Latest News

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

Latest News

28 September 2020 (ECML)

The 'Action research communities for language teachers' website offers resources to support language teachers use action research as a tool for the development of reflective classroom practice, taking them step-by-step through the process of engaging in action research in their respective contexts. It also provides materials for teacher educators in initial teacher education.

Given the challenges teachers and learners have faced during lockdown and the challenges ahead as schools across Europe attempt to return to some kind of normality, the need for teachers to reflect on their practice and to benefit from professional learning communities is greater than ever. These new resources can strengthen teacher development and the provision of quality inclusive language education.

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26 September 2020 (The National)

In a report entitled Breaking the Language Barrier, published by Reform Scotland in October 2018, it is noted that the UK Government estimates poor language skills cost the economy £48 billion annually, equivalent to 3.5% of GDP. While Anglophone countries often dismiss other languages, Scotland is demonstrating an appetite to turn the tide.

The flagship for change is the Scottish Government’s 1+2 policy, launched in 2012, providing children with the opportunity to learn a first additional language from primary one and a second from primary five. Seven years later, the 1+2 generation is now starting secondary school.

There are already encouraging signs at Higher level, where, according to recent research by Dr Hannah Doughty on trends over a seven-year period, languages as a whole enjoy a higher percentage uptake than biology or physics.

Further encouragement comes from Holyrood. Ivan McKee, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, recently stated that: “It is essential we inspire young people to learn languages, to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to take full advantage of opportunities in our fast-changing world.”

Crucial here is that McKee mentions “skills”. Languages are not simply about the ability to move between tongues, mechanically expressing information and ideas. Arguably the greatest benefit from the study of languages lies not in their mastery, but in other skills acquired on the journey.

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25 September 2020 (ECML)

Statement by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić

Strasbourg, 25.09.2020 – At the Council of Europe’s initiative, the European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September - together with the European Commission. “The European Day of Languages gives us an opportunity to value and promote all languages and cultures in Europe. This year we are putting special focus on inclusive language education, which supports all learners to reach their potential and play an active part in diverse and democratic societies”, declared Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.

Background information on the Day

It is estimated that there are over 225 indigenous languages in Europe, without even including languages which have arrived on the continent through migration.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission work closely together on the co-ordination of the Day.

The dedicated website, which is available in 39 languages, provides details of the hundreds of events taking place in celebration of the Day, as well as a wide variety of resources and activities for everyone interested in languages and language learning. A new app, created specifically for the 2020 Day, encourages users to carry out a series of language challenges thereby developing further competence and confidence in using different languages.

Contact: Giuseppe Zaffuto, Spokesperson/Media officer, tel. +33 3 90 21 56 04

24 September 2020 (MLOE)

The competition invites Year 9 language students (S2 in Scotland)  to do a little bit of research on how COVID-19 has affected an area in which a language other than English is spoken. This could be a language you speak outside of school, are learning independently, or are studying in school. 

Students can work individually or in groups up to four to produce a poster submission based on their discoveries. Further guidelines and information about the competition can be found on the Modern Languages Outreach and Engagement website. Submission deadline: 18 December 2020.

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24 September 2020 (Voice of Islam)

We should all be encouraged to learn new language and age is never an excuse! On today's show, the importance and benefits of studying new languages and how it brings knowledge and a greater understanding of one another’s cultures.

Among the guests you can hear SCILT's Director, Fhiona Mackay, speaking about the European Day of Languages (7 minutes in).

Read more...

24 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

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

French

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

Spanish

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

Italian

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

German

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

24 September 2020 (Alliance Française)

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

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

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information.

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23 September 2020 (SCILT)

We invited public figures to submit a message to welcome children and young people back to school in August 2020. These messages are in a language other than English, and we are delighted to feature such a wide range of languages. We hope these short films will inspire learners.

We invite learners and classes to create their own messages, in a language other than English, and share a positive message on unity and inclusion. If you would like to submit a video to be included on our wall, please contact SCILT

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22 September 2020 (British Council)

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

There are four sessions each lasting approximately 20 minutes.

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

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

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21 September 2020 (ALL)

ALLNE, NfLNE and partners are once again organising the annual European Day of Languages Competition for Schools and in 2020 it is again open to anyone! The organising committee invites language learners in any key stage to create a piece of text in a language they are learning on the theme: International city.

Submission deadline: Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Visit the ALL website for more information.

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18 September 2020 (SCILT)

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

In September 2020, we’re looking at how learning and teaching of languages has evolved through the experience of lockdown. Share your experiences of delivering language education in innovative ways during an unprecedented situation.

Find out more about the sessions on our Bitesize webpage where you can register for the event relevant to your sector. Both primary and secondary sessions take place 4:00-4:45 on Wednesday 30 September.

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17 September 2020 (Radio Lingua)

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

French

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

Spanish

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

Italian

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

German

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

17 September 2020 (Institut français)

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

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

Visit the Pépites internationales website for more information.

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17 September 2020 (SEET)

Our World is a languages and citizenship based film making project for S3 - S6 pupils. It's designed to complement the Curriculum for Excellence and help tackle the Attainment Challenge by providing a free project, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to encourage pupils to become more engaged in their language learning.

Apply now to take part in the 2020-21 project. 

Visit the SEET Our World webpage for more information.

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17 September 2020 (University of Oxford)

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

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

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

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16 September 2020 (The Telegraph)

Language learning always seems to be the first casualty of budget cuts in education. Nothing could be more short-sighted.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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16 September 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is offering teachers of German grants for courses in Germany in 2021. The courses are aimed at teachers of all levels and offer a variety of topics related to teaching German as a foreign language. So if you would like to improve your lessons and get to know Germany first hand apply now. 

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

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16 September 2020 (Edinburgh Napier University)

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

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

More information is available on the attached document.


Related Files

15 September 2020 (Sendagaya Japanese College)

This online course offered by the Sendagaya Japanese Institute Group in Tokyo might be interesting for some adult learners keen to improve their Japanese language skills. Now enrolling, see the attached document for more information. Please note there is a cost attached.

Those considering studying or working in Japan can also find courses to enhance their language skills accordingly on the institute's website.

Read more...

15 September 2020 (FutureLearn)

Teaching Languages in Primary Schools: Putting Research into Practice is a short online course offered for free by the University of Southampton and University of Essex on the Futurelearn platform. Open to everyone, the next course begins on 5 October and runs for 3 weeks with approximately 3 hours work per week.

Discover engaging, age-appropriate teaching methods and ideas to enhance your language teaching skills. On this course, you’ll learn practical teaching methods for teaching language and discover engaging tasks and projects for primary school students. Using the latest young language learning research, you’ll be encouraged to reflect and experiment with new resources and improve your current language teaching practice.

Visit the FutureLearn website for more information and to register. 

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15 September 2020 (The Conversation)

In recent months there has been talk of a “Gaelic crisis” in Scotland, based on a study that predicts Gaelic may be disappearing across the country. I do not speak Gaelic, but I have spent five years researching bilingualism, and as a German native speaker who has lived in Scotland for over a decade, I am intimately familiar with what it means to communicate in a second language.

When we talk about bilingualism, we often assume that people are equally fluent in both languages and use them equally often. The reality is that some bilinguals may be more proficient in one language than the other and, while some will use both languages equally often, others will use one language more frequently than the other.

The question of how frequently a bilingual person uses a particular language brings us back to the decline in the number of of active Gaelic speakers in Scotland. Despite the ubiquity of bilingual English-Gaelic road signs and the historic presence of the Scots language, Scotland has remained mostly monolingually English. This in itself is not surprising. Just seeing a language pictured does little to help us learn it; we need to actively use a language to accomplish this and, perhaps more importantly, continue to use it.

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14 September 2020 (Creative Multilingualism)

This OWRI-funded project celebrates linguistic diversity and reflects on the multilingual, multicultural and superdiverse society represented in Glasgow today. This multilingual performance supports the teaching and learning journey of primary schooling in non-affluent areas of the city. Pupils work together to choose traditional songs and rhymes and script a multilingual play.

Recordings of a webinar series about the project and associated resources are now available on the Creative Multilingualism website. An article about the project can also be found in TECLA Issue 1/2020 (page 11), the magazine resource for Spanish language learning in the classroom.

Read more...

11 September 2020 (SCILT)

Do you have a story to share with the languages community?

We are currently taking submissions for our winter 2020 newsletter. This is a great opportunity to promote what has been happening in your school or local authority with regard to languages. We'd love to hear about any exciting or innovative work which took place during school closures, or any new projects being introduced this year. 

We are looking for articles of a maximum of 300 words, with a couple of colourful photos. The deadline for contributions is Friday 2nd October 2020.

Visit our website to read the full submission guidelines, and to view previous editions of the newsletter. Submissions can be sent to scilt@strath.ac.uk

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10 September 2020 (New York Times)

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

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

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8 September 2020 (British Council)

Story-a-thon is a platform for young authors to explore their creative writing skills. To celebrate International Literacy Day children aged 5-11 are being invited to submit a story of no more than 350 words on the subject 'How Will You Make the World A Better Place.'

Stories can be written in English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, or Arabic, whichever language they are comfortable with. 

Visit the Story-a-thon website for more information. Submission deadline: 30 September 2020.

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8 September 2020 (Forbes)

New research suggests that English speakers put more droplets into the air when they talk, which may make them more likely to spread COVID-19. Since the novel coronavirus is spread by droplets, how spitty a language is might contribute to different rates of the disease. It all comes down to something called aspirated consonants, the sounds we make that spray more droplets of saliva into the air.

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4 September 2020 (SCILT)

If you have pupils considering language study once they move on from secondary education, the Beyond School section of our website contains a wealth of information about university and college language courses, study abroad and volunteering opportunities overseas. With links to UCAS and university guides it's also a useful resource for careers guidance staff to be aware of and highlight to students as the UCAS application process gets underway.

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4 September 2020 (SCILT)

From September 2020 to March 2021 the SCILT Professional Development Officers are scheduling a series of themed on-demand and live professional learning that will be open to all in-service and student teachers in Scotland. 

Some months, the theme will be applicable to both primary and secondary teachers, in other months the theme will be sector specific.   

Around the middle of the month, we will post a film or a piece of reading (c.15 minutes) on the SCILT website. Registration will open for the live drop-in on the same theme. 

At the end of the month, the PDO team will host a live drop-in to discuss the bitesize stimulus and the theme in general. The session will last 45 minutes and will feature examples of current practice. Registration is free and open to all teachers and student teachers in Scotland. 

Interested?   

In September we’re kicking off with a theme that’s relevant to both secondary and primary teachers. 

Lessons from lockdown: A look at how our learning and teaching of languages has evolved through the experiences of lockdown. Let’s share our experiences of delivering language education in innovative ways during an unprecedented situation. What works well? What doesn’t? What can we continue to use in post-lockdown practice? Are there methods that actually work better for the “new normal”? 

Watch out for the release of our Lessons from lockdown bitesize film. You’ll be able to watch on demand on the SCILT website from Friday 18 September. 

At the same time, you will be able to register to join the drop-in session at 4pm on Wednesday 30 September. There will be separate drop-ins on the same theme for primary and for secondary teachers or ITE students. 

What’s next?  Themes will be revealed in the first e-bulletin of the month, so you’ll get all the latest details straight to your inbox. 

If you do join in either live or on-demand, you can keep the professional learning conversation going on social media by following and using the hashtags #SCILT_CLPL #SCILT_bitesize #SCILT_dropin.  We are looking forward to connecting with lots of you through this new (to us) approach to professional learning in the coming months. 

24 August 2020 (Goethe-Institut)

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

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

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

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

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