Professional learning

Professional learning

Are you a teacher of Mandarin, or considering introducing Mandarin to your school? Visit the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools webpage for details of the support available.

A collection of online learning activities on a wide variety of areas of practice. Each learning activity is aligned to the GTCS Professional Standards and professional learning recorded here can be uploaded to your MyGTCS. Registration required or login via Glow.

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Free, online professional learning opportunities and educator communities for a range of digital platforms:

A wide range of online offerings to support your professional learning.

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Our CLPL events support the continuing professional development of teachers and other professionals with access to high-quality learning, teaching and development opportunities.

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Whether you are looking to enhance your professional practice, change your career or get started on a new pathway, our undergraduate and postgraduate courses will help you achieve your goals.

Programmes are designed for professionals working with young people across many educational and community sectors. All programmes are delivered in a flexible way to enable you to achieve further qualifications while working.

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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. Based in Sleat, Isle of Skye, we are the only centre of Higher and Further Education in the world that provides its learning programmes entirely through the medium of Gaelic in an immersed, language-rich environment.

We offer a range of learning opportunities, both on campus and via distance learning, full-time and part-time, for anyone with an interest in Gaelic.

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Free apps with a wide variety of languages:

Apps with free content for a range of languages:

Free podcasts from Radio Lingua to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and Swedish. Video materials also available on YouTube.

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This Gaelic Language Learning Training Course is designed for teachers who have little or no knowledge of Gaelic. The aim of the course is that on completion, teachers are equipped with both the necessary Gaelic language skills and teaching methodology to deliver Gaelic as L2 or L3 from early to 2nd level. The course consists of 18 units covering a variety of topics and functional language.

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Free, anytime learning from the Open University. Create an account for free access:

  • track your progress
  • earn a statement of participation
  • access all course activities
  • submit a review of the course
  • available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Welsh
  • three levels – introductory, intermediate, advanced.
  • length of time ranges from 6 hours to 24 hours of study
  • interesting range of contexts.

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An open learning platform hosted by the Open University. 16 free courses from Level 0 – 3 in languages such as Scots, Gaelic, Welsh, French and Spanish. Ranging from 1 hour to more than 24 hours of notional study. The OLC courses are not OU courses, they are built by teachers, colleges, universities, organisations and individuals.

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Online languages courses for beginners Japanese lasting 6 months, tutor-supported courses and self-study cultural courses introduction to calligraphy, flower arranging and haiku lasting 3 months from the Japan Foundation.

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Find collections of online resources to support teaching and learning in a wide range of languages. Visit the Gaelic Education Wakelet and the modern languages Wakelet. Resources will be updated over the period of school closures. 

The “Plurilingual Classrooms in Action” MOOC from the Scottish Council of Deans of Education Languages Group is a free four-week course, hosted through FutureLearn at the University of Glasgow and aligned with the core principles and contexts of the National Framework for Languages: plurilingualism, diversity, policy and legislation, and transformative practices, and aims to support the teaching and learning of languages in primary classrooms.

The course consists of a series of short readings, videos, tasks, and opportunities to reflect on the role of languages in and for education. Each of the activities will take no longer than 5 or 10 minutes to complete and aim to provide an overview of language teaching and learning in the 21st century and foster and enhance the creation of effective and engaging learning approaches which support inclusive practices in the classroom.

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Repository for past webinars and registration for forthcoming webinars by languages teachers, for languages teachers on a wide range of subjects. Hosted by ALL London

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Recording of the presentation given at the Scottish Learning Festival in September 2019 by Susan Sey, Digital Skills Development Officer, Education Scotland and Sylvia Georgin, Aberdeenshire Languages Development Officer and Northern Alliance Languages Workstream Lead.

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Subscribe for recordings of webinars hosted or co-hosted by Joe Dale, independent languages and IT consultant.

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Massive open online courses on a wide range of subjects including language upskilling, pedagogy, history and culture, theory from a wide range of providers worldwide. Regular start times during the year.

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Linguascope organises weekly webinars for Modern Languages teachers on a wide range of topics. If you’d like to register for live sessions, as well as watch all previously recorded sessions on demand, simply log in to the Staffroom section of Linguascope or download the Linguascope Webinars app.

If you are not a Linguascope subscriber, you can still access the webinars by subscribing monthly or annually within the app.

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For teachers of German, covering pedagogy or cultural topics. Webinars last an hour, are free and will be interactive. Join in live or catch up on recordings.

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Hosted by Joe Dale (UK) and Noah Geisel (US): listen to episodes and download show notes for this wide-ranging podcast aimed at celebrating the voices of the modern language teaching community.  

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A podcast from the US about language teaching from the diverse perspectives of teachers.  Wide range of episodes with programme notes.

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A weekly podcast hosted by Dr Liam Printer talking all things education, language teaching, motivation and engagement.

Episodes focus on linking research to practice as well as giving teachers zero-prep comprehensible input activities to boost motivation that can be implemented into classrooms immediately.

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The MEd Gaelic Education is a three-year programme of professional learning that builds upon the success of Streap, the Postgraduate Certificate in Gaelic Medium Education which ran from 2005 to 2022 in partnership with the University of Aberdeen.

Languages Education Network Scotland (LENS) is a resource bank of studies and research findings from national and international contexts. These findings help us to unravel the complexities of language teaching and learning and why things happen the way they do in classrooms. Key messages from over 300 studies have been organised according to specific themes relating to language teaching and learning in the curriculum.

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Languages Education Academic Portfolio (LEAP) is a reflective tool to support implementation of the NFfL. Its suggested format is a portfolio for ITE and can also be used and developed further for CLPL purposes. It is built on CEFR and GTC(S) recommendations. LEAP is linked to the LENS resource which provides detailed information and guidance.

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The PDC in MFL website features resources and videos of practice. The site was recently updated with materials related to the FLEUR MFL reading study, the Primary Languages Progress and Preparedness study (both funded by the Nuffield Foundation), and The Language Magician assessment tool.

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Find out the research behind the language learning from a collection of one page summaries of research under the following themes: curriculum policy and curriculum modules; literacy and wider academic achievement; the role of age in language learning; pedagogy and teacher expertise; linguistic development and expectations; multilingualism and additional language learning; cultural competence and intercultural understanding.

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Thirty-four issues of the open access online journal from SCILT with varied articles from students, parents, educators and academics.

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OASIS (Open Accessible Summaries In Language Studies) database contains useful one page summaries of language related reports. A great resource for student teachers of foreign languages

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The Critical Connections Project is about enabling young people across the primary and secondary age range to create and share multilingual digital stories. It offers an approach to language learning, literacy and citizenship which recognises that communication is enhanced when plurilingual and digital resources are drawn upon purposefully and creatively. This asynchronous professional learning opportunity provides free to access workshops and invites educators to explore the possibilities of multilingual digital storytelling.

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Slideshow produced by Glasgow City Council EAL Service.

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Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world took the time to share how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. They have all influenced this story project. Developed for and by children around the world, the story is available in multiple languages.

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Massive open online course (MOOC) from FutureLearn starting soon:

  • Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World from University of Glasgow. Explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society. Notionally 4 hours of study per week across 3 weeks.

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PALINGUI – Language learning pathways of young children

Making early language learning visible: webinar recorded on 5th March 2020. Hosted by: Flore Schank, Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, Luxembourg; Ingeborg Birnie, University of Strathclyde, UK; Dana Musilova, Czech School Inspectorate, Czech Republic. Webinar powerpoint slides also available to download.

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Anytime learning module developed in partnership with Education Scotland, Glasgow City Council and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

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This is an interesting and helpful article in the EAL Journal, the termly magazine from the NALDIC website. Published on 8 April 2020.

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Published on 20 March 2020 on the NALDIC blog which includes a crowd-sourced - not exhaustive - compendium of resources.

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NEW: Guidance and resources for schools and teachers to support pupils who use EAL and their families to help mitigate any learning and language loss experienced during school closures. See Parental involvement guidance.

Series of free EAL webinars aimed at providing direct access to expertise in English as an Additional Language to senior leaders and EAL staff in school, policy-makers, Ethnic Minority Achievement Service teams, teacher educators and academics. Join live or watch recordings.


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A reassuring article with some simple ideas and sensible advice by Catriona Stewart in the Evening Times on 17 April 2020.

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This is a short, easy to understand guide for parents of student who use English as an Additional Language. Available in Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, English, Gujerati, Lithuanian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali and Urdu. Share the link to the free download with your families and carers. 

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Are you responsible for sourcing high quality professional learning related to languages pedagogy for groups of colleagues in your setting, cluster, local authority or RIC?

You will be interested in our new professional learning offer for all sectors.

The content of the eleven workshops is informed by feedback from teachers and practitioners on their professional learning needs. If your needs are different, we are more than happy to develop the bespoke inputs you and your colleagues require. Just ask.

Always interactive and up-to-date, SCILT workshops provide the opportunity for you and your colleagues to explore aspects of practice with our experienced Professional Development Officers. Our team has a finite capacity, so get in your request as soon as you can.

The focus of workshops for 2023-24 are wide ranging, covering the following issues:

Cross Sector

  • Primary-secondary transition

Primary and Early Years

  • Families on board? Developing a family friendly approach to languages in your setting
  • Getting outdoors with languages and learning
  • Celebrating cultural diversity through languages in EY and primary
  • An introduction to multilingual approaches to primary pedagogy
  • Languages in primary: assessing pupils’ learning, evaluating teaching

Secondary

  • Policy, planning and practice in BGE (in partnership with Education Scotland)
  • Emerging contexts for language learning
  • Talking and listening
  • Using language skills across the curriculum
  • Social-Emotional Learning for languages

Please refer to the SCILT Professional Learning Programme 2023-24 for further details about each of the workshops available and submit your request via the form below. Please note, these workshops are intended for group bookings only.

Open access online workshops will also be scheduled across the year. Registration for these will be open to individuals and details will be shared in the SCILT ebulletin.

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If you are looking for high quality professional learning related to languages pedagogy for early career teachers in your local authority, RIC or the student teachers in your university then look no further. 

Always interactive and up-to-date, SCILT workshops give you the opportunity to explore aspects of practice with your colleagues and our experienced Professional Development Officers.

Primary 

  • First steps in teaching languages in primary
  • An introduction to multilingual approaches to primary pedagogy
  • Families on board? Developing a family friendly approach to languages in your class
  • Celebrating cultural diversity through languages in primary
  • Combining employability with language skills
  • Getting outdoors with languages and learning
  • Digital tools for language learning
  • Target language phonics
  • Planning for progression in primary languages
  • Active assessment in primary languages

Secondary

  • Teaching Core Skills: Reading
  • Teaching Core Skills: Listening
  • Teaching Core Skills: Talking
  • Teaching Core Skills: Writing
  • Effective classroom management
  • Language café
  • Support for application and interview for language posts (aimed at NQTs)

Please refer to the SCILT ECT Professional Learning Programme 2023-24 for further details about each of the workshops available and submit your request via the form below. 

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Scotland's Languages Leadership Programme is offered by SCILT and Education Scotland. It carries GTCS Professional Recognition and is the flagship professional learning programme for all (aspiring) language leads working in primary, secondary or special education and with a minimum of 3 years' teaching experience or equivalent.

Participants are supported by critical friends who have experience of the programme and/or experience supporting professional learning and leadership development of colleagues. 

The Masters level programme comprises three elements:

  • Core professional learning days in June: two days of online professional learning coordinated by Education Scotland
  • Choice workshops between August and Easter: personalised selection from a varied menu of optional online workshops related to the leadership of languages education
  • Recall Day in May: share your languages leadership learning journey

To get a flavour of the programme you can follow #LangsLeadScot on Twitter or watch this promotional video:

SCILT Professional Development Officer Karen Faulds wrote a blog article for Education Scotland about the Programme. Read the article, Taking the lead with languages, to find out more.

Professional learning partnerships (PLPs) bring together educators, SCILT Professional Development Officers and any number of other partners from the education, business or charity sectors. Every PLP is unique, with each partner bringing different understanding, expertise and professional networks to the project. Typically, over the course of 9-12 months, partners adopt a collaborative and enquiring approach, to address a specific need identified by the educators. All PLP partners commit to sharing the work and outcomes of the project in and beyond their own contexts.

Previous PLPs have focused on exploring curriculum models to support increased uptake in Senior Phase; developed challenging interdisciplinary contexts for BGE language learning; family learning; strengthening literacy skills across languages and play-based approach for language learning in EY and early primary settings.

If you have an identified need and are able to commit to this longer term, organic form of professional learning please get in touch.

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The following opportunities are open to individual educators:

  • Teachers of Italian in Scotland (TOIIS) network. Come along to the launch event on 5 October 2023! Alternatively email scilt@strath.ac.uk putting TOIIS in the subject line with any queries you have about the network.
  • Open Access workshops: monthly themed workshops for primary practitioners throughout the yearDiscover the themes for session 2023-24 and book your place.
  • Secondary Big Question series: regular themed workshops for secondary practitioners in term 4. Check back for dates, themes and booking details.
  • For practitioners interested in languages in Early Years, please join our Languages in Early Years Learning Community Team in Glow. For those with a Glow account, you can access the team using the following code: ub5yxgt. If you have any issues with accessibility, please contact Karen Faulds.

The following opportunities are open to Individual students teachers and new or recently qualified teachers:

  • Language Cafes are monthly online get-togethers for secondary PGDE student, NQTs and ECTs of Languages. These Cafes are an opportunity to network informally with others in the same boat across the country, to share ideas and strategies, and to chat in other languages from time to time. Find out more and book a place.
  • The ECT Primary Languages Get Together in January 2024 marks the start of a series of Signpost Sessions, specifically for primary education students, newly and recently qualified primary teachers. These are informal opportunities to connect with peers across Scotland, ask questions, find support and solutions for all things primary languages. Find out more and book your place.

Additional 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.

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'It was succinct and gave teachers opportunities to compare experiences and share ideas'

'An excellent range of interactive approaches and resources to provide stimulating and simple lessons'

'This was a very useful workshop – full of great conversation ideas and well-focused in activities which I know I can immediately use in the classroom'

'It was so refreshing to attend a course which was entirely relevant and where the speaker was so knowledgeable'

'It was a very well informed, well-delivered session'

- Testimonials from SCILT professional learning attendees

Professional Learning Opportunities

SCILT aims to provide high quality professional learning opportunities to support the teaching and learning of languages across all sectors and all parts of the country.

Anytime professional learning for teachers

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? Listed below are courses, webinars and materials that are free to access.

Recommended reading for language teachers

THE electronic journal for language practitioners in Scotland. The Scottish Languages Review aims to:

  • provide language teachers, students, and researchers in Scotland with a strong voice in relation to all aspects of language teaching and learning.
  • promote discussion amongst language practitioners across all education sectors about mutual areas of interest or concern.
  • encourage greater debate between language learning theory and practice.

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SCILT's  analysis of published SQA statistics on language trends in Scottish schools. 

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Useful websites

Creative thoughts and ideas about primary languages pedagogy from Clare Seccombe, languages consultant working in the North East of England. The brains behind Lightbulb Languages.

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Discover a range of activities designed by leading education professionals to help your students explore the world beyond their classroom.

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A blog by a secondary French teacher with interesting ideas for lessons in the senior phase especially Higher and Advanced Higher level. Ideas are adaptable to other languages. @spsmith45

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