Dawn Allan and Meg Allan (no relation) spent a week in France on a highly sought-after immersion language course, with the aim of enhancing their French lessons at Leuchars Primary School.

Dawn takes up the story: “Meg and I completed a 10-week French evening course at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar two years ago and that was when we first heard about the possibility of attending immersion courses in France or Spain, organised by Le Français en Ecosse,” she says.

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German courses for the new term

17 August 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

We offer German courses from beginners to advanced levels. If you are a complete beginner or attended a course in the previous semester, you can enrol by phone or online. New students with some previous knowledge are invited to pop in during our Assessment Open Days. 

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

Read more...

Evening classes in Doric as Scots writing revival blossoms

16 August 2018 (The Herald)

Fancy learning a spot of Doric? Furry boots? Aiberdeen Varsity.

It's better known for its schools of medicine, law or international relations. But now one of Scotland's ancient seats of learning has launched evening classes in a language many of its scholars have derided: north-east Scots.

Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute has devised 10-week workshops in Doric, to help both locals and newcomers to the region learn to speak - and more importantly - write in the mither leid.

Read more...

Compulsory language education should be reintroduced, says Brighton College head

16 August 2018 (ITV)

A headmaster has called for the reintroduction of compulsory language classes in schools to prevent what he called the “worrying insularity” of society getting worse.

Richard Cairns, headmaster of Brighton College, said the “sorry decline” in the number of students studying languages is “damaging on so many levels” and that the Government needs a plan to reverse the problem.

His comments came as several of his students at the independent school in East Sussex achieved top marks in a range of languages at A-level, including Mandarin.

Experts have raised concerns because the number of students studying languages at state schools has dropped, and recent Press Association analysis of Ucas data revealed the number of applications for foreign language degrees plummeted in the last decade.

More students took A-level Chinese than German this year, according to data from the Joint Council for Qualifications released on Thursday, sparking fears that the European language is heading for extinction.

Mr Cairns said: “The sorry decline in numbers studying languages is damaging on so many levels but must be of particular concern to a Government that espouses a vision of Britain as open for business with the world.

“Compulsory language education needs to be reintroduced, with a national strategy emulating the success of those in the Netherlands or Scandinavia. Otherwise, the worrying insularity in our society will only deepen.

“Contrary to what seems to be happening nationally with pupils choosing not to study languages any more, we have seen a real interest in pursuing languages.

“Pupils can study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian and Mandarin here. Back in 2006, we introduced Mandarin for our pupils from the age of four and the culture of language learning and its benefits are instilled early.”

Read more...

A-levels: proportion of students in England getting C or above falls

16 August 2018 (The Guardian)

The proportion of students in England gaining C grades or above in A-levels fell back this year, driven by a relatively weaker performance among girls, as schools and students continue to grapple with the introduction of new, more intensive exams.

[..] Modern languages continued their baleful downward trend, with nearly 8% fewer entries in French, German and Spanish. More A-level students took Chinese this year than German.

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Concours de la francophonie 2019

16 August 2018 (Institut français)

The Institut français d’Ecosse launched in 2016 le concours de la francophonie, a national school competition 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. Entry deadline: January 2019.

Visit the Institut français d’Ecosse website for more information. 

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Institut français d'Ecosse After School Club

16 August 2018 (Institut français)

Paris, c'est parti!

This is the Autumn theme for the new Institut français d'Ecosse After School Club!

The programme, aimed at children from P1 to P7, is the fruit of a collaboration between French Drama company Theatre Sans Accents, the puppet theatre company Le Petit Monde and the institute.

So needless to say, fun and creativity will be at the fore front of all the activities!

For more information, please visit the Institut français d'Ecosse website and click on the 'Autumn Classes 2018' PDF for details.

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The lessons Gaelic schools can teach us about learning

15 August 2018 (The National)

[..] Gaelic medium education succeeds in producing new generations of fluent Gaelic speakers because, as its name suggests, it makes use of the Gaelic language to teach other subjects. Kids don’t sit in classes where they are taught Gaelic in the same way that French or other foreign languages are taught in schools.

The difference in the fluency level that is achieved is stark. I was taught Gaelic the old-fashioned way, and am the proud possessor of a Gaelic Learner’s O Grade and a Gaelic Learner’s Higher. I was taught Gaelic in much the same way kids in modern Scottish schools are taught French or German, in a dedicated class, a couple of hours a week. The result is that although I can puzzle out a written text in the language and have a reasonably sized Gaelic vocabulary, I struggle to follow a Gaelic conversation and can’t express myself orally.

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French courses in Glasgow now enrolling

13 August 2018 (Alliance Française)

Enrolments are now being taken at the Alliance Française for la Rentrée. Click on the appropriate link below to find out more.

Visit the Alliance Française main website for information about their other available activities.

Read more...

Scottish youth to explore the way of the dragon...

13 August 2018 (4barsrest)

Carnoustie High School Band will head east this September to become the first youth brass band to tour China.

The remarkable opportunity came following a performance at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow in 2016 for the renowned Confucius Institute for Scotland.

Such was the success that it led to the school's head teacher Donald Currie being contacted to set the ball rolling on the ambitious initiative — and now, after almost two years of research and fundraising the band will fly out on 7th September for 15 unforgettable days of music and cultural learning.

Confucius Hubs are based in schools and seek to make links with local communities throughout Scotland — with Carnoustie serving the Angus area. It promotes the joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The band will fly out from Glasgow, and after a short stop in Dubai will carry on to China where they will enjoy seven days in Tianjin and seven more in Beijing before their return.

While in Tianjin, the band members will be learning Mandarin, as well as performing three concerts. They will also visit Chinese families and schools, enabling the young musicians to experience Chinese culture first hand with a chance to learn Gongfu (Chinese martial arts), Tai Chi, and the ancient arts of calligraphy and mask painting.

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Agenda: It's time to take an interest in cool Germania

11 August 2018 (The Herald)

Sometimes it seems there’s a perception that Germany is somehow ... well, boring. Apparently news stories about Germany, even in the Herald, get far fewer views than average ones. But why should Germany be such a journalistic turn-off for readers?

[...] Wherever one stands on Brexit, leaving the EU means that Germany is going to become more important to the UK and to Scotland, not less. Yet fewer and fewer people are learning German. (Which is odd, since, contrary to the widespread myth, it’s a relatively easy language to learn.)

Read more...

Scotland experiencing 'mass movement' of parents seeking Gaelic schools

10 August 2018 (The Herald)

Scotland is experiencing a “mass movement” of parents who want their children to be educated in Gaelic, creating increasing demand for more specialist schools to be built.

Allan MacDonald, chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for Gaelic, said there had been a “significant” boost in the number of families interested in Gaelic education in towns and cities.

He said the language was experiencing a “shift in emphasis” away from its heartlands and towards the Central Belt as populations continue to plummet in Scotland’s most rural areas.

He added: “The numbers are growing in the cities and the bigger towns all the time. And that contrasts quite significantly with the economic situation – not just in the Western Isles, but in other areas of the Highlands as well.”

t comes as a series of commitments aimed at boosting the strength of Gaelic were unveiled at a milestone meeting of public bodies chaired by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

This includes plans to publish the first ever Gaelic tourism strategy this autumn to help bring visitors into contact with the language.

Officials also want to increase the number of school subjects which can be taught in Gaelic.

Read more...

Related Links

Perth summit pledges action to accelerate use of Gaelic language (The Courier, 10th August 2018)

Fantastic opportunity to get involved in international work

9 August 2018 (YouthLink Scotland)

YouthLink Scotland, its members and UK/German Connection have teamed up to offer an opportunity to share experiences and make new links between our two countries.

This is an exciting opportunity for workers and the young people (aged 14-21) they work with to get together with German counterparts here and in Germany.

The commitment is two residential weekends taking place in October and December - one in Scotland and one in Berlin.

Places are limited so get in touch soon. The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 August 2018.

Read more...

Thousands more pupils to learn Mandarin ahead of Brexit

7 August 2018 (TES)

An expanding academy chain plans to teach Mandarin to thousands of pupils across its schools, to prepare them for life in post-Brexit Britain.

The Co-op Academies Trust will offer Mandarin Chinese to more than 10,000 students.

The trust, which runs schools in Greater Manchester, Leeds and Stoke-on-Trent, is working with the Swire Chinese Language Foundation, which supports the training of specialist Mandarin Chinese teachers.

(Subscription required to read full article)

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Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

7 August 2018 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the SRF is now available which includes upcoming events and activities in Scotland and beyond.

Read more...

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018

7 August 2018 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to launch the 2018 campaign to celebrate Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

Visit the website for more information and submit your nomination by 25 September 2018.

Read more...

SQA: Scottish education exam results 2018

7 August 2018 (Relocate Magazine)

Scottish exam results are in - and more than 2/3rds of independent school pupils sitting exams achieved a Higher grade A in foreign languages, including Mandarin. 

Although the number of entries for Highers and the proportion of students who received a pass mark has fallen slightly, data from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) reveals that 68% of pupils studying foreign languages have achieved a Higher grade A.

The data, collected from SCIS’s 74 member schools, shows that 72% of students achieved a Higher grade A in Mandarin, while 72% of those studying German, 69% of those studying French and 63% studying Spanish also achieved an A.

Read more...

Related Links

Language exam entries are falling, but pourquoi? (TESS, 17 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read article.

Review call after fall in pupils studying languages and science (The Herald, 10 August 2018)

John Swinney urged to review school subject choice after figures show collapse in modern languages (The Telegraph, 9 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Two-thirds fewer Scottish S4 pupils passing French exams under new curriculum (The Telegraph, 8 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Attainment Statistics (August) 2018 (SQA, 7 August 2018)

Shanghai teacher immersion course 2018

7 August 2018 (CISS)

A group of teachers from Scotland spent two weeks in July immersing themselves in new cultural experiences in Shanghai, China.

A typical day consisted of an early start, breakfast in the Shitang (canteen) followed by Mandarin classes. Everyone greatly enjoyed the lessons as beginners were well supported whilst the more experienced speakers were sufficiently challenged. 

This was followed by a cultuphoto of Shanghai skyline by nightral excursion or experience. For most this was the highlight of the trip as it allowed everyone to apply their learning and to experience authentic Chinese culture.

Highlights in Shanghai included a riverboat cruise by night, showcasing the breath-taking skyline, relaxing from the hustle and bustle experiencing Tai chi, and producing calligraphy and hearing stories behind the characters.

Death of the phrase book and rise of smartphone translation apps leads to holiday faux pas, British Council say

7 August 2018 (The Telegraph)

It was once considered a staple of any holiday packing list, on a par with sunscreen, a pack of cards and flip-flops.

But the phrasebook is now becoming a thing of a past, with its demise hastened by the rise of smartphone translation apps, according to research conducted by the British Council.

Google translate and other apps are increasingly popular among the younger generation, who have complained that inaccurate translations are leading to embarrassing faux pas.

Over 60 per cent of 16 to 34 year-olds said they have used their smartphones and apps to help understand the local language, with just 39 per cent opting for a phrasebook.  

A poll of a poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the British Council, found that relying on technology brings its own perils, with more than one in five of this age group reporting that an inaccurate translation on their phone has led to misunderstandings while on holiday.  

Read more...

Government to Improve Foreign Language Teaching in Schools

3 August 2018 (Good Morning Britain)

The government has announced plans to improve teaching to boost the number of students opting to take foreign languages at GCSE level. Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, believes that learning an extra language is good for young people for traveling and opens more opportunities within the workplace. 

See the video interview broadcast on Good Morning Britain.

Read more...

Deaf boy’s campaign for new GCSE in sign language takes step forward

2 August 2018 (ITV)

A GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) could be introduced in this parliament after the government backed down on a decision to delay it.

Deaf schoolboy Daniel Jillings, 12, is campaigning for the new exam in time for his GCSEs, and his family launched a legal challenge to get one instated as quickly as possible.

The Department for Education had previously said no new GCSEs would be introduced in this parliament, but following submissions from the family’s lawyers it said it may consider making an “exception”.

Daniel’s family’s lawyers argue the lack of a GCSE in BSL may be “discriminatory and unlawful”.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said on Wednesday: “We will consider any proposals put forward for a GCSE in British Sign Language.

“As we have made clear previously, any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous standards set by both the Department and Ofqual.

“If these expectations are met and a British Sign Language GCSE is ready to be introduced, we will then consider whether to make an exception to our general rule that there should be no new GCSEs in this parliament.”

Read more...

School where refugees are the teachers

1 August 2018 (BBC)

Teaching his native Arabic to students online has been a game changer for Syrian refugee Sami as he makes a fresh start in the UK.

The Aleppo University engineering graduate says that working for an online language learning platform in London has helped him find his feet and motivation as he begins life anew.

The tutors at the start-up firm Chatterbox are all refugees and their work helps them to integrate and adapt to their new surroundings.

"I think language is building bridges between people, because the language is not only in the language itself, the speaking or the words, it's also the culture," said the 35-year-old refugee, who arrived in the UK about two years ago.

The school is the brainchild of Mursal Hedayat, who came up with the idea during a trip to refugee camps in Calais in the summer of 2016.

Read more...

Free language learning and cooking app now available

1 August 2018 (Linguacuisine)

For anyone interested in languages and food!

The free Linguacuisine web app helps you learn a language while you’re cooking a meal! Choose a foreign language and a delicious recipe from that country. Then your own smartphone or tablet will speak to you in the foreign language and talk you through all of the stages of cooking the recipe in your own kitchen. If you can’t understand, just press a button to get a photo or video explaining what to do. When you’ve finished, eat the food you’ve cooked and learn something about the culture of the country. Linguacuisine has a range of recipes now available for language learning from around the world. We now have recipes available in: English, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Quechua, Chinese and Korean.

You can also use the free recipe builder app so that you can upload your own favourite recipe in your own language. That means that anyone anywhere in the world will be able to watch videos and listen to audios of you guiding them through cooking your recipe and learning your language! Use your own smartphone or tablet to make recordings of yourself and upload them using our user-friendly software to create your own recipe.

You can also join our worldwide online community so you can rate and discuss other people’s recipes and post information, stories and photos. They can do the same for your recipe, so it’s a good way to make friends in other countries.

So Linguacuisine is a really fun way to learn about foreign languages, cultures and cuisines and you get to eat what you produce. You can also tell other people around the world about your own cooking, language and way of life. You learn foreign words better when you are physically touching food and cooking utensils and using them to prepare food. When you are cooking, you involve all of your senses in the learning experience – touch, smell and taste as well as hearing and seeing. So this is multi-modal and multi-sensory language learning. This is task-based language learning with a real product at the end of it and is intended to improve international understanding and communication.

Linguacuisine is available now for all devices, smartphones, tablets and computers from our website, where the online community will also be located https://linguacuisine.com/

The Linguacuisine app is the end result of a 10-year collaboration between computing scientists and linguists at Newcastle University. The Linguacuisine project is a collaboration between Newcastle University, Action Foundation (UK), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy) and the Workers’ Educational Association (UK). It is funded by an Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership grant of €324K.

For Teachers

The Linguacuisine app can be used for foreign language lessons, but also for cookery lessons and cross-curriculum projects. Students can use the app to cook and learn in the kitchen at home as well as at school.

The app is a good way of preparing students for a foreign trip as it helps engage them with the cuisine, culture and language in advance. Students can also write their own recipes in their own language, informing people abroad about their culture and cuisine.

It is also an excellent way of getting learners to communicate with learners in other countries. Video links have been available for some time, but Linguacuisine means that learners in different countries can do enjoyable shared activities together, cooking recipes from the other countries whilst learning about the other language and culture.

Digital skills can also be developed by using the ‘recipe builder’ authoring software.  This was co-authored with learners and designed to develop a wide range of digital skills using the DIGCOMP 2.1 framework; it has been shown to be successful in improving learner competence.

For Professionals working with Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Linguacuisine app was co-designed with a group of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Action Foundation, Newcastle, UK and seeks to help them in two ways. Firstly, immigrants to a country can cook the recipes to learn about the language, cuisine and culture of their host country and help their integration. Secondly, immigrants can produce their own recipes in their own language using the recipe builder software, so they are able to have a voice and so people in their host country are able to learn something about their life prior to arrival here. A number of recipes currently on Linguacuisine have been produced by migrants in the UK.

For Catering Professionals

Chefs and other catering staff who are travelling to work abroad can introduce themselves to the language, culture and cuisine of their destination country by using the Linguacuisine app. They can also increase their repertoire and employability by trying recipes from around the world and improving relevant language skills.

Chefs can also produce their own recipes in their own language or English using the recipe builder software. Their recipes can then be tried out by users anywhere in the world. Users can post feedback about the recipes and rate the recipes, so chefs can gain an international reputation and increase their own job opportunities.

Invitation to London Event

Please come to our free London dissemination event in Europe House on 11 September. Book a place.

Try out the app, cook a recipe and learn a new language!

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Middle class parents use harder GCSEs like Mandarin as a 'signalling device', says Education Secretary

31 July 2018 (The Telegraph)

Middle class parents are using “harder” GCSEs like Mandarin to signal that their children are high achieving, the Education Secretary has said.  

Damian Hinds said it is not just an “attainment gap” that separates rich and poor students, but also a gulf in expectations and knowledge about the system.  

“For middle class parents there is an awareness that there are harder and easier subjects,” he said. “As parents we encourage their children to do the harder ones - whether that's Maths, History or these days Mandarin - because we know they can be a signalling device to universities and employers. 

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The care home residents proving it's never too late to learn a new language

25 July 2018 (The Guardian)

French and Italian classes are improving self-confidence and wellbeing as well as cognition – even for those with dementia.

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K-pop drives boom in Korean language lessons

11 July 2018 (BBC)

Korean is rapidly growing in popularity, in a language-learning boom driven by the popularity of the country's pop stars.

A desire to learn the lyrics of K-Pop hits like Gangnam Style has boosted the Korean language's popularity explode in countries like the US, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia.

A report by the Modern Language Association shows that Korean uptake in US universities rose by almost 14% between 2013 and 2016, while overall language enrolment was in decline.

The latest statistics show 14,000 students are learning Korean in the US, compared to only 163 two decades earlier.

The language learning website Duolingo launched a Korean course last year because of rising demand. It quickly attracted more than 200,000 pupils.

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Family to challenge lack of GCSE in sign language

6 July 2018 (TES)

A 12-year-old deaf boy is at the heart of a planned legal battle to challenge the government’s "discriminatory" decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).

Daniel Jillings, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, uses BSL as his first language and is concerned that there will be no qualification in place related to signing when he takes his exams in a few years’ time.

Read more...

Can you raise an autistic child to be bilingual – and should you try?

5 July 2018 (The Conversation)

Diagnosed with autism and delayed language development, five-year-old Jose lives with his bilingual English-Spanish family in the UK. In addition to all the important decisions that a family with an autistic child has to take, Jose’s parents must also consider what languages to teach him and how. They would like Jose to learn English so he can make friends and do well at school. But they also value Spanish – the native language of Jose’s mother.

The family’s tricky situation was described in a study from 2013, and illustrates a problem that affects many families around the world. But is it possible to raise a child with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders to be bilingual? And, if so, does it help or hinder the autistic experience? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

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Salve! Latin lessons offered to Aberdeen school kids

30 June 2018 (Press and Journal)

Aberdeen primary pupils may be greeting friends with ‘salve’ rather than ‘fit like’ next term after headteachers were offered the chance to boost Latin in their schools.

The Classical Association of Scotland said a similar campaign in Glasgow had led to 10 schools starting to teach the Roman language.

Now they have written to city council chiefs offering financial assistance to help with training that will enable Latin lessons to take place in city schools.

Learning other languages has proven benefits and the association believes Latin can help with understanding other European tongues.

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Never mind the Brexiteurs: why it’s time to learn French

28 June 2018 (The Guardian)

English children are increasingly unwilling to learn the language of Molière and MC Solaar, according to the British Council, which reports that within a few years Spanish will overtake it as the most-studied foreign language. At A-level, takeup has already fallen to 8,300, from 21,300 in 1997, while Spanish has climbed to 7,600.

Laziness seems to have a lot to do with it. As Vicky Gough, a schools adviser at the British Council, put it, “There is a perception of Spanish being easier to pick up than other languages, which may account in part for its popularity.” Which, one might say, confirms another perception: that the kids of today want everything handed to them on a plate, from chauffeur service to and from school, to first-class university degrees.

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Spanish exam entries on track to surpass French in English schools

27 June 2018 (The Guardian)

Spanish is expected to overtake French as the main foreign language studied in classrooms in England in the next few years, and experts say German could face extinction from school timetables.

A report by the British Council says that although the study of languages continues to decline, Spanish is bucking the trend, with entries up in both GCSEs and A-levels.

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How many words do you need to speak a language?

24 June 2018 (BBC)

Learning a new language can be tricky, but how many words do you need to know before you can actually get by in a foreign tongue?

That was the question posed to BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme by one frustrated listener. Despite learning German for three years, and practising nearly every day, they still couldn't seem to retain more than 500 words.

"I was hoping," they wrote, "you could give me a shortcut, by working out how many words we actually use on a regular basis."

To work out how many words you need to know to be able to speak a second language we decided to look into how many words we know in our first language, in our case English.

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Higher Modern Languages webinar recordings

21 June 2018 (SQA)

The SQA has published a recording of the Higher Modern Languages webinar that took place on 19 June. The webinar provides guidance on the revised course assessment for session 2018-19.

Webinars can also be accessed from the Understanding Standards website.

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Landeskunde German workshops

21 June 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

These workshop at level B1/B2 combine language training in German with topical information on various aspects of German language and culture.

Various dates are available in July, August and September 2018.

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

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Stòrlann put Runrig and Sporting Hero resources on-line for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann have also published new literacy resources for Gaelic Medium Education, including a resource about legendary Gaelic rockers Runrig. This multimedia unit comes as the band prepare for their swan song gig in Stirling in August, bowing out after 45 long and successful years promoting Gaelic song and music. It is hoped the resource will teach learners about Runrig’s important legacy for many years to come. There is also a new resource about Highland Sporting Heroes - Laoich Spòrs Gàidhealach.

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Ceumannan 5 - New Health and Wellbeing unit on-line for Gaelic Learners by end of session

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig are about to publish online the second unit of the final book in the Ceumannan series for Gaelic Learners. Like all the resources in the series which launched in 2009, Ceumannan 5 Aonad 2 - Slàinte agus Sunnd, has been written by Emma Christie. It is aimed at Higher and Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners). When the resource becomes available at the end of June 2018, it will be available on the Stòrlann website.

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FilmG

20 June 2018 (FilmG)

The successful Film G project which encourages the use of Gaelic through film-making has entered it’s 11th year. Film G is run by MG Alba in partnership with CGS and has been a very popular event for Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers alike over the last decade. Film G organise school visits and more information can be found on their website.

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CLAS - Successful Gaelic teachers conference held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 2/3 June

20 June 2018 (CLAS)

CLAS - Comann Luchd-Teagaisg Àrd-Sgoiltean, the professional body for Gaelic Secondary Teachers in Scotland, held a successful CLPL conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College in the Isle of Skye on 2 & 3 June. SCILT was in attendance along with other speakers, as colleagues took the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns about Gaelic Education in the present time.

If you are a Gaelic teacher or a teacher who speaks Gaelic and would like to be come a member, contact Catriona MacPhee via CLAS’ facebook page.

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Yell pupils pick up French language awards

20 June 2018 (Shetland News)

TEN pupils at Mid Yell Junior High School received prizes on Monday (18 June) as part of a celebration of the teaching and use of French in Scottish schools.

The S2 students, winners of this year's Concours de la francophonie competition, received their prizes during a special award ceremony at the school in the presence of education attaché of the French Embassy in the UK Thomas Chaurin and Shetland Gas Plant facilities management co-ordinator Jenny Wink, who was also representing sponsor Total E&P UK.

The VIP visit came after the Yell bairns were unable to attend the official award ceremony in Edinburgh in March.

With the majority of children now learning French from P1 in Scotland, la francophonie is said to be thriving.

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A National Framework for Languages supporting implementation of 1+2

19 June 2018 (SCDE)

The Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) Languages Group, which represents all language strands within the Schools of Education across Scottish Universities, has created a National Framework for Languages (NFfL) and associated digital resource to support teacher educators and teachers at all stages of their careers, with the aim of transforming the 1 + 2 Languages Policy in Scotland into purposeful classroom pedagogies promoting plurilingualism and pluriliteracies.

The NFfL is based on four overarching principles: plurilingualism, diversity, policy and legislation and transformative practice, and reflects the strands of the Professional Standards established by GTCS. For each of these strands the NFfL has identified a series of statements which encourage practitioners to consider a broad and inclusive understanding of the role of language in and for learning. These statements are linked to the associated digital resources: a reflective tool and digital resource bank.
The reflective tool includes a personal biography based on Pepelino and the European Language Portfolio as well as a series of reflective questions. These reflective questions are directly linked to the statements of the NFfL and aim to support teachers in evaluating their own practices.

The digital resource bank was created after a systematic review of the international literature covering formal language learning across all ages and stages, the increasingly complex demands of plurilingual and pluricultural classrooms and the need to develop a shared understanding of the role of languages for learning, which addresses the fundamental role played by languages (including the learners’ first language) in developing global citizens.

The NFfL and accompanying digital resources are now being piloted and can be accessed on the National Framework for Languages (NFfL) website.

Further information can be obtained from Ingeborg Birnie (Ingeborg.birnie@strath.ac.uk).

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GlobeScotters

18 June 2018 (British Council)

British Council is excited to announce the launch of GlobeScotters! We've partnered with @YoungScot to inspire Scotland's young people to embrace the international opportunities available to them at home and abroad!

Over the next six months the GlobeScotters website will be updated with all things international - from funding opportunities, to fun videos on international foods and some big Young Scot Rewards prizes!

Whether you are studying abroad next term, or want to learn about different cultures in your community, we have you covered!

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Crisis as Scots businesses struggle to hire Mandarin speakers amid Chinese tourist boom

17 June 2018 (Daily Record)

Shop owners in Scotland’s busiest tourist traps are struggling to hire Mandarin speakers to cope with a spike in Chinese customers.

Retail outlets, hotels and restaurants are advertising in shop windows as well as online to try to attract staff with specialised language skills.

Balmoral Cashmere in Edinburgh have put out a call for applicants in a street-front display. Last week saw the first direct flight from China to Scotland. 

Official figures show 41,000 Chinese visitors are coming to the country every year.

Highlands hotelier Willie Cameron said: “The Chinese are also buying into hotels and investing so there is business tourism too. “I struggled to get a Mandarin-speaking receptionist. There aren’t very many Mandarin speakers in Drumnadrochit but the websites for all my hotels are translated into Mandarin.” 

Visits from Chinese tourists are worth an estimated £36 million to the Scottish economy, with the average spend per day exceeding £70. Chinese visitors spend about £900 per visit across 12 nights. 

Dr Nathan Woolley, director of the Confucius Institute at Glasgow University, said there is an increasing interest from students and business workers to study Mandarin to augment their skills.

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e-Sgoil wins top praise from Swinney

15 June 2018 (We love Stornoway)

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has praised Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Sgoil project in a review document of its first year which has been circulated to all schools in Scotland.

Mr Swinney said “e-Sgoil makes use of our national education intranet, GLOW and it is effectively using this to bring teachers and learners together no matter their location. I would like to congratulate those involved at Comhairle nan Eil