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Issue 37 - Spring 2024

Welcome to Issue 37 of the Scottish Languages Review. In a recurring theme of recent times, and due to a number of external factors outwith our control, the publication of this latest issue has taken longer than expected, but we hope you will agree that the wait has been worth it.

The current issue kicks off with a fascinating article by Dr David Roxburgh, Principal Teaching Fellow and Director of Global Engagement in the Strathclyde Institute of Education. With the 1+2 policy having seen an increase in the provision of Chinese language and culture over the past decade, David presents an analysis of the experiences of exchange teachers from China in our primary schools, and in doing so provides a much welcome Scottish perspective to an existing body of research on the impact of teachers from China in other education systems, while he also discusses the relevance of his findings to visiting teachers who come to Scotland to support other languages.

The focus on the primary sector continues with a study by Tania Czajka, an early years practitioner and M.ED Teaching Artist, well known as the author of Lapin is Hungry and the creator of Le Petit Monde Stories. Noting the apparent contradiction between a national commitment to play-based learning and the absence of this in the teaching of languages as set out in the Curriculum for Excellence, Tania presents a case study on the use of creative puppetry as a means to enhance not only levels of engagement and confidence among the children but also a valuable tool for the professional development of teachers involved in the delivery of languages at early years level to primary two and beyond.

Identifying another area where the scope of Curriculum for Excellence might be expanded to maximise the benefits of language learning, Julia Savaniu, a former student at the University of Dundee and now teacher in Dundee City Council, discusses the vital importance of intercultural understanding, as set out in the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate. Julia makes a compelling argument for the need for learners of languages to be facilitated in the development of the tools they require to communicate outwith the boundaries of their own cultures.

Lastly, Fhiona Mackay and Lisa Hanna, Director and Deputy Director of SCILT respectively, provide their insightful review of an international symposium, held in Brussels last May, on Arabic language learning in Europe. SCILT, in partnership with the Qatari Foundation International since 2018, has contributed to the introduction of Arabic language and Arab cultures across a number of primary and secondary schools in Scotland, thanks to the Discovering the World of Arabic programme, launched in 2020. The event in Belgium enabled delegates to look beyond the boundaries of their national contexts, and in doing so identify a range of common challenges and shared solutions which can continue to be addressed through the creation of an enduring international network.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes since the publication of Issue 36, a newly formed editorial committee has been busy exploring ways to extend the reach of the Scottish Languages Review – in terms of both readership and, above all, potential contributors. Recent visitors to our webpage will have noticed that we are keen to attract not only research working papers but also three other genres of submission: practice insight working papers, thought pieces and book/conference reviews. Research, after all, is not limited to traditional scholarly inquiry, so we are eager to hear from anyone interested in sharing insights from the many strands of valuable practice-based investigation taking place on the front line of language education, in Scotland and throughout the world. To this end, we have created a flyer, together with a portal for potential contributors to register their interest.

In the meantime, thanks are due to my colleagues on the editorial committee for the work they have carried out in reviewing submissions for the current issue, and, as always, to Sarah Macfarlane for pulling everything together.

Enjoy Issue 37!


Dr Paul Hare

Professional Development Officer

The exploration of a play and creative puppetry based approach to teach Modern Languages at Early Years primary level

Tania Czajka
The publication of Realising the Ambition: Being Me by Education Scotland in 2020 shows a strong national commitment to providing a play-based education for early years children from nursery to Primar...
Keywords: modern languages, early years, creative puppetry, play-based learning, ownership of learning, teacher learning

Insiders, Outsiders and Inbetweeners: The experiences of exchange teachers promoting Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools

Dr David Roxburgh
Scotland’s ‘1+2 policy’ affords schools the opportunity to support a range of languages and, within this context, the past decade has seen growth in the teaching of Chinese language ...
Keywords: Chinese language and culture, exchange teachers, L3 practices, Scottish ‘1+2 policy’

An exploration into the impact of Primary Modern Languages on developing learners’ intercultural understanding: Comparing CfE and PYP principles

Julia Savaniu
Intercultural understanding is widely recognised as an invaluable life skill, allowing humankind to appreciate and communicate in the diverse world they inhabit. The International Baccalaureate’...
Keywords: Primary Years Programme, Curriculum for Excellence, intercultural understanding, modern languages, global citizenship

Arabic Language Learning in Europe: Realities of Policy and Practice

Fhiona Mackay and Lisa Hanna
Qatar Foundation International Symposium Brussels 9-12 May 2023
Keywords: innovative approaches, Arabic language and Arab cultures, online course delivery, professional learning, symposium, teacher community, international collaboration, educational policy, common challenges, teacher identity, assessment, teacher workforce planning, initial teacher education, curriculum, lesser taught languages

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