Latest News

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

Latest News

27 November 2020 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter is here! Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning offer, our motivating competitions and our programme of support during school closures. Find out how schools celebrated European Day of Languages, 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...

27 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

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

French

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

Spanish

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

Italian

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

German

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

26 November 2020 (SCILT)

We are delighted to confirm the recently launched toolkit for Phase Two of our ERASMUS+ project, Generation Global, now includes recordings of the sessions that took place at the virtual launch event on 1 October. Entitled Making Space for Languages, the event brought together education professionals, from a range of organisations and backgrounds, to discuss the importance of languages and intercultural studies to all fields of study.

As well as compelling contributions by Fhiona Mackay (Director of SCILT), Laurence Findlay (Director of Education and Children’s Services, Aberdeenshire Council), Louise Glen (Senior Education Officer for Languages, Education Scotland), Dr Paul Hare (Professional Development Officer, SCILT) and partners from Denmark and Norway, visitors to the website will be able to view a fascinating panel discussion involving professionals from a broad range of academic disciplines, all of whom agree that a knowledge of languages gives an extra dimension across the full spectrum of careers.

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26 November 2020 (SQA)

SQA has reviewed its visiting assessment arrangements for Advanced Higher Gàidhlig performance-talking and Modern Languages performance-talking assessments in session 2020–21.

Visit the SQA website for more information.

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25 November 2020 (Press and Journal)

With voices changing every 20 miles, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how many dialects come under the Scots language umbrella.

But a rough count suggests lucky number 13, divided up as Orkney, Shetland, Caithness, Black Isle, Moray, Aberdeenshire, South Northern (South Kincardineshire and Northern Angus), North-East Central, East Central, West Central, South Central, Boarders and Ulster (yep, Scots made it over the water to Ireland too with Irish Gaelic).

Inverness and the Outer Hebrides may seem curiously absent from this list. But as these regions were predominantly Gaelic speaking areas, the Scots language didn’t take hold with the same intensity, meaning there’s no specific Scots dialect recorded for these regions – though we have included them on the map here for comparison.

The article also includes links to other features in the Spikkin Scots series.

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24 November 2020 (East Lothian Courier)

A teacher at North Berwick High School has been named ‘German Teacher of the Year’ by the German Embassy in London.

Suzanne Ritchie was presented with the award in recognition of her “outstanding dedication to and tireless support of the teaching of the German language”.

Miss Ritchie, a former pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School, lived and worked abroad for several years after university.

Her work mainly consisted of translating for the football organisation FIFA in Zurich in Switzerland.

In 2006, she decided to retrain as a teacher and joined North Berwick High School the following year.

She was encouraged to enter the competition by Ann Robertson, who leads East Lothian Council’s 1+2 languages development programme.

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24 November 2020 (British Council)

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

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

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

Visit the website for more information.

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24 November 2020 (SEET)

SEET's logo

The Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) have launched their annual Our World language learning and filmmaking project. With a specific focus on building a sense of gobal citizenship and cultural understanding amongst participants, the project asks S3-S6 pupils to create multilingual films based on topical issues. Teams of 4 have the chance to create their films at an online workshop with professional filmmakers on hand to provide assistance and practical filmmaking tuition. Films must include at least one language other than English, and should be based on, this year, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

If you are interested in entering a team or multiple teams, please sign up here and ensure your pupils send us a storyboard of their film idea by the revised deadline of January 15th, 2021. Tons more information available on SEET's website, or by emailing alex@seet.org.uk. We look forward to receiving entries!

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20 November 2020 (British Council)

The MFL Student Mentoring Project was designed as a response to the ongoing decline in the number of learners choosing to study a (modern foreign) language past the compulsory stage of KS3 in Wales. 

The project focuses on changing attitudes and perceptions of languages by training undergraduate students in four Welsh universities ( Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea) to mentor Year 8 and 9 learners (12-14 years old) in Welsh secondary schools to appreciate the value and benefits of language learning. The scheme has inspired the development of comparable projects in the UK.

Find out more on the British Council Wales website.

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20 November 2020 (Radio Lingua)

Live Lessons

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

French

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

Spanish

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

Italian

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

German

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

19 November 2020 (University of Strathclyde)

photo of the Language Ambassadors

The Language Ambassadors are back……and they have gone VIRTUAL!

Get your pupils involved to discover the joys of learning and being able to use another language by organising a Virtual Language Ambassadors visit to your school!

Our Language Ambassadors are students of French, Italian or Spanish, on various degrees, including BA Honours in French and Spanish, International Business and a Modern Language, Law and a Language but also Engineering and Science degrees.

This programme is free of charge and provides student role models to promote languages to young people and encourage your pupils to choose languages as part of their high school curriculum.

We can deliver a range of activities online, such as:

  • A virtual presentation about their experiences as university language learners and their experiences abroad;
  • Q&A sessions about the benefits of studying a language;
  • A small group discussion for Senior phase students who have already selected a language;
  • Micro-presentations as part of a school-wide event

From Harris to Hamilton, from Orkney to Paisley, book a virtual visit today by completing our request form!

If you have any questions about The Language Ambassadors programme, please contact Cédric Moreau.

Read more...

18 November 2020 (The Herald)

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

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

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

Read more...

18 November 2020 (RZSS)

Beyond the Panda flyer

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

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

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17 November 2020 (Language Show Live)

If you weren't able to join this year's online Language Show which took place 13-15 November, all the brilliant speakers can now be watched on-demand and entirely free of charge.

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14 November 2020 (TES)

Why can't a student have a three-eyed cat at home? After all, if it makes language learning fun and engaging it should be welcomed, says this teacher.

It really doesn’t matter where I get my hair cut, or what remains of it at least.

As a French and Spanish teacher, the response is inevitable as soon as the stylist asks what I do. “Ooh, I’m jealous. I did French at school and I wish I’d kept it up, but I wasn’t interested when I was younger.”

At this point, I imagine many language teacher colleagues across the globe are nodding their head, all too familiar with having to justify their subject’s place in the curriculum to students and, occasionally, even to school administrators.

In a world where a rapidly growing number of people use English as a second language and where translation technology is progressing, justifying the need for language learning to unmotivated learners is increasingly difficult.

Yet as practitioners, we know second language acquisition is beneficial to the learner in so many ways. Research has shown motivation may be the second most important factor in successful language acquisition after aptitude.

So, what can we do to motivate our learners during the short time we have with them, and leave them with positive experiences in language learning?

(Note - Subscription required to access full article).

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13 November 2020 (SCILT)

The Scottish Languages Employability Award (SLEA) aims to help schools and businesses to build partnerships through languages in order to develop young people’s learning about the world of work and the value of language skills.

Videos are now available on our website of two of the SLEA pilot schools talking about their experience of working towards, and submitting evidence for, the award. These include advice from teachers and school co-ordinators, and feedback from pupils who took part in the qualifying events, and would be useful for any teachers considering putting their school forward for the award. Huge thanks to the staff and pupils at St Mary’s Primary School and Bishopbriggs Academy for their fantastic contributions!

The next deadline for submissions is Friday 22nd January 2021. In view of the current restrictions, online events and activities will count towards the award. Please get in touch with Sheena Bell if you have any questions about any aspect of the submission process or if you would like more information about the award generally.

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12 November 2020 (British Council)

A YouGov survey of more than 2000 UK adults was commissioned by the British Council to mark International Education Week, which runs from 16 to 20 November, as part of its work to advocate for the learning of modern foreign languages in the UK. This year’s programme of events has moved online with a series of webinars, activities and resources accessible from anywhere in the world.

  • British Council survey finds that 66 per cent of UK adults did not appreciate benefits of studying a foreign language when they were at school;
  • 64 per cent wish they had kept up the foreign language they studied and 58 per cent regret not spending more time studying;
  • 10 per cent of UK adults tried learning a language during the first lockdown period, with smartphone apps the most popular study method;
  • 66 per cent think languages should be compulsory at primary school and 79 per cent at secondary school;
  • Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese considered the top three most important languages for young people to learn.

Read more...

12 November 2020 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe is pleased to announce the completion in both English and French of its resource website “A guide to teacher competences for languages in education”, an output of the ECML programme “Languages at the heart of learning” (2016-2019).

This comprehensive resource platform has been developed for teacher educators and those responsible for teacher education programmes. It provides an overview of frameworks and descriptions of language teacher competences in various contexts, as well as national and regional standards or guidelines for all teachers working in public education. Having considered the overview, users can then examine more closely those frameworks that are potentially useful to them in their specific roles.

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12 November 2020 (SEET)

SEET logo

The Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) have launched their annual Our World language learning and filmmaking project.

Open to all S3-6 pupils across Scotland, teams of 4 have the chance to create films at a workshop (remotely this year!) with professional filmmakers on hand to help them and provide practical filmmaking tuition. As always, films must include at least one language other than English, and should be based on a set theme, which this year is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

If you are interested in entering a team or multiple teams, please sign up here and ensure your pupils send us a storyboard of their film idea by the deadline of 18 December 2020.

There is lots more information available on SEET's website, or by emailing alex@seet.org.uk. We look forward to receiving entries!

Read more...

10 November 2020 (Oxford German Network)

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

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

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

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

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9 November 2020 (University of Strathclyde)

The podcast series brings a mix of 'meet an academic' interviews, information about our courses, thought pieces, conversations and provocations on all things education.

In episode #6 learn about the work of Scotland's National Centre for Languages, with director, Fhiona Mackay.

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6 November 2020 (SQA)

The SQA has produced a document providing subject-level guidance to SQA approved centres on gathering key evidence to support estimates for National 5 Modern Languages in session 2020–21.

You should read this guidance alongside National Courses: guidance on gathering evidence and producing estimates and the SQA Academy resource, Quality assurance of estimates for National Courses (links are contained in the publication).

This document also includes information on subject-level assessment resources. Available now to view online.

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23 October 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT is hosting two free online workshops in November and December, open to any primary teacher or student primary teacher. Bookings are now open, find out more about each workshop and register via the links below:

 

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