News View

Meet the linguists: the new French government is packing some pretty intimidating skills

22 May 2017 (The Conversation)

One of the most striking features of the recent French presidential elections and the subsequent nomination of a new prime minister and his cabinet has been the attention paid by the French media to the linguistic competences of the nation’s politicians.

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Call for case studies or practical examples of the use of instruments and frameworks for language teacher education and development

22 May 2017 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) is compiling case studies or practice examples of the use of instruments and frameworks that describe the competences and experiences of language teachers and, with respect to language-related issues, of all teachers.

They are inviting teachers, teacher educators/ trainers, administrators/officials at all levels, and employers to share their experiences of using these instruments. The practice examples will be published on the website of the current ECML project Towards a Common European Framework for Language Teachers.

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Alarm raised over modern language cuts at Manchester University

20 May 2017 (Guardian)

Planned staffing cuts that will hit modern languages teaching and research at Britain’s largest university should be scrapped, a group of senior academics have warned in a letter to the Guardian. The plan to shed as many as 35 jobs from the University of Manchester’s school of arts – a third of its strength – would do harm to the UK in the long run, they said.

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The first map of Gaelic speakers in Scotland

18 May 2017 (The Scotsman)

Produced by Edinburgh map company Bartholomew’s, the map contains information distilled from the first census, in 1881, that counted Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

The article follows the trend of Gaelic speakers in Scotland thereafter and includes links to Gaelic phrases for beginners.

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Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe – 2017 Edition

18 May 2017 (Eurydice)

The 2017 Edition of Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe depicts the main education policies regarding teaching and learning of languages in 42 European education systems.

Some of the questions answered in the report:
  • How long do students spend studying foreign languages?
  • What are the ten most commonly offered foreign languages?
  • Do foreign language teachers travel abroad for training?
  • How many immigrant students speak the language of schooling at home?
  • Plus much more
The report can be accessed on the European Commission's Eurydice website.

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Promoting linguistic skills a priority under the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

18 May 2017 (ECML)

The Czech Republic takes over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 May. Among the nine designated priorities of the 6 month chairmanship is the promotion of human rights education and linguistic skills.

“The Czech Republic continuously develops and improves tools for linguistic and cultural inclusion in Czech schools to help them deal with the increasing number of pupils whose mother tongue differs from the language of instruction. In this connection, the Czech Chairmanship will actively co-operate with the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) on promoting teachers’ and other language professionals’ capacities to develop linguistic skills and intercultural competences of learners, as a prerequisite for their successful education.

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Euroscola dates for autumn 2017

16 May 2017 (European Parliament)

Euroscola brings together about 600 students from all over the European Union for a day in Strasbourg discussing aspects of European integration, in multilingual working groups of 100 students. It is open to students aged 16-18 and the European Parliament offers a subsidy towards the costs of the journey to Strasbourg.

As working groups consist of students from several member states it is essential that participants have a sound knowledge of at least one other European Union language. For practical purposes knowledge of French is necessary as during the "committee" meetings in the afternoon, students are expected to think and speak in a language other than their mother tongue. The debates are held mainly in French and English.

Dates for the autumn term 2017 are now available.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Euroscola website.

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Falkirk win at Euroquiz final

16 May 2017 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from Comely Park Primary School, who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s National Euroquiz Final 2017, which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 15th May 2017.

Team members Tamsin Gold, Edwin Walker, Robyn Dewar-Young and Jaymie Jones were crowned SEET’s Euroquiz Champions 2017 at the national final. The winners were closely followed by St Leonard’s Primary School team from South Lanarkshire, in a nail-biting final round. Sciennes Primary School from Edinburgh also did incredibly well, winning the prize for third place.

Euroquiz is run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, a non-political charity, which promotes education about language learning, Europe and the wider world amongst Scotland’s young people.

See the attached press release for full details about this year's competition and participating schools.

If your school might like to take part in future competitions, visit the SEET website for more information.

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Related Links

Third Place in Euroquiz 2017! (Sciennes Primary School, 15 May 2017) - post includes photos and links to the event on Parliament TV.

Vast majority of young people think there should be a GCSE in sign language

15 May 2017 (TES)

Deaf charity finds that 97 per cent of 8-25 year-olds think sign language should be taught in schools. Almost all deaf young people think British Sign Language (BSL) should be taught in schools, according to a new survey. The National Deaf Children’s Society surveyed more than 2,000 deaf and hearing people, aged between eight and 25 and living across the UK, for its Right to Sign report. The charity found 97 per cent of young people thought that the language should be taught and 92 per cent thought it should be offered as a GCSE.

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Want a job in tech? Learn another language

15 May 2017 (Tech World)

When I ask the question ‘what’s the golden ticket to getting a job here’ to any of the major tech giants – the answer is universal. Being multilingual is the key. Partly for obvious reasons – but also because multilingual candidates bring a lot more to the table than fluency in languages.

Let’s dissect the obvious reason first. Currently two thirds of the world’s population speak two or more languages; this represents over 3.5 billion people.

Tech companies are fundamentally global, spanning every country, culture and race. Their customer base is worldwide and therefore they need to recruit people that can communicate with more than one target audience. In an increasingly competitive and international jobs market, European languages such as Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian and German are increasingly valuable to employers, while fluency in languages relating to emerging markets such as Mandarin and Russian are like pure gold.

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Young Language Learner Award - 2017

15 May 2017 (B small publishing)

The Young Language Learner Awards are back!

B small publishing are inviting children and young people to write a four-page story in a foreign language they are learning (choose from Chinese, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish) to be in with a chance of winning books worth £50.

One winner will be picked from the under 6 category and one winner from the 6 and over entries.

Visit the website for full details and to submit entries by 15 June 2017.

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Brits are terrible tourists who don’t learn languages, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t respect other cultures

13 May 2017 (Metro)

Brits haven’t got the best reputation as tourists. We’re loud, we drink, we’re awful at languages, and we have a history of starting fights at football matches. But now we have some proof, as a recent survey found that almost half of British tourists choose not to respect a country’s culture when they visit.

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Graduate jobs: top 12 degree subjects for getting a job

12 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

Competition for graduate jobs has never been more fierce. With tuition fees and living costs representing financial sacrifices for many, students reasonably demand degree courses that offer them the best value for money in today's tough jobs market.

Languages feature in the list of the top 12 degree subjects.

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Language Perfect World Championships 2017

12 May 2017 (ALL)

This year's Language Perfect World Championships take place from 15 - 25 May.

Students participate in the world's largest online languages event over 10 days with the chance to earn certificates and qualify for awards and prizes by translating between their target language and English. The competition is relevant for everyone, whatever their ability.

The first 500 schools to register will receive 50 free entries. (ALL members can register all students for free).

Find out more about the competition via the ALL webpage and the competition website.

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Leaving Certificate language students ‘learning off’ exam answers

11 May 2017 (Irish Examiner)

(Relates to Ireland) In a series of reports on student performance in language exams last June, chief examiners say students must learn how to adapt, instead of using learned-off answers.

The issues were most acute in the 2016 Leaving Certificate exams in Spanish, French, and Italian.

There are many positive aspects, particularly about the competencies of more able students of the six languages, which also included German, Japanese, and Russian.

But in oral exams, which are worth between 20% and 25% of marks in language subjects, a common concern is that students have prepared answers.

The Spanish Leaving Certificate examiner reported, for example, that a number of students had been taught in a “rote-learning” manner that prevented the natural flow of conversation.

“Many candidates had prepared a range of topics in the general conversation, but, when gently disengaged from rote-learned topics, found it difficult to communicate effectively in the target language,” the reports said.

The reports are published today by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), whose chief examiner in Leaving Certificate French said most students were well-prepared for the orals and had a high degree of proficiency and fluency.

However, at the other end of the scale, some of the 25,758 students examined in the subject had difficulty answering even simple questions.

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Online course: How to succeed in the global workplace

11 May 2017 (British Council)

Beginning your career or starting a new job brings to mind lots of questions, so we’ve designed a course to guide you through those initial weeks and months so you can make a positive start to your career.

You’ll see videos from employers, giving you insights from around the world into what they look for from their employees. You’ll learn how to communicate across cultures and discover the skills to build and maintain relationships with colleagues, managers and clients.

This is a free 4-week course and is hosted online by FutureLearn.

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Update to CISS Professional Learning Menu 2016-17

11 May 2017 (CISS)

The CISS 2016-17 professional learning menu 'Making Chinese work for you' has been updated to include two new cross-sector workshops:
  • Parent/carer engagement with the learning of Mandarin
  • Coaching and mentoring for your Hanban teacher/volunteer

Visit the Professional Learning page of the CISS website to find out more and to arrange a learning event.

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National Digital Learning Week 2017

9 May 2017 (Digilearn)

National Digital Learning Week takes place from 15-19 May 2017.

This year the theme of the week is ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week you’re invited to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on your classroom practice.

Why not use this opportunity to share any digital approaches you have to language teaching and learning in your classroom?

Visit the website to find out more about how you can participate and be inspired.

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The Stephen Spender Prize 2017

9 May 2017 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2017 Stephen Spender Prize is open for entries. Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a poem from any language, ancient or modern. As always, there are prizes in three categories – Open, 18-and-under and 14-and-under – and the competition is open to UK and Irish citizens and residents.

Entry deadline is Friday 26 May 2017.

Visit the website for further information and submission guidelines.

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Consul General Pan Xinchun Visits Fettes College

9 May 2017 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China)

On 4 May, Consul General Pan Xinchun paid a visit to Fettes College where he delivered a speech to the students and had a cordial meeting with the headmaster Michael Spens.

In his speech, Mr. Pan spoke highly of the Fettes College for its outstanding achievements in education. He indicated that well-educated students with global vision need knowledge about China. As the second largest economy, China has made huge contributions to the global development. He introduced the close links between China and Scotland by giving examples of people's daily life. Mr. Pan said, the demand in other countries for Mandarin speakers is increasing as China's cooperation with the rest of the world is deepening with a growing number of people learning Chinese language and culture. In Scotland alone, nearly 30,000 students from primary and secondary schools are learning. He encouraged the students to work hard and gain more understanding about China so as to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Scotland.

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EOL network ’Learning environments where modern languages flourish’ - 99 partner schools registered

9 May 2017 (ECML)

The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.

This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.

Visit the ECML website for more information and to register to join the EOL network.

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Pupil's sign language address to Scottish Parliament

9 May 2017 (BBC)

A profoundly deaf Falkirk High School pupil has delivered the Scottish Parliament's Time for Reflection in sign language.

Jemma Skelding, 12, is the youngest person to deliver the address, which is the parliament's first item of business of the week in the chamber.

Miss Skelding said she was pleased be at Holyrood ahead of next week's Deaf Awareness Week.

She told MSPs her parents and an older sister were also deaf.

Miss Skelding shared her experiences of using sign language in the address, which was translated by Mary McDevitt.

She said she grew up using sign language at home and thought everyone could use it, until she attended her first nursery.

Miss Skelding said that her next nursery taught everyone sign language half a day a week.

She said: "This was a really happy time for me.

"I was with my friends and I just felt like everyone else, we played together and we laughed a lot, we even had special sign names for each other."

Miss Skelding said things changed in P3, and by the following year she was "unhappy and felt very lonely."

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Brexit leads to surge in Brits wanting to learn new language, data finds

8 May 2017 (The Independent)

The British public’s appetite for learning foreign languages has increased significantly after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, according to newly released data.

Languages app Lingvist says it has seen a 91 per cent increase in UK users since the EU referendum last June, having compared its user base during the nine months before the vote to its user base in the nine months after the vote.

The popularity of English-Spanish courses has grown by 427 per cent, according to the data, with English-French courses experiencing a 342 per cent increase in popularity amongst British users.

“With Brexit around the corner, the growing concerns around how the UK will be able to bridge the language skills gap have been brought to the fore,” said Lingvist co-founder and COO Ott Jalakas.

“Government statistics show that the UK is already losing £50bn a year due to poor language skills with an over-reliance on one language affecting business turnover, profitability and expansion to new markets.

“Our data shows that the UK is on the right path to bridge the language learning gap.”

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1+2 National Events for Principal Teachers of languages and colleagues i/c timetabling : May and June 2017

8 May 2017 (Education Scotland/SCILT/ADES/GTCS)

These events will focus on 1+2 in the secondary sector and feature inputs from ADES, ES, GTCS, SCILT and a representative from a local business. Purpose of the day:
  • 1+2 – overview of current developments
  • sharing practice across authorities re implementation in secondary
  • transitions between primary and secondary
  • examining the place of languages in BGE and Senior Phase in secondary schools
Scottish Ministers have a clear message to all stakeholders: that learning languages is a normal part of the curriculum from P1 onwards. These regional 1+2 events for the secondary sector are part of the Strategic Implementation Group’s priority to focus on curriculum such that there is clear and effective design which ensures progress through primary and secondary schooling, and on Career Long Professional Learning to ensure practitioners are equipped, enabled and empowered to deliver high quality language learning in primary and secondary schools. Given the significance of the 1+2 policy for secondary modern languages departments, it is important that all schools are represented at these regional events.

Your LA languages contact (usually DO/QIO) will have alerted you to the event for your region, however if you have not yet received the invitation to attend your local event (two invitees per school – PT languages, plus timetabler- usually a DHT) please contact EDSCFE@EducationScotland.gsi.gov.uk

Your regional event will take place as per the schedule below:

Date

Event Location

Authorities involved

Wednesday 24 May

Aberdeen

Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, Shetland

Tuesday 6 June

Inverness

Highland, Moray, Western Isles

Thursday 8 June

Dundee

Dundee, Angus, Perth & Kinross, Fife

Monday 12 June

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders

Wednesday 14 June

Irvine

North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway

Friday 16 June

Glasgow

Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde

Tuesday 20 June

Stirling

Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire

Wednesday 21 June

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian


Venue details, timings and a programme for the day will be emailed to you when you register for the event.

Support language attainment in class with a Modern Language Assistant

8 May 2017 (British Council)

Employing a British Council language assistant is a unique way to broaden your students understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness.

Language assistants are dynamic, enthusiastic native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese, and are usually undergraduates or recent graduates. As we recruit language assistants directly from their home countries, their language is up-to-date, the classroom resources they provide are relevant and authentic, and they will be well placed to connect with students on their own level . Simply put, employing a language assistant provides the kind of learning experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 31 May 2017.

For more information and to apply visit the British Council website.

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Brexit: English language 'losing importance' - EU's Juncker

5 May 2017 (BBC)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has told a conference in Italy on the EU that "English is losing importance in Europe".

Amid tensions with the UK over looming Brexit negotiations, he said he was delivering his speech in French.

"Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe and also because France has an election," he said, explaining his choice of language.

[..] Before the UK joined in 1973, French was the main language of EU business.

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Apply now for a fully funded Chinese Language Assistant!

28 April 2017 (British Council)

The British Council and HSBC are pleased to announce that up to ten grants of £3,890 will be offered to cover the costs of hosting a Chinese language assistant for the academic year of 2017/18.

This is a pilot scheme for UK schools in 2017/18 and is intended to support the Sustainable Development Goal “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”. Successful schools will have the full costs of hosting a Chinese Language Assistant covered from mid-September 2017 to the end of June 2018.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to download an application form.

Application deadline: 31 May 2017.

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Video: 'Bilingual parents share strategies for home language maintenance'

26 April 2017 (Bilingualism Matters)

Bilingualism Matters at the University of Reading held an event in February 2017 in association with the university's Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism where parents in the audience shared their experience about keeping up the home language with children of different ages. An extract can be seen in the video 'Bilingual parents share strategies for home language maintenance'.

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme

20 April 2017 (SCILT)

Summer School is on! The national leadership programme formerly known as Train the Trainer has undergone an extensive review over the last year.

Under its new name, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme, this flagship national leadership programme will be open for registration from Monday. Invitations will go out to local authority representatives and teacher education institutions. The programme has Professional Recognition accreditation from GTCS and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Beginning with a Summer School which will take place from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th July 2017 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow.

Hosted by SCILT and Education Scotland, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme is aimed at those who have, or aspire to have, a responsibility for leading languages and developing colleagues’ capacity to deliver the 1+2 approach to languages.

The revised programme features inputs from a wide variety of speakers with an extensive range of expertise in teaching and leading languages. The inclusion of parallel sessions offers choice to participants, and the content is a balance of theory, policy and practice around language learning and teaching, leadership, personal reflection and professional evaluation.

The themes of this updated Summer School are:
  • 1+2 languages: the national picture and the position of languages in the National Improvement Framework and the Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Strategic leadership in languages: planning and evaluation
  • Progression in language learning
  • Parental and wider engagement in language learning
  • Raising attainment: practical ways to develop literacy skills across languages
  • L3 – existing models, diversity of languages
  • Inclusive practice in languages
  • Supporting bilingual learners
Interested in participating in The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme? Contact your local authority QIO.

New job profile on SCILT's website

21 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest addition:
  • Ross Noble, Conference Interpreter - his role as conference interpreter at the European Commission gives him the chance to use all of his languages every day and to learn about varied and interesting topics.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Latest News

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Meet the linguists: the new French government is packing some pretty intimidating skills More...

Call for case studies or practical examples of the use of instruments and frameworks for language teacher education and development More...

Alarm raised over modern language cuts at Manchester University More...

The first map of Gaelic speakers in Scotland More...