News View

Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Dundee

18 January 2019 (SCILT)

Young people from 12 schools across Dundee had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of Dundee on 10 January 2019. 115 S2-S5 learners heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of languages in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event has given learners an insight into the benefits of language learning throughout life and what a bonus a language can be, given the wide range of skills language learning develops, when looking for employment.”

One of the young people added to this: “I didn't know how helpful it was to know a second language. I learnt today how different businesses use languages and why it is beneficial to learn a language at school.”

Paul Sheerin from Scottish Engineering and one of the speakers commented: “This was a great opportunity for Scottish Engineering to press the importance of languages to our future workforce.  Engineering and Manufacturing, by its nature, tends towards international operations, and we will increase our competitiveness as a trading nation with people who, through language learning, understand how to communicate and connect with people around the world.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS). Schools represented were Arbroath Academy, Beath High, Blairgowrie High, Carnoustie High, Grove Academy, Harris Academy, Holyrood Secondary, Lochgelly High, Madras College, Montrose Academy, St John's RC High and Webster's High.

Companies attending included Dover Fueling Solutions, Michelin Tyre PLC, Outplay Entertainment, Scottish Dance Theatre and Scottish Engineering. The following businesses supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace: Al-Maktoum College, Glamis Castle, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy / Royal Marines, The British Army, The Open University in Scotland, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the University of Dundee. 

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT added: “In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important than ever that we equip our young people with the skills they will need for life beyond school.  We want them to be outward-looking and able to operate in an interdependent world. Events such as these highlight the importance of language skills and intercultural competencies in the world of work.

“The business leaders who speak at these events give of their own time because they understand how much these skills are needed and valued by employers and how vital they are for Scotland’s business community. This kind of collaboration is an example of how education and business sectors can work together for their mutual benefit so that we can support young people and help them develop the portfolio of skills that employers require in their workforce.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.  The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in December 2018 and January 2019.

More information on SCILT’s 2019 Business Brunches

Learners to experience new languages at an earlier age - Kirsty Williams

18 January 2019 (Welsh Government)

Applies to Wales

Pupils will start learning different languages in primary school as part of Wales’ new curriculum, Kirsty Williams has announced.

In the new curriculum, Modern Foreign Languages would be included within International Languages. This would also include community languages, classical languages and British Sign Language (BSL). 

Learners would experience international languages at an earlier age and there would be clear expectations for their progress while at primary school. 

This will build on work with the Global Futures Network, which provides a range of support for Modern Foreign Languages in the curriculum.

Schools would be able to choose which language (s) they would like learners to experience in addition to Welsh and English.

Changes are also proposed to the way that Welsh is taught, with the language remaining compulsory for all learners aged 3-16 – alongside English - but no longer separated into first and second language Programmes of Study. 

Under the proposals, all learners will follow the same curriculum and there would be more of an emphasis on improving learners’ skills and use of the language. 

Read more...

Related Links

English-medium education to put more emphasis on Welsh (BBC, 18 January 2019)

New job profile on the SCILT website

18 January 2019 (SCILT)

Our job profiles demonstrate how useful languages can be for work or as a life skill. The latest addition comes from Francisco de Brito Coelho da Silva. He aims to combine his knowledge of languages with his Master's degree in Information Systems and believes his Mandarin skills will open up many opportunities in the future.

Teachers, use his profile in class to highlight the benefits of learning languages to enhance career prospects and explore new cultures.

Read more...

Policy Briefing – Modern Languages Educational Policy in the UK

17 January 2019 (AHRC)

The AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow (Janice Carruthers) and the PI of the OWRI MEITS project (Wendy Ayres-Bennett) have published a Policy Briefing on Modern Languages Educational Policy in the UK.

It sets out the key policy issues across the four jurisdictions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and makes a series of recommendations for government at both primary and secondary levels.

Read more...

RZSS Spanish packs

16 January 2019 (RZSS)

A limited number of our Spanish Packs are reduced in price until stocks last. Usually £50 +VAT and £6p&p, we can provide for £40 +VAT and £6p&p. The Spanish pack contains 5 games and activities which link language learning to our RZSS conservation projects in the wild. Packs aimed at P4-P7 level and can also be used for S1-S2 beginners. Full details and contents of packs can be found on the RZSS webite. We don't make a profit on our language packs so future packs will be at £50 to cover our costs but we do have a stock of the Spanish packs which we would like to offer schools at a reduced price. Once purchased, you get access to the premium section of the website to download further copies. Contact srobb@rzss.org.uk to order pack. (Other language packs are still £50 +VAT and £6p&p).

Read more...

BBC - Future Voices Programme

15 January 2019 (BBC World Service)

Are you an aspiring journalist who speaks more than one language? The BBC is offering the opportunity to train as a journalist within the BBC World Service, on a six-week Future Voices Internship.

This scheme is open to people aged 18 and over from all backgrounds and from every corner of the UK.  You do not need any journalism skills before you start but you must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest and passion for a career in Journalism.

Visit the website to find out more about the Future Voices Programme and how to apply.

Read more...

Mathématiques sans Frontières

15 January 2019 (North Lanarkshire Council)

North Lanarkshire Council and the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are jointly organising the world-wide Maths and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland.

Once again schools are invited to participate in this stimulating and light-hearted competition which combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils.

See the attached documents for more information. An example training test is also included.

Schools who would like to register for the competition should complete the proforma attached and submit by 25 January 2019.

Chinese New Year celebration planned for Edinburgh

14 January 2019 (BBC)

Edinburgh is to host Scotland's largest ever Chinese New Year celebration.

A concert at the Usher Hall and a giant lantern at Edinburgh Zoo are among the events that have been planned.

The celebrations will take place next month, welcoming the Zodiac Year of the Pig.

Read more...

England’s schools face staffing crisis as EU teachers stay at home

12 January 2019 (The Guardian)

The number of teachers from the EU wanting to work in England has slumped in the past year, with fears that Brexit will exacerbate staff shortages and hit language learning.

Teachers from EU countries applying for the right to work in English schools fell by a quarter in a single year, according to official data. There were 3,525 people from member states awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) in 2017-18, which allows them to work in most state and special schools. A 25% fall on the previous year, it included a 17% drop in applicants from Spain, an 18% drop from Greece and a 33% drop from Poland.

The fall comes after repeated warnings of a staffing shortage. Last summer the Education Policy Institute said that teaching shortages would become severe, with bigger classes and falling expertise as a result.

Read more...

We can’t let modern languages go kaputt. Vive la Résistance!

11 January 2019 ( TES)

The sad truth is that modern languages in UK schools are in near-terminal decline - and, with Brexit looming, we need to halt the death spiral, writes Ed Dorrell

I have a friend who, when asked “parlez-vous français?”, always replies, quick as a flash, “une petit poi”. I have another friend who, when people arrive at his tiny flat, always remarks, rather grandly, “welcome to my pomme de terre”.

To have one acquaintance whose favourite gag is a bad French vegetable-based pun may be regarded as a misfortune, to have two, however, probably looks like carelessness.

And that, if you’ll forgive the segue, leads me to the subject of this article: this country’s relationship, or lack thereof, with foreign languages. It is a sad truth that languages in our schools are in near-terminal decline.

Read more...

Exclusive: The schools reversing the languages decline

11 January 2019 (TES)

Applies to England

Making language lessons fun, staging foreign film nights with exotic food laid on, and focusing on high-value language and transferrable structures to make it easier for pupils to have conversations in the language they are learning.

These are just some of the ways in which a minority of schools have managed to go against the grain and boost the uptake of languages GCSEs.

At the end of last year, the Department for Education admitted that the government was “struggling hugely” with the decline in GCSE languages. 

And figures from the British Council show that nationally the proportion of GCSE candidates taking at least one language has dropped to 46 per cent (down from 76 per cent in 2002). This has been put down to budget cuts, lack of quality teachers and attitudes surrounding Brexit, among other factors.

But Tes research has identified at least 37 schools that have boosted uptake by 50 percentage points between 2013 and 2017, according to the latest available figures.

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Advanced Higher Modern Languages

10 January 2019 (SCHOLAR)

The next online sessions from SCHOLAR for Advanced Higher Modern Languages take place as follows:

  • 14 January 2019 - advice on  the portfolio and specialist study
  • 21 January 2019 - support in preparing for the external examiner

Both sessions are at 6:00pm and will be delivered by Douglas Angus, Modern Languages online tutor. Worksheets to help support the sessions are available from SCHOLAR via their twitter and facebook accounts.

Read more...

School partnership bursaries for 2018-19

10 January 2019 (UK-German Connection)

Did you run any activities with your German partner school last year?

Special school partnership bursaries are available once more to help you to keep your UK-German partnership alive.

All you need to do is answer a few short questions about your partnership activities last year and your plans for 2019.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for further details and submit your information by 31 January 2019.

Read more...

New centre for excellence to boost modern foreign language skills

10 January 2019 (Department for Education)

Applies to England

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has today, Thursday 10th January, announced the University of York as England’s first modern foreign languages centre for excellence.

The centre, which will be known as the Centre for Excellence for Languages Pedagogy, will work with schools to help more young people learn foreign languages. It is the latest in a series of government initiatives to build a nation of confident linguists.

The university will now coordinate the work of nine modern foreign languages hubs – leading schools that are working with other schools and sharing best practice - to boost the teaching of Spanish, French and German.

Read more...

Related Links

Revealed: Only two groups bid for £4.8m languages centre cash (Schools Week, 13 January 2019) The University of York, announced yesterday as the successful bidder, will oversee the work of nine lead schools to raise the quality of language teaching, including in French, Spanish and German.

International Year of Indigenous Languages

10 January 2019 (UNESCO)

Indigenous languages matter for social, economic and political development, peaceful coexistence and reconciliation in our societies. Yet many of them are in danger of disappearing. It is for this reason that the United Nations declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages in order to encourage urgent action to preserve, revitalise and promote them.

The official global launch of IYIL2019 takes place in Paris, France on 28 January 2019.

A special website has also been dedicated to the event, which will be commemorated by UNESCO’s members and partners throughout 2019.

Visit the IYIL2019 website to find out more about the year's aims and how you can get involved.

Read more...

Skye website translated into Mandarin for Chinese visitor boom

10 January 2019 (The Scotsman)

A website about Skye has been translated into Mandarin in a bid to encourage people from China to visit the island.

The site features the animated Donald from Skye character, who gives recommendations of what to see and do in the area.

It has now been translated into Mandarin to help the growing number of Chinese people visiting Skye and to encourage further visitors to the island.

Donald from Skye said: “I love telling people from all over the world about the beautiful Isle of Skye, so to be able to tell people in China what Skye has to offer is brilliant.

“My aim is to make Scotland accessible to everyone, wherever they’re from, and now anyone who visits www.donaldfromskye.com can see all the information on Skye in English or Mandarin.

“I hope this is the start of many translations of the website, allowing potential visitors to see the numerous sights and attractions they could see on Skye.

“Whether they need help booking accommodation, finding activities to do, details on where to park or where to eat, I’m the man to ask.

“I can’t wait to welcome new friends from China and all over the world to Scotland and to Skye.”

Read more...

Scottish Learning Festival 2019 – Call for seminar proposals now open

9 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

​Education Scotland is now accepting seminar proposals for the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) 2019 conference programme, which will take place on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 September in the SEC, Glasgow.

SLF is Scotland’s key educational event which provides a great professional learning opportunity with a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, opportunities for professional networking and a practitioner-led seminar programme.

This year’s theme is ‘Achieving Excellence and Equity’, through:

  • creating a culture of empowerment that enables everyone involved in the system to contribute to the agenda of improvement; and
  • the importance of wellbeing in developing a healthy, successful learning community.

If you have a project you'd like to showcase, submit your proposal for consideration before midday on Wednesday 20 February. 

Read more...

First ever Doric film festival to shine a light on north-east language

7 January 2019 (Press and Journal)

Entries have opened for a first-ever Doric film festival, designed to showcase the north-east’s cultural heritage to as wide an audience as possible.

Organisers are hoping to receive hundreds of entries ahead of a red carpet screening of the best submissions in June.

The competition is open to children of all ages, students, community groups and individuals and has been backed by organisations including Aberdeenshire Council and Robert Gordon University.

And as part of the festivities, training sessions on topics ranging from pre-production to storyboarding and editing will be held across the region over the coming months.

The initiative has been thought up by Scots language podcast, Scots Radio, which started up in 2013.

Director Frieda Morrison said: “The Gaelic Film Festival has been enjoying success for eleven years and there’s ample media support for film creativity in English.

“So Scots Radio wishes to encourage and shine a light on story-telling in Scots – and in this first instance, on north-east Scots or Doric.”

Read more...

FilmG

7 January 2019 (FilmG)

The Gaelic short film competition, FilmG, encourages young people across the country to create short Gaelic language films. Entries for the 2019 competition are now in and voting is underway!

Visit the website to view the entries and register your vote by the end of January 2019.

Read more...

French classes in Glasgow

7 January 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow offers a range of courses at various levels for learners of French. Follow the appropriate link below for more information about the relevant course:

Visit the website for more information on the full range of activities provided by the Alliance Française.

Read more...

University of Hull's language degrees suspension 'damaging'

5 January 2019 (BBC)

A university's decision to suspend student recruitment onto some of its language courses has been described as a "damaging retrograde move".

Nearly 200 academics across the UK have signed an open letter criticising the University of Hull.

Last month the university said it was reviewing its 2019 modern languages programmes except for Chinese.

In the letter, the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) urged management to "reinstate recruitment".

The University of Hull has been approached for a comment.

The letter, which was written by the UCML and posted on Facebook, included signatures by senior academics from the Russell Group of leading universities.

In it, the UCML expressed "grave concern" over the university's decision.

"We consider this to be a retrograde move that damages not only the reputation and standing of the University of Hull but is indicative of a broader devaluing of modern languages in the UK at the current time.

"Languages at Hull has been in the vanguard of modern languages research from the 1960s onwards, leading in the area of languages and cultural studies."

It went on to say that the university's "withdrawal of support" for languages was "out of step with overwhelming evidence on the need for the University sector - regionally and nationally - to help close the UK's 'language deficit'".

Read more...

Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Inverness

4 January 2019 (SCILT)

Young people from eleven schools across Highland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 11 December 2018. Over 120 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of languages in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Schools represented were Charleston Academy, Dingwall Academy, Forres Academy, Fortrose Academy, Inverness High, Inverness Royal Academy, Kilchuimen Academy, Kingussie High, Kinlochbervie High, Millburn Academy, Nairn Academy and Ullapool High.

A teacher attending the event said: “It is good for pupils to take a step back from school and lessons to think about the bigger picture. Today, they discovered the importance of learning one or several languages, and that languages can give you an advantage and make you more employable.”

One of the young people added to this, and commented: “I learned today about the wide range of different jobs where having a language is an advantage.”

Eilidh Mackenzie from Fèisean nan Gàidheal and one of the speakers said: “Thank you so much for including Fèisean nan Gàidheal in the event. We appreciate the opportunity to remind students and their teachers that Gaelic is a modern European language with a wide-ranging smörgåsbord of career & social opportunities.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with DYW Inverness and Central Highland and the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS).

Companies attending included Inverness Chamber of Commerce, BBC Alba, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, pentahotel Inverness, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Visit Loch Ness and Cobbs Group. Founders4Schools, Historic Environment Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, The Open University in Scotland and The Royal Navy supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important than ever that we equip our young people with the skills they will need for life beyond school.  We want them to be outward-looking and able to operate in an interdependent world. Events such as these highlight the importance of language skills and intercultural competencies in the world of work.

“The business leaders who speak at these events give of their own time because they understand how much these skills are needed and valued by employers and how vital they are for Scotland’s business community. This kind of collaboration is an example of how education and business sectors can work together for their mutual benefit so that we can support young people and help them develop the portfolio of skills that employers require in their workforce.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.  The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in December 2018 and January 2019.

More information on SCILT’s 2019 Business Brunches

MyFrenchFilmFestival 2019

3 January 2019 (MyFrenchFilmFestival)

MyFrenchFilmFestival.com throws the spotlight on new generation French filmmakers, allowing web users across the globe to share their enthusiasm for French cinema. 

From 18 January through 18 February 2019, film lovers around the world will be able to access films from the 9th edition of world's first online French film festival.

Ten French feature films and ten French shorts will be included in the competition section. Web users will be invited to rate all of these films and to post their comments on our website. 

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

'Why total immersion is the best way to teach languages'

3 January 2019 (TES)

Teaching MFL through total immersion shows students that language is a ‘living thing’, says this French teacher.

I don’t think my students really believed me when I told them, “We will only be speaking French on this trip.”

It was not until our guides for the week – both native French speakers – introduced themselves on the first morning that reality began to sink in; the students looked at one another in shock.

But they quickly grew in confidence, and by the second afternoon in Normandy, they were making comments such as, “I understand more French than I ever realised."

Running a total immersion trip for 14- to 16-year olds might sound daunting, but research suggests that the more of a target language you can use, the better for your students.

A study by Margaret Bruck et al in Canada in 1977 showed that English-speaking children taught in an immersive French environment functioned extremely well in their second language. The implications of these studies led to the successful implementation of many language immersion programmes in Canada and around the world.

However, in the UK some 58 per cent of state schools set aside fewer than two and a half hours per week for languages at key stage 3, according to the British Council. And at my school, Year 10 students have just three 35-minute lessons per week. That makes it a real challenge to build immersion into MFL teaching.

But I believe it is worth the effort. Young people need to understand that language is a living thing, not just another subject to get a grade in.

Immersion introduces students to a language in context, so that they view it as a component of an entire culture, rather than something static in a textbook. It also helps to build confidence – one of the most difficult aspects of learning a language.

But how do you make immersion work in practice?

Read more...

Scotland sets out its stall to woo Chinese tourists

2 January 2019 (ECNS)

On a brisk winter morning, a young Chinese couple stroll through Edinburgh Castle, taking in the history of this iconic attraction in the Scottish capital.

Xie Zhuoqun and Meng Hongfei are two of a growing number of Chinese who are visiting the popular landmark.

Xie, 32, from Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, said her attention was drawn to Edinburgh when she came across a random Sina Weibo social media post about Hogmanay-the Scottish celebration marking the Western New Year.

"I was mesmerized by the city's atmosphere, the fireworks over the castle, the torch processions on the Royal Mile, and the street parties everywhere. From that point onward, I knew I wanted to see Edinburgh in person, and here we are," she said.

Revenue from Chinese visitors has risen by almost 350 percent in a decade, according to the tourism agency VisitScotland.

To help reap the benefits from the rise in visitor numbers from China, destinations across Scotland are stepping up efforts to welcome these tourists.

Chinese-language signs and posters are dotted around popular tourist spots in Edinburgh, where busloads of visitors explore and enjoy the sights.

Scottish businesses, such as the jewelry brand Hamilton and Inches and luxury fashion accessories label Strathberry, have hired Mandarin-speaking personnel and social media professionals to cater to the growing number of Chinese visitors.

Read more...

Nihongo Cup 2019 - Applications open!

2 January 2019 (Japan Foundation)

Nihongo Cup, the Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School students, is accepting applications across three categories: Key Stage 3, Pre-GCSE Key Stage 4/5, and Post GCSE Key Stage 4 and 5.

Finalists will be invited to perform their speech at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford with the chance to win some fantastic prizes – including a trip to Japan!

Visit the Japan Foundation website to download the application pack and submit entries by 22 March 2019.

Read more...

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019

2 January 2019 (Japan Foundation)

With the widest selection of Japanese films from contemporary to anime and documentary, the largest Japanese film programme in the UK will visit 19 cities, including Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling, from 2 February to 28 March. 

The theme for this year's programme is 'love' with selected works aiming to provide a more comprehensive picture of Japanese relationships, ranging from conventional love stories, LGBT issues, familial devotion, compassion for the fellow man, transgressive attractions, to profound renderings of the devastation felt with the loss of love.

Visit the website for full programme and venue details.

Read more...

'Victor Hugo becomes a sex god in my mind' – how to get better at French

1 January 2019 (The Guardian)

Worried that she is speaking French like Joey Essex speaks English, Emma Beddington fights back with classes, podcasts and cartoons about mustard-loving aliens resuscitating literary giants.

I used to think I was pretty great at French: I could handle a subjunctive and disdained the myriad mangled pronunciations of “millefeuille” on Masterchef. I lived in French-speaking Brussels for 12 years and have a French husband who still tolerates me misgendering the dishwasher after 24 years. My inflated sense of my abilities was bolstered over the years by compliments from surprised French people. Admittedly, the bar is pitifully low for Brits speaking a foreign language: like Samuel Johnson’s dog walking on its hind legs, it’s not done well but people are surprised it’s done at all.

In recent years, however, I have let things slide. My French has become trashy: it’s the language of reality and cooking shows (my staple French televisual diet) and easy chat with indulgent friends. I fear I speak French like Joey Essex speaks English, and since we moved back to the UK this year things have got worse. My only French conversation here is with my husband and it runs a well-worn course: who should empty the bin; why we have no money; which of our teenage sons hates us more. When I try to express something complex, I get stuck mid-sentence, unable to express my thoughts clearly. Words that used to be there, waiting to be used, are awol and I have developed a horrible habit of just saying them in English. My husband understands, so who cares?

But I care. I can’t bear to lose my French; it’s part of who I am. I even wrote a book about it, for God’s sake. I want to speak the language of Molière, if not like Molière then at least like a reasonably articulate adult. So I resolve to not just stop the rot but reverse it. This will involve a multi-pronged approach: online lessons plus conversation classes, supplemented by a diet of French podcasts and reading, including my third attempt at Les Misérables.

Au boulot – to work!

Read more...

Down's syndrome no bar to bilingualism, study suggests

21 December 2018 (BBC)

Raising children with Down's syndrome bilingually does not put them at a disadvantage, despite concerns it leads to language delays, a study says.

The small-scale research by Bangor University compared the development of children with Down's syndrome who speak Welsh and English and those living in English-only homes.

Its initial conclusions suggested their English skills were at a similar level.

Researchers said the research may be relevant to other languages too.

Read more...

Bioran is festive Gaelic story treat for youngsters

21 December 2018 (Stòrlann)

It’s a Gaelic story with a difference – the narration of a translation of Julia Donaldson’s popular Stick Man tale – that will have a real appeal for children and families over the festive season. 

The story, ‘Bioran’, has been brought to life by Donald ‘Ryno’ Morrison in a Santa suit, who read and performed it to great effect in a short film clip that can now be accessed on YouTube.

The narration is the first contribution in a new online resource of Gaelic ‘Jackanory-style’ stories which is going to be further developed over the coming year by the Multimedia Unit, part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Department of Education and Children’s Services.

Bioran, the first recording for e-Stòiridh, is the result of partnership working across three agencies involved in creating resources for Gaelic. 

The Multimedia Unit had the original idea and went to Acair Books, who publish Gaelic co-editions of popular English language books as well as original Gaelic works, to decide on a suitable text.

After deciding on Bioran, which had been translated by Morag Stewart, they then approached Donald ‘Ryno’ Morrison, the Chief Executive of Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

As well as having him in mind as the narrator, Stòrlann’s involvement was also important because they run the website gaelic4parents.com, which features hundreds of audio files on it, for parents and children to access so they can learn how Gaelic books they are reading should sound. 

The video of Donald Morrison’s narration of Bioran can be found on the YouTube channel for e-Storas. 

Read more...

Threlford Cup 2019

20 December 2018 (CIOL)

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) invites nominations for the next winner of the Threlford Cup, their prestigious award for inspiration and originality in language teaching and learning.

The cup is presented annually to a person, to an organisation, or for a project that has inspired others with an original language-learning initiative.

If you know of a teacher who has inspired young minds, a business or organisation that has led a project, or someone who works hard within the local community to keep alive a heritage language and culture, submit your nomination by 14 June 2019.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2019

20 December 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education.

Those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms are recognised at the annual event.

The Scottish Education Awards were first launched in November 2001 by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Daily Record, with the specific aims of celebrating the successes and recognising the achievements taking place within Scottish education.

Nominations are now invited in each of the award categories, including the Gaelic Education and The 1+2 Languages and Internationalism Awards. Deadline: 14 February 2019.

Read more...

SQA course reports for Advanced Higher and National 5 Modern Languages 2018

20 December 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Advanced Higher and National 5 Modern Languages, including Gaelic learners. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2018 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty. They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet. The summary can be found in the Senior Phase section of our website.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Course Reports tab.

Read more...

Doric grows in popularity as language classes set to expand at Aberdeen University

20 December 2018 (Press and Journal)

Following the success of a scheme launched earlier this year, a second set of classes in North-East Scots – commonly known as Doric or Toonser – will begin next month.

Their arrival will coincide with the launch of the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages.

A similar class run in the autumn was a sell-out success, attracting participants from as far afield as Australia, France and Luxembourg.

From next year, two classes – beginner and advanced – will be held to satisfy demand.

The beginners course will be aimed at newcomers to the north-east, who want to learn more about the language and use it with confidence.

It is also aimed at locals, who might never have been encouraged to use the language, but want to re-engage with it.

The class will be led by Jackie Ross, a renowned Doric storyteller and member of the Grampian Association of Storytellers.

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Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

19 December 2018 (Education Scotland)

The December 2018 edition of Education Scotland's Gaelic newsletter is now available online.

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Teach abroad as an English Language Assistant

18 December 2018 (British Council)

University students and graduates, why not teach English overseas on a paid six-month or one-year placement working as a language assistant? Experience life in another country, learn transferable skills and stand out in the job market. 

Applications for 2019-20 are open now and close on Friday 15 February 2019.

As an English Language Assistant, you will: 

  • strengthen your CV
  • improve your fluency in another language
  • gain skills in communication, presentation, time management, organisation, teamwork, working independently, creative thinking and problem-solving
  • immerse yourself in another culture
  • increase your cultural awareness
  • develop professional confidence.

Teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week, giving you plenty of time to experience the country and pursue other interests. 

Visit the British Council website for more information.

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Year of the Pig education pack

17 December 2018 (British Council)

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we enter the Year of the Pig on 5 February 2019. This education pack for primary schools contains information and activities to help teachers and pupils learn more about this important Spring Festival and explore Chinese language and culture.

Your pupils can read a traditional story to find out how Pigsy became the companion of the Monkey King, and learn how Chinese children refer to animals and animal sounds by singing Old Macdonald’s Farm in Chinese.

For these and other activities, visit the British Council website and download the resource pack.

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Business brunches inspire Scotland’s future global workforce

17 December 2018 (SCILT)

Over 200 young people met with local employers at the largest business and languages engagement event to date! Twenty-five schools from across the west of Scotland were represented at the Business Brunch in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 5 December 2018. The event saw learners from S3-S6 engage with employers from a range of sectors, all who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

A teacher attending the event said: “All my pupils came away from the event with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for languages, and I have had emails from parents commenting how excited and motivated pupils were in sharing their experiences of the event. It is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to be exposed to a range of different people, careers and industries.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I gained an understanding of the successes that the speakers had achieved due to them having knowledge of another language.”

Gordon Robb, VR Growth and one of the speakers, stated: “What a fantastic opportunity for young people thinking about leaning languages to find out what a difference it can make to them and their future opportunities in business.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland.

Schools represented were All Saints RC Secondary School, Alloa Academy, Ardrossan Academy, Auchinleck Academy, Bishopbriggs Academy, Boclair Academy, Caldervale High School, Cathkin High School, Clydebank High School, Duncanrig Secondary School, Eastwood High School, Grange Academy, Gryffe High School, Hamilton College, Hyndland Secondary School, John Paul Academy, Linwood High School, Paisley Grammar School, Renfrew High School, Sanquhar Academy, Smithycroft Secondary School, St Aidan's High School, St Ninian's High School, St. Andrew's High School and The Glasgow Academy.

Companies attending included Albion Overseas Ltd, Radio Lingua Ltd, Russian Centre in Scotland 'Haven', Scottish Engineering, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and VR Growth Ltd.

The following businesses supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace: Alex Begg, BSL Partnership in Scotland, Food and Drink Federation Scotland, Founders4Schools, Glasgow Life, IBM, KF German Translations, Supreme Tours Ltd, The Open University in Scotland, University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. 

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important than ever that we equip our young people with the skills they will need for life beyond school.  We want them to be outward-looking and able to operate in an interdependent world. Events such as these highlight the importance of language skills and intercultural competencies in the world of work.

“The business leaders who speak at these events give of their own time because they understand how much these skills are needed and valued by employers and how vital they are for Scotland’s business community. This kind of collaboration is an example of how education and business sectors can work together for their mutual benefit so that we can support young people and help them develop the portfolio of skills that employers require in their workforce.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.  The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in December 2018 and January 2019.

Immersion courses in France and Spain

14 December 2018 (LFEE)

Languages for Education Europe (LFEE) run immersion courses for primary and secondary teachers of French and Spanish, with funding available from Erasmus+. The next funding deadline is 5 February 2019.

Visit the LFEE website for more information.

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SQA course reports for Higher Modern Languages 2018

13 December 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher Modern Languages, including Gaelic learners. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2018 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty. They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet. The summary can be found in the Senior Phase section of our website.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Course Reports tab.

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French language competition - Concours de la francophonie 2019 !

11 December 2018 (Institut français)

New school year, new projects! The concours de la francophonie is open to all Scottish schools. Record a short video (5 minutes max.) of a classroom activity in French (conversation, poetry, song, etc.).

Send your video to concours@ifecosse.org.uk before 26 January 2019.

Participate to win French books and a full immersion day in the French Institute in Edinburgh for your class !

This school competition is sponsored by TOTAL E&P, the Franco-Scottish Society and is organised in partnership with the Alliance française de Glasgow, SALT, SCILT, the University of Edinburgh and TV5 Monde.

More information is available on our website. 

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French pop video competition

7 December 2018 (Institut français)

Do you think you could sing or rap in French? Do you have the skills to make a video clip for your song? If so, this competition is for you!

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni, in association with Francophonie UK, is inviting you to submit a short video, or animated clip, to accompany a song or rap in French. The competition is open to all UK primary and secondary schools (ages 7 to 18) across the 4 countries + Channel Islands. 

Find out more about the competition and how to enter on the flyer.

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Oral Revision Courses: Higher and Advanced Higher French

1 December 2017 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

The AF Glasgow will be running special revision courses for pupils who are sitting their Higher and Advanced Higher French oral examinations in early 2018.

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Threlford Memorial Cup 2017 - Call for nominations now open

26 May 2017 (Chartered Institute of Linguists)

Do you know someone who's done something truly amazing for language learning?

Chartered Institute of Linguists is looking for nominations for the Threlford Memorial Cup 2017. The Cup is presented annually to a person, an organisation, or for a project that has inspired others with an original language initiative. The Cup will be presented by Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent at our Awards Evening in London in November.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 28 July 2017.

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