Language Skills


Language Skills

New job profile on the SCILT website

21 April 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from David Rodger, Area Manager at Amazon Germany. He tells how people engage with you and realise you're on their side if you demonstrate the willingness to understand their language and culture.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

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Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

For some S2 pupils from Elgin Academy, the term began with a busy and exciting visit to Walkers Shortbread HQ in Aberlour, Moray.

The pupils have been studying Mandarin since January with the support of the Hanban teacher Sufang Wang and under the guidance of Jerome Lestienne, PT of Modern Languages. The pupils presented to members of the International team from Walkers and the HR team. The presentations reflected what they had learnt so far, which included simple greetings, some numbers (and how to express numbers with hand gestures) and explanations of what is peculiar to the Chinese language such as learning tones, characters, etc.

The presentations also incorporated advice on effective “dos and don’ts” of Chinese Business Etiquette. These were well received by the International Team, who later explained they are increasingly doing business with China. It is now one of the top ten countries with whom they deal and in the near future will be opening an office in Shanghai.

Pupils were judged on presentation skills, clarity of delivery, content, structure and language skills. (The latter were judged by members from CISS and the Hanban teacher.) The winning group were generously rewarded with a prize and all pupils left with a goodie bag.

Pupils were asked questions by the team regarding how they found learning Chinese. They replied they had found it interesting and were grateful to have the chance to learn some Chinese whilst at school.

The Director of the International Team thanked them for the useful and stimulating presentations. He highlighted the fact that future employees with such knowledge would be most welcome for the company to employ.
Walkers' staff enjoying the presentationElgin Academy pupils presenting

Half of young adults in the UK do not feel European, poll reveals

11 April 2017 (The Guardian)

Only half of the UK’s young adults see themselves as having a European identity and one in five do not identify as being British, a survey has found.

The poll also found that exposure to different nationalities among 18- to 30-year-olds in the UK was low, with just 13% ever having worked abroad and just one in three proficient enough to speak Spanish, French or any other foreign language at a “simple” level.

According to the study, commissioned by thinktank Demos and supported by the British Council as part of the Next Generation research series, young people were also less well travelled than reports on student gap years would imply.

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Why Britain's monolingualism could be costly for the nation

5 April 2017 (World Economic Forum)

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it has a huge number of considerations to ensure its economy prospers. One, which is perhaps overlooked, is Britain’s language policy and how important this is as an economic resource. A strategic language policy and the cultivation of language experts in post-Brexit Britain are essential if it wants to connect with fresh markets overseas.

This has long been a feature of international diplomacy – stretching back long before globalisation as we know it. All the big powers of the Old World depended on understanding other people’s languages to trade across cultures. A “modern” solution was found in Babylonia, an ancient commercial metropolitan hub in the Near East, where a polyglot community of traders came together from the Mediterranean, Persia and Turkey, and beyond.

There are accounts of King Hammurabi deftly exploiting his city’s growing cultural mix as a resource in the 1790s BC. He used bilingual foreign traders as cross-cultural brokers. With their language skills, they played a key role in facilitating long-range trade with distant markets.

One of the biggest challenges facing the UK economy now is a skills shortage. Although funding is promised to support technical skills training, UK business also requires professionals with language skills to achieve sales in fresh markets. These experts will need to speak the languages of trading partners and understand the cultures of new overseas contacts to negotiate and seal deals. Investment in this crucial soft skill is needed.

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British business will need its foreign language speakers

22 March 2017 (FT)

Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on March 29, but much of UK business has no idea what Brexit will mean for them. During discussions in the past few weeks, I have heard of financial services companies applying for licences in EU countries in case they need to move some of their operations there. But most businesses are watching and waiting to assess what comes out of the negotiations.

There is one thing many companies are sure of: they cannot manage without their EU staff. It is not just the numbers of EU nationals working in many industries. Some companies are also desperate to hold on to the languages those citizens speak.

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Dearth of Foreign Office expertise on Russia

3 March 2017 (The Times)

(Extract from letters to the Editor) Sir, The Foreign Office’s shortage of competent Russian-language speakers affects its ability to interact not just with Russia but across a much wider region where Russian remains the lingua franca A more serious related problem is the lack of knowledge of Russian political culture and statecraft at mid and senior levels. The Foreign Office currently has no policy makers who have served in Russia. Not surprisingly, this deficiency is impacting the UK’s ability to read Russian intentions and respond to them.

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Linguanomics: What Is the Market Potential of Multilingualism?

2 March 2017 (THE)

Linguistic diversity is a good thing, and individuals, institutions and societies can benefit from investing in language learning. This is the conviction from which Gabrielle Hogan-Brun starts and the conclusion she reaches. Evidence for this proposition is not difficult to find, and Linguanomics provides a wealth of examples from aviation safety to Mark Zuckerberg via Marco Polo.

Aviation accidents demonstrate the benefits of language learning ex negativo. When the last recorded words of a Chinese pilot are “What does ‘pull up’ mean?”, one may conclude that a fatal incident could have been avoided if the pilot had had better English. Conversely, Polo did well as a trader and traveller, and his fluency in four languages surely helped; the same with Zuckerberg, who may be hoping that his Chinese language skills will smooth Facebook’s entry into the Chinese market.

Linguanomics is full of anecdotes such as these, and they all go to show that language skills are useful and may even be highly profitable. Hogan-Brun is on a mission to convince her readers that they should be more alert to the market potential of language learning. Given the neglect of languages in much of the English-speaking world, this is a laudable aim, and Linguanomics succeeds as a piece of punditry.

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Five funny times British football stars attempted to speak in foreign languages following a transfer abroad

22 February 2017 (The Mirror)

The Premier League receives a whole host of talent from many different countries every year.

Massive stars from France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Chile, Belgium, Uruguay, Portugal and South Korea have all, at one time or another, played in the English top tier.

But how many of England's biggest stars can we say have made the leap to play abroad? A handful or so?

Naturally one of the biggest obstacles for footballers moving abroad is the language barrier, something which Wayne Rooney may have to conquer should his potential move to China go through next week.

In the video, we've taken a look at the five funniest times English stars made the brave choice to ply their trade in another country... and speak the language.

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Why multilingualism is good for economic growth

3 February 2017 (The Conversation)

'If your strategy is to trade only with people that speak English that’s going to be a poor strategy.'

Top US economist Larry Summers recently tweeted this in relation to America’s focus on its so-called special relationship with the UK. And he’s right. The economic impact on the US – or any other country – that closes off its trade barriers with countries that are different to it would be enormous.

Language matters on a large-scale national level and at the level of smaller businesses.

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Josh Martin, student of Psychology & German and part-time racing driver

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from student and part-time racing driver, Josh Martin, who appreciates how languages are key in helping him communicate with fans around the world and in negotiating sponsorship deals.

Read his profile and others on our website now.

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The made-up language with just one speaker

3 February 2017 (BBC)

When it comes to learning languages, it's often thought the Swedes are rather good at it, the Dutch brilliant, and the British, rather poor. Student, Melissa May, who is from southern England, is perhaps the exception that proves the rule. Not content with mastering many languages including German, French and Spanish, she decided to invent a completely new one, with its own unique script. It is called Skénavánns. She told James Menendez about it.

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Meet the world’s first Gaelic rapper

15 January 2017 (The Herald)

You might expect renowned bagpiper, guitarist and traditional Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh to be appearing at the upcoming Celtic Connections Festival. Instead, he's at home in Ballachulish working on a very different type of project – the world’s first Gaelic hip hop record.

“Well, first hip hop record in the Gaelic tradition, anyway,” says the highlander, who raps under the pseudonym Eólas – meaning ‘knowledge’.

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How Mandarin can unlock our children's potential in an increasingly connected world

10 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

With over one billion speakers worldwide, the global significance of Mandarin Chinese cannot be denied. But with the continued growth of English as a lingua franca of business, travel and international relations, do we really need more young people in the UK to learn it?

The reality is that, at a time when the UK is repositioning itself on the world stage, young people across the UK need to have the knowledge and skills to unlock their potential in an increasingly connected world - and to my mind at least, there are few abilities more valuable than speaking Mandarin Chinese.

The good news is that parents across the UK seem to think so too. Research released last week as part of the Mandarin Excellence Programme highlighted that those with children aged under 18 see Mandarin Chinese as the ‘most beneficial’ non-European language for their children's future – followed by Arabic and Japanese. As well as 51 per cent of those surveyed believing that speaking Mandarin would boost their children's career prospects, 56 per cent saw it as a skill that would open their children's minds to an ‘exciting and dynamic culture’.

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Meet The Refugees Taking On The UK’s Language Skills Deficit

1 January 2017 (Huffington Post)

What do a dentist, a human rights lawyer and a maths teacher have in common?

Certainly, they’re all qualified professionals. What you might not guess - blog title aside - is that they have all sought, and found, refuge in the UK in the last few years. They fled from Syria, Sudan and North Korea respectively. None of them have (yet) been able to practise their professions here, but that hasn’t stopped them helping the Brits in need of their skills. They all now work for a new tech for good startup, through which they share their native language and culture - online and in person - with people in the UK.

The startup is called Chatterbox. By training and employing refugees ​as language tutors, the venture catalyses refugee integration into the UK labour market whilst tackling the country’s language skills deficit.

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Related Links

Want to learn Arabic, Korean or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 January 2017)

Chris Pratt Impresses Jennifer Lawrence With His German-Speaking Skills

9 December 2016 (Glamour)

Chris Pratt is truly a renaissance man. In addition to being a highly successful actor and a loving father, this 37-year-old is also a master of the French braid, a magician, and apparently a polyglot as well. That last skill is something Pratt decided to showcase during a press tour for his upcoming film Passengers.

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In or out of the EU, UK businesses can’t afford to reject language learning

6 December 2016 (CEO)

Brexit has raised many questions over the future competitive trading position of Britain in Europe. While the economic impact of the political upheaval still plays out, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the fact that for a long time, UK companies have put themselves at a disadvantage in Europe; perhaps without even realising it. That disadvantage comes from a lack of language skills.

While it’s fair to say that English is the lingua franca of many corporations, it is also true that global companies can enjoy richer, more productive interactions with customers, suppliers, overseas colleagues and partners when they are able to operate within different cultures in different languages.

And while enhancing and improving business relationships is a universally useful endeavor, it would be a mistake to think that language skills in business are a matter of mere social niceties. In fact, they have significant material impact on the bottom line. Mark Herbert at the British Council summed it up nicely when he cited the estimated, “tens of billions in missed trade and business opportunities every year” resulting from the UK’s shortage of language skills.

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Google's AI just created its own universal 'language'

23 November 2016 (Wired)

Google has previously taught its artificial intelligence to play games, and it's even capable of creating its own encryption. Now, its language translation tool has used machine learning to create a 'language' all of its own.

In September, the search giant turned on its Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) system to help it automatically improve how it translates languages. The machine learning system analyses and makes sense of languages by looking at entire sentences – rather than individual phrases or words.

Following several months of testing, the researchers behind the AI have seen it be able to blindly translate languages even if it's never studied one of the languages involved in the translation. "An example of this would be translations between Korean and Japanese where Korean⇄Japanese examples were not shown to the system," the Mike Schuster, from Google Brain wrote in a blogpost.

The team said the system was able to make "reasonable" translations of the languages it had not been taught to translate. In one instance, a research paper published alongside the blog, says the AI was taught Portuguese→English and English→Spanish. It was then able to make translations between Portuguese→Spanish.

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Special musical gift delights guests at Celtic and FC Barcelona's pre-game lunch

23 November 2016 (FC Barcelona)

Before today’s game between Celtic and Barça, the directors of the two clubs enjoyed a lunch organised by UEFA in a restaurant close to the hotel where the Catalans are staying.

FCB was represented at the event by vice-president Manel Arroyo, the commissioner for Espai Barça Jordi Moix and directors Silvio Elías, Pau Vilanova and Xavier Vilajoana.

And there was an unexpected surprise for them before the meal was served, when the choir from Dalmarnock Primary School performed the Barça anthem!

See the video on the FC Barcelona website.

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'Now More Than Ever’ - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit

17 November 2016 (Huffington Post)

'Language skills matter now more than ever’ - that is the resounding message coming from the British Council’s latest piece of research on language learning in the post-Brexit landscape. But with language uptake low in schools - and the majority of us admitting our own linguistic skills are rusty at best - what can be done to make sure languages get the recognition they deserve as the UK prepares to leave the EU?

Well the good news is that the majority of us recognise the vital role that languages have to play in the current climate. Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Populus in our new poll for International Education Week, 63 per cent saw the ability to speak other languages as being essential if the country is to remain “outward looking”. 61 per cent said they were more vital than ever if the UK is to remain “open for business” in light of the result of the EU referendum.

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Language skills ‘more vital than ever’

15 November 2016 (British Council)

Language skills are ‘more vital than ever’ if the UK is to remain ‘outward looking’ and ‘open for business’ in the run up to Brexit, new British Council research has revealed.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, the majority saw the ability to speak foreign languages as being essential if the UK is to successfully reach out to other countries (63 per cent) - and guarantee continued trade and investment (61 per cent) – in light of the result of the EU referendum.

Over two thirds of those surveyed (67 per cent) believed that as a country, we currently don’t encourage enough young people in the UK to learn other languages, with a similar number (63 per cent) stating that schools need to make more time than ever before for language learning as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

11 November 2016 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed to be used in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work. They provide really relevant careers advice on languages, direct from the workplace, and cover a range of sectors. See our latest addition:
  • Claire Murphy, Translator - a translator at the European Commission, Claire speaks Spanish, German and Italian and is currently learning French. She explains how cultural knowledge is as important as language skills in her role.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Closed borders will lead only to closed minds

4 November 2016 (TESS)

It’s been just over four months since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and we still know very little about how Brexit will affect life in the UK. That is, of course, largely because it will be another few months until the process of the UK’s departure formally starts, and so, really, nothing has actually changed.

That is not to say it won’t, of course.

[..] And as Scotland’s modern language teachers prepare to come together for the Scottish Association of Language Teachers annual conference this week, its chair, Gillian Campbell-Thow, told me that Brexit would “either be a force for great change in the respect that it will give us a massive opportunity to further enhance the need for young people who are culturally aware and can communicate on many levels; or it will be another nail in the coffin to language learning as real life opportunities to work and live in other countries may not be as easy or accessible as they once were.”

Read the full article in TESS online, 4 November 2016 (subscription required).

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Lords debate on Brexit impact for HE funding and research

3 November 2016 (They Work For You)

The motion was raised in the House of Lords on 3 November 2016 that the House takes note of the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on funding for universities and scientific research.

During the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal raised the importance of increasing and improving the UK's ability to communicate with the world in languages other than English following withdrawal from the EU.

The full debate can be accessed online.

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Euroquiz 2016-17

24 October 2016 (SEET)

SEET is very pleased to announce that Euroquiz 2016-17 has now officially launched! We run an annual Euroquiz for P6 pupils, promoting education about Europe and encouraging the development of foreign language skills and intercultural competencies amongst young people in Scotland.

If you are interested in finding out more about Euroquiz, visit the SEET website where you can watch our promo video, or contact jane@seet.org.uk. Primary schools will receive information via their local authority including a registration form.

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Plan now to avoid post-Brexit languages crisis, say MPs

17 October 2016 (BBC News)

The government must plan now to avoid a post-Brexit languages crisis, say a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

Trade talks after leaving the EU will need more UK officials with language skills, say the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages. There is already a languages skills shortage but currently the UK can rely on other EU nationals "to plug the gap", say the group.

Ministers say their reforms are already boosting language learning in schools.

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Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #3

13 October 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the third of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Jocelyn Wyburd, Director of the University’s Language Centre and Chair of the University Council for Modern Languages, argues that Brexit poses an additional threat to language learning in Britain which must be overcome.

Just one of the motivations to vote ‘Leave’ in the UK’s recent EU Referendum was a desire to limit immigration, fuelled by a wide range of issues including strains on jobs and public services, but also by discomfort (verging on fear) about multiculturalism and multilingualism in ‘Anglophone’ Britain.

We heard that Nigel Farage disliked sharing trains with people speaking languages other than English, and shortly before the referendum it was reported that a Muslim woman on a bus had been berated for not speaking English to her son, when she was actually speaking Welsh.

Wales is a proudly bilingual nation which, through its Global Futures strategy is dedicated to promoting language learning and greater cross-cultural understanding. Scotland, meanwhile, has adopted the EU-wide goal of mastery of Mother Tongue plus two languages (where Mother Tongue might be English, Scots or another language). No such goals exist for the UK as a whole or for England, though the Department for Education’s statement of purpose for the teaching of languages in English schools opens with the assertion that “learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures”.

Links to Parts 1 and 2 can also be found on the website.

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Speaking a second language changes how you see the world

12 October 2016 (The Week)

There are two versions of the writer Lauren Collins. There is the English-speaking Lauren, who, presumably, is the Lauren primarily responsible for writing her (wonderful) new memoir, When in French. And then there is the French-speaking Lauren, the one tasked with navigating a marriage and a life in a second language. In her new book, she tells the story of falling in love with a Frenchman, marrying him, and relocating with him to Switzerland; a passage toward the end depicts one of the sillier but still salient differences between the two Laurens...

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UK voted worst country in Europe at learning other languages as world video dictionary launched

26 September 2016 (The Independent)

The UK is the worst country in Europe at learning other languages new data suggests.

As part of a vote organised for European Day of Languages, Britain was revealed to be the most monolingual country in the continent.

More than one in three (35%) chose Britain as the worst in Europe for communicating in any other language apart from their mother tongue. French citizens came second in the vote with 22 per cent, followed by Italy with eight per cent.

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Brainy Everton striker Romelu Lukaku speaks five languages at cosmopolitan Blues

22 September 2016 (Liverpool Echo)

The Premier League is more cosmopolitan than ever before - and Everton have the top flight's most multi-lingual player.

A study based on which teams speak the most languages, puts the Blues in mid-table but in Romelu Lukaku they have a player who sits top of the pile.

Lukaku, 23, speaks Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English and also understands German.

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How morality changes in a foreign language

14 September 2016 (Scientific American)

What defines who we are? Our habits? Our aesthetic tastes? Our memories? If pressed, I would answer that if there is any part of me that sits at my core, that is an essential part of who I am, then surely it must be my moral center, my deep-seated sense of right and wrong.

And yet, like many other people who speak more than one language, I often have the sense that I’m a slightly different person in each of my languages—more assertive in English, more relaxed in French, more sentimental in Czech. Is it possible that, along with these differences, my moral compass also points in somewhat different directions depending on the language I’m using at the time?

Psychologists who study moral judgments have become very interested in this question. Several recent studies have focused on how people think about ethics in a non-native language—as might take place, for example, among a group of delegates at the United Nations using a lingua franca to hash out a resolution. The findings suggest that when people are confronted with moral dilemmas, they do indeed respond differently when considering them in a foreign language than when using their native tongue.

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MTOT - Free creative poetry workshops for teachers

9 September 2016 (SCILT)

Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom. Due to the creative and interactive nature of these workshops, places are limited to 15 teachers at each venue, therefore we advise you to book your place early.

Details of the workshops are as follows. Click on the appropriate workshop link below to register for the event.

  • Saturday 24 September, 10.00 – 12.30; Dundee University, Dundee (deadline for registration Friday 16 September)
  • Friday 30 September, 13.30 – 16.00; The Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 1 October, 10.00 – 12.30; Inverness College - UHI, Inverness (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 8 October, 12.00 – 14.30; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (deadline for registration Friday 30 September) PLEASE NOTE EVENT NOW FULL!
For more information about the competition visit the MTOT page on our website and register your school to take part!

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Turbulent Times: Skills for a Global World

26 July 2016 (Think Global)

If recent events have proven anything, it’s that the world in which our young people are growing up is turbulent and unpredictable. Over the past 12 months, Think Global has been working together with OCR to look more closely at questions about the skills young people really need to live and work in such a world.

Focusing on the views and understandings of employers, who can play a crucial role in supporting young people to learn and practise skills for a global world, we surveyed 500 business leaders from across the country and across sectors to build an up-to-date picture of whether or to what extent our young people are prepared to thrive both today and in the future.

Notable in the global context which informs this research, was the finding that over a quarter (28%) of employers were affected by a lack of workers with foreign language skills; a figure rising to almost half (44%) in London.

The full report can be accessed on the Think Global website.

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Mock Council 2016

3 June 2016 (British Council eTwinning)

Do your students want to learn to negotiate in an international environment?

Don't forget you can now apply to be one of 30 schools from across England and Scotland to take part in the annual Mock Council of the European Union, to be held at the Foreign Office in London on Thursday 17 November.

In the Mock Council, 30 schools are each assigned the role of an EU member state or an EU institution and simulate a meeting of the EU's Council of Ministers on two topical EU policy proposals. Two students from each school must research these policy areas and represent their adopted country or institution at the Council meeting.

Students are encouraged to use foreign languages where possible in the discussions to reflect the multilingual nature of the EU; interpretation into English is provided.

This year there will be an additional role for one school to represent 'the media'. The aim of this role will be to generate interest before, during and after the event, through interviewing participating schools.

Applications are welcome from secondary and further education colleges across England and Scotland. The application deadline has been extended to 12 noon on 9 June 2016.

Further information and application forms can be found on the Mock Council 2016 website, along with highlights from the 2015 event.

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‘How will we fare in post-Brexit trade negotiations if no one has studied MFL?’

2 June 2016 (TES)

There are few things so depressing about the current schools system as the precipitous decline in languages, writes this veteran education journalist.

If one thing that has saddened me over the past couple of weeks, it is that modern foreign languages has been the first core subject to be axed by a major exam board.

For at least two decades I have campaigned, cajoled and done what I can to persuade the powers that be to do more to promote languages in schools.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

12 May 2016 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website in which 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:
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Some people really DO have a flair for languages: Brain patterns predict how quickly someone will learn a foreign tongue

11 May 2016 (Daily Mail)

For some, picking up a foreign language almost comes as second nature while others stumble over the jumble of unfamiliar words and phrases.

A study has revealed the secret that may lie behind these differences in the ability to learn a new language - the rhythm of electrical activity in their brain.

Scientists at the University of Washington found people who were better at acquiring a second language had higher activity in key parts of their brain when resting than those who struggled.

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10 famous faces who speak other languages

6 May 2016 (EuroTalk blog)

We’ve posted previously about movie and sport stars who speak other languages. But it turns out they’re not the only famous linguists, so here are a few more. Prepare to be impressed…

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Business Brunch 2016 events webpage now live!

6 May 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT, in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS), held a series of Business Brunch events (formerly Business Breakfast) across Scotland, during January and February this year where pupils from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

Find out more about the events on our new webpage.

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eTwinning improves teachers' cross-curricular skills and much more!

4 May 2016 (eTwinning)

A recent survey carried out as part of the eTwinning project, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2015, shows incredibly positive results about its impact on the teachers' community. An overwhelming majority of the project's participants say that it has helped them improve their skills in various different areas.

eTwinning is, evidently, affecting teachers’ professional practice and development substantially. More than 90 per cent of the 6,000 teachers who participated in the survey said eTwinning had improved their competence in teaching transversal skills. In other words, team work, creativity, problem-solving and decision-making.

What’s more, 89 per cent of the teachers reported that their foreign language skills for teaching and project-based teaching skills were improved due to the eTwinning community. 80 per cent said that they were better prepared for multicultural and multilingual scenarios after joining eTwinning projects.

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Related Links

eTwinning online training, workshops and courses - information about webinars and short online sessions taking place between May and June 2016.

Burscough Village Primary celebrate eTwinning Day (eTwinning UK, 11 May 2016) - Year 5 pupils from the school tell in this video what eTwinning means to them.

Research participants wanted: Italian-English bilinguals

2 May 2016 (Bilingualism Matters)

Scientists working on the EU funded AThEME project are looking to recruit Italian-English bilingual adults for their research into how people process multiple languages.

If you're a native Italian speaker aged between 18-40 and would like to take part, visit the Bilingualism Matters website for more information and to register interest.

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MTOT 2015-16 Celebration Event held at Language Show Live

29 April 2016 (SCILT)

The celebration event for MTOT 2015-16 saw 20 award winners receive their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Language Show Live Scotland event.

Pupils took the opportunity to perform their poems and rhymes to the audience, showcasing the many languages used by children and young people both in school and at home. The event drew in a huge crowd, with passers-by stopping to also see and hear their work.

Find out more about the day on our MTOT Celebration Event webpage, where you can also find links to the list of winners, pupil videos and recitals, the anthology, press articles and photos from the event.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their support and participation, which helped make the competition and celebration such a success. We hope to run MTOT again next year, so make sure you sign up to our e-bulletin for updates, or follow us on our social media sites Twitter or Facebook.

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Learning English is child's play, thanks to Paisley teacher Ruth

22 March 2016 (Paisley Daily Express)

More than 500 children from all over the world are being helped to speak English fluently by a remarkable council project.

Young people, many from Eastern Europe and some newly-arrived refugees from Syria, are getting to grips with the tongue as it is spoken in Scotland, thanks to Renfrewshire Council’s English as an Additional Language Service.

And not only that – they are also being encouraged to keep in touch with their own native language through literature.

Supporting the primary-age children in the scheme is teacher Ruth Cunningham, who herself speaks fluent Spanish.

As revealed in the Paisley Daily Express, three of Ms Cunningham’s pupils – variously from Norway, Hungary and Lithuania – recently had great success in a poetry competition organised by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. (Also see the attached, related article courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express).

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The curriculum vs employability skills?

16 March 2016 (SecEd)

The curriculum is hampering schools’ efforts to improve and develop the employability skills of their young people, argues Phil Crompton.

Everyone spends at least 11 years at school. That’s a long time. So surely it is not unreasonable to expect young people emerging from the education system to be ready to make a positive contribution to the working world?

I am not talking about examination results. They are just one indicator of someone’s capacity to be a great employee, or even an employer. I am talking about the skills that actually matter in the workplace.

Shouldn’t pupils in our schools be given the chance to develop skills in communicating with confidence, working in teams, bouncing back from failure, being polite, and organising themselves. And once they have developed the skills fully shouldn’t some recognition be available? Employers certainly think so. And so do I.

[..] At my three schools, we recognise the existing curriculum isn’t going away and that exams have to be passed, but we are working with local businesses to breathe life into some of the duller parts of the curriculum and to equip our pupils for working life.

Science classes are advising a housing company on how to promote their new eco-homes, German and French students are producing foreign language leaflets for visitors to a local hotel, computing students have worked with an IT firm to create mobile phone apps, A level students have been practising Spanish conversation at a city tapas bar, and a professional actress has worked with a drama class.

Read more...

Poor language skills and strategies contributing to UK record trade deficit

10 February 2016 (ATC)

Britain's poor language skills and strategies are contributing to the record £125 billion UK trade deficit, according to the Association of Translation Companies.

Commenting on the figures released by the Office for National Statistics, Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary for the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) comments: “As an organisation whose members are focused on helping UK companies from all sectors maximise international trade opportunities, we are concerned to see a reduction in the value of UK exports for December 2015.

“Recent research shows that poor language skills are costing the UK economy £48 billion a year in lost export sales and that organisations which have made the conscious decision to invest in professional language services achieve a far higher export to turnover ratio."

Read more...

Why native English speakers fail to be understood in English – and lose out in global business

10 February 2016 (The Conversation)

Language skills are often trumpeted as a cornerstone of social integration, allowing citizens to participate fully in their host communities. British prime minister David Cameron recently announced a £20m fund for English language lessons to tackle radicalisation in the UK, for example. Similarly, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has called for assimilation and English-speaking in the US.

But with transnational mobility and trade a defining feature of our times, what of Cameron’s or Trump’s own supporters and their ability to speak English within a wider international community?

Native English speakers are infamously unable to speak languages other than their own. As well as being a professional handicap, this has been shown to hinder exporters and hurt trade.

And now ironically, there is mounting evidence that in international business, native English speakers are failing to integrate as a result of their shortcomings when it comes to tailoring their English for this context. When it comes to English – the international language not only for business but also higher education and cross-border collaboration – research shows that, far from being able to rest on their laurels, native speakers are not masters of the world’s global language.

Read more...

Meet and Learn at the Goethe-Institut Glasgow

22 January 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

A number of regular events for learners of German and everyone interested in German culture and language are available at the Goethe-Institut Glasgow.

All events are free to attend unless otherwise stated and include a regular Book Club, Film Club, and opportunities to practise your German discussing current events or a selected topic relating to German language or culture.

Further details can be found on the Goethe-Institut website.

Read more...

Languages: a world of opportunity – web page now live

7 January 2016 (Scottish Government)

In September 2015, Michael Russell MSP hosted a parliamentary reception, entitled Languages: a world of opportunity. While celebrating language learning in Scotland, the event set out to inspire people to appreciate language skills as valuable, enabling, achievable, career and life-enhancing.

Through real life examples about how stronger language skills are already making a difference, not only in education, but in employment and on a personal level, attendees were invited to consider how to further promote language skills, and an understanding of their value, in the interests of Scotland’s global position.

As an employability skill, Scotland as a whole stands to gain from language skills becoming the norm for us all. This is why Scottish Government is committed to radically enhance language learning in schools across Scotland through Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach.

This webpage contains information from the event, films about and using language and links to websites of organisations who promote, develop and advocate language learning.

Read more...

British astronaut Tim Peake is tested on his Russian skills (video)

13 December 2015 (BBC)

British astronaut Tim Peake has spent six years training for his mission to the International Space Station which blasts off on Tuesday 15 December.

He's said that the hardest bit was learning Russian - the language is needed to operate the Soyuz rocket and the Russian parts of the ISS.

We tested Tim's vocabulary and pronunciation with the help of two BBC Russian staff, Famil Ismailov and Anya Dorodeyko.

Read more...

Au pairing abroad did more for my language skills than studying

26 November 2015 (The Guardian)

Getting to know a host family is a great way to immerse yourself in a language, boost your confidence and expand your vocabulary.

Three students share their experiences.

Read more...

'Will Brits ever bother with language learning?'

17 November 2015 (The Telegraph)

Do you have regrets from your school days?

I’m sure the answer is 'yes, of course'. What it may not be is 'oui, bien sûr', 'ja, natürlich' or 'sí, ciertamente', because despite a new survey from the British Council revealing that more than half of us in the UK regret losing languages learnt during our school days, the same study highlights that most of us have seen those skills vanish within just one year of finishing education.

So what’s the issue? With so many of us wishing that we’d not forgotten our ‘bonjours’ and ‘muy biens’, why are we not doing everything in our power to keep and improve those skills when we finish school?

Is it time to admit that, as a nation, we just cannot be bothered with language learning?

Read more...

Related Links

Adults regret not making the most of language study (The Irish Times, 18 November 2015)

'More inspiring teachers' needed to tackle UK's language skills shortage

11 November 2015 (Cambridge News)

More inspiring teaching is needed to prevent Britain falling further behind in foreign language skills, a Cambridge linguist has claimed.

Last week Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett welcomed over 100 representatives from assorted Whitehall departments, including the MOD and GCHQ, to Murray Edwards College, for a debate on the future of the UK's language policy.

Speaking to the News after the conference she said improving language teaching in schools would have far-reaching benefits for the nation as a whole.

She said: "It was a very wide-ranging group of people, with a lot of civil servants coming together, which is very important."

"Language policy is not just about education, but what we were trying to shown is the lack of languages in the UK is such a problem for cases like diplomacy, conflict resolution and business."

Read more...

Do Britons really need to bother with foreign languages?

28 October 2015 (The Telegraph)

The British inability to even attempt to speak a foreign language smacks of arrogance, says Anthony Peregrine.

Read more...

No bad language from Gala pupils

23 October 2014 (The Southern Reporter)

A recent careers event highlighted the importance of language skills to Galashiels Academy pupils.

S3 pupils participated in the event held in the school on September 23.

It aimed to demonstrate the value of language skills for Scotland’s future workforce and to encourage pupils to consider the relevance of languages for their personal development as well as for further study and future career opportunities.

Read more...

Schools ‘need to focus more on Gaelic skills’

2 October 2015 (The National)

Provision of Gaelic medium education is too slow to safeguard the language, according to the principal of Scotland’s Gaelic college.

Professor Boyd Robertson, who heads Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye, spoke out yesterday after the latest census data showed the number of people who have some ability to speak, understand or write the language had fallen to 87,100 in 2011.

The rates fell in every group for those aged 18 and over, with just small rises of 0.17 per cent amongst 3-4 year olds, 0.22 per cent for 5-11 year olds and 0.06 per cent for 12-17 year olds.

Read more...

The 10 second languages UK employers most want their staff to speak

15 September 2015 (i100/The Independent)

French is the most useful language British employers look for on CVs, according to a recent study.

Adequate foreign language skills were one of the most highly rated concerns for employees looking to hire, the Confederation of British Industry study found.

Read more...

The Language of Modern Football

15 September 2015 (Sanako UK)

"In essence, being a football coach of a multi-national team of individuals requires as much ability to communicate as it requires actual coaching knowledge and experience. There is no point in
knowing what you want to say if you can’t get your point across."

Ian Burchnall, 32, is assistant manager at Viking FK and has been the same at Sarpsborg 08 in
the Norwegian top division. He has worked for Leeds United and Bradford City's academies
and, before moving to Norway, was head coach at Leeds University

Read this article in Sanako's autumn newsletter giving his views on how language skills provide a distinct advantage in the world of football.

Read more...

Japanese Language Proficiency Test December 2015

1 September 2015 (Japan Foundation)

The next Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) will take place on Sunday 6 December 2015. It will be held at SOAS, University of London, and the University of Edinburgh.   To apply to sit the test in Edinburgh, follow the link below.

The deadline for applications will be Thursday 1 October at 17:00 or when the test centre has reached its maximum capacity.

For more information on the test, visit the official JLPT website.

Read more...

HSK Chinese Proficiency test success

20 August 2015 (St Ninian's High School Glow blog)

Many congratulations to the pupils who attended the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test in June and achieved a pass.

Read more...

Britons 'nervous to speak foreign language when abroad'

6 August 2015 (BBC News)

A quarter of British holidaymakers feel nervous at the thought of having to speak the local language when they go abroad, a poll suggests.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults for the British Council found 40% were embarrassed by their language skills.

But nearly two-thirds (65%) thought it was important to learn a few local words or phrases before going abroad.

The poll comes as exam regulator Ofqual notes a decline this summer in A-level and GCSE entries for languages.

Read more...

Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme

20 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Aspiring police constables must speak a second language to join London’s Metropolitan police under a month-long pilot scheme.

Scotland Yard is hoping the new criterion will help police “engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible”.

From Monday, to be considered for one of the sought-after positions with the capital’s police force, applicants must speak one of 14 languages as well as English. 

They are: Arabic, Bengali, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Spanish, Turkish or Yoruba (Nigeria).

Read more...

Related Links

Language recruitment campaign launched (Metropolitan Police, 20 July 2015)

Forget French and Mandarin - Arabic is the language to learn

12 July 2015 (The Independent)

The 10-year-old was looking at the card in front of him which showed an image of a fish. “Samak,” he said decisively.

He and his classmates at Horton Park primary school, in Bradford, have been learning Arabic for three years now, courtesy of a drive by the British Council to boost the take-up of the language in state schools.

Read more...

The case for foreign languages as an aspiring lawyer

7 July 2015 (The Guardian)

If you want to work in the competitive legal profession, having foreign language skills can help to set you apart.

The relative lack of foreign language skills among the UK population is well-documented. A recent Guardian survey revealed that 39% of young native English speakers were put off learning a foreign language because “most people speak English”, and 14% by the idea that “most other languages are not useful”.

But for students hoping to enter the legal profession – which is increasingly global in outlook – being able to speak a foreign language is useful, and ever more desirable to employers.

Read more...

Can genes predict foreign language learning skills?

24 June 2015 (The Telegraph)

With language skills becoming ever more important, Anne Merritt looks at whether there is a genetic component to language learning ability.

Read more...

Jonathan Goddard: Meet the man using rap to make Latin a hip new subject

30 May 2015 (The Independent)

Rapper Jonathan Goddard is using his skills to motivate his students in a classroom in a deprived area of London. The children, some as young as eight, are rapping, singing and gesturing in unison, but the language they’re using isn’t English. It’s Latin.

The groundbreaking approach, using a language more closely linked to Virgil and Ovid than Jay Z and Kanye West, is designed to teach children how to conjugate verbs and grasp complex grammatical rules using the classical language as a conduit.

Read more...

How to learn 30 languages

29 May 2015 (BBC)

Out on a sunny Berlin balcony, Tim Keeley and Daniel Krasa are firing words like bullets at each other. First German, then Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Croatian, Mandarin and Thai – they’ve barely spoken one language before the conversation seamlessly melds into another. Together, they pass through about 20 different languages or so in total.

Back inside, I find small groups exchanging tongue twisters. Others are gathering in threes, preparing for a rapid-fire game that involves interpreting two different languages simultaneously. It looks like the perfect recipe for a headache, but they are nonchalant. “It’s quite a common situation for us,” a woman called Alisa tells me.

Read more...

The digital language barrier: how does language shape your experience of the internet?

28 May 2015 (The Guardian)

Does the language you speak online matter? The ability to communicate freely and access information are all promises woven into the big sell of internet connection. But how different is your experience if your mother tongue, for example, is Zulu rather than English? Explore the relationship between languages and the internet in this online presentation.

Read more...

World Class: how global thinking can improve your school

29 April 2015 (British Council)

Over recent years there have been a large number of studies conducted on the impact of international education work in UK schools. We have analysed these findings and drawn together the key benefits of implementing international education in primary, secondary and special educational needs schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Download today and see how international programmes have been proven to improve literacy and learning, help teachers’ professional development and meet inspection requirements.

Read more...

Is learning on the job the best way to master a language?

31 March 2015 (The Guardian)

From au pairing to serving ice cream, getting a job abroad can help language students improve their skills. But how do you know which job to choose?

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

13 March 2015 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.
NEW to the job profiles section:

  • Stuart Broomfield - Manager, Macdonald Holyrood Hotel stresses the value of being able to communicate with guests in their own language.

SCILT has worked to make all of the job profiles more useful for teachers and learners by organising them by workplace sector. 

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

Studying languages: Shout louder

28 February 2015 (The Economist)

The last time she was recruiting for her export-sales team, Sarah Grain hired a Lithuanian who speaks Russian, Polish and German. Her two previous hires for Eriez Magnetics, which makes industrial equipment in South Wales, were an Italian who also speaks French, and a Venezuelan who speaks Spanish and Portuguese. All of them speak fluent English. “There were no British applicants who had the requisite language skills,” she says.

Ms Grain’s conclusion is not unusual for a British company. In 2012 a European Commission survey tested the foreign-language proficiency of 54,000 students aged 14 and 15, in 14 nations. Sweden came top, with 82% of pupils reaching an “independent” or “advanced independent” standard. The average for all 14 states was 42%. England came bottom, with just 9%.

Read more...

BBC Radio 4 Today programme - Foreign Office cuts

27 February 2015 (BBC Radio 4)

The next government must protect the Foreign Office from spending cuts or risk Britain's global influence, according to a committee of MPs. Their report also recommends increasing the pay of diplomats, which they say has fallen behind other civil servants. It also highlights the lack of trained Russian and Arabic speakers, and says the loss of expertise is affecting crucial analysis and information gathering. Listen from 54 minutes.  Replay available until 28 March 2015.

Read more...

Why languages are the key to Britain's future

30 January 2015 (Third Year Abroad)

Third Year Abroad Editor, Florence, discusses why lesser-taught languages such as Arabic and Mandarin are not just useful life skills, but are crucial to the future of the UK.

Read more...

Dónde está our love of language learning?

30 January 2015 (TES)

The old stereotype of monolingual Brits is more true than ever, but it’s no joke. Adult education is key to remedying this ignorance

The decline in language learning in the UK is causing a crisis, in business and in culture. It’s not rocket science that if you are trading with someone who speaks another language, it helps if you can communicate with each other. Likewise, being able to order a drink, ask for directions and translate a menu enhances the experience of overseas travel, just as being able to hold a conversation (however slowly) or read the paper in the local language enriches understanding of a region.

Read more...

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

28 January 2015 (FutureLearn)

This free online course, commencing 16 February, will explore the culture, language and national identity of 8 countries through their books, images, slogans and monuments.

Read more...

Losing my Welsh: what it feels like to forget a language

21 January 2015 (The Guardian)

After being fluent in the language as a child, today Ellie finds herself painfully searching for words on Google translate.

Read more...

Dearth of foreign language skills hurting business

4 December 2014 (The Herald, letters)

Jeremy Peat wants Scottish companies to work closely with our universities to achieve greater export success (HE sector is key to expanding our global horizons, The Herald, December 1). I agree that our export performance is dismal and I agree that the ability of our HE sector to attract foreign students is very impressive and yes, those foreign students should become friends of Scotland.

But I fear there is a parallel between the time when our manufacturers could export to our colonies and now when there is a craving among young foreigners to study in an English-speaking university. Circumstances permit these two things to happen.

Selling a Scottish built robot to Germany or China or Brazil is a battle against European and American competition. The natural place for our customers to shop for machinery is Germany, not Scotland. What exactly does Jeremy Peat want a small manufacturing exporter in East Kilbride to do with the higher education (HE) sector?

What we would like from the HE sector is a stream of engineers who speak a foreign language and who understand how to communicate within a range of cultures. But the HE sector will not produce such graduates until the business sector shouts for them.

Read more...

Related Links

HE sector is key to expanding our global horizons (the Herald, 1 December 2014)

Travel quiz: languages of the world

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

Do you know when it's appropriate to say 'namaste'? Or in which language 'cerveza' means beer? Or do you find things just get lost in translation? Prove your knowledge of world languages with our quiz.

Read more...

Foreign languages in higher demand at city estate agents

27 November 2014 (City AM)

A London estate agent is having to place foreign languages near the top of its skills requirements as the capital continues to attract talent from the struggling Eurozone.

Estate agent Greene & Co said today that one quarter of its residential clients now came from overseas. To meet demand, they need staff to speak a host of different languages – 13 per cent of the firm’s staff are fluent in a foreign language.

In Kentish Town, Greene & Co have boosted the number of agents fluent in French as buyers from across the channel flock to the area because of two French schools.

Read more...

Languages in the British Army - BBC Radio 4

27 November 2014 (BBC)

This episode of BBC Radio 4's PM programme features an item about the importance of learning languages for the British Army.

Listen from 22:43.

Read more...

Languages for life

24 November 2014 (Angus Council)

School pupils in Angus recently took part in an ‘on the job’ workshop which used their language skills in real-life humanitarian crisis scenarios.

At the workshop, pupils had to provide a solution to two real-life crisis scenarios which required them to work on a solution and present the solution in French.

The top eight winning teams were selected from each project by the school staff and they will now compete in a Dragon’s Den Panel consisting of Naval, Angus and SCILT staff on 17 December.

Read more...

Being able to switch between languages

19 November 2014 (Bilingualism Matters)

When I was a 12-year old school pupil, just leaving primary school and continuing my education at a secondary school in the Netherlands, I remember the joyful anticipation of getting to learn two more foreign languages (German and French) besides the one we already started to learn in primary school (English). At the time, I assumed it was quite normal for school going pupils around the world to have to learn more than one foreign language at school. I remember it came to me as quite a shock when I found out that this is not the case for some countries in the world.

Read more...

Do young people care about learning foreign languages?

7 November 2014 (The Guardian)

A Guardian survey shows what young people think about language learning. Here are the five key points.

Read more...

Related Links

Most language students unable to do more than understand basic phrases (The Guardian, 7 November 2014) - survey of attitudes to language learning in the UK shows young people lacking in skills and confidence.

New BLC Case Study live on SCILT website

6 November 2014 (SCILT)

SCILT’s Business Language Champions programme helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships that equip young people with the international communication and employability skills they need for their future careers.

This case study shows how a partnership between Kilwinning Academy and the Scottish Football Association demonstrated to pupils that languages are necessary in all walks of life. S3 learners visited the Scottish Football Museum and took part in a range of activities which highlighted the relevance of learning French.

Read more...

Languages for their future: support your students as they consider studying languages beyond school

31 October 2014 (SCILT)

Do you have students who are thinking about continuing with languages when they leave school? As the UCAS application process gets underway, the Beyond School section of our website contains useful information to help them decide on the different language courses and options available:

There’s lots of information on…

  • Languages – the benefits for you and your career
  • Undergraduate language courses at Scottish and UK universities – what’s available where
  • Enhance your degree – options for combining languages with other subjects
  • The gap year – opportunities to study, work or volunteer abroad
  • Student experiences – advice from those who’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt!

Please make your pupils, guidance and careers staff aware of the ‘Beyond School’ website. It covers all their language needs - www.scilt.org.uk/BeyondSchool.aspx

Read more...

Word Wizard 2015 now launched!

30 October 2014 (SCILT/CISS)

Our exciting spelling competition Word Wizard has now officially launched for school session 2014-15!

Visit our Word Wizard 2015 webpage to download the Teacher's Pack and registration form. School are advised to register to take part by Friday 28th November.

Read more...

Word Wizard - returning for session 2014-15!

23 October 2014 (SCILT/CISS)

Scotland's National Centre for Languages and Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, in partnership with The University of St Andrews, are proud to announce the return of Word Wizard for its second year!

Following on from the success of last year's competition we are once again inviting S1-S3 learners of French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish to take part in this spellbinding competition.

We are currently taking registrations of interest from schools and the competition will officially be launched at the end of October 2014. If you would like to receive updates on the competition please email scilt@strath.ac.uk indicating which languages you are interested in entering.

Visit our Word Wizard webpage to download our 2014-15 flyer with more information on the competition. 

Read more...

BLC Case Study live on SCILT website

21 October 2014 (SCILT)

SCILT’s Business Language Champions programme helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships that equip young people with the international communication and employability skills they need for their future careers.

This case study shows how a partnership between Priorsford Primary and Holland & Sherry, a world renown cloth merchant based in Peebles, provided a local context to show young people the opportunities that arise from learning a modern language. The whole school was involved in this BLC project which raised learners’ awareness of what Holland & Sherry does in their local town while building learners’ language skills.

Read more...

Motivating the demotivated: SCILT job profiles

21 October 2014 (SCILT)

Show your pupils that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

NEW to the job profiles section:

  • Susan Young shows us her unusual office, and tells us how she turned her passion in life into her job.
  • Amy Baxter shares her story with us in a new video interview just added to her job profile.

Read more...

Beyond the big three: French, German and Spanish aren’t the only languages that matter

19 September 2014 (The Conversation)

The shortage of foreign language skills in the UK is now a permanent preoccupation, with some sources placing the estimated cost of the deficit as high as £48 billion a year. Britons are now seen as a “nation of monoglots” and ridiculed when attempting to communicate in international contexts.
But part of the problem is that although teenagers recognise the need to learn languages, few are doing so – and even fewer are studying non-traditional languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Russian and Turkish, which are only available in a handful of schools.

Read more...

Britain hamstrung by poor language skills

18 September 2014 (The Telegraph)

The roots of the trade deficit crisis lie not in the board room but in the classroom, says headmaster Richard Cairns; too few of us speak another language.

Read more...

Modularising Multilingual and Multicultural Academic Communication Competence

3 September 2014 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe was an associate partner in the MAGICC project, part of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme (2011-14). MAGICC provides transnational tools for integrating academic and professional communication competences, intercultural and lifelong learning skills and competences as part of students' academic profile. Findings from the project are now available.

Read more...

Learn foreign language or miss out on promotion, Army officers told

2 September 2014 (The Telegraph)

Army officers will have to learn a foreign language for promotion under new plans designed to make the Army more culturally aware.

From 2018, officers will not be promoted above the rank of Captain unless they have basic foreign language skills, according to the Army’s internal magazine.

Read more...

Would you have passed GCSE French?

21 August 2014 (The Guardian)

Do you know you pluperfect from your conditional? A broad vocabulary and understanding of grammar are needed if you want to get top marks in a GCSE exam. See how well you remember your school French lessons. 

Visit the website and take the quiz!

Read more...

Drop the negative spin on kids who start school bilingual – they are a rich resource for the future

1 July 2014 (The Conversation)

There are now more than 1.1 million children in our schools whose first language “is known or believed to be other than English” according to the latest government figures. This confirms a continuous upwards trend that shows no sign of abating.

Many of the 300 or so languages spoken in schools have relatively few speakers but about 20 languages are spoken by 10,000 or more pupils. These children represent a considerable resource. But we are not making the most of it and are even cutting specialist language support for these pupils.

Read more...

Fighting talk: how Tommies found a common language in the trenches

28 June 2014 (The Guardian)

First world war soldiers would fight side by side but often not share a language – so they invented their own.

Read more...

Foreign languages 'shortfall' for business, CBI says

22 June 2014 (BBC News)

The UK's education system is failing to produce enough people with foreign-language skills to meet a growing need from business, the CBI has said. Nearly two-thirds of about 300 UK firms surveyed by the business lobby group said they preferred staff with these skills.

French, German and Spanish were highly prized but Arabic and Mandarin were growing in importance, it said.

The government said its policies meant more children were learning languages.

The report refers to British Council research citing an "alarming shortage" of speakers of certain major languages.

The CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey suggested languages were likely to continue to grow in importance "as ambitious firms look to break into new, fast-growing markets".

Read more...

Related Links

Foreign languages are thriving in schools (The Guardian, letter from Elizabeth Truss, MP, 23 June 2014)

Are employers really worried about Britain's language skills? (The Guardian, 24 June 2014)

CBI education and skills survey 2014

More firms demanding language skills to break into new markets (CBI Press release, 23 June 2014)

Learning languages is key to UK's success in the global economy

19 June 2014 (The Guardian)

The under-resourced teaching of foreign languages in the UK must improve if Britain is to compete in the global economy, a Guardian roundtable found.

Read more...

People Speaking a Foreign Language Make Less Emotional Decisions

16 June 2014 (New Republic)

Humor is notoriously lost in translation. And there are lots of ways personalities shift when we switch language. A recent study in the Public Library of Science shows that our moral judgments may be affected by language, too.

Read more...

Euroscola – dates now available for 2015!

6 June 2014 (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. Dates are now available to book between January and May 2015. Visit the website for more information and to apply.

Read more...

Sweeping changes to language education underway

1 June 2014 (Kensington & Chelsea Today)

(Relates to England) Last month, a report published by the British Council (BC) and CfBT Education Trust found that most primary and secondary schools in England feel ill–equipped for the upcoming changes in foreign language education, with a striking 24 per cent admitting that their teachers are not educated beyond GCSE level for the language they are teaching. Six months ago, another report by the BC revealed that the vast majority of British adults do not speak any of the ten most vital languages for the country’s ‘future prosperity and global standing’, warning that foreign languages are still not given ‘the same prominence as STEM subjects’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in our schools. These two reports certainly paint a rather grim picture, but are they really that surprising?

Read more...

Learn Latin? Carpe diem

26 May 2014 (The Herald)

If you thought Latin was elitist, try speaking to the pupils of Sacred Heart Primary School in Bridgeton, Glasgow. They have been learning the language as part of a project to teach the subject at schools in more deprived areas of the city and it has confirmed that Latin is everywhere and sine qua non to a good understanding of modern languages and grammar.

Liz Gonzalez, the headteacher at the school, has been particularly struck by the impact on her primary seven pupils who took part. Not only are they more confident in modern language classes, she has also seen improvements in their English too.

Read more...

Travel bursaries will expand cultural horizons

18 April 2014 (The Scotsman)

Over the centuries, Scotland has always been an outward-looking nation reaching out to other countries and cultures across the globe. Sometimes economic necessity has forced large numbers to leave these shores, sometimes it’s been war. Historically, certain Scottish forays overseas have also had more dubious outcomes, such as the ill-fated Darien scheme to establish a colony in Panama or the enrichment of many Scottish merchants through slavery.

But a genuine spirit of exploration and discovery has prompted many more to venture abroad and expand their cultural horizons. This natural wanderlust has had a profound impact on Scottish culture and society, stretching back to the Scottish Enlightenment and far beyond.

Read more...

Football-mad teenager grabs moment with Lionel Messi using Spanish she learnt at school

17 February 2014 (Manchester Evening News)

Isabella Schiavo, 14, from New Moston, was one of the dozens of fans waiting at Manchester Airport this afternoon for the arrival of the Barcelona squad ahead of their clash with City.

It seemed that she and the rest of the adoring public, crammed into Terminal Two, were out of luck as Messi and most of his fellow stars were whisked straight through the arrivals hall and onto the team coach.

However die-hard City fan Isabella managed to grab a moment with Messi using Spanish she had learnt at school to grab his attention.

Read more...

HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition 2013/14 Winners

3 February 2014 (British Council)

Congratulations to the winners of the HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition 2013/14 who took part in the final at The British Museum on 3 February.

Scottish schools performed well in the competition with Dollar Academy winning the individual beginner category, whilst Hillhead High School came third in the group category.

The winning students will spend a week in Beijing in April, visiting historical sites, interacting with Chinese students and experiencing Chinese culture. Well done everyone!

For more information about the competition, visit the British Council website.

Read more...

Employers struggle to fill vacancies because of lack of languages

30 January 2014 (The Guardian)

A dearth of foreign language skills accounts for nearly a fifth of hard-to-fill vacancies in the UK, a survey has found.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills' (UKCES) report on the UK's employer skills found that of reasons employers gave for struggling to fill vacancies, 17% attributed a languages skills shortage.

The survey asked employers which skills they found to be lacking among applicants for its vacancies. Language skills came in at 17%, second to last after IT skills. The highest portion of skills employers found lacking in applicants were technical, job-specific skills, which accounted for 63%.

Genna Kik, senior research manager on the report, said that while the language skills may be low overall compared to the categories, for the businesses experiencing these shortfalls, the impact is significant.

Read more...

Free ebook – “Promoting Plurilingualism – majority language in multilingual settings”

28 January 2014 (ECML)

A free downloadable ebook from ECML which provides tools for majority language teachers focused on recognising, supporting and promoting plurilingualism. Registration is required.

Read more...

Primary schools in Wales 'should teach foreign languages'

23 January 2014 (BBC News)

Primary school children in Wales should be taught foreign languages to boost the number studying them later, the National Centre for Languages has said.

Welsh government figures show a drop in pupils choosing a language at GCSE and A-level.
In 2005, 12,826 children studied a language at GCSE, but in 2014 it has fallen by a third to 8,601.

A government spokesperson said primary schools are encouraged to teach languages.

The number of teenagers studying a language at A-level has more than halved to 668 from 1,467.
A government spokesperson said they were looking at ways to improve secondary school take up.

The Welsh Conservatives said the figures were disappointing because the economy is so dependent on international links.

The National Centre for Languages (CILT Cymru) said primary school children in England and Scotland do learn a language.

Read more...

Related Links

Schools science project aims to boost foreign language take-up (BBC News, 21 December 2013)

German region of Saarland moves towards bilingualism

21 January 2014 (BBC News)

Germany's western Saarland region says it wants its next generation to be bilingual in German and French.

It is part of a strategy to deepen economic ties with France, which borders the region. Proposals by the regional government include bilingual teaching from pre-school age and requiring new state employees to be able to work in French.

Read more...

2014 Canning House Essay Competition

18 December 2013 (Canning House)

A fantastic complement to the national curriculum, the Canning House Essay Competition is targeted at students of Spanish and Portuguese aged 17-19 (by 31st August 2014) and challenges them to apply their knowledge of language and structures to produce a sophisticated piece of persuasive writing.

Each year we challenge language students from all over the UK to submit an essay of 750-1000 words which best displays their linguistic flair and capacity for free expression in their second language(s). The topic for discussion changes from year to year.

An exciting range of prizes reward the best impressive entries, with previous winners having enjoyed cash prizes and even a fully paid for return trip to Latin America.

Read more...

Eddie Izzard: We're just lazy at foreign languages

17 December 2013 (Newsbeat)

Eddie Izzard has claimed people who speak English are "just lazy" at learning foreign languages.

Dates for the comedian's current Force Majeure tour will cover 27 countries during which he will perform in German, French, Spanish and Arabic.

"It's a very positive thing to do," said the 51-year-old who will also speak in Russian and Italian during the tour.

"It means something if you're going to learn the whole language."

Read more...

New future for the Auld Alliance

16 December 2013 (The Scottish Government)

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today visited a school near Paris to see the benefits of partnership between France and Scotland in Education.

Ms Hyslop visited École Marbeau, le Plessis-Trévise, which is twinned with St Kenneth’s RC Primary School in Lochgelly, Fife, to see first- hand the teaching of language, ICT and Science, Technology and Maths related activity.

She met with pupils from the school and read with them from Asterix Chez les Pictes, in which the French cartoon hero visits Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

Hyslop's tale helps the French connection (The Herald, 17 December 2013)

Transforming a culture of monoglots

11 December 2013 (The Guardian)

How do we change a determinedly monolingual culture, in which people remain disinterested in other languages, as well as convinced that they're punishingly hard to learn?

Read more...

Matthew Fitt blog – Creative Scots: changing lives

9 December 2013 (Engage for Education)

When they use Scots language creatively, children and young people in Scotland regularly make their parents’ and teachers’ jaws drop. As a Scots writer and teacher, I’ve witnessed this time and time again. People recount in detail and with great excitement the moment a child they thought had poor speaking skills or few creative sparks about them suddenly shone, lit up a classroom or wowed an entire school hall at a concert causing family and friends to gasp with astonishment.

When a young Scots speaker who has been told most of their life that speaking Scots is wrong encounters a positive Scots language learning experience, there is often a life-changing transformation and explosion of creative energy within that young person.

Read more...

If you talk to the locals in their language, you understand their needs

6 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Languages can make a career in development not only more effective, but also more rewarding.
Ajaz Khan, 45, is the microfinance advisor for CARE International and talks to Louise Tickle about his experience.

I was born in the UK, but my dad came here from Pakistan in 1955, so we spoke Punjabi at home. Growing up bilingual definitely gives you a headstart. When I was younger, I'd go to a Sunday school for Muslim children, where I learned Urdu, and I also had to learn Arabic script at the mosque which I attended five days a week after school.

As a child living in two languages, moving between them is a given: it's not confusing. I've noticed it with my own kids, they just switch depending on whom they're talking to. At secondary school, I studied French, German and Latin, but oddly, looking back, I grew up thinking I wasn't very good at languages. That's probably a result of how we were taught. It was all about conjugating verbs – but of course, when you went abroad no one ever asked you to conjugate a verb!

Read more...

David Cameron urges British students to ditch French and learn Mandarin

5 December 2013 (The Guardian)

David Cameron, who has notoriously poor schoolboy French, is urging today's youngsters to abandon the language of Molière and Voltaire to concentrate on the tongue of the future – Mandarin.

In a parting shot, as he left China after a three-day visit, the prime minister said that pupils should look beyond the traditional French and German lessons and instead focus on China.

To reinforce his message the prime minister quoted Nelson Mandela, who said learning someone else's language is the best way to their heart. Cameron said: "I want Britain linked up to the world's fast-growing economies. And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow's business deals.

Read more...

Arsene Wenger crowned public language champion

27 November 2013 (The Guardian)

The public has voted Arsene Wenger, Arsenal football club's manager, as their 2013 language champion. Wenger's longstanding commitment to the languages, and his work championing language learning for children through sport, was recognised at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 27 November held in central London.

"Being voted Britain's first ever public language champion is an incredible honour," Arsene Wenger said. "I am very proud that Arsenal and I can help raise the profile of language learning in schools."

Wenger is the first recipient of the Guardian's language award, announced today alongside the British Academy's 2013 schools language awards winners. The public language champion award is part of the British Academy and Guardian's language learning series and campaign to start a national debate on language learning.

Read more...

A language skills deficit is damaging diplomacy, warns British Academy

26 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Britain's language skills deficit is threatening its diplomatic influence and national security, a report by the British Academy has found.

The British Academy, the national body for the humanities and social sciences, calls for government to address the lack of language skills across all its departments and to prioritise the development of these skills among current staff and future generations. The report warns that if more is not done to bridge the languages gap that exists within government, Britain's diplomatic influence will be damaged.

"Languages are a critical tool through which UK diplomats and government staff can deepen their knowledge and build the trust that is necessary to promote and protect British values and interests internationally," Robin Niblett, chair of the British Academy inquiry steering group, said.
"If steps are not taken to reverse the current declining trend in language skills, Britain may indeed be in danger of becoming 'lost for words'."

Read more...

Languages are vital for Britain's business & cultural development

25 November 2013 (The Information Daily)

Learning different languages is vital, not just for the growth of trade and business, but for Britain's political, cultural and education development. In many European countries, it's the norm for people to speak a second or even a third language - so why is Britain so stubbornly monolingual?

The recent European Survey on Language Competences found that just one in ten British teenagers progress past the most fundamental level in a second language, compared with an average of 42 per cent across all countries surveyed.

Clearly, this is a problem - although part of the problem may be how easy it is for Brits not to learn a second language.

Read more...

Shortfall in the languages the UK needs the most

20 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Three-quarters of the UK public are unable to speak one of the 10 most important languages for the country's future, a British Council report has found.

The British Council has called on government and business to work together to develop educational policy and priorities relating to languages. This follows a YouGov poll commissioned by the British Council, which found that of 4000 UK adults polled, 75% are unable to hold a conversation in any of the languages highlighted as crucial to the UK's economic standing.

The Languages for the Future report identified those languages, in order of importance, as: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese.

Read more...

Related Links

Read the British Council report here.

'Alarming shortage' of foreign language skills in UK (BBC, 20 November 2013)

UK warned over shortage of foreign language speakers (BBC News, 20 November 2013) - includes a link to audio item 'But why are British students so behind with foreign language skills?' BBC Radio 5 live's Breakfast reporter Rowan Bridge visited language teachers and students at Manchester College to find out.  (Available to listen to until Wednesday 27 November 2013).

Britons are told they must learn languages of success (The Herald, 20 November 2013)

Arabic beats French, Mandarin beats German and Spanish is best: UK's international education body highlights most important foreign languages to learn (The Independent, 20 November 2013)

Poor Language Skills 'Hampering UK Economy' (Sky News, 20 November 2013)

Languages must be as important as maths and science, British Council says (TES News blog, 20 November 2013)

Languages - Gift of bilingualism is too often 'squandered' (TES, 22 November 2013)

Languages need to be continued by all

15 November 2013 (The Independent)

The inevitable hordes of students celebrating up and down the country this summer after surviving their GCSEs and A Levels. Many of them felt relief at having completed their last ever French lesson, free to throw their Tricolore textbooks away and settle down to work they find more interesting, never again to wonder about how the Smith family would cope when ordering food on holiday in Provence.

But before Francophiles everywhere throw their arms up in protest at the news that yet more Brits have given up the quest to massacre their beloved language, the same fate is also true for German, Spanish and Italian.

While our European counterparts are renowned for their linguistic prowess, Blighty’s residents are mocked for our reticence to persist with anything more taxing beyond “Parlez-vous English?” Although military-style grammar drills and toe-curlingly awkward conversations may dominate our memories of childhood language lessons, venturing beyond phrase-book vocabulary arms us with a wealth of practical skills that range from effective communication skills to approaching French and German literary output with confidence.

Read more...

Joining the global conversation

15 November 2013 (TES)

Multilingual education is not just good for job prospects - it can also make young people better learners across the curriculum. But those who miss out may be left at a great disadvantage, even if they are native English speakers. William Stewart reports.

Read more...

Livia Ottisova: my career in languages

14 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Livia Ottisova is head of adult programmes at the charity Body and Soul, which works with children, young people and adults affected by HIV.

In this interview she talks about her language learning experiences and how her language skills have helped in her career.

Read more...

Immersion Courses in France and Spain for Primary and Secondary School Teachers

8 November 2013 (Le Français en Ecosse)

Le Français en Ecosse run series of Immersion courses in France and Spain during the summer. There are courses suitable for both Primary and Secondary teachers. Erasmus funding may be available.

To reserve a place on one of these courses please contact Ros Main on ros@lfee.net.

Slump in foreign language students sparks fear for UK's ability to compete on world stage

8 November 2013 (The Telegraph)

A slump in the number of students studying foreign languages at university has been revealed, sparking fears over the UK's ability to compete with other nations.

In total, 4,842 people were accepted on to UK degree courses to study the subjects in 2012 a drop of 14% on the year before.

Read more...

What we can learn from teaching English abroad?

7 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Foreign language teaching in schools isn't making students fluent or even competent. So why can't we adopt the succesful TEFL model of teaching languages?

Read more...

Why everyone should invest in language skills

06 November 2013 (QS)

Language learning is a key priority under a new EU study abroad funding program for education, training and youth organizations due to be launched in January 2014. The new scheme, called Erasmus+, follows a report from the European Commission on the importance of language skills in a market where businesses increasingly operate internationally.

Speaking at the London Language Show recently, the EU commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, said: “Language learning is vital in Europe... foreign language competences are needed not only by the large multinationals, but increasingly also by SMEs [small and medium enterprises] with international marketing strategies, and by public services having to deal with increasingly multicultural and multilingual citizens.”

So, why should everyone (whether a student or not) be motivated to learn a foreign language, even if they don’t feel like they need one? Prepare to be persuaded…

Read more...

Language Festival programme

04 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Full event listings for the Language Festival being run by the Guardian and the British Academy throughout November. The festival will provide a platform for schools, higher education institutions, students, policy makers and businesses from across the UK to discuss, debate and explore the academic, cultural and economic benefits of language learning.

Read more...

Don't neglect the UK's indigenous languages

29 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Yes, we should learn French and German – but we shouldn't ignore our indigenous languages.

Would you be surprised if I told you that, far from being a land of monoglots, there are ten indigenous languages spoken today in the British Isles? Yet we are very quick to tell ourselves that we're rubbish at languages. We are linguistically isolated monoglots, marooned on a cluster of islands on the edge of the Atlantic. If we were in the mix of mainland Europe, we tell ourselves, we'd be blethering away in at least two languages.

Read more...

Celebrity Linguists

25 September 2013 (TES)

List of celebrity quotes about the value of language learning from CILT, put into powerpoint, plus pictures (Google Images) for corridor display.

You will need a TES userid and password to access the resource.

Read more...

Speak three languages? Then you must be a Londoner

24 October 2013 (London Evening Standard)

In a country often slated for its monolingualism, London is emerging as a hub not only of suave bilinguals, switching between French and English in South Ken cafés, but a new polyglot breed: the capital’s trilinguals.

Read more...

English should be Brussels' official language, Flemish minister says

23 October 2013 (EurActiv)

If Brussels aspires to be an international city, it should make English its official language, the Flemish minister for education Pascal Smet has told EurActiv. “For the next twenty years, English will dominate as a global language. It is the language of the political world, of the diplomatic world, the tourism sector,” Smet told EurActiv on the margins of the launch of a project to boost multilingual education in the Belgian and EU capital.

The Flemish minister of education spoke at the launch of the so-called Marnix Plan for a multilingual Brussels, a bottom-up project to promote language learning in the Belgian capital, giving priority to French, Dutch and English.

Read more...

No Island is an Island - European perspectives on language learning in Britain

21 October 2013 (European Commission)

The European Commission conference "No Island is an Island", held on 18 October 2013, the opening day of the Language Show Live at Olympia Central, had the ambition to highlight the multiple challenges caused by, and solutions for, poor foreign language learning in the UK.

The conference programme, videos and speaker biographies are now available.

Read more...

New study abroad programme makes languages an EU priority

21 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Language learning is an EU priority, Androulla Vassiliou, EU commissioner for education, culture and multilingualism, has said. Launching the revamped Erasmus+ programme, Vassiliou said languages are essential for addressing unemployment and social mobility within the European Union.

"Languages are one of our six priority topics under Erasmus+," Vassiliou said. "Whether it is for mobility for language learning, partnerships between institutions for language teaching, or policy support, it is one of our priorities."

The Erasmus+ programme will provide grants for more than four million people across the EU to study or train abroad. It comes into force in January 2014 and aims to address the language skills deficit holding back young people from international jobs.

Read more...

I caught the language bug late but remain happily infected

18 October 2013 (The Telegraph)

This former soldier once hated learning languages – but ended up working as a translator in Brazil.

Read more...

Language graduates: what jobs are they doing now?

16 October 2013 (The Guardian)

From international aid to banking, social media and teaching, language graduates end up across all career sectors.

Read more...

Language Launchpad - Graduate Career Interviews

15 October 2013 (European Commission/ThirdYearAbroad)

The European Commission has teamed up with ThirdYearAbroad.com to interview UK language graduates and discover how their language skills have benefited their careers. 

The graduates featured in the clips have found work in business, finance, the media, the police, international development, education, sport, diplomacy and translation thanks to their language abilities and the skills developed on the year abroad.

There are fourteen two-minute video interviews, each featuring a different graduate, and one longer five-minute video summarising the key message that languages boost your career.

Read more...

Video Competition for Children and Young Adults – Young Voices Against Poverty

11 October 2013 (eTwinning, via Twitter)

In the run-up to European Development Days 2013 - Europe's premier forum on development, poverty eradication and sustainable development - we want you to have your say!

All you have to do is make a short video (no more than 120 seconds) answering the following question: If you could have your say, how would you fight poverty?

You could be one of 4 lucky winners to win an all-expenses paid trip to Brussels to attend European Development Days, 26 - 27 November 2013, where your video will be screened.

The competition is open to young people aged 13-24 and video submissions can be made in one of the 5 official contest languages: English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish.

More information on eligibility, competition rules and how to apply is available on the competition Facebook page.

Read more...

Languages on ice: fluency or floe – which will it be?

8 October 2013 (The Guardian)

It is a paradox of British higher education that our international profile has never been more important, yet fewer universities are offering language degrees. No wonder the government is worried that British graduates will be unable to make it in the global environment. Are we sleepwalking into tongue-tied isolation?

Read more...

Modern language exam grades translate into poor results

7 October 2013 (The Guardian)

It is well-known that the UK is losing out culturally and economically because of inadequate foreign-language skills among English native speakers. This problem has been significantly exacerbated by the fact that pupils choosing modern languages have not been rewarded adequately for excellent performance.

Read more...

Educating Yorkshire's Mr Mitchell talks MFL

3 October 2013 (Teachit Languages)

Unless you’ve been living on the moon recently, you surely can’t have escaped the media furore around Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire. The students and staff of Dewsbury’s Thornhill Academy are keeping us entertained every Thursday…in the journalistic scoop of the century, Teachit Languages editor Heike Bruton managed to secure an interview with Thornhill Academy’s headteacher, Jonny Mitchell!

Read more...

Foreign Office beefs up diplomats' language training

30 September 2013 (The Guardian)

Language centre provides a permanent location where staff undergo intensive training to prepare for overseas postings.

Read more...

Baltics are on top for learning foreign languages

30 September 2013 (The Baltic Times)

RIGA - Latvia and Lithuania are two of the top countries in Europe for learning foreign languages, the latest research shows. New figures from the Central Statistical Bureau show 85 percent of the total number of pupils in general schools in Latvia learn foreign languages.

Latvia trails just behind neighbour Lithuania, where 97.3 percent of the population speaks at least one foreign language.

Read more...

Related Links

Luxembourgers are language-savvy (Poliglotti4, 3 October 2013)

Language learning with Robert Elms on BBC London

28 September 2013 (BBC London)

Robert Elms invites listeners to call in and discuss their experiences of language learning and how it’s changed their lives. He also chats to actor, Larry Lamb, about his own linguistic skills and Bernadette Holmes about the Speak to the Future language campaign.

The programme is available on iPlayer until Saturday 5 October at 12:02pm.  Topic is introduced at 1:32 into the programme with the main feature commencing at 10:00 minutes in.

Read more...

English is the lingua franca of Europeans as two thirds speak the language which has squeezed out all its rivals

28 September 2013 (The Daily Mail)

English has squeezed out every other language in the competition to become the common tongue of Europe, an EU report confirmed yesterday.  It found that English is the most popular foreign language in all but five European countries, and all of those are small nations that use the language of their larger neighbours.

Read more...

European Language Label Awards 2013

26 September 2013 (CfBT)

This year's innovations in language learning are recognised at the annual awards in London today. The awards encourage new initiatives in the field of teaching and learning languages and recognise new techniques in language teaching.

Congratulations to St Aloysius’ College Junior School in Glasgow who received one of this year’s European Language Label Awards for their bilingual Italian lessons!

Follow the link below for more information about the ELL Awards and all the 2013 recipients.

Read more...

Related Links

ELL 2013 winners

European Day of Languages: Britain’s got Talent! (Europe in the UK, 26 September 2013) 

Russell Group quizzed on 'facilitating subjects' list

26 September 2013 (BBC News)

The Russell Group has been asked to produce research on what subjects teenagers need to get in to their universities, after a study cast doubt on so-called "preferred subjects".

The Russell Group's advice is in a document called Informed Choices which lists "facilitating subjects", saying they are sometimes "required more than others".

The subjects are maths, further maths, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and languages.

Read more...

British Council Schools Online

24 September 2013 (British Council)

Find out how you can tap into British Council’s Schools Online worldwide network. At Step one you are new to international learning and the British Council’s offer to schools. ‘Make a start’ is designed to inspire you to start your international journey with us. Whatever you are looking for, we have a wealth of opportunities to suit you.

Access our new brochure and wallchart to discover how an international dimension can be developed in your school. From curriculum resources to professional development courses and partnership funding, we have everything you need to bring the world into your classroom.

Read more...

Launch of Born Global: Rethinking language policy for 21st Century Britain

23 September 2013 (British Academy)

Today the British Academy launched a new policy research project, ‘Born Global’, investigating the nature and extent of language needs in the labour market and the implications for languages education from school to higher education.

As a key project in the British Academy’s language programme, the research aims to develop a deeper understanding of how language is used in the workplace for different purposes, by employees of different levels of skill and accountability. It will explore employers’ expectations of language competence and investigate the reasons for their dissatisfaction with the current language capabilities of school and college leavers and university graduates.

Read more...

Learning languages is critical for Scottish tourism

20 September 2013 (The Scotsman)

Translations of guide books are scarce, says Sue Gruellich.

Ici on parle francais.

Hier spricht man Deutsch.

Sadly that is not found to be the case as one travels round Britain today. You may think that everyone visiting these shores speaks English. We seem to make this arrogant assumption all too often. But it is not the case. Where the tourism industry is concerned, we see a growing market from Russia, China and Brazil, but the traditional markets from France and Germany are still very strong.

Read more...

No Island Is An Island: European Perspectives on Language Learning in Britain

9 September 2013 (CLERA blog)

“Only 30% of English native speakers in the UK can have a conversation in a foreign language, compared to an EU average of 54%.” (European Survey on Language Competences 2012).

Alongside this year’s Language Show Live 2013 (18-20 October) in London, the European Commission’s conference ‘No Island Is An Island: European Perspectives on Language Learning in Britain’ will take place on Friday 18 October. The event will focus on the social, economic and political significance of languages in Britain.

Read more...

The Guardian public language champion award

3 September 2013 (The Guardian)

As part of our campaign to debate and promote the importance of languages, we're launching a special award to recognise a public figure that has done their bit for the multi-lingual cause.

Read more...

Calling all multilingual IT whizzes: skills shortage hits firms

31 August 2013 (Irish Independent)

Every year, the Government's Expert Group on Future Skills Needs publishes a snapshot of the supply and demand of skills in Ireland.

Multilingual skills are a key aspect of some of the skill shortages.

Read more...

Ellen MacArthur: my career in languages

29 August 2013 (The Guardian)

Speaking French has been central to the success of former round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur.

Read more...

The Guardian Public Language Champion Award

20 August 2013 (Third Year Abroad)

Has someone famous inspired you to learn a language? Who is your Celebrity Language Idol? (Wow - imagine that as a show!) Do you think someone well-known deserves to win an award for their Services to Languages? Then you need to nominate them for the Guardian Public Language Champion Award!

The British Academy has partnered with the Guardian to raise the profile of language learning in the UK. From August 2013 The Guardian will be campaigning to increase public interest in and awareness of the impact language learning has on British society. They want to put language learning on the agenda with the government, industry, education, media and the public and generate a national debate on the importance of language learning.

Up to 5 nominations can be submitted by Friday 30 August 2013.

Read more...

Case Study: ‘Take Care’ – A Health Care Language Guide for Migrants in 17 Languages

6 August 2013 (Language Rich Europe)

According to the Language Rich Europe research, the top provision of multilingual services is, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the tourist sector, with the most widely offered language being English. However, to what extent do cities look at the needs of their inhabitants before deciding which languages to offer and in which services? One of these needs is highlighted by the Language Rich Europe case study on the European Commission-funded project ‘Take Care,’ which seeks to:
[make] health care more accessible and effective for migrants who do not speak the language and are not familiar with the culture nor with the health care system in the host country.

Read more...

MFL Dictionary Skills Lesson

29 July 2013 (TES)

Why not begin the new term with this powerpoint guide for students on using a foreign language dictionary for their studies.

You will need a TES userid/login to access the materials.

Read more...

Pisa's tests could get curiouser and curiouser

21 June 2013 (TES)

Tests in foreign language skills and creativity are being planned for the world’s most influential international education league tables, TES can reveal.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which plays an increasingly important role in many countries’ education policies, is expanding to rank students’ ability to cope with globalisation and immigration.

Read more...

Revealed, mimes that are a sign of being abroad

15 June 2013 (Daily Express)

Nearly three in four of us feel we have to gesticulate wildly on holiday because we do not know the local language, a study shows. But we probably understand more than we think, it found.

The study, to launch the website’s “El Sale Grande”, suggests when we make the effort we may be better at foreign languages than we think.  Under half – 46 per cent – in the survey of 2,000 adults believed they knew basic phrases in another language.  When tested, however, most correctly identified the meaning of five common holiday phrases in three European languages.

Read more...

Related Links

Dos cervezas, por favor! World's first beer-ordering app translates 'beer' into 59 different languages (Daily Mail, 19 June 2013)  British holidaymakers can order a beer wherever they are in the world without resorting to pidgin language, thanks to the world's first 'beer' translator app.
The Pivo iPhone app translates the phrase 'one beer please' into 59 languages and even features videos showing correct pronunciation.

BCC: Knowledge gaps and language skills hold back exporters

10 June 2013 (British Chambers of Commerce)

A survey of more than 4,500 businesses released today (Monday) by the British Chambers of Commerce shows that the share of Chamber members which export continues to increase. However, the findings also suggest that gaps surrounding the general know-how of how to take a product or service overseas are holding back firms from taking the initial step towards exporting. In addition to this, there is a major shortfall in foreign language skills within the business community. Rebalancing the economy towards net exports is vital for the success of the UK economy, so the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for more support for firms looking to trade overseas, while encouraging the take-up of foreign languages – both in school and in the workplace.

Read more...

Related Links

Addressing knowledge gaps and the deficit in foreign language skills will boost exports (BCC, 10 June 2013)  The results of the BCC's 2013 international trade survey show that companies continue to be held back from exporting by lack of knowledge and poor foreign language skills.

Poor language skills are deal-breaker for economy, says BCC (The Times, 10 June 2013)

 

Language Perfect World Championships 2013

23 April 2013 (ALL)

The Language Perfect World Championships for 2013 has just been launched. This year’s event will take place from 20 - 30 May.

The Language Perfect World Championships is the largest online languages competition on the planet. Students compete for their class, school and country against other students from around the world, by earning points in a range of foreign languages.  It’s all about motivating students to get excited about languages, learning, and having fun at the same time!

ALL, which is an official partner in the competition, is delighted to announce that this year, we will have a special trophy to give away to the top scoring school in the UK. We’ll let you have more details as soon as we have them!

For further information about the competition and to register, follow the link below to the Language Perfect World Championships 2013 website.

Read more...

Would you rank ‘speaking a foreign language’ as an essential intercultural skill?

4 April 2013 (Language Rich Europe blog)

Here at the British Council weekly internal polls for employees are posted on the intranet and one that caught our attention recently was a question on the type of intercultural competences we see as most important in our work at the British Council.

Along with other colleagues we were surprised to find that learning a foreign language was not the preferred chosen option.

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English as the language of Europe?

26 February 2013 (Language Rich blog)

In this guest post, Christiane Keilig from the British Council in Berlin shares her views on why just English isn’t enough.

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Languages class target unachievable

21 February 2013 (The Herald)

Parents have criticised the Scottish Government's ambitious strategy of increasing language learning in Scottish schools, branding it unachievable.  Council officials have also cast doubt on the policy, arguing current funding for the costly initiative is insufficient. The warnings come two years after the Government announced plans to teach all primary pupils at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue – known as the 1+2 model.

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New study underlines benefits of eTwinning

15 February 2013 (European Commission)

The European Commission has just published an independent study on the impact of the EU's eTwinning scheme.  The study found that teachers who had participated in eTwinning improved their skills, their relations with pupils and developed their professional networks. Pupils felt more empowered and motivated and were better at team working. The study found eTwinning to be an easy and cost-effective way for schools to engage in international cooperation.

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How useful is it to speak Latin these days?

13 February 2013 (BBC News)

The reporter who broke the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation got the scoop because she understood his announcement in Latin.

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European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013

29 January 2013 (European Parliament)

"The European Charlemagne Youth Prize" aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects.
The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.

For further information about the competition and to apply, visit the website.  Submission deadline now extended to 18 February 2013.

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Famous Linguists

29 January 2013 (RiL South West)

These YouTube clips of famous linguists will motivate your students.

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Bravo to EU's young translators

28 January 2013 (European Commission)

The names of the 27 winners of the European Commission’s annual EU Young Translator Juvenes Translatores contest for secondary school pupils are published today (28 January, list of winning pupils/schools below). More than 3 000 pupils from 750 schools sat the contest in November 2012. The winners – one per EU country – will be invited to an award ceremony in Brussels on 11 April to receive their prizes from Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and will also have the chance to see the Commission's translators at work.

“The contest is an excellent way to promote language learning and translation as a possible career. Language skills are a fantastic asset: they broaden the mind and can boost employability, something which is especially important in the current economic environment," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

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Olympic Games 2012: Legacy — Motion to Take Note

25 January 2013 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins raises the question in the Lords as to whether we took seriously enough the commitment to deliver a multilingual Games, and consequently whether we have short-changed ourselves on this aspect of the Olympic legacy.

Visit the website to read the full transcript.

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Brain Structure of Infants Predicts Language Skills at One Year

22 January 2013 (Science Daily)

Using a brain-imaging technique that examines the entire infant brain, researchers have found that the anatomy of certain brain areas – the hippocampus and cerebellum – can predict children's language abilities at 1 year of age.

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UK Linguistics Olympiad 2013

22 January 2013 (UKLO)

Want to develop critical thinking skills? Want to show that languages are fun? Why not consider entering your school in the UK Linguistics Olympiad. It's a competition for secondary students, aged 11-18, in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. It doesn't rely on knowledge of a language but on trying to find patterns in the data.

There are 2 rounds of competition and then a team is selected to represent the UK at the International competition. Round 1 is taken in schools any time week commencing 4th Feb 2013 and students can be entered at either foundation, intermediate or advanced level. Round 2 will be held at St Mary’s College, Twickenham in late March. If you want to find out more, enter your school or just register an interest, please visit the UK Linguistics Olympiad website.

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Coffee Break German launch

17 January 2013 (Radio Lingua)

We’re delighted to tell you more about the new course from the Radio Lingua Network. In Coffee Break German, you’ll be learning enough German to get by in a whole range of situations, for example if you’re travelling in a German-speaking country, or indeed if you just want to impress your friends or your relatives who perhaps speak German. In weekly lessons you’ll cover all the language that you need to know, and you’ll join learner Mark, being taught by native speaker Thomas.

The course goes live on Wednesday 23rd January 2013.

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The Job Profile is Decisive – Foreign Languages in the Workplace

17 January 2013 (Goethe-Institut)

In today's professional world, knowledge of foreign languages is an indispensable skill and a must-have on any resume. Still, studies show that while good foreign language skills play an increasingly important role in the workplace, every situation is different.

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J-Basic Online Course for Teachers

16 January 2013 (Japan Foundation)

Term 1 of the 2013 J-Basic Online Course for Teachers is now open for applications!
This 8-week online course is for teachers with a basic level of Japanese who would like to build up their language skills. Through the course, you will develop a basic working knowledge of Japanese grammatical structures and build up your confidence and skills in using Japanese effectively in your classroom.

For more information visit the Japan Foundation website.

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Linguatrivia 2013

15 January 2013 (Linguascope)

There is still time to enter Linguatrivia, the annual competition open to Year 7 students in England, Wales and the Channel Islands, S1 students in Scotland and Year 8 students in Northern Ireland. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in learning French and to identify and reward achievement on the part of students.

Visit the website for further information. Entries must be submitted by 15 February 2013.

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Why aren't languages a more popular choice at university?

15 January 2013 (The Independent)

It seems as if languages are not a popular choice of course at university nowadays. Once upon a time, learning a language and studying its literature was considered a solid choice of degree, but now there's a perception that they might be a bit of a waste of time.

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Accent is on language as Scots coaches prepare to start SFA’s UEFA Pro Licence course

6 January 2013 (Daily Record)

Football has become global. And Scotland’s managers are about to follow suit.

The latest candidates for the SFA’s UEFA Pro Licence will gather at Hampden today to kick off the two-year course they now need to boss at the elite level of European football.

But for the first time since the course began in 1999, candidates must learn a second language as part of their studies.

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New study of how Gaelic affects brain functions

20 December 2012 (BBC News)

Scientists are to investigate changes in brain functions among people who are fluent in English and Gaelic.  The study involving Glasgow and Edinburgh universities will require its test subjects to speak Gaelic exclusively for about 40 days.

Read more...

Related Links

Mapping the bilingual brain (Radio Lab blog, 12 December 2012)

Language Learning in Scotland: a 1 + 2 Approach

14 December 2012 (Teaching Scotland blog)

Tom Hamilton, Director of Education and Professional Learning at GTCS, talks about the teaching of languages report.

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Primary adds success by teaching 1+5

14 December 2012 (TESS)

The prospect of teaching 1+2 languages from P1 is a daunting one for many in the primary sector.

But today, the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee will launch an inquiry into the teaching of languages in primary - at a school where 1+5 is the norm.

At Dalmarnock Primary, in the east end of Glasgow, pupils have access to French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Greek, in addition to their home language of English.

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Inquiry into language teaching

14 December 2012 (BBC News)

A Holyrood committee has launched an inquiry into language teaching in Scottish primary schools.
It follows research suggesting Scotland lags behind many other countries in linguistic skills.

Read more...

Related Links

Scottish Parliament launches inquiry into foreign language learning (Language Rich blog, 17 December 2012)

English is second language at 'best' primary

13 December 2012 (BBC News)

Most of the pupils at the school that tops the latest primary school league tables do not speak English at home, and 80% are from Asian backgrounds.

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Language Rich Europe in the Netherlands – Multilingualism in Business and Education

11 November 2012 (Language Rich Europe blog)

As part of the Language Rich Europe project, we are holding workshops across Europe to discuss the findings and plan the next steps. In this blog post, Lorcan Murray, an intern at British Council Netherlands, writes about the workshop held in Utrecht in November.

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'Speak a foreign language and secure a job here'

7 December 2012 (TESS)

The ability to speak foreign languages is not only important in finding work abroad - it is becoming ever more crucial for getting a job in Scotland.  That was one of the most compelling messages from businesswoman Rebecca Trengove, guest speaker at a languages conference in Stirling.

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CPD in Language Development

7 December 2012 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig )

The CPD award in Language Development has been designed to meet the specific development and training needs of Gaelic organisations and public authorities required to produce and implement a Gaelic language plan under the terms of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

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Foreign languages: the 10 easiest to learn

5 December 2012 (The Telegraph)

We English speakers have a bad reputation in the world of language. According to a European Commission survey in 2012, 61 per cent of British respondents could not speak a second language. However, with growing foreign economies and more global communication than ever before, languages are becoming a crucial skill for professionals.

The related article below outlines the languages rated most useful to business by UK firm managers.  Ironically, whilst not listed as one of the easiest to learn, German language skills are the most highly sought after by UK businesses.

Read more...

Related Links

Graduate jobs: Best languages to study (The Telegraph, 2012)

Foreign languages - the 10 easiest to learn (in pictures) (The Telegraph, 5 December 2012)

Scottish Education Awards 2013

3 December 2012 (Education Scotland)

Nominations for the 2013 awards are now open. Categories include the Global Citizenship Award, which recognises the achievements of schools and pre-schools that have adopted a whole school approach to global citizenship, and the Gaelic Awareness Award in recognition of schools and pre-schools who are providing opportunities for all children to develop fluency in the Gaelic language and culture. Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for more information and to submit a nomination.

Read more...

Calligraphy Classes Jan-March 2013

3 December 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

With limited places on offer please read on if you are keen to continue developing your skills or want to start to learn the fascination inherent in this ancient Chinese artform. The winter term will start on Tuesday 22 January and will run for ten weeks finishing on Tuesday 26 March 2013.

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Record numbers for HSK exam in 2012

3 December 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

The growing importance of China and Chinese language is shown by the significant increase in the number of HSK candidates registered with the Confucius Institute for Scotland in 2012.  The HSK exam which was significantly revised in 2010 to be more appropriate for non-immersive learners drew a pool of 101 candidates, up from 34 in 2011.

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MFL - to err is divine

30 November 2012 (TES)

Language mistakes can be funny - and a useful teaching tool.

Mistakes are comedy gold. Most children make corrections in a rush. Take time over them, though, and you can have a laugh while learning a lot about languages. Start a lesson by writing mistakes on the board and waiting for the class to notice. It's a fun way to recap the last lesson.

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‘On location’ blogs

28 November 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blog posts from those learning the language and culture in Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

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New Welsh language standards for public bodies revealed

28 November 2012 (Wales Online)

Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws has published a set of proposed new standards that will force public bodies to increase significantly their commitment to providing services in Welsh.

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Annual Canning House Essay Competition in Spanish and Portuguese

27 November 2012 (ALL)

Every year, Canning House runs an essay prize competition challenging language students from all over the UK to submit an essay which best displays their linguistic flair and capacity for free expression in their second language(s). The topic for discussion changes from year to year. This year the essay (of 750-1000 words in Spanish or Portuguese) is on the topic "What particular contribution does Latin America or Iberia make to the modern world?" Students of Spanish or Portuguese aged 17-19 are eligible, with prizes of £500, £200 and £100. Deadline: 31 January 2013. Further details are on the Canning House website.

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Foreign language skills 'cost Scottish businesses'

27 November 2012 (BBC News)

A widespread lack of language skills could be damaging Scotland's ability to trade abroad, a report has suggested.  The British Council study warned there was a tendency among Scottish firms to limit their export markets to English-speaking countries.

Read more...

Related Links

Fears raised for overseas trade as young Scots shy away from studying foreign languages (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)
A crisis in foreign language teaching across Scottish education is damaging overseas trade, the British Council warns today.

Analysis: Speaking the lingo goes to prove that it’s not only travel that broadens the mind (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Leaders: Greater language skills key to breaking trade barriers (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Crisis in study of languages a risk to trade (The Herald, 27 November 2012)
A lack of foreign language skills is limiting the ability of Scottish companies to tap into lucrative overseas export markets, according to a new report.

Kaye asks why Scots are so bad at learning foreign languages (Call Kaye, BBC Radio Scotland, 27 November 2012) - programme available until 3 December 2012.

Trade danger of language teaching cuts (Scottish Daily Express, 27 November 2012)

Language cuts 'will hit Scottish economy' (Morning Star, 27 November 2012)

Language Rich Europe - Scotland (British Council, 2012)

French Christmas resources for primary and secondary classes

26 November 2012 (Institut français d'Ecosse)

The Institut français d'Ecosse has produced some new resources about Noël (Christmas) for use with primary and S1-S3 pupils.

The resources can be accessed from the Institut français website.

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Related Links

Noël for S1-S3

HSK Examinations 01 December

23 November 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

A record number of candidates will present for the December 2012 HSK exams organised by the Confucius Institute for Scotland. In total in 2012, 101 candidates have registered to test their Chinese in this global examination.

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DELF/DALF Examinations UK 2012

23 November 2012 (Institut français)

The Institut français in Edinburgh and the Alliance Française in Glasgow are the two official examination centres that give French learners the opportunity to obtain the official French diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education and are recognised internationally.

  • The DELF, Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française(Level A1, A2, B1, B2) 
  • The DALF, Diplôme Approfondi en Langue Française, (C1, C2)

Anyone who is not of French nationality and who wishes to validate his skills in French may sit the examination. If not simply for your own personal benefit, the diplomas can be an asset to your CV as they are internationally recognized for both professional applications and university studies. If you wish to register for the examination before 15 December 2012 for the examination session in January 2013, please contact the Alliance française in Glasgow or the Institut Français in Edinburgh.

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The Catalan language is still in danger, despite its resurgence

23 November 2012 (The Guardian)

Other languages have a state to defend them and their speakers don't have to contend with a state that acts against their tongue.

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Transition: the band's story in Taiwan

21 November 2012 ('Speak Chinese with Hannah' / YouTube)

See the YouTube video telling the story of the band, Transition, their move to Taiwan and how they embraced Mandarin.

There's also a link below to one of their songs, sung in Chinese - a great resource to use in the classroom!

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GCU and OU partnership provides free language lessons for staff

20 November 2012 (Open University)

In a unique partnership arrangement with the Open University (OU), Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have provided their postgraduate students and their staff with the opportunity to study an OU language module in French, German, Spanish or Chinese. 82 GCU students and staff began beginners’ language modules in October, and more will sign up for higher level language modules starting in February. The face-to-face element of the OU tuition programme is being delivered on GCU’s Glasgow campus at times that fit with GCU’s timetable.

Glasgow Caledonian University places importance on the fact that language competence enhances employability and international mobility and values the Open University’s proven track record in language teaching.

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Call of Duty and World of Warcraft double as language class

20 November 2012 (The Toronto Star)

Mette-Ann Schepelern remembers when she first heard a curious sound coming from her son’s bedroom. Someone was speaking fluent English loudly, peppered with mysterious slang. To her surprise, it was her 9-year-old Danish son. Schepelern and her son Carl live in Copenhagen, where English lessons begin in the first grade. To become fluent, a child would need to practice several hours a day — which Carl did, but not in front of a textbook. Carl was playing World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online game with more than 10 million players and available in 11 languages, none of them Danish.

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Foreign Languages took pride of place at the Institute of Welsh Affairs / Western Mail Business Awards

16 November 2012 (CILT Cymru)

On Friday the 9th of November, the profile of Modern Foreign Languages was raised at the Institute of Welsh Affairs / Western Mail Business Awards.

The newly created Award, The Best Use of Foreign Languages in Business Award recognised those Welsh companies who actively use foreign languages to develop strong markets abroad.

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MFL - the long and the short of it

16 November 2012 (TES)

Foreign-language media such as films and advertising can be excellent teaching resources - their use of characters and stories is great for engaging pupils' attention and making vocabulary memorable.

Learning is reinforced when pupils use the target language in role play and written work. If they create a cheesy advertisement with a catchy slogan in Spanish, for example, the vocabulary they use becomes an in-joke they will remember long after the lesson has ended.

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Scots fare worst in bilingualism study

14 November 2012 (The Scotsman)

Scots have fared worst in a Europe-wide initiative designed to foster bilingualism.
The study, which was led by the University of Edinburgh and backed by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), recruited 25 monolingual families from five European countries.

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Gaelic language use by families studied by university

9 November 2012 (BBC News)

Generations of families that speak Gaelic use the language in different ways, University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) research suggests.

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The joys of being bilingual

8 November 2012 (The Independent)

Learning another language has many benefits apart from aiding research.

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The Modern Language Journal

7 November 2012 (Modern Language Journal)

The Modern Language Journal has provided free access to all articles from its December 2011 issue. One article of note is by Lynn Erler and Ernesto Macaro on ‘Decoding Ability in French as a Foreign Language and Language Learning Motivation’. Go to the MLJ home page and scroll down until you see the 'Most Read' articles on the bottom left.

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New SCEN website launched

7 November 2012 (SCEN)

The Scotland China Education Network invites you to visit its new website and discover how it is promoting the learning of Chinese and about China in Scottish schools.

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A foreign language is the best way to stand out in tough job market

7 November 2012 (Business Insider)

Looking for another way to stand out in a tough job market, plus increase your competitiveness and versatility down the road in your career? If you can commit to adding one or more languages to your resume, you’ll instantly stand out from the crowd.

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Linguatrivia French Competition

6 November 2012 (Linguascope)

Linguatrivia is an annual competition open to Year 7 students in England, Wales and the Channel Islands, S1 students in Scotland and Year 8 students in Northern Ireland. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in learning French and to identify and reward achievement on the part of students.

Students are entered into the competition by their French teacher, and have to sit a 30-minute national test.

Sponsored by Linguascope, the competition offers a range of fabulous prizes. Every participant will receive a certificate and a prize!   For more information and to download an entry form, please visit the Linguatrivia website.

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Why global awareness matters to schools

5 November 2012 (Guardian)

Schools are increasingly finding ways to help students develop as global citizens. But can we do more to incorporate global issues into the curriculum?

... The vast majority of businesses believe schools should help young people to think more globally and four out of every five believe schools should be doing more. Significantly, twice as many business leaders rate knowledge and awareness of the wider world as an important skill as ability to speak a foreign language. While they still regard language skills as important it is the 'soft' skills of cultural awareness and understanding global issues that are particularly valued.

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Primary Languages Classroom Awards

2 November 2012 (Primary Languages Classroom Awards)

The Primary Languages Classroom Awards are a way of celebrating the teaching and learning of languages (including English) in UK primary schools, highlighting its positive impact on both the whole school and the local community and honouring teachers and schools that support language development in both English and the child’s home language. The awards are sponsored by the French and German Embassies, EMASUK, Little Bridge, Golden Daffodils, Little Linguist, Brilliant Marketing and Brilliant Publications, and are supported by the Association of Language Learning and many others.

Visit the website to find out more, see this year’s winners and download an application form.
Entries are now open and must be received by 31 Dec 2012 for inclusion in the 2013 awards.

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The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

31 October 2012 (The Dana Foundation)

Today, more of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual than monolingual. In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, this trend also positively affects cognitive abilities. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another.

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