Latest News

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


Language Teaching

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

6 August 2020 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

Read more...

Host a teacher / Have your say

4 August 2020 (UK-German Connection)

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

Stay international: Host a Teacher from Germany

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

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

Deadlines:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadline: 15 September

Complete the form on the Have your say webpage.

Survey - Resources to support SQA Modern Languages

28 July 2020 (Hodder Gibson)

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

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

Read more...

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

8 July 2020 (British Academy)

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

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

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

Read more...

Furloughed Eurostar staff become French teachers

24 June 2020 (BBC)

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

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

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

Read more...

SCILT professional learning programme 2020-21 - book now!

18 June 2020 (SCILT)

Are you a local authority officer with responsibility for languages in your region?

Are you a Head of Faculty, Head of Department or Principal Teacher in your secondary school?

Are you a lead language practitioner or primary school leader?

Are you looking for high quality online professional learning for your colleagues?

If so, check out the newly published menu of online workshops that the Professional Development Officers at SCILT can provide for colleagues in your school or department, your cluster, local authority or regional improvement collaborative.

Please note, these online workshops are intended for group bookings only.

As always, we are happy to tailor professional learning sessions to meet your specific needs. Please use the same booking form to request bespoke input and/or online workshops from the menu.

We also have lots of other CLPL options ready to launch after the summer holidays too. There will be a mix of anytime and live virtual sessions on a range of interesting themes across the year. All will be open to pre- and in-service primary and secondary teachers.

Keep your eye on the e-bulletin in the new session for news of other professional learning opportunities. In the meantime, the Professional Development team wish you a restful break.

Read more...

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

17 June 2020 (The Guardian)

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

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

“You just need a connection,” he says.

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

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

Read more...

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

17 June 2020 (University of Dundee)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Coronavirus: French teacher's Hebridean lockdown

9 June 2020 (BBC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Russian Language & Culture Education Pack

6 June 2020 (British Council)

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

Read more...

German Teacher Award 2020

4 June 2020 (German Embassy)

The deadline for nominations for this year's German Teacher Award has been extended to 30 September 2020.

So if you know of an outstanding German language teacher at your primary or secondary school – make sure that their dedication and excellence get the recognition they deserve!

Please note, pupils and teachers themselves cannot submit a nomination. This must come from the headteacher.

Visit the German Embassy website for more information and to make your nomination.

Read more...

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

27 May 2020 (Wales 247)

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

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

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

Read more...

Connecting Classrooms - Learning for sustainability

26 May 2020 (Learning for Sustainability Scotland)

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

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

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

Read more...

Scotland Learns - Gaelic medium resources

21 May 2020 (Education Scotland)

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

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

Read more...

Shadow Heroes

13 May 2020 (RSA)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

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

13 May 2020 (BERA)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

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

12 May 2020 (Scotdec)

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

See the course leaflet for more information. 

Register for the course on the Eventbrite webpage. 

PGDE: Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Gaelic medium)

7 May 2020 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

If you already have a degree and are interested in teaching through the medium of Gaelic, this a post-graduate diploma in teaching could be the ideal opportunity for you.

Offered by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands network, the one year distance learning course is available in pathways for primary and secondary education. 

Visit the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig website for more information.

Read more...

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

7 May 2020 (ECML)

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

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

Read more...

SCILT Spring 2020 newsletter published

7 May 2020 (SCILT)

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

Read more...

On-line workshops for teachers of Spanish in the United Kingdom and Ireland

6 May 2020 (Consejería de Educación)

The Education Office of the Spanish Embassies to the United Kingdom and Ireland together with Extenda, the Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion, are organising eight on-line training workshops aimed at teachers of Spanish, which will take place during the months of May and June 2020.

The training sessions include a number of independent workshops based on different methodological aspects related to the teaching of Spanish which can be followed as chosen: each teacher can register for only one of the workshops, for several or for all of them, depending on their interest.

Dates and time: every Tuesday from 16:00 to 17:00 during the months of May and June (from May 12th to June 30th).

A certificate of participation will be delivered by the Spanish Education Office.

Visit the website for more information and to register.

Read more...

Related Files

Thousands sign up for Birmingham teen's BSL lessons

6 May 2020 (BBC)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Virtual activities for school partnerships

30 April 2020 (UK-German Connection)

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

Read more...

German Teacher Award 2020

28 April 2020 (German Embassy)

If you know a truly outstanding German language teacher at your primary or secondary school – make sure that their dedication and excellence get the recognition they deserve!

The deadline for nominations has been extended until 31 May 2020. Please note that headteachers must nominate the German teacher. Submissions from pupils or teachers themselves cannot be accepted.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Online learning for teachers of German

22 April 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is running a series of online webinars for trainers and teachers of German as a foreign language. Recordings are also available for those unable to attend the live events.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Teachers Learning to Teach Languages: OU-SCILT Programme

21 April 2020 (Open University/SCILT)

Registration for the next cohort of the ‘Teachers Learning to Teach Languages’ programme is open until 4 September 2020.

This innovative, distance learning professional learning programme is offered by the Open University in partnership with SCILT. The new cohort begins in September and lasts 9 months. TELT is open to all primary teachers, and secondary teachers with a secondment in primary, across Scotland. Typically, Scottish local authorities sponser their teachers, however a small number of previous participants have financed themselves. Find more information about funding on the 'How to register for TELT' webpage.

The aim of the programme is to increase and improve language provision in primary schools. Teachers simultaneously learn a new language and the skills to teach that language in the classroom. The languages strand is offered in four languages – French, German, Mandarin and Spanish – and at two levels – beginners and post-beginners. The pedagogy strand covers a diverse range of pedagogical approaches i.e. embedding an additional language, exploring target language cultures, play and games, interdisciplinary contexts.

What’s the course really like though? Listen to what Mel and Gwen, two previous participants have to say.

Visit the Open University website for more information about the programme and how to register for the TELT cohort of 2020-21.

Read more...

Survey - Language learning across the lifespan

20 April 2020 (University of Edinburgh)

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

Read more...

Pedagogy Professional Learning for Language Teachers

16 April 2020 (Various)

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

Pedagogy Professional Learning

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

Supporting Bilingual Learners

Further resources are available on our Professional Learning pages.

Read more...

uTalk Classroom

16 April 2020 (uTalk)

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

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

See the attached document for more information.

Interested?

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

Related Files

Coronavirus: ‘Pupils need live online teaching’

13 April 2020 (TESS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Professional learning for teachers during the school closures

2 April 2020 (SCILT)

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

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

Read more...

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

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...

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

16 March 2020 (Estonia Ministry of Education)

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

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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.

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SQA Markers

12 March 2020 (SQA)

The SQA is currently recruiting for new markers who would like to be considered for a marking team for 2020.

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

Applications which meet the selection criteria will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Thereafter applications will be reserved for future opportunities in marking in your selected subject.

Visit the SQA website for more information and submit your application by 27 March 2020.

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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?

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German Teacher Award 2020

6 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

The German Embassy is looking for nominations for the German Teacher Award 2020.

Scottish schools have been notable by their absence from this competition, but thanks to the new German Consul General in Scotland, we are now firmly placed to have our fabulous German teachers in the running for this!  

So if your primary or secondary school has an outstanding German teacher who deserves recognition, visit the German Embassy's website or see the attached flyer for more information about the award and how to submit a nomination by 10 April 2020.

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Gaelic newsletter

5 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published its Gaelic newsletter.

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Vacancy: Professional Development Officer

3 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) requires a Professional Development Officer to support the network of Scotland’s Confucius classrooms and the learning and teaching of languages across Scotland. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward the strategic languages agenda in Scotland. The successful candidate will be part of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools team based within SCILT as the Ramshorn building in Glasgow’s city centre. The centre leads 44 Confucius classrooms across Scotland, including secondary, primary and specialist classrooms.

The Professional Development Officer will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures to develop the learning and teaching of Mandarin in Scottish schools and communities. This would include, for example, leading professional learning workshops and managing projects such as national awards/competitions and other promotional events.

The post holder will support practitioners to turn policy into practice in order to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the place of Mandarin and languages in general, within the National Improvement Framework and the Scottish curriculum. The post holder would, therefore, need extensive experience of leading recent initiatives that promote and support language learning.

Please note, the successful candidate need not be a fluent Mandarin speaker.

Visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal for full details about the post and to apply by 22 March 2020.

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Francophone culture teaching and learning materials

2 March 2020 (University of Stirling)

An English and French fourth-year student at the University of Stirling is carrying out research for her final year dissertation on the representation of the francophone cultures in the French language learning materials of S1/S2 and S5/S6 and the role of culture teaching in French language classes. For this investigation, she has prepared an interview for secondary French teachers asking about the French language learning materials they use in class, the way they teach culture and the cultural aspects that they teach.

If you would like to support her research, please complete the questionnaire.

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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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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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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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Cuts to teacher subject advisers could explain declining exam results

23 February 2020 (Brinkwire)

Cuts to subject specialists, advisers and teacher support networks may be the cause of falling exam results, according to a new report.

An analysis of the falling exam pass rates, published on Thursday evening by the Scottish Government, also cites an growing gap in attainment between the richest and poorest pupils in the country.

Bridging that gap, as well as improving education standards, has long been a key priority for the Scottish Government, which critics now argue they have failed on.

Last night, trade unions and experts spoke out about the contents of the report which had been commissioned by Education Secretary John Swinney last year.

[..] The number of teachers who are specialists in their fields has also declined in the past decade, which has been cited by trade union chiefs as part of the decline in standards.

Figures obtained by the Herald in 2018 show that between 2008 and 2018, the number of subject specialists in secondary schools in Scotland had fallen by 11 per cent overall, with some areas seeing as much as a 44% fall in numbers.

The number of English teachers had fallen by 20% in the decade up to 2018, while the number of French teachers had plummeted by 32%.

German teachers fell by 44%, maths teachers by 15% and general science teachers had declined by 11%.

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Education Scotland Modern Languages Newsletter

21 February 2020 (Education Scotland)

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

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Secondaries failing to deliver ‘right’ to languages

20 February 2020 (TESS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Edinburgh's fight for Gaelic school immortalised in new book

19 February 2020 (The Scotsman)

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

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

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

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

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

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Gaelic education detractors 'like bad 1970s comedians'

19 February 2020 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Makeathon: Deutsch Digital 2020

19 February 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

There are different opinions on what good media-based foreign language teaching should look like in the 21st century. In 2020, seven Goethe-Institutes in Northwest Europe will be carrying out a project that deals with this problem and wants to address the following questions:
 
Does digitalisation enable customized learning opportunities? Do digital learning opportunities motivate German learners? Should modern foreign language teaching be project-oriented and multidisciplinary? Does the use of technical devices such as tablets automatically make teaching modern? Does internal differentiation work better with digital media? Does foreign language teaching contribute to the development of media literacy?
 
The aim of our project is the development of digitally supported, task- and action-oriented teaching scenarios for German lessons.

The highlight of the project is a multi-day Makeathon (from 13 to 15 May 2020) in Germany. During the Makeathon, you will work with German teachers from the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Norway to develop scenarios for your German lessons with the support of experts. After the Makeathon, you will try out the teaching scenario you have co-developed in your German lessons.
 
Would you like to be part of the Makeathon and develop teaching scenarios together with other German teachers? There are four places available for teachers in Scotland. Apply until February 28, 2020!

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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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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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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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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

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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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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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.

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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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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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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Scottish Education Awards 2020

16 January 2020 (Education Scotland)

If you haven't already done so, make sure you get your nominations in for the 2020 Scottish Education Awards! The awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education.

The annual event recognises those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcases the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

Among the wide range of categories are the awards for Gaelic Education and the Internationalism and Languages award. 

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for further information and to submit your nomination by 14 February 2020.

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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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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.

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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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".

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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 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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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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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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SCILT professional learning menu - available for booking!

29 November 2019 (SCILT)

The SCILT professional learning menu for 2019-20 is available for booking. Authorities, clusters or schools may be interested in booking one or more from our range of workshops for primary, secondary and BGE. 

Remember all of our professional learning sessions are free to book by teachers and local authorities. You find a date and a venue and get in touch with us.

Details of the workshops available and how to submit a request are on the professional learning pages of our website. 

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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.

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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The crisis in language education across the UK — what it means for schools and the future of business

16 November 2019 (iNews)

As a nation, we are not known for our proficiency in foreign languages. The stereotype of the Brit abroad, repeating English slowly and loudly to the locals, has more than a grain of truth.

In England, language study has declined so much that the exam regulator, Ofqual, recently decided to lower grade boundaries in GCSE French and German to encourage teenagers to take them.

Can anything be done about our struggles? Or should we lighten up about it? A former Downing Street education expert has told i that seriously improving our language ability is not a high-enough priority to justify the vast expense involved.

In Britain, 34.6 per cent of people aged between 25 and 64 report that they know one or more foreign language, compared with an EU average of 64.8 per cent.

GCSE and A-level language entries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been declining since the turn of the century, although a rise in Spanish entries provides a shred of comfort.

In Scotland, language entries at National 4 and 5 level have dropped by about a fifth since 2014.

This has been accompanied by the quiet death of the foreign exchange, suffocated in part by exaggerated safety concerns. A survey by the British Council five years ago found that just four in 10 schools run trips involving a stay with a host family. Martha de Monclin, a British expat living in France, is often asked whether she knows British families who are happy to be involved in exchanges, but in seven years has found only one.

Where they do happen, pupils just go sightseeing and stay in hotels, she says. “With mobile phones, they are constantly connected to their friends and family at home. This makes it incredibly difficult to learn a language.”

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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. 

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)

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.

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Science and language teachers to get £9,000 'staying on' bonus

5 October 2019 (The Guardian)

Applies to England

New science and modern languages teachers in England will receive “staying on” bonuses of up to £9,000 from next year, as the government announced a fresh round of trainee bursaries and scholarships on the heels of pre-election pay rises and increased school funding.

The Department for Education (DfE) said that from 2020, new teachers with degrees in physics or chemistry, or in languages such as French or Spanish, would join those with maths degrees in being eligible for “early-career payments” if they worked in state schools in England for four years after completing their training.

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Professional Development in Germany

3 October 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is again able to offer a number of grants to teachers for training in Germany. The offer is aiming at German teachers just embarking on their career, as well as at teachers expanding their commitments to GCSE and A-level. Those who train German language teachers are also able to benefit from the variety of courses.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to apply.

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Modern Languages Newsletter - October 2019

3 October 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Modern Languages Newsletter is now available online. This edition includes an update on 1+2 policy on the delivery of L3 in the secondary context.

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Why you Should Introduce Writing Early in MFL

3 October 2019 (Teachwire)

Writing is often the skill that is left alone by the teachers of MFL beginners: “They’ll get mixed up with English… we have to focus on speaking… it’s too hard.”

However, learners will start to write in the new language whether we want them to or not, on any scrap of paper they can find, while we’re teaching.

They like to note down words to help them with speaking activities, for example. Primary language learners enjoy writing – it’s seen as “proper work” – and being able to write successfully in another language gives them a great sense of achievement.

What is writing all about in language learning? We want learners to:

  • Make intelligible marks on a piece of paper or other surface, and have the confidence to form those marks correctly
  • Put the marks together in a way that forms words, sentences and texts, according to the rules and conventions of the languages they’re studying
  • Give meaning to the words and use them to communicate

So, when children write in the foreign language, we want them to form the individual shapes and letters correctly, to be attentive to accuracy and spell correctly, and to understand structure and grammar and in order to create sentences that communicate.

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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.

Read more...

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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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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Call for help!

12 September 2019 (SCILT)

You will no doubt have seen in the news the terrible situation our colleagues at Woodmill High School in Fife are facing. Janet Monaghan, the Principal Teacher of Languages there, has asked SCILT if the languages community could help her replace some of the materials that she and her colleagues have lost in the fire. Janet is determined to keep the learning experience for her young people as normal as possible and this is our chance to help her ensure that her youngsters don’t miss out. If you can help, please email us at scilt@strath.ac.uk with details of any materials you’re able to share with her. In particular she is focusing on the senior phase and is looking for the following resources:

  • A4 plastic wallets
  • Foolscap folders
  • CD Players
  • DVDS (French/German/Italian films or video clips)
  • Verb Tables book (French / German)
  • French, German and Italian pocket dictionaries
  • French Hachette or Collins Grammar plus dictionaries (for Higher)
  • German Collins and Grammar dictionary
  • Plastic boxes (for storage)
  • French & German literature e.g. le petit prince
  • Show me boards/erasers/pens
  • External Hard drives
  • Voice recorders
  • USBs
  • Notebooks/tablets
  • Studio 1, 2,3
  • Echo 1,2,3
  • Stimmt 1,2,3
  • Study Guides - Nat 5 and Higher French and German

SCILT will be in touch about collating and distributing the materials to her.

UK-German Connection - Back to School Newsletter 2019

9 September 2019 (UK-German Connection)

As the new school year gets underway, find out about the latest selection of initiatives from UK-German Connection in their autumn newsletter.

This edition includes information about the following opportunities:

  • Host a Teacher from Germany in 2020
  • Youth Seminars in Germany
  • Magical Christmas trips
  • UK-German bears - Alex and Ben

Read more...

SQA Advanced Higher Spanish and French Course Reports

9 September 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published Advanced Higher Spanish and French course reports for the 2019 exam diet.

The reports provide information on candidates’ performance.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage to access the reports.  

Read more...

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.

SCILT vacancy - Professional Development Officer

22 August 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT requires a Professional Development Officer to advise and support primary schools across Scotland with language learning and teaching. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward Scotland’s agenda for languages at a strategic level.

The Professional Development Officer will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures for teachers of languages. This would include, for example, leading professional learning, managing projects, assuming responsibility for national awards/competitions and other language related events.

It is expected that the postholder will support practitioners in turning policy into practice to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the aims of the National Improvement Framework, the 1+2 languages policy and Developing the Young Workforce. The postholder would need extensive experience of leading recent modern language initiatives in a primary school context. Established expertise in creative approaches to learning, teaching and assessment is essential.

Ideally, the post holder will have experience of external partnership working with the aim of developing interesting contexts for learning and intercultural awareness. The successful candidate will be competent in the use of digital technologies and will have the ability to work not only on her/his own initiative but also as part of a team. Excellent organisational, ICT and communication skills are essential, as is an ability to be flexible and responsive to our stakeholders’ needs.

Visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal for further information and to apply. Closing date: 3 September 2019.

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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.

Read more...

SQA specimen papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages

19 August 2019 (SQA)

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

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

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.

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Related Files

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...

Book now for 2019-20! SCILT professional learning menu

24 May 2019 (SCILT)

The SCILT professional learning menu 2019-20 is now available for booking online! 

Remember all of our professional learning sessions are free to book by teachers and local authorities. You find a date and a venue and get in touch with us. 

Participants last year said:

  • The presenter was very helpful and answered all our questions. I feel more confident now.’ (Teacher, East Dunbartonshire) 
  • It was succinct and gave teachers opportunities to compare experiences and share ideas about how to teach the course.’ (Teacher, East Lothian)

To request SCILT input in your school or local authority, please complete the online form via the link below.

Additionally, look out for our newly published series of webinars, running throughout the year. 

New for 2019-20! SCILT series of professional learning webinars

24 May 2019 (SCILT)

New for session 2019/20, a series of SCILT professional learning webinars.

These webinars offer an alternative to our face-to-face workshops. Practitioners may wish to get together to participate in the live streaming of events which will include opportunities for online discussion. Alternatively, the recorded version can be used as a stimulus for collegiate discussion, in-service days or as part of individual practitioners’ professional development.

Registration will be advertised via the weekly SCILT e-bulletin and on the National Modern Languages Hub prior to these publicised dates.

  • Glow login will be required
  • Recordings will be available to watch again on National ML Hub under the Anytime Learning tab

Keep an eye on our e-bulletin and social media channels for details of how to register for these webinars in the new session. 

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)

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)

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...

Slump in school language learning hits Scottish universities

6 November 2018 (The Herald)

The number of students from Scotland learning a modern language at university has fallen by more than 500 in the past five years.

New figures show 3,400 students chose languages at a Scottish university in 2016/17 compared to nearly 4,000 in 2012/13.

The decline, which shows numbers are falling for German, French, Russian and Spanish, has sparked fears Scotland will become increasingly isolated in the world, particularly following Brexit.

This summer, opposition politicians called on the Scottish Government to launch an inquiry into the decline in the number of pupils studying modern languages at school.

The drop has been blamed partly on curriculum reforms which mean pupils experience a broader education in the first three years of secondary.

That means exam subjects are chosen a year later than previously with a shorter time to prepare - resulting in some subjects getting squeezed out.

Professor Vicente Perez de Leon, Head of the School of Modern Languages at Glasgow University, said the school squeeze was hitting university recruitment.

And he argued language learning at school should be protected and resourced to ensure numbers increase.

“Languages are something that can open possibilities for employment abroad or having better jobs here,” he said.

“They can open minds and allow students to make connections with new people, new cultures and new literature. It should be a priority within the curriculum.”

Dr Dan Tierney, an independent languages expert, said the decline was also fuelled by the closure of some university departments.

Read more...

40% more MFL teacher trainees needed for 2020

5 November 2018 (TES)

An extra 641 teacher trainees in modern foreign languages are needed to start work in schools by 2020, according to government forecasts.

But this is among “challenging targets” for teacher recruitment which the government will yet again fail to meet, training providers have said.

Figures released by the Department for Education show that the number of MFL trainees for postgraduate initial teacher training needed for 2019-20 is 2,241 – compared to 1,600 this year – in order to provide sufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers for the autumn of 2020.

This represents a 40 per cent increase in postgraduate ITT places for MFL compared to 2018-19.

But James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said the government had already failed for the last five years to meet recruitment targets for secondary schools and said this was another target which was unlikely to be met.

Read more...

Report on language provision in Modern Foreign Languages Departments 2018

2 November 2018 (UCML)

The UCML has issued a new report on the language provision in UK modern languages departments.

The report investigates the provision of language modules (ie modules whose object of study is language) in MFL departments alongside models of collaboration between Languages departments and Institution-Wide Language Provision (IWLP) in UK universities. 

Read more...

Related Links

Modern (Foreign) Languages: time to rename? (University of Oxford blog, 8 November 2018)

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

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...

Gaelic Medium Leadership Award for Teachers & Education Professionals

25 October 2018 (Social Enterprise Academy/SCEL)

There are still a few spaces left on the bespoke leadership programme endorsed by SCEL, designed to meet the needs of emerging leaders in Gaelic Medium Education and Gaelic Learner Education. 

We will explore specific leadership issues faced by the sector, such as implementing CfE, supporting ASN pupils and managing transitions, all within the context of contemporary resource challenges.

You will gain an invaluable insight into your own leadership style and qualities, and a range of tools and techniques to use in your future career.

The programme is for teachers and educational professionals who would like to gain confidence in their ability to be effective, progressive, and self-aware leaders, potentially progressing their careers into head teacher or principal roles.

It will be delivered in Gaelic medium with learning materials provided in both Gaelic and English.

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:

‘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...

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...

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.  

Read more...

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...

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.

Read more...

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...

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.

Read more...

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. 

Read more...

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.

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.

Read more...

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. 

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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.

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Erasmus+ funding for schools: twilight sessions

17 September 2018 (Erasmus+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ECML Gazette 43 - July-September 2018

17 September 2018 (ECML)

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

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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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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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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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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.

Read more...

'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.

Read more...

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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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.

Read more...

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.

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.

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.

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).

Read more...

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.

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. 

Read more...

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.

Supporting bilingualism and EAL

23 August 2018 (SCILT)

Education Scotland, Glasgow City Council and SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages) are delighted to be able to offer a free online learning opportunity highlighting the benefits of bilingualism, practical strategies teachers can use to promote and support bilingualism in their classrooms, background information on policy and legislation, and useful resources and links to other sites.

The module has been developed to to support the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy. It will provide practitioners who work with bilingual learners an improved awareness of what bilingualism is and help to promote a more inclusive learning environment. 

See the attached flyer for more information. The free module can be accessed on the Glow website.

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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. 

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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:

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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Leadership Award for Gaelic Education: 2 and 3 November 2018, 30 November and 1 December 2018

19 August 2018 (Education Scotland)

We are delighted to announce that the Leadership Award for educators of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) organised by Social Enterprise Academy, in collaboration with Education Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, is being offered in November and December 2018. This is a professional learning opportunity which is tailored to build leadership capacity in GME. It is delivered through the medium of Gaelic. The Leadership Award is endorsed by the Scottish College of Educational Leadership (SCEL), with accreditation by the Institute of Leadership and Management Award at SCQF level 9 and is funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Visit Education Scotland's learning blog for more information.

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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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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...

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. 

Read more...

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.

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)

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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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.

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...

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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Language courses at risk amid staff shortage

30 July 2018 (The Times)

Head teachers may have to cut language courses in schools as a staffing shortage worsens.

With weeks to go until lectures begin, some modern language courses for teachers at leading universities are half empty. There is already a widespread recruitment crisis in the profession.

At the University of the West of Scotland only 11 of 20 places for one-year postgraduate teacher training courses in modern languages in secondary schools had been filled by mid-July.

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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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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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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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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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A National Framework for Languages supporting implementation of 1+2

19 June 2018 (SCDE)

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

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

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

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

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

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Language Futures success at Grainville School

18 June 2018 (ALL/Language Futures)

Language Futures is an exciting, highly personalised and innovative approach to languages teaching and learning which aims to broaden languages provision. It has been designed to foster deep learner engagement and enable students to take responsibility for their own learning, which they are encouraged to extend beyond the classroom. Apart from language development, the approach encourages the development of a wide range of skills such as creativity, tenacity and the ability to carry out research and work both independently and in groups.

As part of the approach, students choose a language they wish to study, with several languages being learnt in any one classroom situation.

Find out more about the initiative, how it's being successfully applied at Grainville School in Jersey and how you can launch the approach in your own school.

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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 Eilean Siar for their vision, energy and commitment in bringing this project forward in such a short period of time.

“In concluding I would like to commend this report to you and hope you are encouraged by the success set out in the following pages.”

e-Sgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) provision on-line to Local Authorities.

e-Sgoil e have identified the following periods for the delivery of National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners):

  • Mon - 08.50 to 09.40 and 09.40 to 10.30 
  • Wed - 13.35 to 14.45 
  • Thurs - 13.55 to 14.45 and 11.45 to 15.35 
  • Fri - 12.25 to 13.15

Any learners wishing to access these courses can do so using Glow, Office 365 and Vscene. 

e-Sgoil also has capacity to deliver weekly Gaelic Learner classes for any schools requiring support with the 1+2 agenda.

If your school or authority is interested in exploring these options contact e-sgoil@gnes.net or phone 01851 822850.

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‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’: The Life-Changing Impacts of Travel

14 June 2018 (University of Stirling)

As you’ll have gathered from this blog, a good number of our students opt to apply for English Language Assistantships every year, whether between their 2nd and 3rd years or as graduates. For the past few years, some of our ELA students have also participated in SCILT’s ‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’ scheme during their year as assistants and we thought it’d be good to get a sense of what this actually involves – from the perspective of the students involved.

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Language Linking Global Thinking

12 June 2018 (University of Edinburgh)

French and Spanish MA (Hons) student, Róisín MacFarlane, describes her involvement in SCILT’s Year Abroad schools initiative.

Róisín and three other students from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) recently attended a course with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) preparing both students and teachers for the Language Linking Global Thinking (LLGT) project.

In this article - her first as Web, Communications and Social Media Intern for LLC - she talks about the LLGT programme and explains why so many schools and students are getting involved.

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New European Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on improving the teaching and learning of languages

12 June 2018 (ECML)

On 22 May 2018 the European Commission adopted a set of proposed Council Recommendations and other policy documents under the headline “Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies”. The press communication and the Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to language teaching and learning, together with its annex and Staff Working Document, which provides the scientific background for the Recommendation, as well as many examples of good practice are all now available online.

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Host a Teacher from Germany

12 June 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Opportunity for UK schools to boost their intercultural dimension by welcoming a teacher from Germany to any department for one, two or three weeks this school year.

This free programme provides pupils with a real-life learning context for German language and culture and offers teachers the chance to share best practice on an international level.

Hosting can take place at any time during the school year.

Application deadlines - 26 July for autumn 2018 hosting slots and 21 September to host in spring/summer 2019.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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SQA update for teachers of Higher Modern Languages

11 June 2018 (SQA)

Course support notes and coursework assessment tasks for session 2018-19 are now available, including the new assignment-writing task and performance-talking. Download them from the SQA Higher Modern Languages website ‘2018-19 session’ section.

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Should we take a more 'German' approach to MFL?

8 June 2018 (TES)

Applies to England

If you’re a modern foreign languages (MFL) teacher, you’re probably already familiar with the horror stories about your subject: more and more schools are cutting MFL at GCSE and A level, while fewer students are expressing interest in learning them.

Despite plans to increase the teaching of Mandarin in schools, European languages have sustained some heavy losses, German faring the worst with a 38 per cent fall in GCSE student entries since 2010.

Meanwhile, the German school system is efficient at producing confident English speakers, with an EU study claiming that 56 per cent of Germans can speak English "well enough to have a conversation", and it is rare to meet a recent high school graduate from Germany without near-fluent English skills.

So, why the gaping divide?

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Book now! SCILT and CISS professional learning programmes

8 June 2018 (SCILT/CISS)

The brand new SCILT secondary professional learning menu and CISS professional learning programme for 2018-19 are now available for booking! 

Remember all of our CLPL workshops are free to book by teachers and local authorities. You find a date and a venue and get in touch with us. 

To make a booking please email SCILT to receive a link to the request form.

Participants last year said:

It was so refreshing to attend a course which was entirely relevant and where the speaker was so knowledgeable.’ (Teacher, East Lothian) 

Both presentations were very informative and I got a lot out of focussing on the new writing folio as well as using the benchmarks.’ (Teacher, Perth & Kinross)

Primary teachers can sign up now for the OU/SCILT ‘Learning to teach primary languages’ programme in French, Spanish, German or Mandarin. The course is a balance of target language learning and pedagogy. It begins in October and the cost is £240. Find more information via our FAQs and email Sylvia Warnecke, the Staff Tutor at the Open University Scotland to enrol.

Participants in the pilot programme said:

“The tutors have been very encouraging and supportive both in their comments on the forum and during the online tutorials.”

I think [the tuition] has been excellent. Everyone has been so helpful and accommodating!

Additional online and face-to-face professional learning opportunities will be offered by SCILT during the year. To keep up-to-date with these opportunities as they arise, please sign up to the SCILT weekly news bulletin.

Our SCILT/CISS professional learning flyer outlines the diverse types of CLPL opportunities we offer. Please email SCILT with any queries about these options.

150 hours to learn Mandarin – and teach it

7 June 2018 (TES)

Hundreds of primary school teachers will have the chance to learn and teach new languages within seven months, under a scheme being expanded after a successful trial.

The distance-learning programme - the first of its kind in the UK – sees primary teachers study either French, Spanish, German or Mandarin and develop the skills to teach the language in the primary classroom at the same time.

After a pilot involving 54 teachers from 49 Scottish schools across nine local authorities in 2017-18, next year the scheme will be available throughout Scotland. Welsh and Northern Irish schools are also expected to sign up.

Teachers taking part will spend about five hours a week from October to June - around 150 hours in total - but they will start teaching the languages to pupils before completing the course.

The scheme, run by The Open University and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, will be launched in Edinburgh today.

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ECML European Language Gazette No 42

7 June 2018 (ECML)

The May-June 2018 edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available. In addition to a round-up of activities and initiatives in language education across Europe, this issue includes the opportunity for language professionals to contribute to the brainstorming on priorities in language education for the coming years by completing an online survey. The survey is open until 11 June 2018.

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Press Release: Teachers to learn to teach languages in the classroom

7 June 2018 (SCILT/OU)

An innovative scheme teaching primary teachers languages and how to teach those languages to pupils is being expanded across Scotland for the first time. The first of its kind in the UK, the distance learning programme will see primary teachers study French, Spanish, German or Mandarin and develop the skills to teach the language in the classroom at the same time. 

Launching across Scotland today (Thursday 7 June) at an event in Edinburgh where guests will hear from pupils and teachers, the programme is now available to primary school teachers in all local authorities following a successful pilot which featured 54 teachers from 49 schools across nine local authorities in 2017/18. The programme is a partnership between The Open University and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde.

Designed to support the Scottish Government’s ‘1+2’ language policy, which aims to enable all pupils to learn two additional languages from primary level onwards, the programme will link up with the cultural organisations of France, Spain, Germany and China to facilitate immersive summer schools for participating teachers. At the same time, schools will also have the opportunity to make connections with schools in the countries whose language pupils are learning.

Dr Sylvia Warnecke, lecturer in languages and programme lead at The Open University, said:

“The key thing about this programme is its flexibility, meaning that teachers in every part of Scotland – whether urban or rural – will be able to learn together and share their experiences and ideas, helping each other to bring the language they’re learning to life in the classroom.

“We’ve already had teachers from the pilot project tell us that their pupils love it and are really engaged. They have been instrumental in starting after school language clubs and making links with schools in other countries. It’s exciting that all teachers, schools and pupils in every part of Scotland now have the chance to learn together through this programme.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said:

“We see this as an important collaboration between our two universities, local authorities and teachers. The course is focused on developing teachers’ confidence so they are able to create exciting and motivating lessons for their pupils. In this way we can make sure that languages feature as an integral part of the Scottish curriculum and that youngsters are given their full entitlement to language learning.

“The teachers’ commitment to developing their skills is humbling. Their willingness to embrace their own learning in order to benefit their pupils’ experience highlights the professionalism and dedication that is the mark of the teaching profession.”

Gwen McCrossan, Principal Teacher for 1+2 Languages, Argyll & Bute, said:

“This course is ideal for the geographical situation of Argyll & Bute. We are delighted to be able to take part, as it provides a quality learning experience for teachers who would otherwise find it difficult to access language training. The course is also unique because it is tailor-made for primary school.”

The pilot project has been shortlisted in the partnership category in this year’s Herald Higher Education Awards. Such is the interest in the programme following its pilot phase and ahead of its wider rollout, it is expected that teachers from Wales and Northern Ireland will join the next presentation starting in October 2018.

A short video featuring teachers who participated in the pilot talking about their experience of the programme is available on YouTube.

Further information on how to sign-up for next year's course is available on SCILT's website

Briefing on Gaelic Education

7 June 2018 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest briefing on Gaelic Education is now available on their website.

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Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Winners announced!

6 June 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:

  • Larbert High School Cluster (1+2 Languages Award)
  • Greenfaulds High School (Gaelic Education Award

Visit the Scottish Education Award website for information and photos of all the category winners.

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More and more British children are learning Chinese – but there are problems with the teaching

6 June 2018 (The Conversation)

A drop in the number of secondary school students learning languages in UK schools is fuelling concerns about the country’s global competitiveness, particularly after Brexit. Discussions among both politicians and the media centre on the worry that the UK is being held back globally by its poor language skills. The UK economy loses roughly £50bn a year due to a lack of language skills in the workforce.

British Council and British Academy reports all critique modern foreign language (MFL) teaching in the UK. They also express concern about the lack of learning in state schools compared to independent schools and the widening gap between disadvantaged children and an internationally mobile elite. It is well acknowledged that there is a need to move beyond relying on English as a lingua franca.

In line with this, Chinese, an emerging key world business language – and widely predicted to be key to UK business post-Brexit – has become a foreign language option for some UK students in recent decades. Teaching is beginning to thrive across schools and universities as a principle modern foreign language.

Unsurprisingly, private schools – recognising the language as a new source of cultural capital – were the first to offer the new subject. But some newly established schools, especially particularly poor and disrupted schools in the state sector, have also shown interest in featuring Chinese in the school curriculum. They have been able to do so due to the Confucius Institute programme and the related Confucius Classroom programme initiated by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in 2004.  

The Confucius Classroom program partners with UK secondary schools or school districts to provide teachers and instructional materials. The costs of such programmes are shared between Hanban and the host institutions (the UK colleges, universities, schools or school districts). By adopting Chinese as one of the taught languages in the curriculum, disadvantaged British schools hoped to indicate to parents that they provided something special and ambitious.

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Radio Edutalk: Gillian Campbell-Thow on ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’

5 June 2018 (Radio Edutalk)

Listen to Gillian Campbell-Thow talk about ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’ broadcast on Radio Edutalk on 5 June 2018.

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OU/SCILT course nominated for the Herald Higher Education awards 2018

30 May 2018 (SCILT/OU Scotland)

SCILT, together with The Open University in Scotland, has been named as a finalist in  the Herald Higher Education Awards 2018. 'Primary School Teachers Learning to Teach Languages’ project, facilitated as a partnership between SCILT and OU Scotland, is shortlisted for the Partnership Award. The award winners will be announced on June 28 in Glasgow.

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SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

17 May 2018 (SQA)

Dates for the next Higher Modern Languages webinars are now available to book on the SQA website (login required).

Sessions are available:

  • 4 September
  • 10 September
  • 29 September

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A tongue-lashing over teacher shortage as Gaelic plan agreed

16 May 2018 (The Scotsman)

Parents and pupils at Edinburgh’s only Gaelic high school have demanded action to address a teacher shortage and to stand up for children facing discrimination. The calls came as the city council yesterday agreed its Gaelic Language Plan for 2018-22.

It was revealed the authority only has one Gaelic teacher in employment for Gaelic medium education (GME) at James Gillespie’s High School where pupils are taught primarily through the medium of Gaelic. Speaking at a meeting of the council’s corporate policy and strategy committee, which unanimously agreed the plan, parent Marion Thompson raised worries about protection for GME pupils.

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Related Links

Edinburgh Council agrees new Gaelic Language Plan (The Scotsman, 15 May 2018)

Public consultation on list of Gaelic shellfish names

8 May 2018 (BBC)

A public consultation on recommended Gaelic names for the most common shellfish in Scotland's seas has been launched.

Scottish Natural Heritage has published a list of 85 marine mollusc names, Gaelic terms for parts of the animals and for different seashell shapes.

The meanings of many of the names have also been explained in English.

The recommendations have been produced by a team from Scottish Natural Heritage and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Gaelic-speaking environmental educator Roddy Maclean has been leading the project.

He interviewed 14 older Gaelic speakers, mostly from the Western Isles, to obtain guidance on the names they use for marine mollusc species.

Mr Maclean said: "There was a general agreement on the names for the most common species.

"But there were some species where people had different terms, or none at all. This challenged us to make a choice and also provide names for species with no recorded Gaelic form."

Some of the suggested names and terms include:

Mollusc - Moileasg
Seashell - Slige mhara
Filter feeder - Sìoltachair
Shellfish harvested by moonlight - Maorach-èalaidh

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"Developing language awareness in subject classes": join the network of the European Centre for Modern Languages/Council of Europe!

8 May 2018 (ECML)

Are you a secondary school teacher of a non-linguistic subject (other than mathematics or history) working in a linguistically and culturally diverse school? Do you teach 12/13 year olds whose first language is different from the language of schooling? Are you interested in sharing your subject expertise and exchanging experiences with European professionals in the field of language in subject teaching? Then this project is for you!

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Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish (CCEd)

4 May 2018 (University of Strathclyde)

The School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde is delighted to invite applications for the Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish in the academic session 2018-2019.

The Certificate of Continuing Education (CCEd) is an intensive beginners’ class that will bring you up to first-year university standard in a year, with the option of continuing your studies into second year and up to university pass degree level within three years.

These evening degree programmes comprises undergraduate level modules in the language at first, second and third-year levels. The two first-year modules, Introduction 1A and Introduction 1B, are intensive beginners’ classes. They are suitable for people with some or no knowledge of the language but with previous experience of language learning, and would equally suit those with qualifications in the language from some years ago who wish to refresh their knowledge.

The CCEd provides a General Teaching Council approved qualification and has in previous years appealed to candidates from diverse backgrounds including:
  • professional people with an interest in the Spanish-speaking world and their languages (journalists, marketing consultants, entrepreneurs, etc)
  • secondary school teachers wishing to acquire an additional language
  • teachers of classics
  • primary school teachers
  • musicians

​For more information about the course and how to apply, please see the attached document.

Related Files

New job profile on SCILT's website

4 May 2018 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile on Michael Dewar, whose love of languages has led to him working as a language tutor. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Ground-breaking work on sign languages and the CEFR

3 May 2018 (ECML)

Just six years ago there were no references to sign languages in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

With support from the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML), today we celebrate the existence of the ground-breaking “Sign Languages and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Common Reference Level Descriptors” (2016), a result of the ECML ProSign1 project. 

One of the strengths of the ProSign descriptors is that they are not language specific, because they focus on communication rather than linguistic competencies. They have been developed to support sign language teachers, sign language learners, academics, policy makers, and others who are concerned with quality sign language learning, teaching and assessment.

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Diversity of subjects essential to national prosperity post-Brexit, warns British Academy

2 May 2018 (British Academy)

The British Academy, the UK’s body for the humanities and social sciences, has urged the Government not to prioritise some subjects over others, arguing that a healthy, prosperous and global Britain needs a diversity of graduates.

It also warns of the risks of relying too much on market-driven solutions in a post-Brexit world.

In its submission to the Government’s review of post-18 education and funding, the British Academy highlights the contribution of graduates from the arts, humanities and social sciences to the UK’s culture, economy and international reputation. Many of the 1.25m who study these disciplines each year go on to work in the service sector, which makes up some 80% of the UK’s economy. They also drive the creative industries, one of the UK’s major cultural exports. Others enter jobs of social importance such as teaching and social work.

The British Academy’s submission highlights a growing trend of universities shrinking or closing courses in subjects such as languages and philosophy. In the last decade, at least 10 modern languages departments have closed and a further nine significantly downsized.

The British Academy cites a report for the government published in 2014 which estimates that a lack of foreign language skills could already be costing the UK billions of pounds.

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Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

2 May 2018 (SRF)

The latest news from the Scotland-Russia Forum (SRF) is now available to read online. Teachers of Russian will be interested to hear the SRF has received funding for their schools project and are looking to organise a teacher exchange. See the bulletin for more information. 

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Be part of the first language course designed to fight dementia!

30 April 2018 (Lingo Flamingo)

Research shows that speakers of foreign languages can postpone the effects of dementia by up to 4.5 years later than monolinguists. Language learning acts as a great way of keeping your brain fit and active as well as building up cognitive reserve, making the brain more resilient. 

Lingo Flamingo utilises this research by providing tailored, fun and accessible classes in care homes and day centres across Scotland. We are a not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to use language learning as a way to empower older adults and to battle against dementia and brain ageing. 

We are looking for compassionate and enthusiastic language volunteers who can teach their language in care homes across Scotland. As a language tutor you will go into care homes and teach older adults in classes of 10 students. 

Classes take place 1 hour a week for 10 weeks. We will cover your expenses.

Classes take place Monday to Friday, usually in the early afternoon. You need to commit for at least 10 weeks, for 1 hour a week (same day and same time every week).

In conjunction with the Open University we offer tailored training and support about teaching older adults. Even though it is a language class, it is mainly about having fun! It is a great opportunity to increase your confidence as well as the confidence of the students. 

After you let us know that you are interested, you would need to fill out a registration form and meet us for an informal chat. Once you agree to volunteer, we would enter you onto the database and match you with a care home that is close to you. 

For more information, please contact papoula.romao@lingoflamingo.co.uk or visit our website for more information.

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Arabic to be taught to Syrian refugee children in Scotland

28 April 2018 (The Scotsman)

E-Sgoil is now being expanded to teach a range of subjects to pupils all over Scotland after initially being created in response to teacher recruitment problems in the Western Isles. 

And Angus MacLennan, head teacher of e-Sgoil, said there were now plans to recruit a teacher to offer Arabic lessons. 

The move is in response to an anticipated demand from pupils.

[..] E-Sgoil is also hoping to recruit online tutors to teach Mandarin in response to a demand from pupils in the Western Isles. 

Read more...

National Digital Learning Week (14-18 May)

24 April 2018 (Education Scotland)

National Digital Learning Week is an annual Education Scotland event where teachers and learners from all schools in Scotland are encouraged to take part in digital learning and teaching activities.

There are loads of ways to get involved in #NDLW18; the sky is the limit! 

To help get things started Education Scotland are launching 2 main activities:  

  • An exclusive National Digital Story telling activity for 30 schools across Scotland with famous children’s author Lari Don. 
  • A digital story telling activity schools can enjoy in their local setting.

Why not use the local opportunity to create a digital story with your pupils in the language they are learning?

Find out more on the Education Scotland Glow blog.

Read more...

Glasgow set for third Gaelic school in Government language drive

24 April 2018 (The Scotsman)

John Swinney has announced that a third Gaelic school is to open in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to increase the number of speakers of the language. 

The new school will provide Gaelic medium education (GME) and is expected to open in the Cartvale area of the city.

Nearly 900 pupils are enrolled in Glasgow’s two existing GME schools at Glendale and Berkeley Street – both of which are now at capacity. The plans for the new school were announced during a Holyrood debate on the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23.

Read more...

SQA Higher Modern Languages course specification

23 April 2018 (SQA)

SQA has published the revised Course Specification for the Higher Modern Languages course (version April 2018). This is available from the Modern Languages Higher webpage. To access the document please go to the tab ‘2018-19 session’ and under the ‘Essential Information’ heading click on ‘Course Specification’.

Read more...

Free trials available of La Jolie Ronde's two award winning resources and classes

20 April 2018 (La Jolie Ronde)

La Jolie Ronde Languages for Children has been at the forefront of Primary Languages since 1983. It offers language learning through weekly extra-curricular French and Spanish classes, the supply of early years and primary language teaching resources and educational visits to Northern France.

P1-P3 - Little Languages Resource - FREE TRIAL AVAILABLE

Little Languages is a brand new and 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, Indian & African
  • 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

For your FREE TRIALS simply email your request to La Jolie Ronde quoting SCILT

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 across the UK and Ireland, 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.

Spanish sessions at the Zoo!

18 April 2018 (RZSS)

Spanish Days are being replaced with Spanish sessions at Edinburgh Zoo.

Suitable for P4-P7 and S1-S2, schools can now book their own date and time to suit.

Costs as per education rates at Edinburgh Zoo - £7 per pupil, with 1 adult per 7 children free of charge (Primary) and 1 adult per 10 children free of charge (Secondary). See how to book on the website. 

Please use the booking form and choose 'Science in the Language Class - Spanish'.

Free resources are available to download to help your visit.

Spanish Packs are available at £50+VAT and £6 post and packing - details also on the website.

For further information or to purchase a pack contact Sandie Robb.

Read more...

Language Leaders - training week in Cavilam

16 April 2018 (Institut français)

For the third year, the Institut français is offering grants to six Language Leaders of Scotland to attend a one week training course in France.

The course will take place at the Cavilam Alliance française de Vichy from 30 July to 3 August 2018.

The Cavilam is an international centre of excellence for French teachers and teachers' trainers which welcomes teachers from all over the world.

This course is open to all practitioners with a leading role on your 1+2 strategy: in a school, a cluster, or at the council or regional level.

Further information regarding the grants, programme, accommodation/transport and how to apply can be found in the attached documents. Please note that the Institut français covers only the course fee.

The application deadline is 11 May 2018.

SQA Higher Modern Languages webinar

12 April 2018 (SQA)

The SQA is running an evening webinar on 5 June to provide an overview of the new Modern Languages Higher course assessment arrangements which will be implemented from session 2018-19 onwards.

This will cover the performance–talking and there will be a particular focus on Higher assignment-writing. 

To book a place, please visit the SQA online booking system. 

Additional webinar sessions on the new Higher Modern Languages Course assessment arrangements will be running in September 2018.

Read more...

Action research communities for language teachers

10 April 2018 (SOAS)

Action Research Communities for Language Teachers (ARC) is a project funded by the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (2015 to 2018). It aims to support teachers in European language classrooms in using action research as an essential tool for the development of reflective classroom practice and autonomy.

Through this project we are making practical techniques for action research widely available to language teachers across Europe by establishing a community of practice which connects academic expertise on action research with good practice in language classrooms. We are also designing action research tools to support teachers who want to carry out projects and to encourage dialogue between practitioners in schools and universities.

All project results and action research tools will be published on the project website.

Read more...

Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee Report on Erasmus+

5 April 2018 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee launched a short and focused inquiry into Scotland's participation in the Erasmus+ programme in November 2017. The purpose of the inquiry was to learn more about the opportunities currently available under Erasmus+ and to consider the implications of Scotland no longer participating in the programme after the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

The report highlights that Erasmus+ also plays an important role in supporting the Scottish Government’s 1+2 (mother tongue + 2 additional languages) approach to language learning.

Read more...

THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN is live!

4 April 2018 (The Language Magician)

THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN online game was launched at Language World UK on 23 March 2018, and the game with many of its resources are already available on the website – free for teachers to access thanks to Erasmus+ funding.

THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN is an online game that draws in Primary children of all ages and challenges their language skills - in French, German, Italian, Spanish or English. It’s a game they like to play again so that they can do better, and it is also a tool for teachers to capture data about how their pupils do.

A final conference of the project is to be held in London on 19 May 2018, by which time all the accompanying project resources will be available.

To find out more about the game and conference see the attached flyer or visit the LANGUAGE MAGICIAN website. 

Read more...

Related Files

Japan Foundation Local Grant Programmes 2018-19

3 April 2018 (Japan Foundation)

Japan Foundation (JF) London is now accepting grant applications for UK based Japan related projects taking place in 2018-19 through our local support programmes.

Grants of up to £3,000 are available to schools seeking to promote the introduction of Japanese into the curriculum (or onto the main school timetable) at primary and secondary levels, supporting Japanese qualifications in school or introducing the language as an extra-curricular activity. 

For more information and to apply by 4 May 2018, see the online information sheet and application form.

Read more...

European Language Gazette 41 - March/April 2018

3 April 2018 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's Language Gazette is now available on their website. The newsletter includes updates on the organisation's projects along with new initiatives, events and resources of interest to the language teaching community across Europe.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Finalists announced!

29 March 2018 (Daily Record)

Following an editorial campaign running in the Daily Record, the finalists for this year's Scottish Education Awards have been announced.

Finalists will attend the prestigious awards ceremony at Glasgow's Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central on June 6th, where each of the fifteen winners will be announced.

Details of all the finalists can be found in the Daily Record news article online.

Congratulations and good luck to the schools shortlisted in the language-related categories!

Read more...

Related Links

Falkirk district schools aiming for top marks at Education Awards (Falkirk Herald, 16 April 2018)

#LanguageforResilience exhibition

29 March 2018 (British Council)

Discover how language can help refugees deal with loss, displacement and trauma in our #LanguageForResilience exhibition. Visit in person if you’re in London or check out the virtual exhibition online.

Read more...

Campaign to make state school pupils Latin lovers

29 March 2018 (The Herald)

A drive has been launched to revive a classical education in state schools across Scotland.

Leading classics organisations have joined forces to promote the study of Latin and the history and culture of Ancient Rome and Greece.

Once a fundamental pillar of education, Latin has declined dramatically since the 1970s and now very few state schools offer it.

In 2013, just 218 candidates sat Latin at Higher compared to 243 the previous year. Only 48 pupils took Latin as an Advanced Higher.

In order to lead a revival the UK charity Classics for All, which provides grant funding to schools, opened a Scottish hub in September last year. 

Alex Imrie, an academic from Edinburgh University and the charity’s Scotland representative, said the hub was seeking to introduce a Latin module aimed at primary school pupils.  

It also wants to revise and update existing qualifications in Classical Studies for secondary school pupils and to work with university departments to reintroduce the subject as a specialism within postgraduate teaching qualifications. 

He said: “We’re approaching councils across Scotland to try and get them on board to try and reintroduce classics into the curriculum. 

“We are enjoying a lot of enthusiasm with the people we are speaking to, but it is early days and we need to get more momentum and spread the word even further.  

“There are academic benefits with improvements to English and other areas of the curriculum and it is long overdue that we break the myth that classics is only for the elite or only for those who go to independent schools.”

Read more...

Online learning event: Welcoming refugee and migrant children to mainstream classrooms in Europe

27 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)

Aimed at teachers of primary and secondary learners aged 4-16, this eTwinning workshop will develop teachers' awareness, confidence and skills in learning about refugee issues, welcoming refugee and migrant children to mainstream classrooms from a social and emotional perspective, and will give a basic introduction to language acquisition and the importance of maintaining and developing mother tongue and home culture.

Visit the website to sign up for the course between 9 - 17 April 2018.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

23 March 2018 (SCILT)

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

Our latest addition comes from Ross Yuill, a student and front desk associate for the Marriott Hotel whose interest in Korea and its culture led to him learning the language. He's been able to apply these skills in the workplace with visiting guests.

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

Read more...

The state secondary school where the only language taught is Mandarin

22 March 2018 (TES)

In a school serving one of the most deprived areas of Edinburgh, Mandarin is the only language on offer. 

Learning Mandarin has tended to be an opportunity only available to a minority of Scottish pupils, often in private schools.

But in a school serving one of the most deprived areas of Edinburgh, Mandarin is currently the only language on offer.

In October, when Castlebrae Community High's only modern languages teacher left for maternity leave, it struggled to replace her – but then the school received some external investment to teach Mandarin.

This enables it to share a teacher with several other schools in the city. The subject is taught in the first and second year. Next year, some pupils hope to continue it in their third year, with the aim of achieving a national qualification in the language.

In October, 12 pupils will head to Beijing to experience Chinese language and culture for themselves.

Read more...

European professional development workshops

22 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)

This term, why not apply to go on a short, fully-funded workshop in another European country?

Applications are now open for teachers of pupils aged 3-19 across a range of subject areas to attend a fully-funded 2-3 day professional development workshop in Turkey, Latvia, Norway and Armenia. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning cultural diversity to SEN and the environment.

Visit the website for more information about each event and submit your application by 31 March 2018. 

Read more...

Registrations now open for Language Linking Global Thinking 2018-19

22 March 2018 (SCILT)

SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking initiative in session 2018/19. 

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, the partner school receives regular contact from the student through emails, sending postcards 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. 

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 day on 8th June in Glasgow. 

If you would like to request a link for this project in session 2018-19, please complete the registration form

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

Professional development in Germany

21 March 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is again able to offer a number of grants to teachers for professional development courses in Germany. The offer is aimed at German teachers just embarking on their career, as well as at teachers expanding their commitments to GCSE and A-level. Those who train German language teachers are also able to benefit from the variety of courses.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information about the courses available and how to apply. Please note, teachers in Scotland should apply to the Glasgow office.

Read more...

German Teacher Award 2018

21 March 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The German Embassy is pleased to announce to award the 15th German Teacher Award. The award recognises outstanding achievements by individual teachers of German and pays tribute to the work of German language teachers in primary and secondary schools in the UK. 

Teachers will be selected who have made an outstanding and dedicated contribution to German teaching within the curriculum and beyond, e.g. through: 

  • a record of successful teaching at a school, including innovative language teaching 
  • successful introduction of German teaching at a school, e.g. in a primary school as a first foreign language or in a secondary school as a new language 
  • established and successful link activities with Germany, e.g. projects and exchanges, bilingual projects, curriculum projects 
  • use of German language in subjects other than German
  • local or regional outreach activities.  

Nominations must be submitted and signed by the head teacher by Monday 7 May 2018.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to download the application form.

Read more...

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

20 March 2018 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the Scotland-Russia Forum (SRF) can be found in their March 2018 news bulletin. This edition includes information about Russian taster events and materials for schools, so why not take a look and find out how to introduce the language to your pupils?

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A 1+2 approach to language learning in the secondary sector - FAQs

19 March 2018 (Education Scotland)

These FAQs produced by Education Scotland cover the main points raised during a series of secondary 1+2 ‘roadshows’ held in 2017.

This resource is for those teachers in secondary modern languages departments who are responsible for transition and course planning. It can be accessed on the Education Scotland website.

Read more...

New 'Science in the Language Class' - Spanish quiz sessions at Edinburgh Zoo

19 March 2018 (RZSS)

'Science in the Language Class' is an educational programme which provides resources that link language learning to RZSS conservation projects across the world, or to the conservation breeding programmes within RZSS sites.

You can now book a Spanish session at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. Learn about RZSS projects in South America with our fun and interactive quiz session. Questions and answers are in Spanish and include animal names, threats, numbers, colours and parts of the body. The session includes sound files from a native Spanish speaker. Costs are at the education rates and you can book online or email education@rzss.org.uk

In addition, our language packs cost £50+VAT (plus £6 post and packing) and contain at least 5 different educational games and activities with all game boards and associated cards. These packs complement the sessions and can be used as pre or post activities. Visit the website to find out more about the language packs -  or email srobb@rzss.org.uk

All suitable for P4-P7 and S1-S2 age levels.

French packs and sessions will be available beginning of June. 

Read more...

SQA course reports for Higher Modern Languages 2017

16 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty. They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet. They can be found in the Senior Phase section of our website.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

Read more...

OU/SCILT languages course for primary practitioners

15 March 2018 (Open University in Scotland/SCILT)

Due to the success of the initial pilot of the course developed by the OU and SCILT, LXT192/4 Learning to teach languages in primary school (French/Spanish), we are delighted to now be able to extend the offer to all Local Authorities. The course will be offered for the following languages: French (LXT192), German (LXT193), Spanish (LXT194) and Mandarin (LXT197).

For the next presentation of this course starting in October 2018, registration will open on 1 April 2018. The course fee is £240.00 per student.

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.

In order to make the enrolment process as smooth as possible, we advise that in the first instance Development Officers contact Sylvia Warnecke at the Open University (s.warnecke@open.ac.uk ) with a list of the names and email addresses of teachers planning to study this in their Local Authority. We aim to complete enrolment by late June 2018 to allow time for planning staffing and timetabling.

And last but not least, we are planning 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.

Policy makers, local councils, local authorities, MSPs and Consulates may also be interested in an event celebrating last years' pilot course, Primary school teachers learning to teach languages - A celebration, being held in Edinburgh on 7 June 2018.

Employ a language assistant for 2018/19

12 March 2018 (British Council)

Language Assistants provide an interactive language resource for your classroom. We recruit our assistants directly from their home countries, meaning their language and resources are always up-to-date and, importantly, authentic.

Native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and Irish, they help pupils to build their confidence, develop conversational skills, boost motivation for learning, and better understand other cultures. Feedback from schools with a Language Assistant noted an improvement in pupils’ listening and speaking skills.

Not only that, many teachers have found that having a native speaker to talk to and share teaching ideas with can reinvigorate both their teaching practice and their own love for language learning. 

So, with applications now open for the 2018/2019 academic year, there hasn’t been a better time to ensure your classroom has access to the best language learning resource around – a native speaker.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply for your language assistant by 31 March 2018. Please note that the deadline for Chinese Language Assistants is 1 June 2018.

Read more...

Sharp drop in subject specialists at Scottish secondary schools

10 March 2018 (Herald)

The number of specialist teachers in secondary schools has plummeted over the past decade amid claims heavy workloads and static pay are driving staff away [...] Most modern languages have also seen numbers decline steeply with a 32% drop in French teachers and a 44% drop in German teachers.

Read more...

Secondary schools consider dropping languages due to teacher shortages

20 February 2018 (Irish Times)

Applies to Ireland

Some secondary schools are considering dropping languages such as French, Spanish and German due to a “crisis” in the supply of teachers, according to school managers. The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools will tell an Oireachtas committee that “the integrity of student tuition time is being seriously undermined” due to staff shortages across key subjects.

Read more...

German Educational Trainees Across Borders 2018/19

12 January 2018 (SCILT / German Consulate General)

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 2018-19 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 2018 to March/April 2019. 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. 

For more information please see the attached 'GET 2018 Information Sheet'. 

Local authorities interested in hosting GETs should complete and return the Note of Interest form by Thursday 1st February.

Read more...

Related Files

Secret Teacher: subjects like art are being sidelined – but they matter

6 January 2018 (Guardian)

In trying to improve outcomes in a limited range of subjects, we may struggle to realise the potential of those whose strengths lie elsewhere.

Oh là là! The appeal of international picturebooks

1 December 2017 (TES)

Picturebooks enable language learning using a familiar, non-intimidating format that is accessible across all reading levels.

Subscription required to access article

Read more...

UK risks mass exodus of EU academics post-Brexit, finds report

Guardian (14 November 2017)

The potential risk to UK universities from post-Brexit academic flight has been laid bare in a report that reveals there are regions where up to half of academic staff in some departments are EU nationals.

The British Academy report warns that economics and modern language departments will be particularly badly hit if European academics leave the UK, with more than a third of staff in each discipline currently from EU member states.

Read more...

Related Links

Brexit risks to social sciences and humanities highlighted (THE, 14 November 2017)

Masters Level Languages Education Study at the University of Strathclyde

10 November 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

Are you teaching a new language to your pupils, or supporting bilingual learners to learn English and keep up with their home language?

Are you ready to start masters level study in 2018? You don’t have to wait until September 2018!

We are now offering a number of Masters level classes relating to modern languages, English as an additional language and support for bilingual learners, starting in January 2018.

A love of languages stops them becoming lost in translation

10 November 2017 (TES)

The recent Scottish Association for Language Teaching conference proved the sector has the staff to enable it to flourish

The language I work and live in, day to day, is not my first language. It is a language I learned in school. I first started learning English aged 10 – in the first year attending my local secondary school in rural Germany – and I fell in love with it immediately.

It is therefore no surprise that the learning of modern languages in school – or any foreign language, for that matter – is something close to my heart. Learning English – and later Latin and French – opened up a new world to me and gave me opportunities I never would have had otherwise. It also shaped how I see and engage with the world.

So it was my pleasure to attend and speak at the annual conference of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching (SALT) last weekend in Glasgow, which this year was titled “Still here”.

Read more...

How the Guardian helped me to teach a foreign language

8 November 2017 (The Guardian)

Trevor Stevens notes that your editorial (4 November) lamenting Britain’s lack of competence in foreign languages “was devoid of solutions to this problem” (Letters, 7 November).

In the 1990s, however, one section of the Guardian contained a weekly feature article in a European language which, as a linguist and secondary school teacher, I regularly used as a stimulus for spoken and comprehension work with examination classes.

Another simple technique to promote engagement with foreign languages is for news media to be encouraged to broadcast more subtitled interviews, so that listeners can hear the original Catalan, Chinese, German etc. Vorsprung durch Brexit vielleicht?

Read more...

IFprofs

6 November 2017 (Institut Français Écosse)

We have just launched IFProfs, the social network for French teachers, language leaders and coordinators, trainers, student teachers, French language assistants and all staff involved with French language education.

It is a collaborative platform where members can share resources for the classroom, find information about trainings, conferences, competitions and other activities for their class or themselves.

IFprofs is an international platform bringing together French teachers from all over the world. By signing up, you will be able to access resources from IFProfs Royaume-Uni, but also from all other participating countries. All members have in common the French language and this is therefore the lingua franca and only language of IFprofs.

We hope you will take part actively in this network, share resources, documents, lessons plans, best practices and more.

IFProfs is free, you just need to become a member by opening an account

Tutorials to help you open your account and post your documents are available.

The Guardian view on languages and the British: Brexit and an Anglosphere prison

3 November 2017 (The Guardian)

The language (or languages) spoken in a society help to define its identity. That is as true of Britain as of every other nation. Most countries, like Britain, have one or sometimes more official languages. To become British, for instance, a person must prove knowledge of English. Equivalent provisions exist in almost all other countries.

Language rules can be positive or negative in effect. In linguistically polarised Belgium, the rival tongues are a permanent source of tension. In others, they are a source of vibrancy; Catalonia’s renewed sense of itself, for example, is grounded in the distinctness of its language and by a history of discrimination against it. Elsewhere, the issues are more tangled. Sinn Féin’s current demands for Irish language parity in Northern Ireland are holding up the restoration of devolved government there. They do not reflect widespread Irish speaking (only 6% of Northern Irish people speak Irish) so much as a determination not to be defined, through the language spoken by unionists, as British.

Modern Britain has a decent tradition of nurturing minority languages. But Britons have long been getting more parochial about speaking foreign ones. Three-quarters of UK residents can’t hold a conversation in any language other than English. This linguistic monoculture would be even more hegemonic if it were not for bilingual migrants. It reflects many things, but the decline in language teaching is one of the most important. GCSE entries in most foreign languages tend to fall each year. A long decline in the numbers with language qualifications has translated into a loss of those able to teach them.

Read more...

GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards for Universities of Dundee and Glasgow

23 October 2017 (University of Dundee/UCMLS)

On 21 September 2017 GTCS held its first Excellence in Professional Learning Award ceremony at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow. The event also celebrated professional learning programmes that have been accredited with GTCS Professional Recognition. This included the University of Dundee for its Graduate Diplomas in French, German and Spanish by distance learning and the University of Glasgow for its Postgraduate Certificate ‘Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages in Primary Schools’. UCMLS Chair Marion Sporing said "Universities in Scotland continue to play an important role in supporting teachers in promoting and sustaining the learning of languages in Scottish schools and the wider education sector."

GTCS Professional Recognition for LFEE Programmes

23 October 2017 (LFEE)

LFEE were delighted – and very proud - to collect a GTCS Professional Recognition Accredited Programme Award last month for our three-week French/Spanish Immersion Programmes and the 12-month Modern Languages Immersion and Methodology Programme. This is following on from having achieved course accreditation three years ago.

Representatives from ten Local Authorities from across Scotland attended the PowerLanguage conference to witness the launch of the NEW PowerLanguage Schools (PLS) website. Feedback from those present was extremely positive and the new site is now available to other practitioners!

Our “off the shelf” L3 in Mandarin was also very popular and will be available in Spanish soon.

Last but not least, we’re very excited to say that Caroline Gordon has joined our team 2 days a week and will be helping us with communication and social media amongst other things!

Contact us for information regarding any of the above projects. We look forward to hearing from you!
photo of LFEE staff with GTCS certificate of recognition

Read more...

SQA Spanish Appointee Opportunities – 2018 Exam Diet

18 October 2017 (SQA)

SQA is currently advertising the following 2018 Exam Diet Appointee roles for Spanish:

Team Leaders will assist the Higher Principal Assessor with post-examination procedures and support a team of Markers during marking activity.

The Senior Marker will support the AH Principal Assessor with procedural activity across Talking Performance, Portfolio & Papers 1&2.

Support and training will be provided.

Further detail about the roles is available via the links above, where applications may be submitted. Closing date is Sunday 5 November 2017.
 
Please feel free to forward this information to any practitioners who may be interested in applying.
If you have any queries please contact Elaine Clusker, Qualification Officer: elaine.clusker@sqa.org.uk.

Teachers become learners with new languages project

17 October 2017 (Open University/SCILT)

Primary school teachers are being given the confidence to teach languages to their pupils through a new project run by The Open University (OU) in Scotland and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

Fifty one teachers from schools across nine local authorities are participating in ‘Learning to teach Languages in Primary School’ which will see them learn French or Spanish as well as how to teach the language in class.

The project aims to support the Scottish Government’s “1+2” Language Policy, which has the objective that every pupil will learn two modern foreign languages alongside their mother tongue from primary school onwards.

Read more...

Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12

16 October 2017 (ECML)

With over 40 official languages in the member states of the Council of Europe and more than 70 regional and minority languages officially recognized in addition to a number of languages spoken by migrants, it is important that Europe’s language diversity is recognized and acknowledged.

The reality for many European citizens is that in the course of their lives they will need to develop proficiency, not only in their native language, but in a variety of languages. Demands of study, work, travel, relocation and personal development will also mean that skills in new languages will need to be added to their existing repertoire. Therefore, learning the skills required to learn languages is of paramount importance. Furthermore, language learning and identity construction are closely interlinked.

Recognizing the importance of languages in the lives of Europeans and the benefits that early language learning provides, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) has launched a two-year project "Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12".

The project is focused on early language learning, from 3 to 12 years of age. The innate curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to learning during this initial period in their formal education makes it the ideal time to introduce, nurture and motivate learners in the area of additional language learning. Strong foundations, built at this stage in children’s development, will facilitate language learning throughout life and openness to, as well as respect for different cultures, values and traditions.

Find out more on the ECML website.

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SQA vacancies: Modern Languages Event Verifiers

12 October 2017 (SQA)

Are you looking for CPD opportunities? Become an appointee for SQA – apply to be an Event Verifier in Modern Languages. It's a really worthwhile role and great professional development in relation to building confidence about national standards.

Visit the SQA website for more information and to apply by 29 October.

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NEW: Training in French in your Primary School

12 October 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française Glasgow is now offering special training designed for Primary School teachers to help them (re-)validate their professional development and accreditation.

Our team can travel to your school for a twilight to teach a 10-hour programme (2hrs per week over 5 weeks) suited for beginners/false beginners.

As well as working on your pronunciation and vocabulary skills, this course will provide you with "ready to teach" ideas and materials which can also be transferred to other languages in the 1+2 context.

Visit the Alliance Française website for further details.

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eTwinning face to face workshops

10 October 2017 (eTwinning)

This term, why not apply to go on a short workshop in another European country?

Applications are now open for teachers from Early Years to Upper Secondary to attend a 2-3 day professional development workshop in Ireland and Spain. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning e-safety to computational thinking, MFL, history and culture.

Visit the website to find out more and apply by 16/19 October 2017 respectively.

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Inside the UK’s first bilingual English and Chinese primary school

7 October 2017 (Financial Times)

As a girl growing up in an English-speaking household in Singapore, Prema Gurunathan grudgingly studied Mandarin. Now a mother in west London, she is taking no chances with her own son.

When he turned one Ms Gurunathan insisted their household in Hammersmith speak Mandarin for half of each week. She recruited an au pair from east Asia (she prefers not to say exactly where, for fear of tipping off the competition). And last month, she and her husband enrolled the three-and-a-half year-old at Kensington Wade in London, Britain’s first primary school to offer full Mandarin immersion for its pupils.

“It’s intellectual, it’s cultural and it’s ‘future-proofing’, if you will,” said Ms Gurunathan, a self-confessed “tiger mom” and policy wonk, explaining her school choice. “And it’s fun.”

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National 5 Modern Languages update

6 October 2017 (SCILT/SQA)

The course specification for National 5 has been updated following the Scottish Government announcement that unit assessments will no longer be mandatory from session 2016-17 at this level. As well as extracting the key points providing an overview of the content and assessment requirements, we now have links to SQA's recording of the National 5 webinar held in April/May and repeated in September/October 2017 on our website.

Other National Qualifications will be reviewed and updated in due course.

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'Post-Brexit, we need language more than ever. Why is the government ignoring the decline of MFL in our schools?'

4 October 2017 (TES)

'Instead of focusing on narrowing the curriculum with the Ebacc, the government needs to focus increasing MFL knowledge in schools – it will be crucial in a post-Brexit Britain'.

A press release landed in my inbox earlier this week warning of a looming languages deficit in the UK, post-Brexit.

According to its figures, 61 per cent of Brits speak no other language than English – a proportion, it's speculated that will rise as EU nationals and British linguists leave the country for jobs abroad, taking their skills with them. At the same time, English will decline as a global language – it's already been replaced by Chinese, Hindi and Spanish, which all have more native speakers.

Languages float my boat. I was a first-generation child born in the UK, of immigrant parents, who started school with no English. This was in the days before teaching assistants, EAL and other interventions. I don’t actually recall how, or when, I learned English but it didn’t take long. "Just get on with it" was the approach. I think they called it immersion.

The press release turned out to be promoting a language-learning app but setting that to one side, it raised some important questions.

Are we bad at languages in this country because of the quality of teaching and teacher shortages? Or is it because we’re ambivalent about others and their culture?

As we hurtle towards March 2019, it is one of many issues ministers need to address. As we face the reality of leaving the EU, languages are just one aspect of the deficits in our education system. And, so far, there has been little evidence of any joined-up thinking between government rhetoric and domestic practicalities.

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Do you know an inspirational primary or secondary language teacher?

29 September 2017 (ALL)

Do you know a teacher who inspires pupils through superb teaching and supports colleagues by sharing their expertise and ideas? Association for Language Learning is now looking for nominations in two categories for the 2018 awards – which are now open to teachers throughout the UK.

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Gaelic World War II project resource

27 September 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

An interdisciplinary resource which aims to provide Gaelic Medium Education teachers with a ‘one stop shop’ of topic-specific material for the classroom was launched at the national An t-Alltan conference for GME practitioners held in Aviemore last week.

An Dàrna Cogadh was developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig in response to Gaelic Medium Education practitioners’ requests for a comprehensive teaching package, based online, on the subject of World War Two.

The online resource brings together many informative Gaelic texts and books— some created especially for this project — with a rich variety of other material from the wider world, including web, print and video. It is designed to support teachers delivering this subject in the primary sector.

Visit the website to access the resource and for more information see the attached press release.

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New CEFR companion volume with new Descriptors

26 September 2017 (Council of Europe)

The result of over twenty years of research, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is exactly what its title says it is: a framework of reference. It was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents.

The CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors (Provisional Edition) is now available. It is intended as a complement to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR). It represents another important step in a process that has been pursued by the Council of Europe since 1971 and owes much to the contributions of members of the language teaching profession across Europe and beyond.

The “Companion Volume” is the Council of Europe’s response to requests that have been made by the groups involved in the field of language education to complement the original illustrative scales with more descriptors. In addition to the extended illustrative descriptors, it contains an introduction to the aims and main principles of the CEFR.

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone 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. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.

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GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards

22 September 2017 (SCILT)

On Thursday 21 September, the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) hosted their first Excellence in Professional Learning Awards held at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow.

The Excellence in Professional Learning Award for Schools and Learning Communities recognises the central role that leadership at all levels plays in creating and sustaining professional learning environments where teacher professionalism can flourish and bring sustained impact on learning and learners.

Sir Harry Burns, Former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and Ken Muir, CEO of the GTCS presented this new award to Windygoul Primary School, East Lothian; North Ayrshire Professional Learning Academy and Fife Pedagogy Team and St Ninian’s RC High School, East Dunbartonshire. See the GTCS website for more detail about the individual successes.
 
In addition, professional learning programmes that have been accredited with Professional Recognition were also celebrated. As such, Lynne Jones Professional Development Officer at SCILT was delighted to accept a trophy on behalf of SCILT and Education Scotland as further validation of the 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme (formerly known as Train the Trainer). Visit the SCILT website for more information about this national, flagship professional learning opportunity.

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An t-Alltan conference

22 September 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

Teachers involved in Gaelic Medium Education from all over the country will be gathering in Aviemore next week for the annual An t-Alltan conference.

Organised by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Naiseanta na Gaidhlig, based in Stornoway, this will be the ninth year of An t-Alltan and the number of attendees has been growing every year.

It is taking place in the Macdonald Aviemore Conference Centre, on September 27 and 28.

Around 200 teachers from the early years sector through to high school are expected to attend and the keynote speech will be delivered by Joan Mackay, assistant director at Education Scotland, on the theme of ‘developing the young workforce’ and ‘what kind of leaders we need to be’.

There will be nearly 30 workshops held across the two days and 18 exhibitors.

See the full press release attached for more information.
photos from An t-Alltan conference

Glasgow named one of the top cities in the world to learn about Chinese language and culture

20 September 2017 (Glasgow Live)

Glasgow is officially home to a world leader in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS) has been appointed a Model Confucius Institute by the global headquarters, Hanban.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is one of only 40 facilities out of 500 across the globe to be given the status.

Bosses have also announced the institute, which is open to people from all over the country, is set for a move to a new HQ at the university's Ramshorn Theatre.

The Grade A-Listed building is being given a £2 million refurbishment - which includes a substantial investment by Hanban - to develop it as a publicly-accessible hub for learning and cultural exchange.

The new premises will have the capacity to host performances, conferences and exhibitions.

A plaque marking the new status of the institute was unveiled at a conference attended by Scottish Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK, was also a keynote speaker at the event, held to mark the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Institute.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “As a leading international university, we are extremely proud of our academic links around the globe and our diverse student and staff community.

“This prestigious accolade for our Confucius Institute reflects the important role it plays in improving understanding of Chinese language and culture across Scotland, and we congratulate everyone involved on their fantastic achievement.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Institute’s move to its new headquarters on campus will enable even more schools, businesses and community groups to benefit from increased educational and economic opportunities, with a further 10 Confucius Classroom Hubs being announced today.”

Read more...

Related Links

China bolsters Confucius Institute culture scheme in Scotland (The Times, 20 September 2017)

Confucius Hub opens at Braehead Primary (Stirling Council, 21 September 2017)

Council to spend £160,000 teaching staff to speak Gaelic

20 September 2017 (The Herald)

A council plans to spend £160,000 teaching its staff to speak Gaelic.

Perth and Kinross aims to reverse the decline which has left just 1,287 locals speaking the language.

The local authority has revealed proposals for a £160,000 Gaelic Language Plan to be rolled out over the next five years.

Read more...

Alliance Française newsletter - September 2017

19 September 2017 (Alliance Française)

The autumn term has just begun at the Alliance Française in Glasgow. In their latest newsletter, find out more about the upcoming courses and events taking place, including:

  • Beginner course for primary school teachers
  • Grammar course and oral skills course for university students
  • October break workshop for children
  • DELF/DALF exams
  • Distance learning with 'Frantastique' - access a free trial
For all this, and more, see the newsletter online.

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1+2 approach to language learning: National road shows for the secondary sector - May/June 2017

15 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

This video resource contains the key messages by speakers from the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Education Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), and SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages, on the 1+2 approach to language learning and the impact of the policy in the secondary sector. The resource also contains key PowerPoint slides.

This resource can be used in modern languages departments, to support discussion around transition, entitlement and effective timetabling for L2 (first additional language) and L3 (second additional language).

Visit the Education Scotland website for more information.

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eTwinning

15 September 2017 (eTwinning)

eTwinning offers a platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate, share and develop projects with like-minded colleagues across Europe.

Visit the website to find out more about eTwinning and how being part of the community can benefit you and your pupils.

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The e-Sgoil is ‘a reason to come back to teaching’

15 September 2017 (TESS)

A project that allows lessons to be beamed into Scottish classrooms has been described as “one of the best things” happening in Scottish education by a former education director who has conducted an independent review of the scheme.

The e-Sgoil – or e-school – based in the Western Isles became a reality at the beginning of 2016-17 to help tackle the teacher shortage, particularly in Gaelic, and to give secondary pupils in remote and rural schools a wider range of subjects.

Access the full article in TESS online, 15 September 2017 (subscription may be required).

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Host a Teacher from Germany

15 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

There's still time to apply. Closing deadline is 21 September 2017.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Languagenut and SCILT exclusive

15 September 2017 (Languagenut)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 21 modern foreign languages. 

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning.

We’ve collaborated with SCILT to give Scottish schools free exclusive access to Languagenut for 45 days! Visit the website to register.

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ECML Think tank - Language learning pathways

13 September 2017 (ECML)

The aim of the new ECML think tanks is to create a network of expertise from across ECML member states and beyond which can advise the ECML secretariat on how to address a range of key priorities in language education.

The first step in the think tank process is the development of an online questionnaire for each theme which is then disseminated as widely as possible so that a picture of the current state-of-play emerges, revealing both success stories as well as challenges. 

You are invited to share your views and experiences on language learning pathways in the online survey by midnight (CET), Sunday 1 October 2017, and you might be selected to participate in the think tank meeting in January 2018.

Visit the ECML website to find out more about the think tanks.

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Professional development in Germany

13 September 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

Every year the Goethe-Institut offers an attractive range of residential training and language courses for teachers of German: for primary and secondary teachers, for teachers in further education and teacher trainers:

  • Language Courses
  • Landeskunde
  • Methodology/Teaching Strategies

Deadline for applications: 15 October 2017. 

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information. Teachers from Scotland, please apply to Goethe-Institut Glasgow.

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Three ways schools need to change their approach to boost MFL

11 September 2017 (TES)

Applies to England

MFL entries at A level are still falling, but there is hope on the horizon if schools seize the initiative, says this assistant headteacher.

It seems to have become a scheduled event in the modern languages’ calendar to lament the ever-depressing fate of uptake of the subject at A level. Reformed specifications have made the gap between GCSE and A level even wider, fuelling the notion that A-level languages are for native speakers only. 

Yet more depressing: A-level MFL provision has almost disappeared in the North East, accounting for only 3% of all entries. University language departments are on the brink of closure and revised visa requirements for EU nationals could result in further exacerbation of an already difficult recruitment market. The death knell of routine A-level MFL provision in all schools is deafening. 

And yet – whisper it softly – the stars of a more illustrious future for modern languages may be coming into alignment. The reformed specifications are a vast improvement on their predecessors, with film, literature, history and politics at their core, making for exciting and engaging courses. 

Read more...

ALL Language Teacher of the Year Award 2018

7 September 2017 (ALL)

Do you know an inspirational primary or secondary teacher?

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) are now looking for nominations in the two categories for the 2018 awards – which are now open to teachers throughout the UK.

The award scheme aims to support and promote language teaching, recognise the efforts and achievements of language teachers, encourage and disseminate exciting, motivating practice among language teachers and raise the profile of language teaching as a career.

Visit the ALL website for more information about each award and how to make a nomination.

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Beginners 1 French Course for Primary School Teachers

7 September 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française Glasgow is running a new 10-week Beginners 1 French course for Primary School teachers between October and December 2017.

This course is suitable for complete beginners.

  • 20 hours of lessons over 10 weeks tailored to the needs of Primary School teachers: classroom and speaking activities, pronunciation, communication, increase your confidence and feel more comfortable speaking French.
  • The course will take take place on Thursdays 3.45 - 5.45 pm between 5 October and 14 December 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to enrol.

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French and Spanish courses for nursery and primary teachers

7 September 2017 (SALT)

Offered by Smalltalk Languages, this course is aimed at nursery/primary staff who are currently introducing French/Spanish as part of their curriculum for excellence/1+2 languages programme or intend to do so. Suitable for both complete beginners and people with prior knowledge of the language, the main focus of the course will be on language learning and practical methodology.

On the day participants will look at language from the children’s perspective. They will be shown how to build both their own and the children’s confidence in language skills while learning the importance of adapting and manipulating language for maximum effect.

Visit the SALT website for available dates and locations.

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Education Scotland Gaelic news

6 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Gaelic e-bulletin is now available.

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News from UK-German Connection

6 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of funded opportunities for schools in the UK to link with schools in Germany as well as providing resources and activities for the classroom and professional learning for teachers.

In their latest newsletter you can find out more about current opportunities, including:

  • Deadline reminder: seas and oceans youth seminar
  • Host a Teacher in 2018
  • Voyage kids: back to school special
  • Magical Christmas Trips
  • Partnerships Bursaries
  • Young Europeans Award
  • Looking ahead

Find out more on their website.

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German Debating Competition 2017

5 September 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

This year the Goethe Institute Glasgow is proud to launch a German Debating Competition for Higher and Advanced Higher secondary school students in Scotland.

Debating in German is an innovative method for language teaching and learning and is of major benefit to all students: participants can improve their language and communication skills and develop a higher motivation for further language learning.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register by 30 September.

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European Language Gazette Issue 37

31 August 2017 (ECML)

The May-July 2017 edition of the European Centre for Modern Language's newsletter is now available online.

The European Language Gazette highlights the latest developments, programmes and initiatives in language education in Europe.

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Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence

30 August 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published a report on the impact on literacy of learning Scots. The report ‘Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence: enhancing skills in literacy, developing successful learners and confident individuals’ is available on the National Improvement Hub.

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Russian ambassador confronts Sturgeon over Scottish curriculum

30 August 2017 (The Courier)

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, expressed his disappointment to Nicola Sturgeon over the Scottish Qualifications Authority dropping the language from the curriculum.

In a letter, which has been published under freedom of information laws, Mr Yakovenko called on Ms Sturgeon to intervene.

The correspondence also revealed the FM has declined invitations to official Russian functions in Edinburgh and London on four occasions since June 2016.

Mr Yakovenko, who was previously deputy minister of foreign affairs, said: “The cancellation of the exams seriously affected the resources available for cultural and business links, for people-to-people contacts and the personal development of individuals.”

He added: “I believe there may be ways for the Scottish Government to have the above decisions revisited, and I would hugely appreciate your attention to the matter.”

However, he did highlight Dundee Russian School for its valuable work in teaching children and adults the language, which is the fifth most prevalent in the world.

The First Minster left it to her deputy John Swinney to reply, which he did about two months after the original letter was sent in December 2016.

Mr Swinney, who is also Education Secretary, said: “The decision to remove courses was made entirely on practical grounds, reflecting difficulties in maintaining standards in subjects experiencing consistently low uptake.”

He added: “I would assure you that SQA’s decision bore no reflection on the relative merit or value of Russian language or literature – which are considerable.”

Mr Swinney said Scots could learn the language through modern languages for work purposes units and the Language for Life and Work Award.

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British Council Modern Language Assistants have arrived!

28 August 2017 (British Council)

We were very pleased to welcome our new cohort of Modern Language Assistants (MLAs) to Scotland last week with an induction meeting in Edinburgh.

This year, we have almost 80 assistants from 10 different countries in 8 Local Educational Authorities.

Huge thanks to our colleagues at SCILT who supported the event, as well as Louise Glen from Education Scotland and representatives from the Institut Français and the Spanish Consejería.

If you are interested in hosting a language assistant, or would simply like more information, please email languageassistants.uk@britishcouncil.org or visit the British Council website.

photo of MLAs

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N5 Modern Languages: assignment-writing understanding standards materials

25 August 2017 (SQA)

Eight pieces of candidate evidence with commentaries for the new Assignment – writing component of the National 5 Modern Languages course for 2017-18 have been published on SQA’s Understanding Standards website. These contain examples in French, German and Spanish. Further examples in other languages will be published as soon as these are developed.

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Why asking struggling pupils to take a language GCSE early is a winner

25 August 2017 (TES)

How do you encourage lower-ability students to stick with learning a new language? By offering them the chance to take the subject at GCSE … a whole two years early. The results speak for themselves, says Eva Vicente.

Learning languages didn’t come easy to Jack when he first joined secondary school. Ordinarily, he would have dropped the subject when he was choosing which GCSEs to study at key stage 4. So imagine his delight that he’d already notched up a Spanish GCSE by the end of Year 9, two years before his more proficient friends would have the opportunity to do the same.

His impressive achievement was made possible by the unconventional system we have implemented at Rushcliffe School, which allows struggling pupils the chance to study for their Spanish GCSE in Years 8 and 9. Asking teenagers to sit what is supposed to be one of the hardest GCSE subjects two years early may seem a little crazy – even more so when you consider the pupils in question are the ones who are struggling the most with the subject – but there is method in our madness.

Britain is at the back of the queue in terms of language skills. Why? Because children here don’t study languages as early, as often or for as long as those in other countries. Despite endless changes in policy, the UK simply does not invest in language learning.

But at Rushcliffe we don’t buy into the idea that learning a language is only for a handful of very academic students who are able to leap over the education system’s barriers – delayed exposure to learning languages and limited timetable allocation. We decided to turn things around and commit to ensuring that as many students as possible get a language qualification, without it impacting on their GCSE choices at key stage 4. So how does it work?

Read more...

Bring the world into your school

24 August 2017 (British Council)

We offer many ways to help enhance learning and teaching in schools in Scotland. Raising attainment, building literacy and numeracy, and helping bridge the attainment gap are high on the schools agenda. An international dimension can be motivational for staff and learners, and has been shown to make a real difference in these priority areas.

Our professional development opportunities, curriculum resources and international linking programmes offer a range of exciting and innovative approaches to learning and raising attainment.

Our Bring the World into your School booklet details each of our programmes and shows how they have been developed to strengthen the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. We also outline how international education can be used across Scotland to improve whole school performance.

Visit the website for more information about the Bring the World into your School initiative, the Learning for Sustainability programme, eTwinning, Erasmus+ funded projects and Language Assistants programme and how these can support and benefit Scottish schools.

Read more...

International teacher mentoring conference for Hanban teachers across Scotland

24 August 2017 (CISS)

On Friday 10 November, CISS will be facilitating our international teacher mentoring conference for Hanban teachers across Scotland and their mentors in Scottish schools.

Please ensure that the teacher who is mentor attends the day with their mentee as we will have a range of speakers and workshop facilitators including SCEL, GTCS, Staff Development Strathclyde and ourselves. We would like to include other teachers who are interested in mentoring as well as our Hanban teacher mentors so please contact CISS to register.

While it is essential the Hanban teacher mentor can attend, other interested teachers are welcome.

Cross-Sector Hub meetings

24 August 2017 (SCILT)

UCMLS, the professional organisation representing languages staff in Scottish universities, is again holding two sets of regional cross-sector meetings during 2017-18, with support from SCILT.

The first round of meetings will be during the week beginning 11 September 2017. We will present our planned events and initiatives for the coming session, including the new Languages Lost & Found events on 18 November.

Language teachers and staff in schools, colleges and universities are warmly invited to attend. For those who live too far to attend in person we are also offering the option of joining us on one of two virtual meetings via Skype.

Please register for your session choice by Friday 1 September 2017.

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Minato Japanese course for teachers

22 August 2017 (Japan Foundation)

A unique opportunity for teachers to start learning Japanese as a complete beginner.

The Marugoto A1-1 (Katsudoo - Activity & Rikai - Grammar) 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 with the tutor.

Enrolment deadline: 31 August 2017
Course period: 14 September – 15 December 2017
Course fee: £40 (50% launch discount; usual cost £80)

Each participant needs to have their own individual account and computer (or other suitable internet-enabled device), headphones and webcam to have the opportunity to speak and practice Japanese.

Please note a maximum of 40 people can be accepted on the course. Your suitability for this course will be assessed by the Japan Foundation after your application has been received.

Visit the course website for full details and to register.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2017

21 August 2017 (Vocab Express)

The next League of Champions competition from Vocab Express will be taking place from 28 September to 4 October 2017.

It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students. Free spaces are still currently available!

Visit the website for more information and to register your school.

Teachers can also sign up for guest access to a free trial of the Vocab Express platform using their school or academic e-mail address.

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Hundreds of languages are spoken in the UK, but this isn’t always reflected in the classroom

21 August 2017 (The Conversation)

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools. And in England, over 20% of primary school children use English as an additional language.

This equates to over 900,000 children for whom English is not their first language. These children might have been born in another country, their parents might speak another language to them at home, or they might just know a few words of another language because their grandparents immigrated to England a long time ago. But just like any other pupil, they attend schools across the country, speak (or learn to speak) in English and participate in the national curriculum. Yet the fact these children also bring with them a rich understanding of another language and culture can often go unnoticed.

Bilingualism is something we usually celebrate in adults yet not always in the classroom, where English is usually prioritised. This is despite the fact that many communities in Britain, speak more than one language.

In the 2011 British Census, for example, 4.2m people reported having a main language other than English. And just over half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one other language in addition to their mother tongue.

Research shows that some children never have the opportunity to use their home language at school. And in some cases, their teachers might not even know they speak another language.

In the absence of school or community support, these children can sometimes end up losing their home languages. This is something that may be particularly true in highly monolingual areas which experience less immigration.

The problem then is that these areas – where English is the only language spoken – become even more monolingual. All while other areas of the country grow and celebrate their linguistic diversity.

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'The Smart Choice: German' schools network

15 August 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is accepting applications to join the schools' network 'The Smart Choice: German'.

In 2016 the Goethe-Institut set up 19 Digital German Networks in the United Kingdom. It is now looking to build on this success and to identify further networks of secondary and/or primary schools that have the intention to start, facilitate and strengthen the teaching of German. 

At least three schools need to build a network. The lead partner can apply for the funding with the Goethe-Institut. It can be a secondary school supporting feeder schools or a cluster of primary schools reaching out to a secondary school teaching German. It can also be three primary schools in one area wanting to make a start with German or already having started with it.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website to find out more and to apply by 30 September 2017.

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Concours de la francophonie 2017 - final report

15 August 2017 (Institut français)

The Concours de la francophonie was launched in 2016 by the Institut français d'Ecosse to showcase the vitality of the French language in Scottish schools and to encourage all learners from P1 to S6.

To enter the competition schools sent in a short film of a class activity in French.

See the attached document for full details of the 2017 competition, winners and photographs.

Magical Christmas Trips 2017

15 August 2017 (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 Germany
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany
To find out more, please visit the UK-German Connection's website and apply by 26 September 2017.

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Language immersion in Australian schools

4 August 2017 (ABC News)

Video report from ABC News on South Australia's Department for Education and Child Development's (DECD) language immersion programmes in schools.

The news story highlights that in just six months students at two schools have immersed themselves in the French and Chinese language.

See the video online on the DECD Facebook page, or read an earlier published news item 'Adelaide schools finding success with bilingual classes in French and Chinese' on the policy (ABC, 23 June 2017).

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Which language should we teach in school?

2 August 2017 (MEITS blog)

Increasing motivation for language learning in UK schools and encouraging children to maintain their languages study past the point at which they have the chance to stop is an ongoing challenge. One important question here is: to what extent are success and motivation linked to the particular language pupils study?

The myth of the monolingual Brit, who refuses to speak foreign languages, has been supplemented in recent years by the narrative that we are not only unwilling, but also unable to speak foreign languages. For example, the 2012 European Survey on Language Competences, which sought to provide comparable data on standards of achievement in 15-year old learners across 16 participating countries, showed pupils in England languishing at the bottom of the table, where the learning of the first foreign language (French) was concerned.

The figures, however, tell a slightly different story when we consider the learning of the second foreign language. For example, Sweden, which had topped the charts for English proficiency, languished at the bottom when it came to the learning of the second foreign language (Spanish); learners in English secondary schools who were studying German as a second language did better.

Leaving aside the difficulty of providing robust data from such surveys, this study provides support for the idea that the language learned really does matter. Motivation for English learning is so strong in most parts of the world that for many learners it is now a life skill as much as a foreign language. Motivation for studying the second and third foreign languages, however, can be as difficult to achieve in other parts of the world as it is for the first in our own setting.

In Europe and the rest of the world English’s position as the foreign language of choice remains unassailable. For example, the 2017 Eurodice Report, which provides key data on teaching languages at school in Europe, reports that in 2014 virtually all EU students (97.3 %) studied English during the entire period of lower secondary education. After that came French (33.7 %), German (23.1 %) and Spanish (19.1 %), with other languages rarely studied.

The question of which language should we teach our learners in England remains a source of debate.

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Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme

1 August 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme exists to create links between schools and Japanese-speaking volunteers. JTS volunteers carry out school visits across the UK to introduce students at any level to the Japanese language, often as part of an International or Japan day. One of the main purposes of JTS is to give schools that do not teach Japanese the opportunity to find out what it is like to learn the language and to provide them with further information should they wish to start offering Japanese. More information about the programme can be found on the Japan Foundation website.

Japan Foundation London currently has a UK-wide network of over 300 volunteers, and are always looking for more! Guidance and training sessions are offered to all members to prepare them for delivering Japanese taster sessions at schools. The next Volunteer Training Day will take place in London on 12 September 2017. If you speak Japanese and are interested in becoming part of the volunteer network, find out more and book your place now!

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From Brexit to Scandi-noir: The Importance of Modern Foreign Languages

31 July 2017 (AHRC)

Many of us will be familiar with the sight of groups of young language students in UK cities over the summer months. Their excitement at being abroad away from their parents often for the first time is obvious. In 2016, he International Association of Language Centres (IALC) reported that there were 2.28 million language students travelling abroad each year, with English language travel making up around 61% of this market.

Whilst these language-learners only represented 0.25% of second language learners across the entire globe, most travelled to English-speaking countries to learn English. If the motivation for learning English in our increasing globalised world is clear, the British often struggle to appreciate the reasons for learning another language.

“The headline news for Modern Languages recently has not been good, with decreasing numbers of entrants at A-level and a number of university departments under threat of closure or severe contraction", said Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Professor of French Philology and Linguistics from the University of Cambridge.

In response to this national concern and its global implications, the AHRC has committed £16m to research in modern foreign languages (MFL) in its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project. Its aim is to explore and understand the language learning landscape of the UK, and how it might be transformed.

As part of OWRI, the AHRC has invested in four major research programmes, one of which is Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS). Alongside her responsibilities at Cambridge, Prof Ayres-Bennett is Principal Investigator for the MEITS project.

“I think that in the current political climate of Brexit and of extensive migration, the need to learn modern foreign languages has arguably never been more important", says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

“I believe that there are huge benefits from being able to step outside a single language, culture and mode of thought", explains Prof Ayres-Bennett. "It enables you to see the world through other people’s eyes".

Prof Ayres-Bennett argues that the ability to speak another language is valuable to many different areas of society. "Whether we think of international relations, diplomacy, security and defence, or areas such as conflict-resolution and peace-building, or, crucially today, business, international trade, and social cohesion, all of these have languages at their heart."

Linguists are needed to provide vital translation and interpreting services. However, the need for direct communication between parties was well demonstrated by the experience of the British military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prof Ayres-Bennett also thinks that through reading literature in the language in which it was written, we can begin to see the world through the linguistic categories and worldview of its speakers.

"The gradual opening up of new worlds and the move from incomprehension to being able to make sense of another language and culture can be truly magical ”, says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

Scandi noir dramas have become very popular and one of the biggest hits of the year has been the Spanish language song 'Despacito'. Many young people in Europe improve their English through listening to music and watching films in English so that they no longer need to depend on subtitles.“TV and the internet increasingly provide opportunities for people to view foreign language material and to learn about other cultures.”

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Certificate of Continuing Education (CCed) in Spanish 2017-18

28 July 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

Applications are open for the University of Strathclyde's Certificate of Continuing Education in Spanish (evening classes).

The CCed course will be of interest to those who wish to learn Spanish, including primary and secondary school teachers and a range of professional people with an interest in the Spanish world and their language. The Certificate provides a General Teaching Council approved qualification, subject to a 13 week residency period in a Spanish speaking country.

See the attached flyer for more information, including how to enrol for the September 2017 intake.

Related Files

Transdisciplinary language experiences using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

27 July 2017 (Language Show London)

This blogpost from Judith McKerrecher outlines the session she will be facilitating on behalf of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and The Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) at the Languages Show in London in October 2017.

As well as looking at and discussing the connections to the sustainable development goals, our planet and language learning, the session will explore a variety of contexts for language learning.

Having recently created a new project based professional learning menu, we have carefully considered the SDGs and this is reflected in the choices on offer. For example, the opportunity to combine science experiments with languages, geography, storytelling and outdoor learning or history with language, heritage, culture and nature is a breath of fresh air to language learning. In this way, languages can be used creatively and purposefully in new contexts.

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Young Brits to make German connections

19 July 2017 (UK Government)

More British youngsters will be able to learn about German language and culture after a new agreement was made between the Foreign Secretary and the German Foreign Minister.

Boris Johnson and Sigmar Gabriel have signed off on a doubling of funding for UK-German Connection (UKGC), which means an increase in the number of places available on the scheme.

The funding increase, to around £230,000 and matched by the German government, will expand the scheme’s work in bringing together children and teachers in both countries to learn about each other’s language, history, and culture.

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Government to spend £10m recruiting 600 foreign teachers to fill maths, physics and languages roles

15 July 2017 (The Independent)

The government is to spend up to £10m recruiting foreign teachers to fill shortages in maths, physics and languages roles.

The multi-million pound sum, to be funded by the taxpayer, will be spent on finding and training 600 new teachers, potentially equating to a cost of more than £16,000 per teacher.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) have published a tender outlining plans to recruit the teachers over three years, with the first intake beginning in September 2018.

Last week it was revealed that a quarter of teachers who qualified since 2011 have left the job.

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Poorer children are being left behind when it comes to learning languages

10 July 2017 (The Conversation)

The British have a reputation (rightly or wrongly) for struggling to learn foreign languages. A recent survey showed, for example, that 62% of the population can’t speak any other language apart from English.

Part of the issue is that language learning in schools faces huge challenges. GCSE uptake remains stuck at around 50% and the number of students taking an A-level in a language has declined by about a third since 1996. And the latest Language Trends Survey, which looks at uptake of language learning in England, makes for worrying reading.

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A traffic-light system to drive pupils towards learning Chinese

7 July 2017 (TESS)

Forgive me if I get straight to the point, but I know time is sparse for teachers and this message is important. There are five key reasons that every child should learn Mandarin Chinese. And they are as follows:
  1. China is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures, with more than 5,000 years of history and the world’s longest continuous writing system. Learning Mandarin Chinese will open the door to a wealth of literature, poetry and art and gives students a unique insight into a fascinating culture.
  2. China is also the most populous nation in the world and Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than one billion people. In many countries, Mandarin Chinese is becoming the most popular foreign language and it is likely to become Asia’s future lingua franca. Speaking Mandarin will create opportunities for work and travel throughout Asia – and beyond.
  3. Almost a quarter of internet usage is conducted in Chinese, while China’s economy is the second largest in the world. Proficiency in Mandarin Chinese is hugely beneficial for a career in business or the diplomatic service, and it is now one of the priority languages for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  4. Learning Mandarin Chinese is mentally stimulating and challenging; research has shown that while English speakers only use the left temporal lobe, speakers of Mandarin use both left and right. One advantage of this increased brain activity is that Mandarin speakers are more likely to have perfect pitch. In addition, learning to write characters can help with motor skills and visual recognition.
  5. The unique challenges of learning Chinese engage and motivate learners who might not be your “typical linguists”: mathematicians enjoy the logicality of the language; artistic children may enjoy “drawing” characters; musical children can distinguish and recall the tones more easily; children who struggle with dyslexia find relief in not having to learn another set of spelling and phonology rules.
That’s all very well, you might claim, but the school timetable is crowded and integrating a new subject area would take up that time we don’t have.

To counter this line of argument, I offer you a traffic light of options to ensure every child in your school can learn Mandarin.

Read the full article in TESS online, 7 July 2017 (subscription required).

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Modern languages: four reforms to reclaim the future of our discipline

26 June 2017 (THE)

Recent measures taken at a number of UK universities – including cutbacks on modern languages staffing, redundancies and in some cases the closure of courses – show the unprecedented pressures that UK universities are facing (and the serious implications these pressures have for an already embattled modern languages community).

Modern languages disciplines can exercise some control over their future, if they are prepared to be pro-active, to countenance radical reform of their programmes, to rethink their relationships with other disciplines and to engage in a creative reimagining of the place of languages in a globalised world.

Below we offer some suggestions that, if they do not represent a water-tight, universally applicable solution, may at least initiate the sort of conversation across our community that is urgently required.

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SQA update - National 5 Modern Languages

SQA (23 June 2017)

The following documents will be available for all National 5 Modern Languages courses by the afternoon of Friday 23 June:
  • Coursework assessment task - assignment (writing)
  • Coursework assessment task - performance (talking)
  • Course support notes
The course support notes will be added to the National 5 course specification as an appendix. The course specification will then be updated to version 2.0 and the date will change to June 2017, but there is no further change to the content of this document.

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Coming soon: SCILT Associates

23 June 2017 (SCILT)

New for session 2017/18, SCILT is compiling a database of partners and stakeholders, including teachers from all sectors, who wish to become associate members of the SCILT team.

Throughout the year, we may contact our associates if we are planning either a project or piece of work where we require additional capacity, expertise or advice.

If you think you might like to work more closely with the team and help us enlarge the 'SCILT family', then please keep your eye on the bulletin at the start of the new session when we will be able to give further information and sign up details.

Connecting Classrooms programme

22 June 2017 (British Council)

If you're thinking about collaborating with an overseas partner school next term, Connecting Classrooms could be the programme for you.

The global education programme is brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

Listen to participating teachers share their experiences, and learn more about how you can get involved, on the Connecting Classrooms website.

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Bilingual story book readings

22 June 2017 (The Language Hub)

From August 2017 until April 2018, the Language Hub in Glasgow will be running bilingual story book readings at Hillhead and Partick Library. Whilst aimed at pre-school aged children, everyone is welcome. These sessions are free to attend and have been funded by the participatory budgeting project ‘Over to you Glasgow North’ delivered by WSREC (West of Scotland Regional Equality Council).

Visit the website for more information about these events.

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MFL teacher challenge looms

21 June 2017 (Sec Ed)

The recruitment of more suitably qualified languages teachers is “likely to become more critical” because of the need to increase up-take at GCSE.

The annual Languages Trends report warns that schools are finding it “challenging” to recruit language teachers who are able to offer two languages to GCSE and A level standard.

The report states: “This difficulty most affects lower-attaining schools and those working in more disadvantaged circumstances.” Language GCSEs form part of the EBacc and Progress 8 accountability measures and as such schools are incentivised to increase uptake.

However, recruitment has proved challenging for some schools, including for language positions.

Recent research by the NFER has shown that schools are seeing particularly high leaving rates for teachers of maths, science and languages. The recruitment target for trainee language teachers was also missed this year, according to Department for Education figures published in November.

Meanwhile, figures released by Ofqual this week (see story above) show that entries for GCSE languages this year are down on 2016. This includes:

French (Down from 135,200 to 121,800).
German (Down from 48,000 to 42,050).
Spanish (Down from 88,150 to 85,500).
Other MFL (Down from 33,900 to 33,000).

However, the Languages Trends report, which is published by the British Council, says that 38 per cent of state schools plan to increase language GCSE entries year-on-year.

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Gaelic e-bulletin - June 2017

21 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Gaelic e-bulletin has just been issued and can be accessed online.

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Why just speaking English isn’t going to cut it anymore

15 June 2017 (The Conversation)

Britain is facing an uncertain future and an uneasy relationship with Europe after Brexit and the latest general election. Among other things, a key determiner of the success of Brexit will be the UK’s ability to conduct negotiations without language barriers. But the country’s woeful inability to learn languages, and the decline in foreign language learning among school and university students across Britain, does not bode well.

Of course, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish and Cornish are already spoken in some parts of the UK. And while it’s great to see many of these minority languages experiencing something of a revival over recent years, when it comes to life after Brexit it’s languages from further afield that will likely be most useful to Brits.

Many people in the UK may well ask “why we need languages” when “everyone in Europe speaks English anyway”. Indeed, all Brexit negotiations will be conducted in English. But given that the UK’s lack of foreign language skill is estimated to cost the nation up to £48 billion a year, this isn’t something that can just be ignored. Especially considering this figure is unlikely to decrease in post-Brexit Britain.

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Modern Language Assistants (MLA) Projects 2016-17

15 June 2017 (SCILT / British Council)

Every year language assistants try to make languages really come alive for young people in Scotland's schools, e.g. by initiating a language exchange, participating in language competitions, or by organising immersion days. 

In this blog you can browse through the work of last year's assistants. You can search the slides either by language or by school year group. Enjoy, and we hope you will be inspired to follow in their footsteps!

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Island teachers ready to Go! Gaelic after pilot training programme

14 June 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

Seven primary teachers from the Outer Hebrides are about to complete a pilot training course that will enable them to train colleagues in how to teach Gaelic to children in their class.

The programme has been specially constructed by training experts working for Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig as part of the company’s strategic approach to boost the teaching of Gaelic in English Medium Education. The training demonstrates how to make best use of the Go! Gaelic programme of resources, created by a team of language experts, designers and IT professionals at Stòrlann.

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German Teacher Award Ceremony 2017

13 June 2017 (German Embassy)

On Monday, 12 June, Ambassador Peter Ammon welcomed John le Carré to his Residence for the annual ‘Sommerfest der deutschen Sprache’, where they presented the 14th German Teacher Awards to outstanding teachers of German in the UK.

The annual German Teacher Award and the ‘Sommerfest’ pay tribute to the work of German teachers across the UK and give guests the opportunity to network. Over 220 teachers and representatives from the education and language teaching sectors, business and media from all over the UK joined this year’s celebrations and followed the announcement of the 2017 winners.

Addressing the teachers in his welcome speech, Ambassador Ammon said that "never before has your mission to teach languages as a gateway to another culture encouraging friendship, trust and understanding across borders been more important than today." He was delighted to welcome renowned writer John le Carré as the keynote speaker for the event, who once more proved himself a staunch supporter of language learning as the key to understanding other cultures.

Morag E J Allan of Wellington School in Ayr was one of the teachers awarded a "Special Mention" at the ceremony.

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1+2 FAQS for practitioners: revised and refreshed

13 June 2017 (SCILT)

Following a wide-ranging consultation with the profession earlier this academic session, our 1+2 FAQs for practitioners have been updated and uploaded to the SCILT website.

Sincere thanks go to all the primary and secondary teachers who took the time to participate in our survey.

If you have any further questions about the 1+2 Approach, please contact scilt@strath.ac.uk.

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South American Spanish Day @ The Zoo

11 June 2017 (Preston Street Primary)

Thursday the 8th June was an important date for P6 and not because Theresa May decided to have her snap election that day. P6 at Preston Street Primary managed to secure themselves an opportunity to attend a South American Spanish Day event at Edinburgh Zoo.

To start the day off P6 had a short introduction via a video from Dr. Arnaud Desbiez who manages the RZSS South American projects. This was followed by Sandie Robb explaining a new initiative ‘Science in the Language Class’ which links to RZSS conservation projects to language learning. This led into a fun quiz which covered facts about some South American animals and included Spanish questions on numbers, colours and parts of the body. Afterwards, a gentleman by the name of Xabier San Isidro told us his story of how his love for languages shaped his life.

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UK-German Connection news - Summer 2017

9 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for UK schools to partner with a school in Germany. The following options are currently available. Follow the appropriate link for more information:

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about all their activities.

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Young Applicants in Schools

8 June 2017 (Open University)

The Open University's Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) gives S6 students in Scotland the unique opportunity to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies.

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and university, college or employment and helps motivated students stand out from the crowd. It encourages independent learning and builds confidence. Key skills like time management and accessing electronic resources are developed.

Registration for YASS modules is organised through the school, although students deal directly with The OU when it comes to their course work and assessment.

See the webpage for an overview of the language modules which can be studied.

Visit the Open University website or contact Sylvia Warnecke for more information about the YASS scheme and to enrol.

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Are Chinese-English bilingual schools the future of primary education?

7 June 2017 (The Telegraph)

There are just two classrooms at Kensington Wade, a shiny new independent prep school opening in west London in September, and at a glance, they look the same. Colourful charts cover the walls, storybooks line the shelves, the odd toy lies around. Peer a little closer, however, and a certain difference becomes clear.

“There isn’t a word of English in here,” the headmistress, Jo Wallace, says as we pause in one of them. It’s true – the charts contain only Chinese symbols, the books are in Mandarin, and laid out are traditional oriental fans, scrolls and artwork. Even the school’s world map, which might normally have Europe at the centre of the picture, instead shows gives Asia and the Pacific the limelight.

“That’s what we mean by this being totally immersive learning,” Wallace says, “the children will switch as soon as they’re in here, and that’s how they’ll begin to think in two ways.”

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Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Winners announced!

7 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire Council (Making Languages Come Alive)
  • Ardnamurchan High School, The Highland Council (Gaelic Education Award)

Visit the website for information and photos of all the category winners.

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Mandarin success in Scottish schools

6 June 2017 (Spectrum Sino)

Recently-launched efforts to teach Mandarin in Scottish schools have been hailed for the interest they have created amongst children to learn more about Chinese culture, history and language.

Schools across the country have celebrated the opening of their Confucius classroom hubs.

Read more...

Related Links

New website dedicated to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

5 June 2017 (ECML)

The CEFR was created in order to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the development of language programmes, curriculum guidelines and teaching/learning materials, as well as to assist the assessment of foreign language proficiency.

The Framework is particularly well-known for its 6-level proficiency scale (A1 < C2), which can be divided into different categories in order to create transparent and coherent language proficiency profiles – a major innovation in the domain of European education.

However the CEFR does not begin and end with the levels, nor is it intended as a standardisation instrument. As a reference tool, its aim is to facilitate transparency and coherence in language education at all levels: curricula, teaching, assessment and teacher education.

The new CEFR website offers a range of different resources, contributed by major European institutions and developed in different research projects and investigations.

Read more...

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2017

5 June 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation London is looking for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education. You can apply for up to £3,000.

We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:
  1. Introducing Japanese into the curriculum at a primary or secondary school
  2. Supporting GCSE or A-level Japanese courses
  3. Introducing Japanese extracurricular club or enrichment subject at a primary or secondary school
The next deadline to apply for funding is Friday 16 June 2017.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information.

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Host a teacher from Germany

2 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

Offers from UK schools to host teachers from Germany in 2017-18 are now being accepted. Application deadlines are 10 July 2017 / 21 September 2017.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Celebrating BLC success!

2 June 2017 (CISS)

Pupils from Lasswade High School were presented with certificates and a badge each on Wednesday 31 May for completing an app which they designed for young Chinese visitors to Edinburgh Castle.

The S3 pupils had researched Edinburgh Castle, making a visit before and after designing the trail (the latter visit to test it). With the support of the app company, 'Global Treasure Apps', they created a trail for young speakers of Chinese who might visit the castle. This is an age group the castle want to attract to the premises more effectively; moreover, the number of tourists from China is increasing all the time. After London, Edinburgh Castle is the second favourite spot for Chinese visitors to the UK.

The S3 pupils worked in teams and the winning team all received a phone charger from the app company.

The pupils will build on their success and most will continue with Mandarin into S4.

This is a good example of a Business Language Champions (BLC) project impacting on uptake in the Senior Phase: working together with outside partners such as Historic Environment Scotland, the app company and CISS.

Visit the BLC pages of our website for more information about the scheme and to find out how schools and businesses can get involved.

BLC participants at Lasswade High SchoolBLC presentations at Lasswade High School

1+2 National Events for Principal Teachers of languages and colleagues i/c timetabling : June 2017

30 May 2017 (Education Scotland/SCILT/ADES/GTCS)

These events will focus on 1+2 in the secondary sector and feature inputs from ADES, ES, GTCS, SCILT and a representative from a local business. Purpose of the day:
  • 1+2 – overview of current developments
  • sharing practice across authorities re implementation in secondary
  • transitions between primary and secondary
  • examining the place of languages in BGE and Senior Phase in secondary schools
Scottish Ministers have a clear message to all stakeholders: that learning languages is a normal part of the curriculum from P1 onwards. These regional 1+2 events for the secondary sector are part of the Strategic Implementation Group’s priority to focus on curriculum such that there is clear and effective design which ensures progress through primary and secondary schooling, and on Career Long Professional Learning to ensure practitioners are equipped, enabled and empowered to deliver high quality language learning in primary and secondary schools. Given the significance of the 1+2 policy for secondary modern languages departments, it is important that all schools are represented at these regional events.

Your LA languages contact (usually DO/QIO) will have alerted you to the event for your region, however if you have not yet received the invitation to attend your local event (two invitees per school – PT languages, plus timetabler- usually a DHT) please contact EDSCFE@EducationScotland.gsi.gov.uk

Your regional event will take place as per the schedule below:

Date

Event Location

Authorities involved

Tuesday 20 June

Stirling

Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire

Wednesday 21 June

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian


Venue details, timings and a programme for the day will be emailed to you when you register for the event.

CISS Spring 2017 newsletter

24 May 2017 (CISS)

The Spring 2017 CISS newsletter has now been published online. It is a great showcase of all the fabulous work being done across Scotland to promote Chinese language and culture.

You can view and download the newsletter on the CISS website.

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Call for case studies or practical examples of the use of instruments and frameworks for language teacher education and development

22 May 2017 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) is compiling case studies or practice examples of the use of instruments and frameworks that describe the competences and experiences of language teachers and, with respect to language-related issues, of all teachers.

They are inviting teachers, teacher educators/ trainers, administrators/officials at all levels, and employers to share their experiences of using these instruments. The practice examples will be published on the website of the current ECML project Towards a Common European Framework for Language Teachers.

Read more...

Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe – 2017 Edition

18 May 2017 (Eurydice)

The 2017 Edition of Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe depicts the main education policies regarding teaching and learning of languages in 42 European education systems.

Some of the questions answered in the report:
  • How long do students spend studying foreign languages?
  • What are the ten most commonly offered foreign languages?
  • Do foreign language teachers travel abroad for training?
  • How many immigrant students speak the language of schooling at home?
  • Plus much more
The report can be accessed on the European Commission's Eurydice website.

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Leaving Certificate language students ‘learning off’ exam answers

11 May 2017 (Irish Examiner)

(Relates to Ireland) In a series of reports on student performance in language exams last June, chief examiners say students must learn how to adapt, instead of using learned-off answers.

The issues were most acute in the 2016 Leaving Certificate exams in Spanish, French, and Italian.

There are many positive aspects, particularly about the competencies of more able students of the six languages, which also included German, Japanese, and Russian.

But in oral exams, which are worth between 20% and 25% of marks in language subjects, a common concern is that students have prepared answers.

The Spanish Leaving Certificate examiner reported, for example, that a number of students had been taught in a “rote-learning” manner that prevented the natural flow of conversation.

“Many candidates had prepared a range of topics in the general conversation, but, when gently disengaged from rote-learned topics, found it difficult to communicate effectively in the target language,” the reports said.

The reports are published today by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), whose chief examiner in Leaving Certificate French said most students were well-prepared for the orals and had a high degree of proficiency and fluency.

However, at the other end of the scale, some of the 25,758 students examined in the subject had difficulty answering even simple questions.

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Update to CISS Professional Learning Menu 2016-17

11 May 2017 (CISS)

The CISS 2016-17 professional learning menu 'Making Chinese work for you' has been updated to include two new cross-sector workshops:
  • Parent/carer engagement with the learning of Mandarin
  • Coaching and mentoring for your Hanban teacher/volunteer

Visit the Professional Learning page of the CISS website to find out more and to arrange a learning event.

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National Digital Learning Week 2017

9 May 2017 (Digilearn)

National Digital Learning Week takes place from 15-19 May 2017.

This year the theme of the week is ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week you’re invited to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on your classroom practice.

Why not use this opportunity to share any digital approaches you have to language teaching and learning in your classroom?

Visit the website to find out more about how you can participate and be inspired.

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Consul General Pan Xinchun Visits Fettes College

9 May 2017 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China)

On 4 May, Consul General Pan Xinchun paid a visit to Fettes College where he delivered a speech to the students and had a cordial meeting with the headmaster Michael Spens.

In his speech, Mr. Pan spoke highly of the Fettes College for its outstanding achievements in education. He indicated that well-educated students with global vision need knowledge about China. As the second largest economy, China has made huge contributions to the global development. He introduced the close links between China and Scotland by giving examples of people's daily life. Mr. Pan said, the demand in other countries for Mandarin speakers is increasing as China's cooperation with the rest of the world is deepening with a growing number of people learning Chinese language and culture. In Scotland alone, nearly 30,000 students from primary and secondary schools are learning. He encouraged the students to work hard and gain more understanding about China so as to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Scotland.

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EOL network ’Learning environments where modern languages flourish’ - 99 partner schools registered

9 May 2017 (ECML)

The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.

This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.

Visit the ECML website for more information and to register to join the EOL network.

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Pupil's sign language address to Scottish Parliament

9 May 2017 (BBC)

A profoundly deaf Falkirk High School pupil has delivered the Scottish Parliament's Time for Reflection in sign language.

Jemma Skelding, 12, is the youngest person to deliver the address, which is the parliament's first item of business of the week in the chamber.

Miss Skelding said she was pleased be at Holyrood ahead of next week's Deaf Awareness Week.

She told MSPs her parents and an older sister were also deaf.

Miss Skelding shared her experiences of using sign language in the address, which was translated by Mary McDevitt.

She said she grew up using sign language at home and thought everyone could use it, until she attended her first nursery.

Miss Skelding said that her next nursery taught everyone sign language half a day a week.

She said: "This was a really happy time for me.

"I was with my friends and I just felt like everyone else, we played together and we laughed a lot, we even had special sign names for each other."

Miss Skelding said things changed in P3, and by the following year she was "unhappy and felt very lonely."

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Support language attainment in class with a Modern Language Assistant

8 May 2017 (British Council)

Employing a British Council language assistant is a unique way to broaden your students understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness.

Language assistants are dynamic, enthusiastic native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese, and are usually undergraduates or recent graduates. As we recruit language assistants directly from their home countries, their language is up-to-date, the classroom resources they provide are relevant and authentic, and they will be well placed to connect with students on their own level . Simply put, employing a language assistant provides the kind of learning experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 31 May 2017.

For more information and to apply visit the British Council website.

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MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

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More sign language classes are to be held in Moffat due to demand

4 May 2017 (DNG24)

Resident Fiona Stewart, who is herself deaf, will lead the four sessions, starting on the evening of Wednesday May 17 and also running the 24 and 31 and June 7.

It comes after she hosted a successful initial introduction to British Sign Language (BSL) course earlier this year, attended by 50 people.

It was initiated by Catherine Jackson, whose children wanted to learn BSL.

She said: “The class was so popular that we ended up running two groups, both over four sessions. And there’s still a waiting list and requests for us to run more.”

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National 5 Modern Languages Course Specification

4 May 2017 (SQA)

SQA has just published the revised National 5 Course Specification.

This document contains important information about the changes to the Performance of Talking and the new Assignment-Writing.

The document can be accessed on the SQA website.

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Prince George has learnt to count in Spanish

3 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

Prince George can already count to ten in Spanish, the Duchess of Cambridge has disclosed, as she lifts the lid on their idyllic rural Good Life in Norfolk.

The Duchess said Prince George, who is not yet four, and Princess Charlotte, two, are both learning a second language, with the future king already cleverly picking it up.

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German Teacher Awards 2017

3 May 2017 (Goethe-Institut/German Embassy)

Does your school have a truly outstanding German teacher? There's still time to get nominations in for the 14th annual German Teacher Award offered by the German Embassy in London.

The purpose of this award is:
  • to recognise outstanding achievement by individual teachers of German in the UK
  • to highlight and pay tribute to the work of German teachers in the UK
  • to encourage the commitment of the winners' schools to modern language teaching
Deadline for applications: 17 May 2017. Nominations must be submitted and signed by the headteacher.

Visit the German Embassy's website for detailed information and nomination form.

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Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Finalists

2 May 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

Good luck to the Scottish Education Award finalists in the language categories!
Making languages come alive (primary)
  • Braehead Primary School, Stirling
  • Doune Primary School, Stirling
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire
Gaelic Education Award / Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig
  • Ardnamurchan High School, Highland
  • Sgoil an Taobh Siar, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  • Gartcosh Primary School, North Lanarkshire

The award presentations will take place on 7 June. For more information about the awards visit the Scottish Education Awards 2017 website.

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Japan Foundation Local Grant Programmes 2017-2018

2 May 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Japan Foundation London is now accepting grant applications for UK-based Japan related projects taking place in 2017-18 through local support programmes in the following fields:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Japanese Language
  • Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to apply.

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Apply now for a fully funded Chinese Language Assistant!

28 April 2017 (British Council)

The British Council and HSBC are pleased to announce that up to ten grants of £3,890 will be offered to cover the costs of hosting a Chinese language assistant for the academic year of 2017/18.

This is a pilot scheme for UK schools in 2017/18 and is intended to support the Sustainable Development Goal “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”. Successful schools will have the full costs of hosting a Chinese Language Assistant covered from mid-September 2017 to the end of June 2018.

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

Application deadline: 31 May 2017.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

28 April 2017 (SCILT)

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

Our latest addition comes from Charlie Foot, founder of Bili, the online language exchange platform for schools. Charlie explains how speaking to people in their own language creates opportunities for much deeper connections and cultural understanding.

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

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Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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UCMLS 1+2 action plan published!

25 April 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

Following our final consultation with stakeholders at the national UCMLS conference in Glasgow on 10 March 2017 we have produced our cross-sector Action Plan in support of Scotland's 1+2 language policy, and it is now available online. Click below for more details but please REFRESH THE PAGE to get the latest version of the webpage!
Marion Spöring, UCMLS chair.

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Language Futures – opportunities for Scottish schools

25 April 2017 (Association for Language Learning)

Language Futures aims to broaden languages provision and promote linguistic diversity. It is currently being used by schools in England to develop a second or third language both within the curriculum and during after school clubs. The programme has been trialled at a variety of levels at secondary as well as at primary across England and the Association for Language Learning (ALL) are looking to expand the scheme into Scotland.

Language Futures sees pupils choose the language they wish to study. There may be a number of languages being studied in any one classroom, with the teacher as facilitator: the teacher sets up the learning, but will not necessarily know all of the languages studied in the classroom. Pupils are supported in their language learning by mentors who are language proficient individuals from the community. The school is the base camp – it is not seen as the sole place of learning – and pupils are encouraged to learn at home and in a variety of different places. Finally, pupils design, plan and carry out extended projects which aim to build knowledge and develop skills, to incorporate language learning and inter-cultural understanding and to connect learning to the real world.

ALL would be very interested to hear from primary and secondary schools interested in piloting the approach in Scotland. Schools can sign up at no cost. ALL have created resources and guidelines to support schools and these are open access on the ALL website. If an individual school is interested, the Language Futures Project Manager would be very happy to talk them through the approach by phone, Skype etc. in the first instance. If a small group of schools was interested, ALL could explore support from a dedicated Schools Adviser who would visit schools to offer targeted support.

For further information, please contact the Language Futures Project Manager Clodagh Cooney.

Language Futures is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and has been managed by the Association for Language Learning since summer 2015.

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Link with a German school

24 April 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Broaden your pupils' horizons and enhance your school's international dimension by linking with a German school. Find out how to set up and develop a partnership with a German school, including practical tips and advice on joint activities, projects and visits to Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to offer new degree course for Gaelic teachers

23 April 2017 (SALT)

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO), the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, is to deliver a new Gaelic teaching degree.

The BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education recently received validation from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS ) and the first cohort of students will begin the course in September.

The course will be part of Sabhal Mòr’s degree pathway and will be taught through the medium of Gaelic and will focus on immersion and bilingual teaching practices in schools. This is the first time that SMO has taken the lead role in delivering a teacher training degree, and the course is designed for either secondary teaching (Gaelic as a subject) or Gaelic-medium primary teaching.

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Public Consultation on the Third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-22

21 April 2017 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A public consultation process has been launched for the third National Gaelic Language Plan, 2017-2022. The plan sets out a strategy designed to grow the numbers learning and using Gaelic in Scotland.

The consultation period will close at 5pm on 17 May 2017.

Visit the Bòrd na Gàidhlig web survey to access the plan and take part in the consultation.

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Photo exhibition workshops for primary schools: “Objectif sport”

20 April 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is organising educational workshops around sport and the French language in May and June. Through games and activities in French, pupils will learn about sport, sporting events and the values attached to them.

The workshops are designed for primary school pupils and their teachers (P3/P6) who visit the photo exhibition and are free of charge.

See the attached flyer for more information and booking instructions.

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme

20 April 2017 (SCILT)

Summer School is on! The national leadership programme formerly known as Train the Trainer has undergone an extensive review over the last year.

Under its new name, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme, this flagship national leadership programme will be open for registration from Monday. Invitations will go out to local authority representatives and teacher education institutions. The programme has Professional Recognition accreditation from GTCS and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Beginning with a Summer School which will take place from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th July 2017 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow.

Hosted by SCILT and Education Scotland, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme is aimed at those who have, or aspire to have, a responsibility for leading languages and developing colleagues’ capacity to deliver the 1+2 approach to languages.

The revised programme features inputs from a wide variety of speakers with an extensive range of expertise in teaching and leading languages. The inclusion of parallel sessions offers choice to participants, and the content is a balance of theory, policy and practice around language learning and teaching, leadership, personal reflection and professional evaluation.

The themes of this updated Summer School are:
  • 1+2 languages: the national picture and the position of languages in the National Improvement Framework and the Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Strategic leadership in languages: planning and evaluation
  • Progression in language learning
  • Parental and wider engagement in language learning
  • Raising attainment: practical ways to develop literacy skills across languages
  • L3 – existing models, diversity of languages
  • Inclusive practice in languages
  • Supporting bilingual learners
Interested in participating in The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme? Contact your local authority QIO.

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."

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Education Scotland Modern Languages newsletter - April 2017

18 April 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages newsletter is now available.

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China visit a Scottish first for brass band

14 April 2017 (Guide and Gazette)

Carnoustie High School Brass Band will play in the People’s Republic of China following a concert they performed earlier this year in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow.

The concert was for the Confucius Institute for Scotland who were so impressed by their standard of playing that they set in motion a plan to have the youngsters visit China in a cultural exchange.

The institute contacted Donald Currie, headteacher at Carnoustie High School, and requested the band make the trip next year.

Carnoustie High is the Confucius Hub for Angus and the Confucius classrooms are hubs based in schools and serving the local community.

The hub concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

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If Theresa May really wants to make Brexit a success, why is her Government making it so hard to learn a language?

13 April 2017 (The Independent)

I can still remember a conversation I had as a teenager about GCSE subject. I had the choice between doing Spanish or Geography. My late father was unequivocal: do Spanish because you have no idea how many doors another language will open for you. Three decades later I am still thankful for heeding his advice, given just how much of an influence it has had on my career and my personal life.

The Conservative Party political broadcast this week, and its 2017 local election campaign, talk about us becoming a new "Global Britain". But this Government is simultaneously failing to address the problem to achieving that ambition – that so many British people cannot speak a second language.

Boris Johnson enjoyed travelling the world to promote London at any opportunity when he was Mayor. But while Boris speaks very good French, as did Tony Blair, these politicians are hardly representative of the rest of the country. Our inability to speak other languages is an international joke which ranks as embarrassing as our perpetual failure to progress in international football tournaments. Three quarters of adults surveyed by YouGov back in 2013 admitted they were unable to hold a conversation in another major foreign language.

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Related Links

This is the best way to prepare kids for Brexit (The Independent, 15 April 2017)

Polish ambassador calls for Polish to be taught in Scottish schools

12 April 2017 (Press and Journal)

The Polish ambassador has called for his country’s language to be taught in Scottish schools.

Arkady Rzegocki said he had raised the issue with ministers since taking up his post last year.

He also told the Press and Journal that schools in Poland have “much more knowledge” about Britain and Scotland than their counterparts here.

Mr Rzegocki, who visited Scotland two weeks ago, said: “From my perspective it’s a really great opportunity and great chance because we need more information about Poland and about central Europe generally in British schools, in Scottish schools.

“And also the Polish language should be learned as a foreign language.”

He added: “This lack of knowledge is a real barrier from my perspective, a real barrier to better economical cooperation.

“It’s fair to say we have much, much more knowledge about Britain, about Scotland in Polish schools, in Poland, so we have to make it more equal.”

He also said he is trying to encourage more Polish people to visit Scotland and vice versa.

And he highlighted Polish Heritage Day next month, which he described as an opportunity for British and Polish people to learn more about each other’s history and customs.

Read more...

Related Links

Polish language advocates lament lack of classes (The Times, 14 April 2017)

Blantyre primary school children celebrate the language and culture of Spain

12 April 2017 (Daily Record)

St Joseph’s Primary School in Blantyre embraced the Scottish Government’s approach to modern languages learning by celebrating the language and culture of Spain last week.

During a dedicated Spanish week of events aimed at developing learners’ use of the Spanish language pupils learned about the Spanish culture and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide.

Learners participated in a range of stimulating experiences and opportunities which supported them in their journey towards Global Citizenship by enabling them to deepen and extend their knowledge and understanding of Spanish cities, food, music, dance, architecture, sport, famous people, festivals, film and media.

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Prepare British children for life after Brexit – teach them another language

10 April 2017 (The Conversation)

The formal negotiations to untangle the UK from the intricacies of the European Union are now well underway. And it is clear that looking forward, Britain’s new relationship with the EU will necessitate conducting trade and political communications in a new dynamic – one which is unlikely to be done in the medium of English.

When the UK leaves the EU there will be no member state remaining where English is the lead official language. “Ah”, you say, “what about Ireland, they speak English there”. Yes they do, but in Ireland, Irish Gaelic is considered the first official language.

So to trade with the EU, the UK will need high-level negotiators fluent in German, French and Spanish, which it currently does not have.

Additionally, leaving the EU will result in a restriction of immigrants from across EU member states. The need for visas will drastically reduce the number of workers who can come to the UK to fill jobs British people are either unwilling or unable to do.

And recognising this gap, the Foreign and Common Wealth office and the Ministry of Defence have opened in-house training centres to provide lessons in up to 80 different languages for their staff.

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Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme

10 April 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation London is looking for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education. You can apply for up to £3,000.

We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:
  1. Introducing Japanese into the curriculum at a primary or secondary school
  2. Supporting GCSE or A-level Japanese courses
  3. Introducing Japanese extracurricular club or enrichment subject at a primary or secondary school
The next deadline for the 2017-18 programme is 27 April 2017.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to submit your application.

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Gaelic Enrichment Course for GLE & GME Teachers

7 April 2017 (Ceòlas)

Ceòlas will be running teacher training courses again this year, in July during the Summer School (2--7/7; Dalabrog) and the symposium (23-27/7; Ìochdar).

Six different levels will run, making this course suitable for teachers who are beginners up to fluent who wish to learn Gaelic as it is used within the community. Teachers really enjoy this course, many of whom have not 'experienced' a Gaelic community before.

See the attached flyer or visit the website for more information.

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SQA National 5 Modern Languages webinars

31 March 2017 (SQA)

The SQA is running a series of subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) webinars to help you prepare for the revised National 5 course assessments that are being introduced in session 2017-18. The Modern Languages webinars will take place on Thursday 20 April, Monday 24 April and Thursday 4 May, and will focus on the requirements of the revised assessments.

Further details of the webinars are provided on the SQA's NQ events page. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note also that the content of Modern Languages webinars is the same, and colleagues need only attend one of the three scheduled.

For those unable to secure a place, recordings of the webinars will be published on the SQA website within six weeks of the webinar date. This will be accompanied by a transcript of any questions and answers discussed during the webinars.

Details of published webinars will be provided in SQA Centre News over the coming months.

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Japanese for young learners - 6 week teacher course

30 March 2017 (Japanese for Young Learners project)

This cour