Professional learning

Bitesize CLPL

From September 2020 to March 2021 the SCILT Professional Development Officers are scheduling a series of themed on demand and live professional learning sessions 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.

Themes will be revealed in the first SCILT e-bulletin of the month, so sign up to get all the latest details straight to your inbox.

If you do join in live or on demand, why not keep the professional learning conversation going on social media by following and using these hashtags #SCILT_CLPL #SCILT_bitesize #SCILT_dropin.

"Parents, carers and families are by far the most important influences in a child's life. Their support can play a vital role at all stages of education." (Education Scotland)

Parental engagement and family learning

This month, we will consider the importance of parental engagement/ family learning through the lens of languages. We will consider the impact it can have on pupil attainment, attitudes and behaviour in addition to its relevance in the development of skills for life and work in an increasingly globalised and multicultural society – why not join the debate?

This month’s session will feature two special guests who work in the primary and secondary sectors. Our first guest is Sharon Agini, Class Teacher and Languages Lead at Westfield Primary in West Lothian. Sharon will be sharing various ways in which parents have been actively involved with languages at Westfield Primary and will share current strategies she is adopting to continue this engagement in light of the restrictions.

Our second guest is Chris Struth, PT of Modern Languages at Kinross High School. Chris has considerable experience in engaging parents with languages through a variety of creative and innovative ways, most recently with the highly rated online evening Spanish classes that took place for adults. Previous to this, Chris’ parental engagement and languages strategy afforded parents the opportunity to attend in-school sessions with their child to explore the world of Chinese language and culture.

During this session, we will chat to Sharon and Chris about the challenge of engaging with parents, particularly with languages, and their strategies and approaches towards this. Chris and Sharon will also be happy to answer questions from participants. These can be asked on the day or submitted in advance.

Consider the preparation questions below, then join us for a drop-in session to discuss this theme on Wednesday 26th May!

Before you come along to the drop-in session…

Look at the Parents section of the SCILT website which features a variety of case studies involving parental engagement activities with languages.

Consider these questions:

  • What do you currently do to support parental engagement and/or family learning involving languages? Have you been involvement with community learning with languages?
  • What do you think works well?
  • What would you like to develop further?
  • What support would help you to do this?

You can also consider any questions that you might like to raise with Chris and Sharon.

There will be an opportunity to share thoughts about these areas in the session on 26th May.

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the Bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments related to parental engagement and family learning.
  • This month, the drop-in will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 26th May.
  • Register for the drop-in.

The Modern Languages Experiences and Outcomes document opens with specific references to how youngsters’ horizons can be broadened through exploring different languages and cultures:

‘Through my learning of a new language I enhance my understanding and enjoyment of other cultures and of my own and gain insights into other ways of thinking and other views of the world … I develop and extend my literacy skills when I have opportunities to develop my understanding of what is special, vibrant and valuable about my own and other cultures and their languages.’ (Curriculum for Excellence: Modern Languages Experiences and Outcomes, 2010, p. 1)

This month, we will consider how aspects of bilingual pupils’ home cultures or cultures related to the L2/L3 languages taught in your school can be sourced and shared meaningfully in class.

Learn from and with others in this month’s drop-in session. Our special guests will be a trio of practising teachers with a host of experience who recently contributed to a presentation at a conference in Spain on this topic:

  • Jennifer Maxwell, NQT, Dykesmain Primary School, North Ayrshire
  • Lindsay Allan, Languages Lead, Neilston Primary Primary School, East Renfrewshire - Scottish Education Award 2020 Internationalism and Languages Category Finalist
  • Kirsten Barrett, EAL teacher and eTwinning Ambassador, St Maria Goretti Primary School, Glasgow

Hear how intercultural and international connections have worked for their pupils. Come and share your own experiences and successes.

Consider the reflective questions below and join us for a drop-in session to discuss this theme on Wednesday 24th March!

Before you come along to the drop-in session

Check out the cultural contexts for primary language learning padlet which contains a variety of practical ideas for exploring cultural contexts for language learning suitable for primary age children.

Consider these questions:

  • How do you support the development of your pupils’ intercultural understanding? Where do home/taught languages come in to this?
  • What do you think works well to introduce aspects of culture related to home and/or taught languages?
  • What would you like to develop further?
  • What support would help you to do this?
  • Is there anything you would like to ask any of our guests?

Come along to the drop-in session on 24th March to share your thoughts.

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the Bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments.
  • This month, the drop-in will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 24th March.

Register for the drop-in

"Employers and schools need to develop strong two-way partnerships – partnerships that deliver improvements to teaching and learning and bring real-life context into the classroom."
Developing the Young Workforce (Scottish Government, 2014)

This month, we will consider why and how languages can play a vital role in developing skills for life and work – why not join the debate?

Our special guest at this month’s session is Pam Tosh, Curriculum Leader at Broughton High School and Lead Teacher (Secondary) at City of Edinburgh Council. Pam has extensive experience of developing employability partnerships and integrating DYW to the Modern Languages curriculum. She has worked with SQA in the development of the Modern Languages for Life and Work Award and led her school to a Gold Scottish Languages Employability Award. Pam has also devised a range of online strategies around building partnerships with business in answer to the challenges that this year has brought.

During this session, we will chat to Pam about the challenge of successfully integrating employability and languages, and her strategies and approach towards this. Pam will also be happy to answer questions from participants. These can be asked on the day or submitted in advance.

Consider the preparation questions below, then join us for a drop-in session to discuss this theme on Wednesday 24th February!

Before you come along to the drop-in session…

Look at the Employment section of the SCILT website which has a range of tools for evaluating and expanding your current DYW/Employability practice.

Consider these questions:

  • What do you currently do to build capacity in language and employability skills?
  • What do you think works well?
  • What would you like to develop further?
  • What support would help you to do this?

You can also consider any questions that you might like to raise with Pam.

There will be an opportunity to share thoughts about these areas in the session on 24th February.

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the Bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments related to teaching languages during lockdown.
  • This month, the drop-in will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 24th February.

Register for the drop-in

IDL bitesize:

In this video on interdisciplinary learning and languages, 4 teachers working in primary schools in Scotland share some examples of how they have used an IDL approach to support language teaching and learning in the classroom. Zoe shares how she had made connections across the curriculum with French and Drama while Stephanie shares how she has linked Spanish and Maths with her learners in the upper stages of the primary school. Zem and Sydney, who work in the same school, share how they have incorporated languages with environmental studies and outdoor learning across two different stages of the primary school.

Some questions to consider…. 

  1. To what extent do the experiences and examples shared by the teachers in this video resonate with your own experience of using IDL as a methodology to teach languages?
  2. Are there any common themes that appear across the different video clips?
  3. What would you see are the benefits of using this approach to support languages teaching and why?
  4. What has worked well for you and your learners in using this approach? Why?
  5. What could be possible challenges in using IDL to teach languages and why?
  6. Having considered this approach to support the teaching and learning of languages, is there anything you would now like to do with your learners? Please state your reasons why. 

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments related to teaching languages within an interdisciplinary context.
  • This month's online drop-in session is for primary teachers facilitated by SCILT Professional Development Officers. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on the bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the IDL theme. This month, the drop-in will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 25th November. 
  • Register for the drop-in

Under new restrictions, the gathering of evidence to show how learners are progressing with their language learning has been brought into sharp focus. This month, we try to understand more about this important issue – why not join the debate?

In this month’s video, we talk to Lisa Waygood, Faculty Head of Ancient and Modern Languages at St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm, about gathering evidence and making sure it is robust and fit for purpose. She shares her school’s approach, and talks about how evidence is gathered and moderated to support judgments about learner progress.

The strategies discussed relate to general principles of evidence gathering, at all levels and stages of secondary.

Watch the video, then join us for a drop-in session to discuss on Wednesday 28th October!

Things to think about before you come along to the drop-in session…

  • Why do we need to collect evidence?
  • What does a package of robust evidence look like?
  • What is your process for gathering evidence?
  • How do you know if your evidence is enough?

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments related to teaching languages during lockdown.
  • This month, the drop-in will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 28th October.
  • Register for the drop-in

Lessons learned from lockdown bitesize:

In this film, five teachers working in primary schools across Scotland share some of the lessons they learned about teaching languages during lockdown. Liz and Joe made use of Twitter to set regular challenges for pupils and families. James established his own YouTube channel. Mel and Gillian both taught live lessons as part of the SCILT/eSgoil national school as well as providing interactive materials for children from their own schools to practice consolidate target language vocabulary at home.

For a secondary perspective, we hear from Linda who taught through lockdown both with her own school and with the SCILT/ eSgoil online national classes. Linda explains her experiences of online teaching and shares her insights about how this has changed her as a teacher.

While approaches may have differed for our teachers, several common themes come through in the clips:

  • The opportunities afforded by different technology
  • Differences between live and recorded lessons: the benefits and drawbacks
  • Routine and structure to lessons, chunking the content.
  • Active and interactive content – singing, dancing, cooking.
  • Delayed feedback and evidence of interaction from pupils.
  • Engagement from siblings and families too.
  • The difference in preparing materials for online classes
  • Encouraging interactions in listening and talking
  • The possibilities using a virtual classroom can offer to secondary learners
  • The challenges and successes experienced

Reflective questions:

  • To what extent do the experiences of the bitesize teachers resonate with your experience of teaching languages during lockdown?
  • What platform(s) did you use to teach languages during lockdown?
  • Is there anything you will continue doing/using in your language lessons?  Why?
  • Is there anything you will stop doing/using in your language lessons?  Why?
  • Is there anything you would like to start doing/using with your pupils?  Why?

You can keep the conversation going by:

  • Sharing the link to the bitesize with colleagues.
  • Follow and use #SCILT_bitesize on Twitter, tag @scottishcilt and post questions and comments related to teaching languages during lockdown.
  • There will be separate online drop-in sessions for primary and secondary teachers facilitated by SCILT Professional Development Officers. Drop-ins are an opportunity to share your thoughts on the bitesize resource and/or share your own experience on the lessons from lockdown theme. This month, the drop-ins will take place on Zoom between 4pm - 4:45pm on Wednesday 30th September. 

Register for the drop-in for secondary teachers 

Register for the drop-in for primary teachers

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