Latest News

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


Family learning

Why learning a new language is good for the whole family

28 September 2021 (National Geographic)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Zoo Fun with Mandarin (virtual course)

12 May 2021 (RZSS)

This unique course introduces you and your family to the Mandarin language and Chinese characters while also learning about some Chinese animals and their habitats. Designed for 8 years right through to adults but children must be accompanied by an adult. The course is a series of three, one hour live virtual sessions spread across three days. Two opportunities to book. The course will run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10am on 20-22 July and repeated on 27-29 July. The course is for beginners and has had great reviews from previous participants: "Great balance of listening, interaction and engagement. Brilliant resources and a great experience."  Booking is through Eventbrite - Zoo Fun with Mandarin

Read more...

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

11 May 2021 (SCILT)

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

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

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

Read more...

Engage with the wider school community and develop blended learning

12 January 2021 (PowerLanguage)

In order to support Schools and their wider communities, we have created a new package to help with home learning. 

Our PowerLanguage Online Course for Families - available in French or Spanish - has been successfully running in many parts of Scotland since 2016. It was designed to develop the partnership between Schools, pupils and the wider community. Parents and carers can embark on a meaningful and exciting language journey shared by all family members!

  • The course is accessible online or through an App. It contains 6 lessons which follow a gentle progression, reinforcing the key language introduced in Primary Schools. 
  • In each lesson, new structures are presented in French or Spanish, as well as in English, by a native tutor or in an animation. Watch an extract on Vimeo or Youtube
  • The cultural podcasts introduce slices of French/Spanish life and focus on playground games, songs, special monuments and various landscapes. Small tasks are attached to each video. Watch an extract on Vimeo or Youtube.
  • Families can assess their progress through short challenges at the end of each lesson. One of the 3 challenges can be delivered at School, thus reinforcing the link between School and home learning.

A case study on the impact of this Course on families and schools was produced in Scotland in 2016 by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT). 

You can also watch this video to see the impact of our Course for Families on a school and its wider community in Western Australia.

Cost: in order to make the Course available to all, a licence can be bought by the School and shared with their wider community. The annual cost is £100 per course (French or Spanish). Schools can also buy the course for a one-off fee of £500 per course for indefinite use. (Schools who have previously purchased this Course used some of their PEF funding to cover the cost). 

Level: The course is available in French or Spanish for primary school learners and their families who are beginners/post beginners.

Scottish Schools may wish to launch this Course in advance of Languages Week Scotland (1-5 February 2021). 

Please contact us info@powerlanguage.net to find out more or visit our website. 

Read more...

BSL:  New case study alert!

23 October 2020 (SCILT)

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

Read more...

Coronavirus: Homeschooling in a language you don't speak

18 April 2020 (BBC)

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

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

Read more...

Coronavirus: How can parents help with home schooling?

2 April 2020 (BBC)

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

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

So what should parents be doing?

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

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

Read more...

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

14 February 2020 (Clydebank Post)

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

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

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

Read more...

Zoo fun with Mandarin - Free mini classes at Edinburgh Zoo

30 October 2018 (RZSS)

Zoo Fun with Mandarin is a mini Mandarin language course with a difference. It is an opportunity to learn Mandarin whilst also finding out about animals at the zoo and RZSS projects. The course is suitable for 8 years to adult and these are family learning sessions so children must be accompanied by an adult to attend.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo hosts the first science specialist Confucius Classroom in the world.

Related Files

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages