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All Languages

Brexit 'hitting foreign languages in schools'

3 July 2019 (BBC)

Brexit is causing poorer children to fall further behind in learning foreign languages, says the British Council.

Parents in disadvantaged areas are telling teachers languages will be less useful after Brexit, it says.

It warns that GCSEs and A-level languages in England are seen as being hard subjects in which to get a good grade.

The government said the overall picture for language learning in England was improving.

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Related Links

Brexit 'putting pupils off modern foreign languages' (The Guardian, 3 July 2019)

Young culinary and linguistic talents celebrated

21 June 2019 (SCILT)

Thirty-one young learners from across Scotland cooked up a storm on Friday 14 June 2019 at the City of Glasgow College, testing their culinary and language skills in the LinguaChef 2019 competition final. Dunblane High School were crowned as winners in the Secondary category. Glasgow Academy Milngavie were winners in the P1-P4 category, whilst Doune Primary took the honours in the P5-P7 age group.

The competition is a partnership project from Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and City of Glasgow College. It brings together languages and food, challenging primary and secondary school pupils to create an international dish from a country whose language they are learning in school, or which is spoken at home.

Participating schools entered the recipe for the dish, including ingredients and instructions, in both the language of the chosen country and in English. Finalists from each of the age categories (P1-P4, P5-P7 and Secondary) were selected to attend the Grand Final where they prepared, cooked and presented their dish to professional chefs and judges.

One teacher said of the competition: “It was an excellent experience for pupils to see the college facilities and to engage with cooking and language skills.”

A participating pupil added: “I liked that it gave us a chance to have a conversation in French and to work in a team.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said: “Food is a fundamental part of any culture and is inextricably linked with language. Much of the vocabulary used in English to describe food originates in other parts of the world. Words from other languages, such as chef, cuisine, pizza, tapas, paella and frankfurter are all commonplace and English speakers feel particularly comfortable with them. It is therefore very fitting to see our children and young people exploring culture and deepening their language skills while developing their understanding of food, its origins and preparation. The competition provides another great example of the cross-sector work going on in the languages community in Scottish schools, colleges and universities and we are thrilled to be working with our colleagues from City of Glasgow College in this initiative.”

As activities heated up in the kitchen, dishes from France, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and South America were produced, celebrating culinary and cultural diversity.

The pupils got the chance to discuss their dish with the judges, both in English and the target language, and decorated their presentation table with artefacts representing the country and culture.

Winners were selected based on the culinary success of their dish, presentation and table display and the ability to discuss their recipe in the target language. The successful teams were awarded a trophy. All participants at the event received a certificate and goody bag.

LinguaChef is an annual competition that provides pupils in primary and secondary schools across Scotland with an opportunity to have fun with food and languages whilst honing other important skills such as team-work, communication and IT.

Entries were submitted from schools in East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Shetland, Stirling and West Lothian.

Photos from LinguaChef 2019

Find out more about the event and winning recipes on the SCILT website.

Learning maths in foreign language 'boosts MFL grades'

20 June 2019 (TES)

Experts say immersive teaching in a foreign language can raise GCSE results by an entire grade, yet English pupils are being let down through a lack of "coherent policy" on modern foreign languages teaching.

Multilingual teaching experts will meet at an international conference this week on Cross-Curricular Language Learning (CLIL) at Sheffield Hallam University on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June.

CLIL involves immersive instruction in a foreign language, such as taking science lessons in Mandarin. Schools that adopt it say it has a strong positive impact on exam results.

For example, Bohunt School in Hampshire was the first school in England to introduce immersive language teaching. The school website reports that learning in a different language contributed to strong results in MFL.

In 2013 the school’s first CLIL French group achieved 72 per cent A*-A grades at GCSE in the subject and a 100 per cent pass rate, with similar results seen in groups studying Spanish and Mandarin.

Conference organiser Dr Kim Bower said that pupils taught using CLIL approaches achieved a grade higher than expected in their GCSEs, not only in languages but across all subjects.

However, speaking to Tes, Dr Bower said that while CLIL was developed in Nottingham in the 1990s, other countries throughout the EU, such as Spain, were far more proactive in using these teaching methods, while only a minority of English schools did so.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Gap year opportunities with Project Trust

12 June 2019 (Project Trust)

Project Trust is an Educational Gap Year Charity, sending roughly 300 school-leavers overseas every year to volunteer in mainly teaching, Social Care and Outward Bound projects across Africa, Asia and The Americas.

The team is currently recruiting for the 2019/20 Gap Year Programme. Applications to Volunteer overseas in 2020/21 are also now open!

Visit the Project Trust website for more information and to submit an application.

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University Guide 2020: Modern languages and linguistics

7 June 2019 (The Guardian)

Find out more about studying modern languages from around the world and their literatures, as well as linguistics.

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Teachers are now students thanks to Glasgow's modern language boost

6 June 2019 (Evening Times)

Only one Glasgow secondary languages teacher is not a multi-linguist as a new report reveals the success of language learning in city schools.

A Glasgow-wide push for the Scottish Government's 1+2 language scheme - where pupils learn two additional modern languages - has meant teachers are also students again.

And now teachers are trained in everything from British Sign Language (BSL) to Latin while language teachers are adding third languages to their skill set.

Gillian Campbell-Thow, Glasgow City Council's Quality Improvement Officer in Languages and Gaelic, said: "One of the things we are really committed to is ensuring that pupils get a good experience in that first additional language so we start in primary one and take the language right through to S3 - whether that's learning French as part of the Holyrood learning community or Italian in St Mungo's learning community.

"Our teachers have been really open and committed to taking on the challenge of learning a new language."

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SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages update

3 June 2019 (SQA)

The SQA has updated the Advanced Higher Modern Languages course specification for session 2019-20.

Visit the SQA website to view the document.

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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019

29 May 2019 (Edinburgh International Film Festival)

Taking place from 19-30 June 2019, the full programme for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has now been announced. With a wide selection of foreign language screenings it's an ideal occasion for some listening practice!

Visit the EIFF website to see what's on.

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Education Scotland Modern Languages and Gaelic Newsletters

29 May 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just published their latest newsletters for Modern Languages and for Gaelic. These can be accessed online via the relevant links below:

Deputy First Minister TELT about OU languages course

28 May 2019 (Open University in Scotland)

John Swinney has visited a Stirling school to promote an Open University (OU) project designed to help primary teachers teach languages in the classroom.

TEachers Learning to Teach languages (TELT), a partnership between the OU and Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, SCILT, allows teachers to learn a new language and simultaneously gives them the skills to teach that language to their pupils.

Mr Swinney visited Bannockburn Primary School where he met teachers and TELT participants Ellie Polson, Victoria McFarlane, Chiara Sportelli and their classes, all of whom are learning Spanish together thanks to the project.

The pupils, in primary one and two, showed the Deputy First Minister their new language skills by explaining a caterpillar lifecycle, counting, and describing shapes and colours in Spanish.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, said:

“Language learning builds confidence, tolerance and respect for other cultures as well as supporting literacy and widening opportunities. Projects like this can empower our teachers with appropriate training so they can deliver an engaging language learning experience in schools.

“Initiatives like TELT, developed through The Open University’s Partnership with SCILT, help teachers bring languages to life by teaching pupils subjects in another language – helping support our 1+2 Languages policy and making Scotland a more welcoming country.”

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Write Away!

28 May 2019 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is an exciting new project from Light Bulb Languages.

It's a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

Open to all primary schools across the UK, submissions are now invited for issue 2. Closing date is 23.59 on Friday 27 September 2019.

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines.

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Education Scotland National Improvement Hub new resources

24 May 2019 (Education Scotland)

The latest resources published on the Education Scotland National Improvement Hub include:

  • Moderating, planning and evidence of learning in modern languages at Third level in S1 (13 May 2019). Short videos, which are the main features of this resource, follow the moderation process through from discussions about planning for learning to discussions about the evidence of learning.

  • Modern Languages Progression Framework: First to Second Level (14 May 2019). This resource brings together all the national documentation practitioners need to plan and deliver language learning in the broad general education (BGE), with the 1+2 policy at its heart.​

Visit the National Improvement Hub website to access the resources.

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Babel Young Writers’ Competition 2019

23 May 2019 (Babel)

The 2019 Babel Young Writers' Competition is now open, with a 30 August deadline for entries. The winning linguists will be published in Babel No29, to be published in November 2019. The winner also receives a year’s subscription to Babel!

The competition has two different categories – one for 16-18 year old linguists, and another for undergraduate linguists. Entries should be between 1,500 – 2,500 words in length, and can discuss any topic to do with languages and linguistics. The winners are announced in October.

Visit the website for full entry guidelines.

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UK Foreign Policy in a Shifting World Order (International Relations Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

21 May 2019 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins speaking in the Lords on the importance of a cross-government strategy on languages, backed up by committed leadership, transparent accountability and resourcing—one which acknowledges the importance of languages and linguists for the success and resilience of the UK’s future in the world. 

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Related Links

Language learning: turning a crisis into an opportunity (The British Academy, Spring 2019)

Why arts? Arts degrees still have the single biggest intake of students

21 May 2019 (Irish Times)

“Arts and humanities cover a broad range of disciplines including, for example, classics, languages, the performing arts, literature, history, art, geography, music and philosophy,” says Dr Mel Farrell, director of the Irish Humanities Alliance. “It helps us to better understand the human condition and our shared human history and culture. Graduates in these disciplines play their part by contributing to a society which is culturally rich and globally-facing.”

Prof Victor Lazzarini, dean of arts at Maynooth University, points out that arts degrees give students a huge amount of choice. “At Maynooth, you can go for scientific-focused subjects such as maths, psychology or computer science, or you can choose more scholarly subjects such as classics and early Irish. Some subjects, such as music or media studies, have a very vocational direction. Arts degrees, unlike areas such as medicine, don’t tie you to a particular route.”

Prof Lazzarini says there is something for everyone in an arts degree, including students who prefer STEM subjects.

[..] Languages are a key part of modern arts degrees, and graduates with a European language – particularly where it is coupled with business or ICT skills – will find themselves in high demand.

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The Stephen Spender Prize 2019 and Polish Spotlight 2019

13 May 2019 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2019 Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation is open for entries. The categories for the main prize are 14-and-under, 18-and-under and Open (adult).

We are also delighted to be running our 'Polish Spotlight' for a second year, with a special prize for translation from Polish in the categories 10-and-under, 14-and-under and 18-and-under.

The entry deadline for both competitions is Friday 12 July.

Follow the appropriate link below for more information about each of the competitions and how to enter.

Could refugees help to solve the post Brexit language skills deficit?

8 May 2019 (Forbes)

Brexit unquestionably demands that Britain builds its linguistic prowess in order to maintain present levels of international trade and cooperation. As an island of monoglots, losing the wealth of language skills and cultural knowledge currently possessed by our EU citizens as they predictably abandon or avoid our country in future is likely to make us poorer in both monetary and non-monetary terms.

Recruiters already predict that finding candidates with the language skills necessary to conduct business with the EU, our largest trading partner, will be more difficult after Brexit. Britain's dire lack of European language skills is so acute that the government was recently unable to accurately translate its own Brexit proposal into German.

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Teachers ‘lack understanding’ of the benefits of learning languages

8 May 2019 (TES)

It is a 'myth' that British people are just bad at languages and that MFL subjects are more difficult, MSPs are told.

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Threlford Cup 2019 - call for nominations

25 April 2019 (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 and made a significant contribution to fostering the study of languages.

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, visit the CIOL website to download the nomination form and submit your nomination by 14 June 2019.

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‘Picture a Language’ Easter photo competition

18 April 2019 (MEITS)

How have languages changed your life? The MEITS project is looking for black and white photos (minimum 300dpi) for a forthcoming book, and we are asking you to submit images that capture what languages mean to you, whether that means places, people, events or objects.

Your image could be something thought-provoking and inspiring, or humorous and fun.  Be as imaginative as you like! You don’t need to be a professional photographer, or use special equipment. Use your imagination, but make sure you get the permission of any people included in the photo.

Visit the website for more information and submit your entry by 30 April 2019.

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LEARN A LINGO All kids will have to study a foreign language GCSE in a bid to boost Britain’s bilingual skills post-Brexit

18 April 2019 (The Sun)

All schools will be ordered to sign their pupils up for foreign language GCSEs from September - and will be marked down if they don’t, The Sun can reveal.

In a bid to boost Britain’s bilingual skills Schools Minister Nick Gibb has set a target of getting three in four of all pupils studying and taking a foreign language GCSE by 2022.

Currently just under half of kids in England and Wales sit a foreign language GCSE.

But from September all secondary school starters will be expected to study one and take the exam.

And to get the numbers up schools will be assessed on the proportion of pupils studying foreign languages.

As well as being held to account by Ofsted inspections, schools will also be judged on their foreign languages take-up in league performance tables.

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SQA revised Advanced Higher Modern Languages Course Specification

16 April 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published revised course specifications for Advanced Higher languages. Follow the appropriate link below for further information:

Sky Views: When Brits speak in foreign languages don't reply in English

14 April 2019 (Sky News)

An appeal to anyone outside an English-speaking country: when a Brit visits and attempts to talk in your language please don't reply in ours just because you can.

It's demoralising and actually - unless we're floundering and need help - rather rude.

I've lost count of the number of times I've bucked up the courage to attempt a bit of French in a French-speaking nation only to have the person I'm addressing shoot back in English.

I imagine most times the other person is simply trying to be polite, rather than get in a bit of English-language practice at my expense, but at least give me a chance.

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Vacancy: Professional Development Officer

11 April 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT requires a Professional Development Officer to support secondary schools in the learning and teaching of languages across Scotland. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward the strategic languages agenda in Scotland.  

The Professional Development Officer will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures for teachers of languages. This would include, for example, leading professional learning, managing projects, national awards/competitions and other promotional events. 

It is expected that the post holder will support practitioners to turn policy into practice to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the aims of the National Improvement Framework and the 1+2 languages policy. The post holder would need extensive experience of leading recent modern language initiatives in a secondary school context. Established expertise in dynamic approaches to learning, teaching and assessment is essential. The post holder should also have a sound knowledge of current education policies and recent changes to SQA requirements. 

Ideally, the post holder will have experience of external partnership working with the aim of developing creativity in languages and will be competent in the use of digital technologies. The successful candidate will have the ability to work not only on her/his own initiative but also as part of a team. Excellent organisational, ICT and communication skills are essential. 

For further information visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal. Application deadline: 24 April 2019.

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She loves you… sí, oui, ja: how pop went multilingual

6 April 2018 (The Guardian)

Pop stars once had to sing in English to win global fame. Now Spanish and other languages are taking over.

As Leonard Cohen sang: “We are ugly but we have the music.” He referred – rather harshly – to himself and Janis Joplin, but some might apply it more widely to the British and Americans.

“Rock and pop are American and English, and we understood that immediately,” French rocker Little Bob said recently, at home near the old bell tower in Le Havre that called dockers to work each grey dawn. Everyone knows English is the lingua franca of pop music. Less widely acknowleged is that the gyre is turning, that other languages, especially Spanish, are eroding the hegemony of pop and other genres.

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The European Language Gazette no. 46

5 April 2019 (ECML)

The ECML's e-newsletter The European Language Gazette provides up-to-date news about the ECML, its partners, as well as relevant sectors of the Council of Europe. It also focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond. 

The March-April 2019 edition has been published and is available to read online.

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Sorry, on ne comprend pas

4 April 2019 (Chatham House)

The BBC’s 1990s TV news satire The Day Today is still a favourite among Westminster insiders. In one celebrated sketch, political correspondent Peter O’Hanraha-hanrahan is humiliated for implausibly claiming to have spoken to the German finance minister in German. It would not work in reverse. A German audience would – rightly – assume that any German journalist would speak excellent English and probably another language or two. 

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‘Postcode lottery’ warnings as most Scottish schools only offering six subjects in S4

2 April 2019 (The Scotsman)

Most schools in Scotland are only offering six subjects in fourth year of school as teacher shortages and lack of leadership take their toll, a formal survey undertaken by MSPs has revealed.

There are even warnings of a “postcode lottery” from schools themselves, along with fears that the “progression” of youngsters may be thwarted in many subject areas, with languages among those which are likely to suffer.

Read more...

Related Links

Lack of teachers ‘limiting’ school subject choices (The Herald, 3 April 2019)

From the archive: language learning as Britain joins the Common Market, 1973

31 March 2019 (The Guardian)

As Britain edged towards joining the Common Market in 1973 (Brentrance?), Marcelle Bernstein examined the rise in language learning among business people, students and potential tourists (‘Nation speaks unto nation, but in what language?’, 23 April 1972).

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Modern Languages Newsletter - March 2019

26 March 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just published the latest Modern Languages Newsletter.

This issue includes information on the new Modern Languages Hub available on the Glow Launchpad.

The newsletter is available to read online now.

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Young poets’ multilingual talents celebrated

26 March 2019 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony at University of Strathclyde on 16 March 2019.

Children and young people used their language skills to create and share poetry as part of this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting competition that celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages used by children and young people across Scotland, in education and at home.  The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde.

This year, over 100 entries were submitted from across the country. Winning and Highly Commended entries came from schools in Argyll & Bute, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Stirling.

One teacher said of the competition: “Thanks for this wonderful opportunity to celebrate language, diversity and togetherness through poetry. The young people in today’s ceremony gave us all food for thought.”

A parent commented: “I can only express the pride that all the mums, dads and carers must have felt to witness their children express themselves so fluently and confidently in the language of their homes.”

A participating pupil added: “It was good to see so many different languages spoken by children my age. I found that it was an amazing opportunity to express my thoughts in another language and a good challenge.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said: “The SCILT team is proud to offer Scotland’s young linguists the opportunity to participate Mother Tongue, Other Tongue. The competition, anthology and celebration event all showcase the diversity of our communities and the wealth of languages being spoken and learned across the country. This year we received very high quality entries in 23 different languages. It is humbling to read these wonderful poems written by youngsters on a range of themes such as migration, the position of women and the need to respect our planet.  We can learn a lot from their words of wisdom and thoughtfulness. Well done to each and every one of you.”

Mother Tongue invites competitors who do not speak English as a first language to write a poem, rap or song in their mother tongue and share their inspiration. Other Tongue encourages competitors learning another language to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is supported by creative writer Juliette Lee, the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland, Languages in Colleges and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, “Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach” by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way and by providing children who do not have English as their first language with an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue.

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. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

Details of the winners and the anthology are published on the SCILT website.

Pupils reciting at the MTOT celebration event 16 March 2019

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2019

26 March 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT and Education Scotland are accepting applications to attend the flagship national leadership programme that has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in both 2017 and 2018.

The 2019-20 programme comprises a 4 day Summer School in July 2019 with further optional elements in Spring and Summer 2020 that lead towards completion of learning activities on SCEL’s Framework for Educational Leadership and/or the award of GTCS Professional Recognition: leading learning in languages. This year the Summer School will take place from Monday 1st to Thursday 4th July 2019 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow. 

This Masters level programme supports schools, clusters and local authorities to build leadership capacity and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Altogether up to 50 places will be available to post-probationer teachers or teacher educators who have, or aspire to have a role in leading languages education for young people, families and colleagues in and beyond their own workplace.

Before submitting your application, we would encourage you to discuss with your headteacher/line manager which should focus on how you might make the most of this professional learning in your context in the future.

Visit the registration page for more details and how to register your interest to this programme. Applications close at 5pm, 26th April.

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Learning Foreign Languages (Nearly) Naturally

25 March 2019 (Bilingualism Matters)

Tania Czajka is the Artistic Director of Le Petit Monde and the author of Lapin is Hungry, a bilingual picture book accessible to all non-French speakers. In this article she shares her view that language learning should be fun for everyone and looks at examples for active and creative ways to learn a language.

The article forms part of a series of six on Le Français Illustre website. A link to the site is contained in Tania's post.

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Travels have made me ashamed of being monolingual British

22 March 2019 (The Herald)

After two weeks in South America conversing with a wide range of fellow European travellers, I’ve never been more sheepish when answering the question, “Where do you live?”

The saving grace was my Scottish accent. To a one, all my conversational companions pointed out – kindly, to buck me up – that Scotland had not voted for Brexit.

At a tango class in Buenos Aires my Portuguese dance partner gave quite the impassioned lecture on independence. He could not comprehend leaving the EU.

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The Future Of Language Learning Is Coming Soon From Volangua

19 March 2019 (PR Underground)

Announcing the launch of Volangua. Created by a collective of professionals from the language education sector, with a mission to make learning a language accessible to everyone, Volangua aims to change the way people access and participate in language courses. 

Volangua is a comparison site at its core, built by professionals from the foreign language industry. It uses advanced refine options and reviews to present objective information on its schools and the ability to book directly from its site.

Volangua will offer direct access to language schools for students around the world. The platform automates the booking process and makes the search and process of enrolling students easier.

Francisco Santos Founder of Volangua said, “Comparison websites are helping millions of people to travel, buy insurance or find their next home, but no one offers comparisons for language course using our tech, despite the popularity of learning a new language. We want to make learning a new language accessible to everyone. We want to bring tech to learning a language, that’s where Volangua sees an opportunity, to connect users with schools and course suited to their needs.”

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Erasmus scheme in chaos as UK students left in limbo

19 March 2019 (The Guardian)

The 17,000 students about to do a year abroad face huge uncertainty over funding and accommodation

For Alice Watkins, a Manchester University student, a year in Paris, then Madrid, as part of her degree was a dream. Now, with the turmoil of Brexit, she is preparing to arrive in France this summer with nowhere to live and no idea whether the money will still be there to support her.

“It’s horrible not knowing,” Watkins says. “We’ve been told to take at least £1,200 of our own cash to cover us for the first six weeks, and that we can’t realistically sort any accommodation before we arrive. Turning up abroad with nowhere to live is a big stress.”

Last Wednesday the European parliament voted to guarantee funding for UK students already studying abroad on the Erasmus+ student exchange programme, in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March. It also promised to continue supporting European students already in the UK on the scheme.

But uncertainty hangs over the 17,000 British students who had planned to study in Europe under Erasmus+ from this September. A technical note, published by the government at the end of January, failed to guarantee any funding for the scheme if Britain leaves the EU with no deal.

Watkins, like many language students, regards a period living and studying in Europe as a crucial part of her degree in French and Spanish. “We are people who plan to live and work abroad in the future. We were too young to vote in the referendum and we are the ones whose future is being affected. It’s all such a mess,” she says.

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Language taster days at King's College London

18 March 2019 (King's College London)

Pupils considering undergraduate study from September 2020 are invited to attend taster events at King's College London. As well as the opportunity to experience what it's like to study at the college, students will learn about the courses, meet current students and lecturers and take part in language taster sessions. Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about each event:

Each option provides a pathway for those already undertaking a language qualification and for those who have no prior knowledge of another language.

Brexit has made me afraid of speaking my native language in the UK

15 March 2019 (Metro)

When I first came to the UK in 2005, I was shocked to see so many people of different backgrounds living together peacefully.

On the first day, when my uncle picked me up at Stratford station, I was crying because I was so overwhelmed. Before I came here, I had never seen a black person or a woman wearing a headscarf. Suddenly, I wasn’t different anymore – I could walk down the street and nobody harassed me.

During my first days in the country, I went into a shop and was greeted with ‘How are you my darling?’. I felt like I was in heaven.

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Modern languages and Gaelic hit by narrowing curriculum

12 March 2019 (Press and Journal)

A reduction in the range of subjects studied by secondary pupils has led to fewer children studying science and languages including Gaelic, it has been claimed.

Parents and teachers suggested the narrowing of the curriculum at S4 was a “catastrophe”, which harmed attainment and resulted in pupils making subject choices “too soon”, reducing the range of their education.

Submissions made to Holyrood’s Education Committee criticised a new three-year senior phase that has resulted in many schools cutting subject choices from eight to either six or seven.

Scotland’s national Gaelic centre Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye blamed narrowing of the secondary school curriculum for the language’s “severe” decline.

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Making the case for multilingualism – a timely reminder

9 March 2019 (The Spectator)

English as the world’s lingua franca isn’t going anywhere. Why, then, should we Anglophones bother to learn another language? What’s in it for us? And what, more seriously, are the implications if we decide not to bother?

Digging deeply into these questions, Marek Kohn’s book asks what it actually means to have some mastery of another language (is that the same as being ‘fluent’, or being able to ‘speak’ another language?), and looks at language acquisition, at how the language we happen to speak can alter perception, whether there are cognitive benefits to multiple language use, and what roles the state can play in determining how languages are valued or stigmatised.

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'Brexit means we can't ignore the decline of MFL'

9 March 2019 (TES)

A skill deficit that costs the UK economy an estimated 3.5 per cent of GDP.

A knowledge vacuum that 74 per cent of business leaders identify as a major barrier to career success for graduates in today’s world of work.

You may assume that I am talking about science, technology, engineering or maths – subjects which occupy so many headlines, especially where opportunities for girls and young women are concerned.

But, no.

These stats relate to foreign languages, an area that rarely attracts comment and stands pretty low on the national educational agenda at the moment.

And yet, Britain is in danger of sleepwalking into an employability crisis, as many educators continue to turn a deaf ear to the research and the warning signs highlighting a comparative skills gap for our graduates that will materially harm their employment prospects in the coming years. We are in danger of nurturing a generation of global consumers who are incapable of flourishing as global citizens, earners and opinion-formers.

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No habla español? How Netflix could transform the way we learn languages

2 March 2019 (The Observer)

Amid concern over the fall in pupils studying foreign languages, a new online tool has turned the streaming service into a classroom.

For years people around the world have learned English by watching Hollywood movies and costume dramas on the BBC. Now British monoglots have one less excuse for not returning the favour: a new online tool that turns the streaming service Netflix into a sofa-based language lab.

Language Learning With Netflix (LLN), a tool that allows viewers to watch foreign language shows with subtitles both in the original language and English, and pauses automatically to allow the learner to absorb what they have just heard, has been downloaded by tens of thousands of people since its launch in December.

Amid growing concern over the falling number of pupils taking foreign languages in secondary schools, some linguists have hailed LLN as a dynamic way of harnessing the educational potential of Netflix, which has programmes in 26 languages in 190 countries, and aims to have 100 non-English language series in production by this year.

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'How can we rejuvenate languages learning in Britain?'

1 March 2019 (TES)

Get the basics of recruitment, retention and training right - then build a genuine love of learning languages, writes Geoff Barton.

This week’s dispiriting news about the decline in young people choosing to study French and German at GCSE is also a sad reflection of what is wrong with the government’s approach to education policy in general.

To recap: a BBC analysis shows that foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling most. And this analysis shows drops of between 30 and 50 per cent since 2013 in those taking GCSE language courses in the worst-affected areas in England.

My take on these stark findings is that when we examine why this is happening we encounter some familiar themes.

The first of these is teacher supply. The most recent initial teacher training census shows us that the government has failed to hit the target for recruiting trainee modern foreign languages teachers for the past five years in succession.

The second is lack of funding. In an education system which is struggling to make ends meet, the most vulnerable subjects are those with smaller classes – and inevitably this often means languages.

And the third is the idea that accountability measures are a magic wand. The government’s solution to the languages crisis is to make languages part of the EBacc and set a target for a 90 per cent uptake by 2025.

In reality, the percentage of pupils entering EBacc is stuck stubbornly at around 38 per cent. The latest DfE statistics tell us: “Of those pupils who entered four out of the five EBacc components, the majority (83.8 per cent) were missing the languages component in 2018.”

So, the crisis in modern foreign languages is a microcosm of the wider problems with education policy. Not enough money, not enough teachers, and an over-reliance on the blunt instrument of accountability.

Of course, a lot of people will say that the mistake with languages was made back in 2003 when the then Labour government decided they should no longer be compulsory after the age of 14. And there will be plenty of people out there who think the answer is to make them mandatory at key stage 4 once again.

But I don’t subscribe to that view. I think we need to move away from the mindset that making people do things is the answer to problems and instead take a more productive view about how we would really solve this crisis.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Scotland census under fire for sidelining foreign languages

28 February 2019 (The Scotsman)

The growing number of multilingual speakers in Scotland are being sidelined by the country’s census which portrays a “monolingual English-only speaking country”, experts have warned.

There are now calls for the changes to the next national census in 2021, to better reflect the “linguistic diversity” of the country. Think tank Reform Scotland says the current system “conveys a negative attitude to languages.”

MSPs will today vote on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill at Holyrood, but there are calls for a more suitable question about the languages spoken in Scotland.

Reform Scotland Research Director Alison Payne said: “We do not know precisely how extensively other languages are spoken in Scottish households, because sufficient data does not exist to tell us this due to the flawed nature of the census question.

“We can fix this relatively simply, by asking a better question, and indeed a question which does not suggest speaking a language other than English is a bad thing.

“A minor change will give us more accurate and better data which can help inform government strategy to encourage more people to speak more languages.”

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Language learning: German and French drop by half in UK schools

27 February 2019 (BBC News)

Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling the most.

BBC analysis shows drops of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England.

A separate survey of secondaries suggests a third have dropped at least one language from their GCSE options.

In England, ministers say they are taking steps to reverse the decline.

The BBC attempted to contact every one of the almost 4,000 mainstream secondary schools in the UK, and more than half - 2,048 - responded.

Of the schools which responded, most said the perception of languages as a difficult subject was the main reason behind a drop in the number of pupils studying for exams.

Read more...

Related Links

Language learning: French and German 'squeezed out' in Scottish schools (BBC, 27 February 2019)

Foreign languages 'squeezed out' of schools in Wales (BBC, 27 February 2019)

French, German or Spanish offered by fewer NI schools (BBC, 27 February 2019)

'Why I travel miles to study German' (BBC, 27 February 2019)

'How learning a foreign language changed my life' (BBC, 27 February 2019)

Lesley Riddoch: Don’t be like little England: Why Scots need to embrace foreign languages (The National, 28 February 2019) Subscription required

The Today Programme (BBC iPlayer, 27 February 2019)
Sections on language learning at 35:55, 1:49:18 and 2:54:22

The Nine (BBC Scotland, 27 February 2019)
Watch from 34:38

National academies urge Government to develop national languages strategy (British Academy, 28 February 2019)

The power of language: we translate our thoughts into words, but words also affect the way we think

26 February 2019 (The Conversation)

Have you ever worried in your student years or later in life that time may be starting to run out to achieve your goals? If so, would it be easier conveying this feeling to others if there was a word meaning just that? In German, there is. That feeling of panic associated with one’s opportunities appearing to run out is called Torschlusspanik.

German has a rich collection of such terms, made up of often two, three or more words connected to form a superword or compound word. Compound words are particularly powerful because they are (much) more than the sum of their parts. Torschlusspanik, for instance, is literally made of “gate”-“closing”-“panic”.

This begs the question of what happens when words don’t readily translate from one language to another.

[...] But then, this begs another, bigger question: Do people who have words that simply do not translate in another language have access to different concepts? 

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SCHOLAR Higher Modern Languages tutor session

22 February 2019 (SCHOLAR)

The next SCHOLAR Higher Modern Languages tutor session will take place on 25 February 2019 at 6:00pm.

For more information on how to take part in upcoming sessions, please visit SCHOLAR's Online Tutor Sessions.
Please note that worksheets will be available and should be attempted before some sessions.

You can see regular updates via Twitter @SCHOLARuk and Facebook SCHOLARprogramme.

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Fairtrade Fortnight

21 February 2019 (Various)

Fairtrade fortnight takes place from 25 February to 10 March. Here’s a selection of learning resources about Fairtrade. Whilst most have no direct foreign language content, there are ideas which can be adapted to the language classroom:

  • Fairtrade Foundation has developed some new teaching resources for schools for 2019 including a French comprehension activity about a cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire
  • Twinkl Fairtrade Fortnight resource pack for primary – register for free to download
  • Oxfam resources to help learners explore Fairtrade and be inspired to take action as active Global Citizens
  • TES collection of assembly ideas, activities and lessons to help raise awareness of the Fairtrade movement (note – there is a small charge for some resources)

Babel competition for schools

19 February 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

To celebrate the launch of the Babel: Adventures in Translation exhibition at the Weston Library, Oxford, we're holding a competition for school pupils from year 5 to year 13. There will be prizes of £50 - £100 for the winners of each age category and overall task winners.

There are three tasks to choose from; you are welcome to enter more than one task but you are only permitted to send in a maximum of one entry per task. The tasks are as follows:

A) Magical Translation

Create a modern version of Cinderella in a language and medium (text, audio or video) of your choice with a typed English prose translation.

B) Fabulous Translation

Create a fable – an animal story with a moral – in a language and medium (text, audio or video) of your choice with a typed English prose translation.

C) Futuristic Translation

Create a warning about a nuclear waste site – in a language and/or medium that will communicate effectively with people in the year 10,000.

Visit the website for more information, ideas and inspiration and submit entries by noon 15 May 2019. 

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TES School Awards 2019

18 February 2019 (TES)

Entries are now open for the TES School Awards 2019. These awards celebrate achievements during the 2017-18 academic year and are open to all state and independent primary and secondary schools in the UK.

The International Award recognises the school with the most innovative international strategy. This can be an initiative to improve pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of other countries, languages and cultures or a full-scale international partnership. So if your school meets this brief, submit your nomination by Sunday 10 March 2019.

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How to bridge the gap in language teaching between primary and secondary

15 February 2019 (Innovate My School)

Helen Abbott is currently subject leader of languages in a Prep school in Surrey where she teaches French and Latin and has over twenty years’ experience of teaching French and German in both secondary and primary schools. She has also tutored children who are just starting out in languages and has been an examiner for AQA. She is passionate about creating innovative and exciting lessons that inspire young people with a life-long love of languages.

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LinguaChef 2019

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

We are thrilled to announce that we are once again working in partnership with City of Glasgow College to host our LinguaChef competition. It brings together two of our favourite topics – languages and food! As well as practising linguistic and culinary skills, pupils will work on their wider social, literacy, numeracy and financial skills.

Pupils from P1 – S6 are invited to work in teams of 2 or 3 to submit a recipe for an international dish symbolic of a country where either a language they are learning in school or a language that pupils use at home is spoken. So we are expecting to see some exciting recipes from France, Spain, Germany, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Poland, Russia, the Middle East or even as far as China or Japan. We are also encouraging pupils to be creative, for example they could incorporate a bit of Scottish ‘fusion’ into their recipe to give it a twist.

Three semi-finalists from each age category will be selected based on their submitted recipes and they will then be invited to the grand finale with a chance to prepare, cook and present their dish in the professional kitchens at City of Glasgow College. An overall winner from each category will be chosen to win a prize for themselves and their school.

Schools have until 8 March 2019 to register their interest.

More detailed information about the competition and last year's final can be found on SCILT's website.

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MTOT 2018-19 winners announced!

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

We would like to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition in Scotland. We received a wonderful range of poems which were creative, amusing, poignant and thought-provoking. Judging proved extremely difficult! 

After much deliberation, we are pleased to announce this year’s successful entries for the 2018-19 anthology as follows:

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

David Taiwo (Yoruba)

Our Lady of Peace Primary

 

Highly commended

Giulia Ferretti (Italian)

St Aloysius College JS

 

Highly commended

Syeda Jannata Farhin Ishal (Bengali)

West Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Nermeen Jamal Horani (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Jamal Oladunjoye (Yoruba)

St Charles's Primary

 

Highly commended

Lucja Lubanska (Polish)

St Charles's Primary

P7-S1

Winner

Qainat Qamar (Urdu)

Pollokshields Primary

 

Highly commended

Kitty Zhu (Mandarin Chinese)

St James' Primary

S2-S3

Winner

Shahd Dongo (Arabic)

Craigmount High

 

Highly commended

Alex Mandova (Czech)

Bishopbriggs Academy

 

Highly commended

Lovely Selwyn (Tamil)

Bishopbriggs Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Diana Procházková (Czech)

George Heriot's

 

Highly commended

Alexandra Grimaldo (Spanish)

Craigroyston Community High

 

Other Tongue

Category          

Award                           

Name                                   

School

P1-P3

Winner  

Anna Inglis (Spanish) 

St Aloysius College JS             

P4-P6

Winner

Holly Price (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Milly Russell (French)

St George's Primary

P7-S1

Winner

Orla Kelly (Spanish)

St Aloysius College JS

 

Highly commended

Melody Elizabeth Clark-Want (Gaelic/English)

Port Charlotte Primary

S2-S3

Winner

Emily Feerick (Japanese)

Bearsden Academy

 

Highly commended

Brooke Braidwood & Chloe Gibb (French)

Graeme High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 16 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Nearly half of Britons find a second language attractive in a potential romantic partner

14 February 2019 (British Council)

Nearly half of all Brits find the ability to speak a foreign language attractive in a partner, according to a survey of more than 2000 adults published today by the British Council.

Respondents demonstrated the range of their romantic speech, with 56 per cent able to say ‘I love you’ in a foreign language, although, only 11 per cent could say the phrase which arguably has an instrumental role in prompting those three little words, ‘Will you go out with me?’ in a language other than English.        

The poll also revealed the linguistic lengths Brits are prepared to go through for love. Just over a third (34 per cent) of respondents would contemplate picking up another language if it might result in romance.   

The survey found that men ranked French as the most romantic language, while women preferred Italian.

British Council Schools Advisor, Vicky Gough said: “Love, romance, and relationships are really good reasons to learn a foreign language. After all, learning a second language opens doors to new cultures and peoples.

“It’s fine saying ‘I love you’ to someone in a foreign language, but it’s better if you can tell them why. That’s why language learning is so important – you’re not going to make that connection just using a phone translator.”

Read more...

Interdisciplinary Learning: preparing for the future

13 February 2019 (SQA)

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, contributed to the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s recent conference, Interdisciplinary Learning: Creative Thinking for a Complex World.

Dr Brown participated in a panel session chaired by Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. She was joined in the discussion, which focused on examples of Interdisciplinary Learning (IDL) in practice, by Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive of Education Scotland and David Coyne, Director of the Centre for Work-Based Learning.

Dr Brown discussed the importance of interdisciplinary learning for young people, and how the experiences and skills it develops, enables young people to be prepared for their next steps – whether that is into work or to continue in education.

Dr Brown illustrated the power of interdisciplinary learning, by highlighting SQA’s suite of qualifications, including Advanced Highers, the Scottish Baccalaureate, and in particular, the Interdisciplinary Project unit. The aim of this unique project, at SCQF level 7, is to broaden candidates’ experience, extend their knowledge and understanding, develop cognitive and generic skills, build confidence, and develop an understanding of the interdependence of subjects.

Students in fifth and sixth year of secondary school can undertake a Scottish Baccalaureate in Expressive Arts, Languages, Science and Social Sciences. It requires two, different courses, at least one of which has to be at Advanced Higher, one at Higher and the Interdisciplinary Project unit, which can also be taken as a standalone qualification.

Dr Brown commented: “In our fast changing world, providing qualifications, like our Interdisciplinary Project, that inspire our young people, is vital. The project gives them experiences across inter-connected subjects, in a range of environments. Recent examples include analysing the views of the public on important social issues, work-life balance, the popularity of graphic novels, classical music’s effect on productivity, and the impact of tourism on preservation.

“Interdisciplinary Learning is an engaging way to develop the foundations of twenty-first century skills in young people, which they will increasingly need as they take their next steps, in a world that is likely to be looking for a workforce and citizens, who are more agile and can adapt and be comfortable with change.”

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Speaking the same language at national meeting

12 February 2019 (Education Scotland)

‘Looking Beyond 1+2’ was the focus of the annual National Modern Languages Network meeting in Stirling this month.

The day saw the launch of the new National Modern Languages Hub on GLOW, incorporating a new Yammer forum and bringing together policy, resources and CLPL for practitioners delivering languages for Scotland’s learners.

Participants heard updates from:

  • SQA on changes to Advanced Higher
  • Larbert High School cluster on their award-winning approach to implementing the 1+2 approach to language learning
  • Dr Joe Carson, St Andrews University, on the challenge of a first year university course in French
  • SCILT on how the Developing the Young Workforce agenda and language learning can work together

Colleagues ended the day by taking time to share their priorities for implementing the Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach​ in their local authorities.

The 1+2 approach is the Scottish Government’s policy aimed at ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn a modern language from P1 until the end of the broad general education (S3).

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Digital Modern Languages tutorial writing sprint - Call for proposals

12 February 2019 (Language Acts and Worldmaking)

The Digital Modern Languages tutorial writing sprint is a physical and virtual event designed to create a variety of open educational resources demonstrating the critical and applied use of digital tools and methods for teachers, learners and researchers interested in modern languages and cultures. 

This initiative is led by the ‘Digital Mediations’ strand on the Language Acts & Worldmaking project, which explores interactions and tensions between digital culture and Modern Languages (ML) research. The project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI). 

The DML tutorial writing sprint aims to: 

  • Produce a set of learning resources which will improve critical digital literacies in ML learning and research  
  • Facilitate greater engagement between digital practitioners and ML educators/researchers  
  • Provoke discussion about possible connections between digital literacies at secondary and HE levels and beyond 
  • Foster greater connection between ML and heritage/community language learning modes  
  • Provide students and researchers with new modes of engagement with ML content and research 
  • Contribute to greater awareness of the importance of Modern Languages learning and research 

This initiative will lead to the production of a series of self-learning online tutorials on how to use digital tools and methods critically in researching or learning about ML languages and cultures. The outcome will be an edited collection of tutorials, providing a snapshot of digital methods for modern languages. 

The tutorials will be approximately 4,000 words in length, and be written in approachable, non-expert language with clear examples. 

Proposals are invited for Tutorials (‘how to’ use a particular digital method or tool) which address either educational or research challenges in the Modern Languages and Cultures, including both: 

  • Language learning and
  • Learning and research about ML cultures 

Visit the website for further information and submit your proposal by 28 February 2019.

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Bhasha Language Festival shouts loud about city's cultures

9 February 2019 (The National)

Bengali, Gaelic, Arabic and more will be heard as minority communities raise their voices in a day-long celebration of languages.

Bhasha: the Glasgow Language Festival will bring together poetry, song, drama, short films and academic expertise at the Mitchell Library today.

The event is organised by the Bangladesh Association Glasgow (BAG), which calls it “our gift” to the city.

Speakers from Zimbabwe and China are amongst those set to celebrate the rich mix of languages – including British Sign Language – in Scotland’s biggest city.

Saif Khan of BAG said: “There are experiences you have in your own language that probably will never be able to be translated or vocalised in another. But we can still share and find communality.”

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Registrations now open for Language Linking Global Thinking 2019-20

8 February 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking initiative in session 2019/20. 

The project links students on their year abroad with primary and secondary schools. Students communicate with a designated class in their partner school during the course of the year to illustrate how enriching it is to spend a year abroad using a language other than English. 

While the student is abroad, the partner school receives regular contact from the student through blog posts, emails and other resources. The two-way correspondence between student and class brings the language alive for pupils and shows them the real relevance of learning a language. 

Visit the LLGT webpage for more information on Language Linking Global Thinking, and to read some of the student blogs from previous years.

For further information and to request a link for 2019/20 please contact SCILT. Please note places are limited.

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ECML project "Action research communities for language teachers": webinar recording available on the project website

5 February 2019 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages project “Action research communities for language teachers” (ARC) has supported teachers in European classrooms in using action research as an essential tool for the development of reflective classroom practice - highlighting ways in which teachers can enhance their self-confidence and professionalism. The webinar, which took place on 25 January 2019, provides an insight into the experiences gathered over the 3 years of the project (2016-2018) and the results achieved.

Visit the ECML website for more information.

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Participate in the online survey on the need for future resources about language-related teacher competences

4 February 2019 (ECML)

The project team has already developed a catalogue of existing instruments and publications which describe different dimensions of language-related teacher competences in these areas across different levels of education (eg primary, secondary or tertiary education). 

Now they wish to explore the need for, and the potential benefits of a future overarching reference resource focusing on the teacher competences needed for the effective use and development of language in various types of teaching. 

The project team invites all interested parties to participate in this online survey by 26 February 2019.

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How Arsenal are teaching young fans to learn new languages

3 February 2019 (BBC Sport)

BBC Sport finds out how Arsenal's Double Club Languages programme uses football to help school children learn new languages, with a little help from Spanish manager Unai Emery.

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Babies who hear two languages at home have a better ability to concentrate

3 February 2019 (TheJournal.ie)

The advantages of growing up in a bilingual home can start as early as six months of age, according to new research.

The study led by York University’s Faculty of Health found infants who are exposed to more than one language show better ‘attentional control’ [ability to concentrate] than infants who are exposed to only one language.

Researchers said this means that exposure to bilingual environments should be considered a significant factor in the early development of attention in infancy and could set the stage for lifelong cognitive benefits.

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Why are children so good at learning languages?

31 January 2019 (Horizon Magazine)

When it comes to learning languages small children beat machines hands down, even though they are exposed to only a fraction of the vocabulary fed into algorithms. So what exactly makes them so good?

In 2003, an influential study showed that children from rich families were exposed to around 30 million more words before the age of three than children from poor families - a difference that put children from lower-income families at an educational disadvantage even before they’d started school.

But being bombarded by a large volume of words does not necessarily lead to rich and natural language use. Let’s take speech recognition software as an example. Scientists have been working on creating machines that can learn language through exposure to enormous datasets, but Siri and Google Assistant are still no match for a toddler.

‘If you look at some of the algorithms … they use ten times more data than a child has accessible until they are four years old,’ said Dr Sho Tsuji, a psycholinguist at École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France.

So what’s the secret? The key, experts think, is precisely that a baby does not learn in isolation, nor in only one way. Learning to speak is an interactive, social process with inputs and reinforcements coming from many sources.

Dr Tsuji is investigating how social cues such as eye contact and smiling are linked to language acquisition as part of a project called SCIL.

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Gestures help students learn new words in different languages, study finds

30 January 2019 (Phys Org)

Students' comprehension of words in a foreign language improves if teachers pair each word with a gesture – even if the gesture is arbitrary and does not represent a word's actual meaning, researchers at the University of Illinois found.

Any gestures are helpful in foreign-language instruction as long as they cannot be confused with other to-be-learned words and if the number of new words presented to students at one time is limited, said U. of I. educational psychology professor Kiel Christianson, one of the co-authors of the study.

The aim of the study was to compare participants' comprehension of vocabulary words in Mandarin when they were taught new words paired with iconic or arbitrary gestures and without gestures.

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Education Scotland Modern Languages Newsletter

30 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

The January 2019 edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages Newsletter is now available online. It includes information on new materials for the classroom, job shadowing opportunities in Spain and the chance for schools to take part in Scots language educational events based on the Scots film version of 'Room on the Broom'.

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions - Higher Modern Languages

28 January 2019 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR turns its attention to Higher Modern Languages in February:

  • 4 February - SCHOLAR online tutor Douglas Angus will be delivering a session on getting ready for the new talking assessment at 6pm. There is also a downloadable worksheet available in advance on SCHOLAR.
  • 25 February - also at 6pm, Douglas will deliver a session on assignment writing. The worksheet associates with that will be available a week before the session. Both these sessions will include resources in French, German and Spanish

Visit the SCHOLAR website for more information about joining the sessions.

Read more...

Scottish Education Award for languages

28 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

Don’t forget to nominate your school or languages department for the 2019 Scottish Education Award for Languages and Internationalism!

This year’s award is open to primary and secondary schools - if your school/ languages department has developed a vibrant and progressive culture in the broad general education (BGE) blending a 1+2 approach to languages with a focus on broadening learners’ cultural horizons, then this award is for you!

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website to make your nomination by 14 February.

Read more...

Glasgow Film Festival 2019

24 January 2019 (Glasgow Film Festival)

The programme for this year's Glasgow Film Festival taking place from 20 February to 3 March is now available.

There's a wide selection of international films on offer, so plenty of opportunities to practise your language skills!

View the brochure for more information.

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SQA changes to Advanced Higher Modern Languages from session 2019-20

23 January 2019 (SQA)

The SQA is not making any changes to the course assessment in Advanced Higher Modern Languages courses, in light of units being removed. However, some amendments will be made to the marking instructions for the Listening and Discursive Writing question paper, the portfolio and the performance-talking to provide clarity.

Visit the SQA website for more information.

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Extending the 1+2 Language Strategy: Complementary schools and their role in heritage language learning in Scotland

19 January 2019 (CERES)

The Scottish Government’s ambitious 1+2 Language Strategy, launched in 2012, has refocused attention on language policy in education and the provision for language learning in Scotland. Contained within the Strategy is a commitment for schools to further develop links involving ‘language communities’ to ‘derive maximum benefit from foreign language communities in Scotland’.

This research reports on a national survey of complementary school providers in order to gain insights into the perspectives of ‘language communities’ in Scotland in relation to heritage language learning and their awareness of the 1+2 Language Strategy. 

A copy of the research report is attached. It can also be downloaded from the CERES website.

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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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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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. 

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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'".

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'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...

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...

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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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.

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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Teaching primary foreign languages in multilingual classrooms

10 December 2018 (EAL Journal)

The EAL Journal blog publishes plain language summaries of EAL-related Master’s and doctoral research. In this post Katy Finch, doctoral researcher in the Division of Human Communication at the University of Manchester presents a summary of her Master’s dissertation on teachers’ experiences teaching modern foreign languages to linguistically diverse classes. 

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Getting Down with the Lingua!

4 December 2018 (Developing the Young Workforce)

During the 2018 school year, DYW Ayrshire in partnership with SCILT (Scotland's National Centre for Languages) ran a series of 'Broaden your Horizons with Languages' events. These were aimed at S3-S6 pupils across Ayrshire with an interest in foreign languages.

Over the past few months we have had over 231 young people in Ayrshire attend to hear from a variety of professionals who utilise language skills in a work context. These included Radio Lingua, Arcs Partnership and EasyJet.

View the video to see some of the action.

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SCILT Christmas 2018 webpage now live!

30 November 2018 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars and videos. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

Read more...

SQA AH Modern Languages Visiting Assessing

29 November 2018 (SQA)

The SQA is currently reviewing aspects of the Advanced Higher Visiting Assessing process.

Updated information will be issued in December 2018/early January 2019. Visit the SQA website for more details.

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Stephen Kinnock: We need a Chief Government Linguist to promote modern languages

26 November 2018 (The House)

If the UK is to talk – and be heard – around the world in the post-Brexit era we need a voice in government that is dedicated to modern languages, says Stephen Kinnock MP.  

Read more...

Related Links

Call for new chief government linguist to boost profile of languages in policy (Civil Service World, 28 November 2018)

Digi-Languages – Stimulating Language Learning in Schools

22 November 2018 (MEITS)

Language researchers at the University of Cardiff have published a report on a languages mentoring initiative aimed at encouraging secondary school students to take up modern languages.

The targeted mentoring involved University modern languages students working with year nine pupils, incorporating online mentoring to stimulate enthusiasm for language learning. The report evaluates the experiences of this ‘Digi-Languages’ pilot, and how this project might be extended to other language learning communities in Wales and beyond.

Read more...

Literature quality linked to foreign language ability in young people

22 November 2018 (University of Oxford / Phys.org)

Reading complex and engaging texts is key to inspiring young learners' interest in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and potentially improving how the subject is taught in UK secondary schools, according to new Oxford University research.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation and conducted by researchers at Oxford's Department of Education in collaboration with peers from the universities of Reading and Southampton, suggests that the current curriculum is too simplistic and 'dry' for some students.

Teenagers were found to prefer and enjoy reading more complex and engaging material that challenged them. Based on these findings, the team feel that adding more varied texts into the school MFL curriculum could significantly improve the teaching of the subject, potentially motivating student interest in general.

The research was motivated by a desire to address some of the persistent challenges facing MFL teaching in the UK, such as low student motivation, poor achievement and low uptake of the subject at GCSE level and beyond. This lack of interest is of particular concern in the context of Brexit, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that some students believe they no longer need to learn foreign languages 'because we are leaving the EU."

Dr. Robert Woore, Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at Oxford's Department of Education, and lead author on the study, said: "Our study shows that it is possible to raise expectations concerning the kinds of texts that beginner learners of French are able to access. We believe that including such texts in the Year 7 curriculum can be beneficial for students' linguistic and motivational development. They need not be restricted to a sole diet of the shorter, simpler and more predictable texts that are traditionally used with this age group."

Read more...

Related Links

FLEUR foreign language education: Unlocking reading (pdcinmfl, 22 November 2018) Professional Development Consortium in MFL final research document and conference presentation on the ‘FLEUR’ reading research project. This investigated different ways of teaching reading to beginner learners of French in Year 7. 

Ofqual won't make science and MFL A-levels easier

21 November 2018 (TES)

Ofqual has decided against adjusting grading standards in A-level science and languages to make them more lenient, after it judged there was not a “compelling case” to do so.

The exams watchdog said there was “not a uniformly compelling case to adjust grading standards” in physics, chemistry, biology, French, German and Spanish.

However, it acknowledged that the “perceived grading severity” in these subjects “undermines confidence”, and said it would work with exam boards to make sure they “do not become statistically more severely graded in the future”.

To achieve this, the regulator is proposing a new lock to stop the subjects being graded more harshly over time.

Ofqual has been looking at “inter-subject comparability” – whether some subjects are harder than others and, if so, whether a better alignment should be achieved – since 2015.

Last year it ruled out trying to align grade standards across the full range of GCSE and A-level subjects because it said it would be too challenging.

However, a small adjustment was made to French, German and Spanish A levels in 2017 to account for the impact of native speakers, and the watchdog has been looking at whether further changes are needed for A-level science and languages – subjects that are often seen as more severely graded.

Announcing its findings today, Ofqual said: “After analysing an extensive base of statistical evidence and contextual data, and having considered a wide range of other evidence, including detailed representations from the subject communities, we have concluded that there is not a uniformly compelling case to adjust grading standards in these subjects.”

But it added: “We recognise stakeholders have concerns about the impact that the perception of grading severity may be having on take-up of these subjects; and, in particular, acknowledge their concerns over the falling numbers studying modern foreign languages.

“Although we did not conclude that changing grading standards for the qualifications is justified, we will consider with exam boards how we should act to avoid the potential for these subjects to become statistically more difficult in the future.”

Read more...

Related Links

Response to Ofqual Announcement on A-level Severe Grading (ALL, 21 November 2018)

Why choose languages?

19 November 2018 (University of Strathclyde)

Motivation for choosing languages, experiences abroad, transition to First year at university, job prospects, university courses…

Let your pupils hear it straight from the horse’s mouth BEFORE choosing their options!

Now in its 6th year, the Language Ambassadors Programme is offering visits to Secondary or Primary schools (and other formats too).

Our Language Ambassadors will talk about their varied experiences as foreign language learners / users and, hopefully, inspire your pupils to follow in their footsteps…

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website.

To organise a visit, simply contact: Cédric Moreau, c.moreau@strath.ac.uk.

Photo of University of Strathclyde Language Ambassadors

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Survey: Education & careers abroad with #Globescotters

7 November 2018 (Young Scot)

As part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, Young Scot have partnered with British Council Scotland to encourage you to embrace the international experiences available to you at home and abroad as part of our joint campaign, ‘GlobeScotters’.

In this short survey we want to find out your thoughts on all things international when it comes to education and careers abroad!

Visit the website and complete the survey by 17 December 2018 to earn reward points!

Read more...

Slump in school language learning hits Scottish universities

6 November 2018 (The Herald)

The number of students from Scotland learning a modern language at university has fallen by more than 500 in the past five years.

New figures show 3,400 students chose languages at a Scottish university in 2016/17 compared to nearly 4,000 in 2012/13.

The decline, which shows numbers are falling for German, French, Russian and Spanish, has sparked fears Scotland will become increasingly isolated in the world, particularly following Brexit.

This summer, opposition politicians called on the Scottish Government to launch an inquiry into the decline in the number of pupils studying modern languages at school.

The drop has been blamed partly on curriculum reforms which mean pupils experience a broader education in the first three years of secondary.

That means exam subjects are chosen a year later than previously with a shorter time to prepare - resulting in some subjects getting squeezed out.

Professor Vicente Perez de Leon, Head of the School of Modern Languages at Glasgow University, said the school squeeze was hitting university recruitment.

And he argued language learning at school should be protected and resourced to ensure numbers increase.

“Languages are something that can open possibilities for employment abroad or having better jobs here,” he said.

“They can open minds and allow students to make connections with new people, new cultures and new literature. It should be a priority within the curriculum.”

Dr Dan Tierney, an independent languages expert, said the decline was also fuelled by the closure of some university departments.

Read more...

40% more MFL teacher trainees needed for 2020

5 November 2018 (TES)

An extra 641 teacher trainees in modern foreign languages are needed to start work in schools by 2020, according to government forecasts.

But this is among “challenging targets” for teacher recruitment which the government will yet again fail to meet, training providers have said.

Figures released by the Department for Education show that the number of MFL trainees for postgraduate initial teacher training needed for 2019-20 is 2,241 – compared to 1,600 this year – in order to provide sufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers for the autumn of 2020.

This represents a 40 per cent increase in postgraduate ITT places for MFL compared to 2018-19.

But James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said the government had already failed for the last five years to meet recruitment targets for secondary schools and said this was another target which was unlikely to be met.

Read more...

Report on language provision in Modern Foreign Languages Departments 2018

2 November 2018 (UCML)

The UCML has issued a new report on the language provision in UK modern languages departments.

The report investigates the provision of language modules (ie modules whose object of study is language) in MFL departments alongside models of collaboration between Languages departments and Institution-Wide Language Provision (IWLP) in UK universities. 

Read more...

Related Links

Modern (Foreign) Languages: time to rename? (University of Oxford blog, 8 November 2018)

UK to recruit 1,000 more diplomatic staff to maintain international clout after Brexit

31 October 2018 (The Indepedent)

Jeremy Hunt will vow to recruit 1,000 more diplomatic staff and boost their language skills, as he fights warnings that Brexit will weaken Britain’s international clout.

In a major speech, the foreign secretary will promise “the biggest expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network for a generation”, opening new embassies in Africa and South East Asia.

There will also be a doubling of diplomats who speak the local language to 1,000, Mr Hunt will say – and an increase in the number of languages the Foreign Office teaches, from 50 to 70.

Read more...

Related Links

Jeremy Hunt to cast net wider to recruit top diplomats (The Guardian, 31 October 2018)

The 100 greatest foreign-language films

30 October 2018 (BBC)

BBC Culture polled 209 critics in 43 countries to find the best in world cinema.

We felt it was time to direct the spotlight away from Hollywood and celebrate the best cinema from around the world. We asked critics to vote for their favourite movies made primarily in a language other than English. The result is BBC Culture’s 100 greatest foreign-language films.

Read more...

International Education Week 2018

29 October 2018 (British Council)

Teachers and school leaders in the UK and across the world are being encouraged to bring the world into their classrooms to celebrate International Education Week (IEW).

Each year, the British Council encourages schools to celebrate International Education Week to promote the benefits of international collaboration, languages and cultural exchange. During International Education Week, 12-16 November, The British Council is focusing on global communication and particularly language learning, believing these skills are more important now than ever. That is why this year’s theme is ‘Be International’.

Visit the British Council International Education Week website to find out more about how your students can take part in the Great Schools Online challenge and to access the IEW teaching resources.

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Open eTwinning: Project-Based Learning and the Community for Schools in Europe

28 October 2018 (School Education Gateway)

Join this course to learn about eTwinning and how it can help you design a project-based learning experience for your students in cooperation with colleagues across Europe and beyond. During the course, you will learn about the principles of project-based learning and how to start a project in the eTwinning community.

Throughout the activities, we will look at the entire life cycle of a project, starting with the initial idea, including finding a partner and negotiations to design a common project, and ending with the implementation and evaluation of the project. We will include principles of project work and collaboration, as well as the educational use of various ICT tools that facilitate project work. We will also look at the social aspect of collaborative projects, showing eTwinning not only as a platform in which to implement educational projects, but also as a meeting place between colleagues, an environment where we can share ideas and participate in various professional development activities.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol on the free course, commencing 5 November 2018.

Read more...

What is the best age to learn a language?

26 October 2018 (BBC)

When it comes to learning a foreign language, we tend to think that children are the most adept. But that may not be the case – and there are added benefits to starting as an adult.

It’s a busy autumn morning at the Spanish Nursery, a bilingual nursery school in north London. Parents help their toddlers out of cycling helmets and jackets. Teachers greet the children with a cuddle and a chirpy “Buenos dias!”. In the playground, a little girl asks for her hair to be bunched up into a “coleta” (Spanish for ‘pigtail’), then rolls a ball and shouts “Catch!” in English.

“At this age, children don’t learn a language – they acquire it,” says the school’s director Carmen Rampersad. It seems to sum up the enviable effortlessness of the little polyglots around her. For many of the children, Spanish is a third or even fourth language. Mother tongues include Croatian, Hebrew, Korean and Dutch.

Compare this to the struggle of the average adult in a language class, and it would be easy to conclude that it’s best to start young.

But science offers a much more complex view of how our relationship with languages evolves over a lifetime – and there is much to encourage late beginners.

Read more...

Calls for Scots children to be taught Chinese and Urdu

24 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

A new study suggests more pupils could learn Chinese and Urdu as part of a shake up in learning foreign languages.

The independent think tank, Reform Scotland, has published a report calling for a fresh approach to be taken towards the education of languages in Scottish schools.

The report indicates a practical model of learning should be introduced to help adapt to changing demand.

The number of Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) entries in “traditionally taught” languages has decreased over the last 20 years, with entries for higher grade French down by 18.2% and entries for German at the same level reduced by 58.4%.

In contrast, entries for higher Spanish exams increased by 219.8% increased over the same period, while Chinese entries have increased by 17.8% in the past two years.

Reform Scotland argue this highlights a changing global economy, with Asia seen as a growing economic market.

The report also calls for an end to distinctions between “community” and “modern” languages so that learning reflects the increasing number of communities in Scotland speaking languages such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.

Reform Scotland Director Chris Deerin said: “If we want to see genuine growth in language skills in Scotland, rather than just paying lip service to the idea, we need to rethink our approach.

“There is a danger the languages currently on offer within the education system are not keeping up with Scottish or global society.

“We need to think much more freely - as many other countries do - about how best to equip ourselves to thrive in the modern global economy. Brexit, the shift of power from West to East, and Scotland’s pressing need to secure greater economic growth, all demand fresh ideas.”

Read more...

‘Teaching linguistics improves language skills’

19 October 2018 (TES)

How much do your students know about linguistics? Probably not much, because linguistics (the scientific study of language) is conspicuously absent from the modern foreign language syllabus in schools. This is a shame, because linguistics has much to offer students.

(Note - registration required to read full article).

Read more...

How language assistants can make a difference in your school

17 October 2018 (TES)

At Dane Royd Junior and Infant School, we’ve been employing modern language assistants (MLA) – mainly European and Chinese language assistants for over 15 years. We also lead training and support for schools within the local authority who employ language assistants.

Our MLAs have been key in boosting not only our teaching of modern foreign languages but also the teaching of global citizenship and British Values. We’ve seen our pupils’ understanding of their cultural heritage and place in the world grow by being able to compare and contrast their experiences and beliefs through their frequent interactions with an MLA.

In supporting other schools, I’ve seen the wealth of activities that MLAs can contribute which enable schools to deepen their language teaching, as well as dramatically improve language skills among pupils. Here are a few of the most effective activities to try in your school.

Read more...

Language Perfect Northern Championships 2018

12 October 2018 (Education Perfect)

Raise the profile of languages at your school. The competitive element threaded through Education Perfect can excite and engage even the most unenthusiastic students!

The championships are a brilliant chance for revision of vocabulary and celebration of achievements in language learning. Students compete live and online from computers and iPod/Android apps.

The competition runs from 6 - 13 November 2018 and registration is now open!

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Book Week Scotland 2018

12 October 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. This year's event is taking place from Monday 19 – Sunday 25 November 2018.

There are a range of events, some with specific appeal to Gaelic and Scots readers. Visit the website to find out more on these and other ways you can get involved. Why not host a foreign language reading club or book sale?

Read more...

Our World film making project 2018-19

11 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET’s popular Our World film making project has now launched for the 2018-19 year! Our World uses film making and language learning as a means to help pupils explore the themes of LfS and the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s totally free, and all you have to do is sign up.

The project has been running for the past 6 years, has a proven track record of encouraging languages uptake at higher secondary levels, and is open to any team of four from S3 - S6 (no previous film making knowledge is required). All teams have to do to enter is come up with a creative idea for a film, based on one of this year's themes. Then, with SEET’s help teams put that idea into storyboard form and send it to us with an audio or video clip explaining it. The deadline for storyboard submissions is 5th December 2018.

Themes:

As part of a team of four, come up with a creative idea for a short film about being a citizen of the world. Your team should consider one of the following themes to get you started:

  • Sustainable Tourism (going on holiday, exploring other countries and cultures and making a positive impact on the environment)
  • Migration and welcome (refugees, moving abroad, how people are treated)
  • Trade (how businesses work in different countries, importing and exporting)

All films must include the use of at least one language other than English - but the more the merrier!

After all the entries are submitted, 18 teams from across Scotland will be invited to one of three regional film making workshop days (roughly 6 teams per workshop) where they will get the opportunity to make their film a reality. Pupils are given technology and professional film-making training on the day to help them, so don't worry if they don't have experience - all they need are their ideas. 

Throughout the project SEET staff are happy to make trips to schools to work with classes and answer any questions you might have. 

If you'd like to register or sign up a team visit the website, where you can also hear previous participants talk about their experience of the project, OR contact Madeleine McGirk at SEET (madeleine@seet.org.uk).

Read more...

The British Council's International School Award

8 October 2018 (British Council)

The International School Award (ISA) can help with your vision for school improvement. If you are writing your School Improvement Plan, and you’re looking for something new that has a proven track record of making a difference, then the International School Award could be what you are looking for.

It works in all profiles of schools: primary and secondary, inner-city and rural, thriving and struggling. Everyone has something to gain.

Experienced head teachers like Kevin McCabe, now Director of Improvement at Drb Ignite Multi-Academy Trust, testify to the ISA’s effectiveness as a tool to change the culture of your school. It does this by opening up the classroom to the world, giving the students the motivation they need to change the way they work and enriching the curriculum with cross-curriculum work.

Visit the website for more information and to register interest. Action plans should be submitted by 18 November 2018.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2018

2 October 2018 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school by taking part in a global online vocabulary competition.

The competition is free to all existing school subscribers to Vocab Express. There are also a limited number of free places available for schools not currently subscribed. 

Our week-long global competitions are a great way to get your school enthused about language learning. We run our League of Champions competition in the autumn term from the 10th - 16th of October and our Global Challenge competition in spring. 

Each sees 10s of thousands of students competing to win the top spot on our overall and individual language leaderboards. There are competitions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, Mandarin and Japanese.

Applications for the next League of Champions are now open. Visit the Vocab Express website for further information and to register by 9 October 2018.

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Global Treasure Apps / Rocket Fund £100 Boost

27 September 2018 (Global Treasure Apps)

Global Treasure Apps allow schools to publish their own local walking tour content. These tours could be of a local tourist attraction or of the local area. The school could choose to develop the content in L2 or L3, providing students with a practical, hands-on approach to language learning.

Global Treasure Apps workshops are on the school crowd funding site Rocket Fund. Rocket Fund are currently offering a £100 funding boost to the first 50 projects launched before 5th October.

Visit the site to find out about a project at Edinburgh Castle where digital and language students at Edinburgh College worked together to produce a digital treasure trail.

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European Day of Languages – 26 September 2018: Statement from Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland

26 September 2018 (ECML/COE)

“Understanding each other is the key to benefitting from Europe’s rich cultural diversity. Language education helps us to do this and to embrace other cultures and ways of life.

The European Day of Languages, initiated by the Council of Europe, is held each year on 
26 September. It provides an opportunity to celebrate Europe’s unique linguistic context, and serves as an impetus for people of all ages and backgrounds to broaden their horizons and discover the added value of being able to communicate in other languages.

Languages and culture go hand in hand. This year, which is the EU-designated European Year of Cultural Heritage, hundreds of events are being organised around the continent by schools, universities, and cultural institutions and associations to mark the European Day of Languages and send a powerful message of openness to one another. My best wishes go to all of those taking part.”

www.coe.int/EDL

-------------------------------------------------------

Background information on the Day

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is an annual celebration day to encourage language learning across Europe. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, EDL has been celebrated every year, on 26 September, since the European Year of Languages in 2001.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The dedicated website for the EDL is available in 37 languages and hundreds of activities are registered in the events’ calendar. The EDL activities which take place in Europe and increasingly on other continents are organised mainly by schools, universities, language and cultural institutes, associations and also by the European Commission’s translation field offices. In 2017 over 1250 events involving tens of thousands of participants were recorded.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

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‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (The Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.

Read more...

Languages Beyond School

21 September 2018 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies check out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

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Learn another European language – and give two fingers to Brexit Britain

21 September 2018 (The Guardian)

For someone who occasionally seems unsure whether their wife is Japanese or Chinese, Jeremy Hunt seems to speak pretty good Japanese.

Unless bits of it were Chinese, obviously. Given the way things have gone lately for Theresa May’s government we probably shouldn’t rule anything out, but let’s just assume the Tokyo audience he addressed in their native tongue this week wasn’t just being polite and that he did actually deliver the whole speech in the correct language.

Whatever you think of Hunt’s politics generally, there was something endearing about the sight of a foreign secretary actually trying to speak some foreign, at a time when much of Britain seems belligerently convinced that if the world doesn’t understand us then we should just shout louder at them. Foreign languages have been in decline in British schools for years, especially at A-level; German in particular is so unpopular now, with a 45% drop in entries since 2010, that some schools will be seriously debating dropping it from the timetable. Languages have become seen as subjects in which it’s too hard to excel, partly because native speakers tend to scoop the A* awards and push the bar higher for everyone else, which makes them too much of a risk for kids intent on getting the grades for university.

Lately there has been some tinkering with grade boundaries to encourage uptake. But while mathematicians and scientists have gone to great lengths to popularise subjects once seen as geeky or intimidatingly difficult, there has been no concerted push behind French or Spanish.

And if we’re honest, Britain’s solid international reputation for being rubbish at languages isn’t just down to the kids. How many of us slogged through years of irregular verbs and asking the way to the station, only to be reduced in middle age to fumbled holiday conversations in shops and frantic pointing?

But watching Hunt reminded me of something I’ve been wondering for a while, which is whether the prospect of leaving Europe will finally make learning a language feel less like a slog and more like a thrillingly subversive act; one great defiant two fingers to everything Brexit Britain stands for.

Languages are lovely things to learn in their own right, of course, if you’re so minded; living, breathing entities that weave in and out of each other, exchanging sounds and words and ideas. But they’re also one of the purest forms of soft power. Speaking to someone in their own tongue is a disarming act, a gesture of empathy and respect. If you’re not actually very good at it then in some ways all the better; at least it’s obvious you’re making an effort, which is why typing furiously into Google Translate doesn’t quite have the same effect.

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Inspire your students with new funding for global learning

19 September 2018 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is back, and we have some exciting updates for the new school year.

If you are thinking about taking your school on an international journey this year, it’s time to take a look at how you can join the new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme.

You can apply for Connecting Classrooms opportunities either as an individual school, or part of a cluster, which will be overseen by a lead school.

Becoming a lead school provides a host of benefits, including access to grants to develop your cluster, the opportunity to deliver CPD to other schools in your area and cover support for your co-ordinator’s time. 

Visit the website for more information and apply by 28 October to be included in the first round of grant awards.

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Into Film Awards 2019

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

Submissions to the 2019 Into Film Awards are now open!

The Into Film Awards is the best place to showcase young filmmaking talent, with categories designed to highlight the large pool of young creatives in the UK. Set out to find the most talented filmmakers, reviewers, Into Film Clubs and educators, we encourage children and young people aged 5-19 from all backgrounds and with all abilities to get involved. 

A great place to start is by entering the 'Film of the Month' competition. These entries are also eligible for submission to the Into Film Awards. Why not get your students to create a short film in the language they are learning?

You have until 14 December 2018 to get your entries in and there are resources and guides on the website to help you.

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Erasmus+ funding for schools: twilight sessions

17 September 2018 (Erasmus+)

Interested in funding for international pupil exchanges, staff overseas teaching/training placements and partnerships with schools across Europe?

Erasmus+ and eTwinning offer fantastic opportunities for UK schools to connect with schools across Europe.

Taking place in September to November 2018, we are running free sessions in cities across the UK for school staff interested in beginning or enhancing international collaboration. There's an event in Glasgow on 30 October.

Whilst the twilight session offers a particular focus for schools, there is also a daytime information session more specifically for organisations who are new to the Erasmus+ programme and are considering submitting an Erasmus+ application in 2019.

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17 September, 2018 - Minister Bruton Launches Campaign to Encourage Learning of Foreign Languages & Announces Funding for School Exchanges

17 September 2018 (Department of Education and Skills (Ireland))

(Applies to Ireland) The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. today (17th September 2018) launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of foreign languages and announced new funding for teacher upskilling and school language exchanges.  

The campaign is aimed at school principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, students and higher level institutions. Embassies, cultural services and bodies such as IBEC and Enterprise Ireland (EI) are also involved in supporting the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of learning foreign languages.  The campaign will be supported by a new website (www.languagesconnect.ie) which will act as a one stop shop for schools, parents and students on language learning. 

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ECML Gazette 43 - July-September 2018

17 September 2018 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's newsletter is now available online. This edition has a focus on the European Day of Languages on 26 September with a round-up of events, activities and competitions taking place to celebrate the event.

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition 2018-19

14 September 2018 (SCILT)

Today we're launching the 2018-19 Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition in Scotland.

All students who are learning a language at school, college or university, or who speak a native language at home, can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. All entries must be the students' own, original work.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! The closing date for registrations is 26 October 2018.

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1+2 Modern Languages in Parliament

13 September 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

Read the First Minister's response when asked at the Meeting of the Parliament 13 September 2018 what action the Scottish Government will take to improve the implementation of the one-plus-two modern languages policy in broad general education.

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The Local Storytelling Campaign

13 September 2018 (SISF)

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) takes place 19-31 October. Across Scotland, schools and communities are encouraged to take part in an initiative that celebrates the art of storytelling under the theme Growing Stories. The Local Campaign, running from Monday 17 September – Friday 30 November, aims to highlight how stories help communities connect, grow together and play a vital part in preserving heritage and cultures for new generations.

To celebrate, audiences are invited to book a storyteller for a local event, strike-up new community activity and engagement with storytelling. 

Visit the Scottish International Storytelling Festival website for more information and suggested ways to take part.

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Time to Move T-shirt contest

13 September 2018 (Eurodesk)

The Time to Move T-shirt contest returns in 2018! 

If you are at least 13 years old and not more than 30, design a Time to Move themed T-shirt that best represents the spirit of the campaign, share it with us and have a chance to travel around Europe by train!

Time to Move is a collection of events for young people organised all over Europe during the month of October. The activities focus on introducing hundreds of possibilities through which you can go abroad and take part in an international project, explore Europe or gain experience you need for your future.

Visit the website for more information and submit entries by 31 October 2018.

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UK Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) 2019

13 September 2018 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. It’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

Teachers can now register their school for the United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) 2019. Round 1 will take place from 4-8 February.

Visit the UKLO website for more information about the competition and registration.

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EAL: Working with new arrivals

12 September 2018 (SecEd)

This September, many secondary schools will have new arrivals from abroad who have English as an additional language. Continuing our series on EAL, Dr Ruth Wilson gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of this diverse group of learners

New arrivals with English as an additional language (EAL) are a very diverse group. Their language proficiency can range from “new to English” to “fluent”. The young person can arrive at any age and with widely different socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Some students may come from an advantaged context with a high standard of education; others may have had little or interrupted schooling or experienced traumatic events. A new arrival could for example be a refugee from a war-torn country or a child of a German banker working in the City of London.

Data show that, on average, pupils arriving late into the English school system do less well in external exams than their first language English peers, and that the older the pupils are when they arrive the less likely they are to achieve good results in year 11 (Hutchinson, 2018).

This article gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of EAL learners who are newly arrived from abroad. 

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Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years

12 September 2018 (ECML)

ECML are hosting professionals in early years’ education at a workshop on “Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children aged 3-12 years” in Graz, Austria on 12-13 September 2018.

The project is designed to help professionals harness opportunities inherent in linguistically diverse classrooms and use them for the benefit of all pupils. Those involved in early-years education, at whatever level, can in particular find evidence here of good practice and a variety of teaching and learning tools to develop learners’ language competence. 

Visit the ECML website for more details and developments.

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Bilingual Brain: Here's what happens when you flip between languages

10 September 2018 (Newsweek)

A study has shed light on the brain mechanisms which allow bilingual people to switch effortlessly from one language to another.

Neurolinguistics researchers already believe parts of the brain in charge of decision-making, the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, light up when we toggle between languages. Now, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents a potential new piece to the puzzle.

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, graduate student at the NYU neurolinguistics lab, told Newsweek, “The process of switching languages entails [minimally] disengaging from the language that was being used until that point, and engaging in a new language. This study showed that it is turning off the previous language, and not ‘turning on’ a new language, that is effortful.”

And while those who swap between languages may make it seem easy, it is in fact “a remarkably complicated process that involves the successful coordination of two independent language systems,” he explained.

Article includes a video of polyglot, Alex Rawlings, providing 10 tips for learning a new language.

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The return of Business Brunches 18-19: Language skills in the world of work

7 September 2018 (SCILT)

Would you like to invite 10 of your S3-S6 pupils to discover the benefits of language skills in the world of work and engage with a variety of dynamic employers to encourage learners to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their education, and beyond school? Look no further….

For the fifth year in succession, SCILT, in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce and the University Council of Modern Languages Scotland will be hosting a series of five Business Brunch events in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness over the course of December this year, and January 2019.  Registration will open at 9am on Friday 14th September.

Find out more on our Business Brunches webpage.

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Languages in the Lords

6 September 2018 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the All-Party Group on Modern Languages, calls for language skills to be prioritised in careers advice in schools in today's Lords' debate.

In contributing to the debate she highlighted the specific need for careers education and advice to convey the enormous and increasing value of language skills to school leavers and graduates as they make their career choices. Stating this advice must also start early enough for school students to have the opportunity to choose one or more foreign languages among their GCSE options. 

She went on to stress that it is often wrongly assumed that studying foreign languages is just for the brightest students, and that they can be beneficial for anyone, at whatever level. Foreign language skills are in use in practically every sector in the economy, with higher than average demand in the financial services, IT and telecommunications, passenger transport, fashion and design and hotel and catering industries. They are in use at all levels in the workforce, not just senior management. In fact, the greatest skills gaps are among administrative and clerical staff, and those working at elementary grades. All that is before we even mention the need for languages and linguists in diplomacy, defence and security.

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Trust me, I'm a doctor

5 September 2018 (BBC)

In last night's episode of the BBC2 series 'Trust me, I'm a doctor', Michael Mosley found out how learning a new language can stave off dementia.

The programme is available online until 4 October 2018. 

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Where have all the modern language assistants gone?

31 August 2018 (TESS)

The number of modern language assistants in Scotland has taken another tumble this year, Tes Scotland can reveal.

New figures also show that employing MLAs – native speakers who typically spend a year working in Scottish classrooms – is increasingly the preserve of independent schools, with nearly half based in that sector, including all of Edinburgh’s contingent of 18.

Data from the British Council, which arranges for MLAs to work in Scotland, reveals that there are only 61 MLAs, 27 of whom are based in independent schools. This is the lowest figure since current records began in 2003: the next lowest was 72 in 2013-14 and the current number is less than a quarter of the 2005-06 high point of 278. The number of local authorities with MLAs is also falling, from 15 (out of 32) in 2017 to 13 in 2018.

From a recent high of 146 MLAs in Scotland in 2016-17, numbers fell sharply to 80 in 2017-18 – including 23 based in independent schools – with some fearing that this was related to the 2016 vote to leave the EU (“Brexit blamed as language assistant numbers dive”, Tes Scotland, 17 November 2017).

The British Council, however, has played down any suggestion that Brexit has had an impact. Liz Neil, acting head of education for British Council Scotland, says: “The reduction in the number of modern language assistants in Scotland is disappointing and we are working with stakeholders to explore options for addressing the issue – for example, by getting more placements in primary schools where the impact on primary learners can be significant.”

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Support for promoting languages via DYWScot Founders4Schools

30 August 2018 (SCILT/CISS/Founders4Schools)

SCILT/CISS would like to bring the DYWScot Founders4Schools online platform to the attention of all teachers, especially language teachers looking for support for promotional events.

This free platform allows teachers to explore businesses in their area and invite them to visit their school to attend language promotions, careers events, deliver workshops or meet with school parents.

To find a business in your area simply visit the Founders4Schools website and select 'Create event+'. Enter the school postcode, and the platform will allow you to explore who is available to support your event. You can select what type of support you are looking for and your preferred date.
 
Remember requests do not necessarily have to be only for one-off events, and you may be able to build a lasting relationship with the business contact.

Visit the DYWScot Founders4Schools website for more information. 

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Brexit prompts surge in Brits signing up to learn languages online

30 August 2018 (Sky News)

Some Britons unhappy with the UK's decision to leave the European Union have opted for an unusual form of protest - learning a new language.

In the days leading up to Article 50 being triggered on March 29, 2017, a leading language-learning app reports that it saw a 24% increase in new user sign-ups in the UK.

The CEO of Duolingo, which has 300 million users, told Sky News that the company noticed a spike in sign-ups at the time and saw its users commenting online that they had been motivated by Brexit.

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Yakety Yak Language Cafés

30 August 2018 (Yakety Yak)

Looking to brush up your conversational language skills? Yakety Yak host a variety of language cafés in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Next sessions begin 3 September 2018. Visit their website for details.

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Caution over drop in numbers sitting language exams

30 August 2018 (SecEd)

Another fall in the number of pupils taking French and German exams does not reflect an overall decline in the health of languages in Scottish classrooms, according to a leading linguist.

French National 5 entries fell by about 10 per cent on last year, while at Higher the level was 17.5 per cent below 2016. German Higher entries were down 20 per cent on two years ago.

Spanish and Mandarin have made modest rises overall.

However, Fhiona Mackay, director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, said it was misleading to focus on this criterion alone because primary schools were “normalising” languages from P1 in a way that is widening exposure hugely.

“The French figures were disappointing, no doubt about it. But to say languages are disappearing from our schools is very far off the mark and really unfair on our teachers.

“Of course I would like to see more youngsters choosing languages because I fundamentally believe that is a good thing. But it needs to be voluntary – so we need to evaluate the barriers and do more to remove them.” 

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Help us continue collaborative cross-sector action for languages

27 August 2018 (SCILT/UCMLS)

To make 1+2 a reality we need to act with one voice for languages! So do join us at the University of Dundee on Saturday, 15 September 2018 for a half-day conference where SCILT/UCMLS evaluate past actions and plan new ones.

We will finish with a networking lunch and wine to celebrate 25 years of UCMLS. For catering purposes, please sign up by 7 September via Eventbrite. 

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SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

27 August 2018 (SQA)

SQA is running three webinars in September covering updates to Higher Modern Languages:

  • Tuesday 4th September 5-6pm

  • Monday 10th September 5-6pm

  • Thursday 27th September 5-6pm

Content will be the same on all three dates. Register on the SQA booking system.

If colleagues are finding they cannot get a place on the webinar they can contact the SQA events team sqaevents@sqa.org.uk or 0345 213 5580 who would in turn contact colleagues if spaces on webinars become available. 

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Updates from SQA - Modern Languages

24 August 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

Revised Higher Specimen Question Papers for use in session 2018-19 onwards are now available on the main Higher Modern Languages webpage.  Revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are currently only available in the Specimen Question papers.

Exemplars of Higher Directed Writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the revised marking instructions for Directed Writing are now available.  There are currently 8 exemplars in French and Spanish with other languages available in due course.

Exemplars of Higher Assignment-writing valid from session 2018/19 with associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for assignment-writing are now available. There are currently 6 exemplars in French, German and Spanish, with other languages available in due course.

All exemplars can be found on www.understandingstandards.org.uk

Exemplars of talking performances at Higher valid from session 2018/19 are now available. These include associated commentary written in line with the marking instructions for performance-talking.  Exemplars of talking performances at National 5 are also available. Both can be found on the understanding standards area on the SQA secure website.

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SCILT CLPL

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

SCILT CLPL

Refreshed and raring to go? Us too! New school year = new SCILT CLPL menu. Featuring a variety of workshops for primary colleagues, for secondary colleagues and one workshop specifically aimed at bringing primary and secondary colleagues together. Our free professional learning is learner-focused, practice-led and evidence-informed. Booking now open! More information on our CLPL menu.

OU/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme

There is still time to register for the sector-leading Open University Scotland/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme. The course will be available to all primary practitioners but also secondary teachers who teach at primary level. We have produced an FAQ document with further detail about the course for your information.

This blended professional learning programme combines primary languages pedagogy and beginner's language learning.  Choose from beginner's French, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The course fee is £240.00 per student. There are plans to offer teachers, who enrol on the course, a summer school experience which will offer immersion in the language to boost confidence and provide ample opportunities to learn more about the cultures in which the language they are studying is spoken. The summer school is not part of the course, it is optional and can be booked separately. More information on this will be published in due course.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, don't delay! Speak to your local authority languages Development Officer first, then they can contact Sylvia Warnecke at the Open University (s.warnecke@open.ac.uk ) to confirm your enrolment on the programme.

European Day of Languages 2018

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2018 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL 2018 blog.

Read more...

GCSE results: Language entries rise for first time since 2013

23 August 2018 (TES)

GCSE entries for modern foreign languages have increased for the first time in five years.

The small increase will give linguists hope that modern foreign languages (MFL) have turned the corner after four consecutive years of decline.

Today’s GCSE results show that total MFL entries across the UK rose from 298,066 in 2017 to 299,172 this year – a 0.4 per cent increase.

The increase is more impressive against the backdrop of a 2.7 per cent decline in the 16-year-old population – the age at which most pupils sit their GCSEs.

However, the overall increase in MFL entries masked varying fortunes for different subjects.

French, which continues to be the most popular language subject by a distance, saw its entries decline from 130,509 in 2017 to 126,750 this year – a 2.9 per cent fall.

German entries rose from 43,649 in 2017 to 44,535 this year – an increase of 2 per cent. This was in marked contrast to A-level German, for which entries plummeted by 16.5 per cent this year.

In Spanish, GCSE entries rose by 4.4 per cent from 91,040 in 2017 to 95,080 this year.

Chinese – which is now the third biggest language subject at A-level – saw its GCSE entries rise.

GCSE entries in Mandarin increased by 7.5 per cent from 4,104 in 2017 to 4,410 this year. The subject is now the fifth most popular GCSE language, after Italian.

While total MFL entries rose in 2018, they have a long way to go to regain the ground that has been lost in recent years.

Read more...

The benefits of language learning

17 August 2018 (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Listen to Antonella Sorace from Bilingualism Matters talking to Stephen Nolan about the multiple benefits of language learning on BBC Radio 5 Live. (Listen from 1:54). Broadcast is available until 15 September 2018.

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Compulsory language education should be reintroduced, says Brighton College head

16 August 2018 (ITV)

A headmaster has called for the reintroduction of compulsory language classes in schools to prevent what he called the “worrying insularity” of society getting worse.

Richard Cairns, headmaster of Brighton College, said the “sorry decline” in the number of students studying languages is “damaging on so many levels” and that the Government needs a plan to reverse the problem.

His comments came as several of his students at the independent school in East Sussex achieved top marks in a range of languages at A-level, including Mandarin.

Experts have raised concerns because the number of students studying languages at state schools has dropped, and recent Press Association analysis of Ucas data revealed the number of applications for foreign language degrees plummeted in the last decade.

More students took A-level Chinese than German this year, according to data from the Joint Council for Qualifications released on Thursday, sparking fears that the European language is heading for extinction.

Mr Cairns said: “The sorry decline in numbers studying languages is damaging on so many levels but must be of particular concern to a Government that espouses a vision of Britain as open for business with the world.

“Compulsory language education needs to be reintroduced, with a national strategy emulating the success of those in the Netherlands or Scandinavia. Otherwise, the worrying insularity in our society will only deepen.

“Contrary to what seems to be happening nationally with pupils choosing not to study languages any more, we have seen a real interest in pursuing languages.

“Pupils can study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian and Mandarin here. Back in 2006, we introduced Mandarin for our pupils from the age of four and the culture of language learning and its benefits are instilled early.”

Read more...

Applications for languages degrees plummet, figures show

15 August 2018 (The Herald)

The number of applications for foreign language degrees has plummeted in the last decade, figures show.

Applications for both European and non-European language degree courses have fallen, according to an analysis of Ucas data carried out by the Press Association.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Related Links

Number of students interested in studying foreign languages drops (The National, 15 August 2018)

SQA: Scottish education exam results 2018

7 August 2018 (Relocate Magazine)

Scottish exam results are in - and more than 2/3rds of independent school pupils sitting exams achieved a Higher grade A in foreign languages, including Mandarin. 

Although the number of entries for Highers and the proportion of students who received a pass mark has fallen slightly, data from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) reveals that 68% of pupils studying foreign languages have achieved a Higher grade A.

The data, collected from SCIS’s 74 member schools, shows that 72% of students achieved a Higher grade A in Mandarin, while 72% of those studying German, 69% of those studying French and 63% studying Spanish also achieved an A.

Read more...

Related Links

Language exam entries are falling, but pourquoi? (TESS, 17 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read article.

Review call after fall in pupils studying languages and science (The Herald, 10 August 2018)

John Swinney urged to review school subject choice after figures show collapse in modern languages (The Telegraph, 9 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Two-thirds fewer Scottish S4 pupils passing French exams under new curriculum (The Telegraph, 8 August 2018) Note - subscription required to read full article.

Attainment Statistics (August) 2018 (SQA, 7 August 2018)

Government to Improve Foreign Language Teaching in Schools

3 August 2018 (Good Morning Britain)

The government has announced plans to improve teaching to boost the number of students opting to take foreign languages at GCSE level. Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, believes that learning an extra language is good for young people for traveling and opens more opportunities within the workplace. 

See the video interview broadcast on Good Morning Britain.

Read more...

Free language learning and cooking app now available

1 August 2018 (Linguacuisine)

For anyone interested in languages and food!

The free Linguacuisine web app helps you learn a language while you’re cooking a meal! Choose a foreign language and a delicious recipe from that country. Then your own smartphone or tablet will speak to you in the foreign language and talk you through all of the stages of cooking the recipe in your own kitchen. If you can’t understand, just press a button to get a photo or video explaining what to do. When you’ve finished, eat the food you’ve cooked and learn something about the culture of the country. Linguacuisine has a range of recipes now available for language learning from around the world. We now have recipes available in: English, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Quechua, Chinese and Korean.

You can also use the free recipe builder app so that you can upload your own favourite recipe in your own language. That means that anyone anywhere in the world will be able to watch videos and listen to audios of you guiding them through cooking your recipe and learning your language! Use your own smartphone or tablet to make recordings of yourself and upload them using our user-friendly software to create your own recipe.

You can also join our worldwide online community so you can rate and discuss other people’s recipes and post information, stories and photos. They can do the same for your recipe, so it’s a good way to make friends in other countries.

So Linguacuisine is a really fun way to learn about foreign languages, cultures and cuisines and you get to eat what you produce. You can also tell other people around the world about your own cooking, language and way of life. You learn foreign words better when you are physically touching food and cooking utensils and using them to prepare food. When you are cooking, you involve all of your senses in the learning experience – touch, smell and taste as well as hearing and seeing. So this is multi-modal and multi-sensory language learning. This is task-based language learning with a real product at the end of it and is intended to improve international understanding and communication.

Linguacuisine is available now for all devices, smartphones, tablets and computers from our website, where the online community will also be located https://linguacuisine.com/

The Linguacuisine app is the end result of a 10-year collaboration between computing scientists and linguists at Newcastle University. The Linguacuisine project is a collaboration between Newcastle University, Action Foundation (UK), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy) and the Workers’ Educational Association (UK). It is funded by an Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership grant of €324K.

For Teachers

The Linguacuisine app can be used for foreign language lessons, but also for cookery lessons and cross-curriculum projects. Students can use the app to cook and learn in the kitchen at home as well as at school.

The app is a good way of preparing students for a foreign trip as it helps engage them with the cuisine, culture and language in advance. Students can also write their own recipes in their own language, informing people abroad about their culture and cuisine.

It is also an excellent way of getting learners to communicate with learners in other countries. Video links have been available for some time, but Linguacuisine means that learners in different countries can do enjoyable shared activities together, cooking recipes from the other countries whilst learning about the other language and culture.

Digital skills can also be developed by using the ‘recipe builder’ authoring software.  This was co-authored with learners and designed to develop a wide range of digital skills using the DIGCOMP 2.1 framework; it has been shown to be successful in improving learner competence.

For Professionals working with Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Linguacuisine app was co-designed with a group of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Action Foundation, Newcastle, UK and seeks to help them in two ways. Firstly, immigrants to a country can cook the recipes to learn about the language, cuisine and culture of their host country and help their integration. Secondly, immigrants can produce their own recipes in their own language using the recipe builder software, so they are able to have a voice and so people in their host country are able to learn something about their life prior to arrival here. A number of recipes currently on Linguacuisine have been produced by migrants in the UK.

For Catering Professionals

Chefs and other catering staff who are travelling to work abroad can introduce themselves to the language, culture and cuisine of their destination country by using the Linguacuisine app. They can also increase their repertoire and employability by trying recipes from around the world and improving relevant language skills.

Chefs can also produce their own recipes in their own language or English using the recipe builder software. Their recipes can then be tried out by users anywhere in the world. Users can post feedback about the recipes and rate the recipes, so chefs can gain an international reputation and increase their own job opportunities.

Invitation to London Event

Please come to our free London dissemination event in Europe House on 11 September. Book a place.

Try out the app, cook a recipe and learn a new language!

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Language courses at risk amid staff shortage

30 July 2018 (The Times)

Head teachers may have to cut language courses in schools as a staffing shortage worsens.

With weeks to go until lectures begin, some modern language courses for teachers at leading universities are half empty. There is already a widespread recruitment crisis in the profession.

At the University of the West of Scotland only 11 of 20 places for one-year postgraduate teacher training courses in modern languages in secondary schools had been filled by mid-July.

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Opportunity for young people during the Fringe

12 July 2018 (Theatre Sans Accents)

Theatre Sans Accents is on the lookout for 4 young people aged 16-25 who are passionate about the performing arts and with an interest in foreign languages and cultures (please note you don't have to be speaking a foreign language or be an experienced artist to apply to this!).

TSA will be running two free (but ticketed) events on Monday 13th August on the topic of Bilingualism and Theatre as part of the Festival at Fringe Central:

  • A practical workshop in the morning exploring foreign languages in theatre 
  • A conversation/debate in the afternoon between a panel of young people, a panel of artists and the audience about the future of British and foreign artists in the UK post Brexit

Award-winning artists and companies Le Petit Monde, Brite Theatre, Jabuti Theatre, Fronteiras Theatre, Ludens Ensemble, Charioteer Theatre and Bilingualism Matters will be present on the day.

If you're selected to be on the panel you can also attend the practical workshop.

All we need from you is a short paragraph about why you wish to participate and why this conversation matters to you.

Any questions, please contact Marion Geoffray at hello@theatresansaccents.co.uk 

Read more...

Manchester’s Language Army

28 June 2018 (CIOL)

Set in the culturally diverse Crumpsall/Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, Abraham Moss Community School is one of very few schools in northwest England to operate a formal programme that identifies bilingual pupils and offers them basic training in the skills required to act as language mediators within the school environment. 

More that 60 languages are spoken at Abraham Moss, which began the programme five years ago with a group of just eight pupils in Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16). Since then it has blossomed into an impressive ‘language army’ – nearly 40-strong – of ‘young interpreters’ aged 12-16, who cover languages as diverse as Arabic, Chinese, Hungarian, Italian, Pashtun, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Read more...

Language lesson gap means poorest miss out, says report

27 June 2018 (BBC)

Children from poorer backgrounds in England are increasingly likely to miss out on learning a foreign language, suggests a report.

Some teachers blame new tougher GCSEs for putting lower ability pupils off language learning.

There is also a perception that languages are less important since the vote to leave the European Union, says the British Council study.

The government says its reforms are boosting modern languages in schools.

The Language Trends Survey has published an annual report since 2002 when more than three-quarters of pupils (76%) took a modern language GCSE.

By 2011, only 40% of pupils took a language at GCSE.

The subject has recovered in recent years - in 2016 almost half of 16-year-olds took a language GCSE - but this figure fell to 47% last year.

There has been a similar long-term decline at A-level.

Read more...

Higher Modern Languages webinar recordings

21 June 2018 (SQA)

The SQA has published a recording of the Higher Modern Languages webinar that took place on 19 June. The webinar provides guidance on the revised course assessment for session 2018-19.

Webinars can also be accessed from the Understanding Standards website.

Read more...

A National Framework for Languages supporting implementation of 1+2

19 June 2018 (SCDE)

The Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) Languages Group, which represents all language strands within the Schools of Education across Scottish Universities, has created a National Framework for Languages (NFfL) and associated digital resource to support teacher educators and teachers at all stages of their careers, with the aim of transforming the 1 + 2 Languages Policy in Scotland into purposeful classroom pedagogies promoting plurilingualism and pluriliteracies.

The NFfL is based on four overarching principles: plurilingualism, diversity, policy and legislation and transformative practice, and reflects the strands of the Professional Standards established by GTCS. For each of these strands the NFfL has identified a series of statements which encourage practitioners to consider a broad and inclusive understanding of the role of language in and for learning. These statements are linked to the associated digital resources: a reflective tool and digital resource bank.
The reflective tool includes a personal biography based on Pepelino and the European Language Portfolio as well as a series of reflective questions. These reflective questions are directly linked to the statements of the NFfL and aim to support teachers in evaluating their own practices.

The digital resource bank was created after a systematic review of the international literature covering formal language learning across all ages and stages, the increasingly complex demands of plurilingual and pluricultural classrooms and the need to develop a shared understanding of the role of languages for learning, which addresses the fundamental role played by languages (including the learners’ first language) in developing global citizens.

The NFfL and accompanying digital resources are now being piloted and can be accessed on the National Framework for Languages (NFfL) website.

Further information can be obtained from Ingeborg Birnie (Ingeborg.birnie@strath.ac.uk).

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Language Futures success at Grainville School

18 June 2018 (ALL/Language Futures)

Language Futures is an exciting, highly personalised and innovative approach to languages teaching and learning which aims to broaden languages provision. It has been designed to foster deep learner engagement and enable students to take responsibility for their own learning, which they are encouraged to extend beyond the classroom. Apart from language development, the approach encourages the development of a wide range of skills such as creativity, tenacity and the ability to carry out research and work both independently and in groups.

As part of the approach, students choose a language they wish to study, with several languages being learnt in any one classroom situation.

Find out more about the initiative, how it's being successfully applied at Grainville School in Jersey and how you can launch the approach in your own school.

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GlobeScotters

18 June 2018 (British Council)

British Council is excited to announce the launch of GlobeScotters! We've partnered with @YoungScot to inspire Scotland's young people to embrace the international opportunities available to them at home and abroad!

Over the next six months the GlobeScotters website will be updated with all things international - from funding opportunities, to fun videos on international foods and some big Young Scot Rewards prizes!

Whether you are studying abroad next term, or want to learn about different cultures in your community, we have you covered!

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Creative Multilingualism

14 June 2018 (University of Oxford)

Creative Multilingualism is a 4-year research programme aiming to release the creative potential of languages, shine a spotlight on the UK's hidden multilingualism and celebrate the many benefits of language learning.

Visit the Creative Multilingualism website to explore the programme and projects.

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Language Linking Global Thinking

12 June 2018 (University of Edinburgh)

French and Spanish MA (Hons) student, Róisín MacFarlane, describes her involvement in SCILT’s Year Abroad schools initiative.

Róisín and three other students from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) recently attended a course with Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) preparing both students and teachers for the Language Linking Global Thinking (LLGT) project.

In this article - her first as Web, Communications and Social Media Intern for LLC - she talks about the LLGT programme and explains why so many schools and students are getting involved.

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SQA update for teachers of Higher Modern Languages

11 June 2018 (SQA)

Course support notes and coursework assessment tasks for session 2018-19 are now available, including the new assignment-writing task and performance-talking. Download them from the SQA Higher Modern Languages website ‘2018-19 session’ section.

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The Bilingual Advantage in the Global Workplace

7 June 2018 (Language Magazine)

For the last 30 years, the world economy has been more global and multicultural than ever before. In any given country, foreign-based companies operate every day, while overseas branches of the same companies are often present in various countries. The job market is consequently more global, multilingual, and multicultural in nature, and the workforce of the future will need to be more linguistically and culturally heterogeneous.

In that context, bilingual and bicultural individuals, even with limited knowledge of one or more languages and their attendant cultures, have a clear advantage, since more and more jobs will require experience in international and cross-cultural areas.

On the other hand, we also know that half of the world’s population speaks two or more languages and there are many places where bilingualism or multilingualism is the norm, for example in regions of Africa.2 So, will half the world then benefit from the new job opportunities created by a more global job market? Not exactly. 

Being bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate are not equivalent skills, and being bilingual is not the only condition to be hired for any job. It does not replace a solid further education, but it is becoming obvious that linguistic and cultural fluency enhances one’s “human capital” (the measure of the economic value of a person’s skill set). More and more, at equal technical skills, a bilingual individual will be chosen over a monolingual person.

Read more...

ECML European Language Gazette No 42

7 June 2018 (ECML)

The May-June 2018 edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available. In addition to a round-up of activities and initiatives in language education across Europe, this issue includes the opportunity for language professionals to contribute to the brainstorming on priorities in language education for the coming years by completing an online survey. The survey is open until 11 June 2018.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Winners announced!

6 June 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:

  • Larbert High School Cluster (1+2 Languages Award)
  • Greenfaulds High School (Gaelic Education Award

Visit the Scottish Education Award website for information and photos of all the category winners.

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Radio Edutalk: Gillian Campbell-Thow on ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’

5 June 2018 (Radio Edutalk)

Listen to Gillian Campbell-Thow talk about ‘Language Learning in Scottish Education’ broadcast on Radio Edutalk on 5 June 2018.

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Why using a foreign language could improve your work

29 May 2018 (BBC)

I recently spent four months working at the BBC in London, and English always sounded far smarter in my head than when it came out of my mouth. I often forgot words, made grammatical slips, and missed the usual precision of my native Spanish. It felt like trying to eat soup with a fork. As I write this, I have a dictionary open in front of me because I have learned to mistrust my ideas about what some words mean.

But there is a silver lining for those who are working in languages other than their native one. Research has recently shown that people who can speak a foreign language are likely to be more analytical. Other studies have suggested that people who are bilingual make decisions in different ways from those with one language.

It suggests that as well as giving you an extra string to your bow in terms of where you can work and who you can work with, a foreign language also makes you a different kind of worker. But the real question is – does it make you a better worker?

Read more...

SALT Modern Languages competition for schools

18 May 2018 (SALT)

Entries are now being accepted for the #SALT18 competition!

Primary, secondary and senior phase students are invited to produce a promotional video, poster or presentation in the language of their choice. 

Find out more on the SALT website. Entry deadline is 7 September 2018.

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Business Brunches 2018 webpage now live!

18 May 2018 (SCILT)

The Business Brunches took place earlier on this year across Scotland, and supported DYW and the Scottish Attainment Challenge by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. 

Take a journey through the entire series of events and explore some of the highlights for yourself, such as:
  
  • A taste of what really went on at these events and why languages play an important role in the world of work by viewing our Business Brunch video located on the main page
  • Inspiring quotes and uploads of presentations from a handful of business leaders who were present that you can share with your own learners
  • Feedback received from pupils who participated
  • Images, tweets, press releases and more

Read through our resources and materials which you may find useful to promote languages for employability in your own school. 

Important news! Business Brunches will be returning for year 2018/19. Further details will be announced on the SCILT website and through our e-bulletin after the summer with instructions on how you can register your school to attend. Keep your eyes peeled! 

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SCILT/CISS supporting promotional events

18 May 2018 (SCILT/CISS)

The SCILT/CISS team are now taking requests for input at promotional events for next session. Input at your promotional event may include:

  • Talks promoting the value of language learning to classes/year groups/assemblies
  • Providing a stall at your event such as careers fairs, parents nights or business and language events
In order to ensure all schools have the opportunity to benefit from our involvement, we are now requesting that you complete an online application form. 

You will be asked to outline how a promotional event might support your uptake in the senior phase, if applicable, and what other measures you are putting in place to address the Attainment Agenda, National Improvement Framework and Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

All requests for the 2018/19 session must be received by 31st October 2018 in order for schools and the SCILT/CISS team to plan effectively. 

Please email SCILT in the first instance to receive a link to the request form. 

SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

17 May 2018 (SQA)

Dates for the next Higher Modern Languages webinars are now available to book on the SQA website (login required).

Sessions are available:

  • 4 September
  • 10 September
  • 29 September

Read more...

Call out to young film-makers in Scotland

10 May 2018 (National Library of Scotland)

A competition opens today (10 May) which invites young people to show in film what Scotland means to them. The competition has been organised by the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Youth Film Festival as part of the Year of Young People.

Anyone under 19 years of age can submit a one-minute film on any theme, in any language and in any genre.

Visit the National Library of Scotland website for more information.

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"Developing language awareness in subject classes": join the network of the European Centre for Modern Languages/Council of Europe!

8 May 2018 (ECML)

Are you a secondary school teacher of a non-linguistic subject (other than mathematics or history) working in a linguistically and culturally diverse school? Do you teach 12/13 year olds whose first language is different from the language of schooling? Are you interested in sharing your subject expertise and exchanging experiences with European professionals in the field of language in subject teaching? Then this project is for you!

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Number of Scottish pupils passing foreign language exams has halved in 10 years

6 May 2018 (Daily Record)

The number of Scottish pupils passing foreign language exams has halved over 10 years.

The total at all levels has plunged from 60,176 in 2007 to just 28,503 in 2017.

The fall has been most severe in basic qualifications, raising concerns the figures could get worse in coming years as youngsters lack foundation skills. 

Opposition politicians and business leaders have voiced fears that Scotland’s ability to compete as a global economy could be at risk.

Read more...

Diversity of subjects essential to national prosperity post-Brexit, warns British Academy

2 May 2018 (British Academy)

The British Academy, the UK’s body for the humanities and social sciences, has urged the Government not to prioritise some subjects over others, arguing that a healthy, prosperous and global Britain needs a diversity of graduates.

It also warns of the risks of relying too much on market-driven solutions in a post-Brexit world.

In its submission to the Government’s review of post-18 education and funding, the British Academy highlights the contribution of graduates from the arts, humanities and social sciences to the UK’s culture, economy and international reputation. Many of the 1.25m who study these disciplines each year go on to work in the service sector, which makes up some 80% of the UK’s economy. They also drive the creative industries, one of the UK’s major cultural exports. Others enter jobs of social importance such as teaching and social work.

The British Academy’s submission highlights a growing trend of universities shrinking or closing courses in subjects such as languages and philosophy. In the last decade, at least 10 modern languages departments have closed and a further nine significantly downsized.

The British Academy cites a report for the government published in 2014 which estimates that a lack of foreign language skills could already be costing the UK billions of pounds.

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Be part of the first language course designed to fight dementia!

30 April 2018 (Lingo Flamingo)

Research shows that speakers of foreign languages can postpone the effects of dementia by up to 4.5 years later than monolinguists. Language learning acts as a great way of keeping your brain fit and active as well as building up cognitive reserve, making the brain more resilient. 

Lingo Flamingo utilises this research by providing tailored, fun and accessible classes in care homes and day centres across Scotland. We are a not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to use language learning as a way to empower older adults and to battle against dementia and brain ageing. 

We are looking for compassionate and enthusiastic language volunteers who can teach their language in care homes across Scotland. As a language tutor you will go into care homes and teach older adults in classes of 10 students. 

Classes take place 1 hour a week for 10 weeks. We will cover your expenses.

Classes take place Monday to Friday, usually in the early afternoon. You need to commit for at least 10 weeks, for 1 hour a week (same day and same time every week).

In conjunction with the Open University we offer tailored training and support about teaching older adults. Even though it is a language class, it is mainly about having fun! It is a great opportunity to increase your confidence as well as the confidence of the students. 

After you let us know that you are interested, you would need to fill out a registration form and meet us for an informal chat. Once you agree to volunteer, we would enter you onto the database and match you with a care home that is close to you. 

For more information, please contact papoula.romao@lingoflamingo.co.uk or visit our website for more information.

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National Digital Learning Week (14-18 May)

24 April 2018 (Education Scotland)

National Digital Learning Week is an annual Education Scotland event where teachers and learners from all schools in Scotland are encouraged to take part in digital learning and teaching activities.

There are loads of ways to get involved in #NDLW18; the sky is the limit! 

To help get things started Education Scotland are launching 2 main activities:  

  • An exclusive National Digital Story telling activity for 30 schools across Scotland with famous children’s author Lari Don. 
  • A digital story telling activity schools can enjoy in their local setting.

Why not use the local opportunity to create a digital story with your pupils in the language they are learning?

Find out more on the Education Scotland Glow blog.

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SQA Higher Modern Languages course specification

23 April 2018 (SQA)

SQA has published the revised Course Specification for the Higher Modern Languages course (version April 2018). This is available from the Modern Languages Higher webpage. To access the document please go to the tab ‘2018-19 session’ and under the ‘Essential Information’ heading click on ‘Course Specification’.

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MTOT celebration event - webpage now live!

20 April 2018 (SCILT)

The celebration event for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition took place on Saturday 17 March at the University of Strathclyde. 

Visit the SCILT website to see the full list of winners and to view the anthology of winning poems. You can also find photos from the event and read some of the feedback received from pupils, parents and teachers. 

Read more...

SQA Higher Modern Languages webinar

12 April 2018 (SQA)

The SQA is running an evening webinar on 5 June to provide an overview of the new Modern Languages Higher course assessment arrangements which will be implemented from session 2018-19 onwards.

This will cover the performance–talking and there will be a particular focus on Higher assignment-writing. 

To book a place, please visit the SQA online booking system. 

Additional webinar sessions on the new Higher Modern Languages Course assessment arrangements will be running in September 2018.

Read more...

Action research communities for language teachers

10 April 2018 (SOAS)

Action Research Communities for Language Teachers (ARC) is a project funded by the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (2015 to 2018). It aims to support teachers in European language classrooms in using action research as an essential tool for the development of reflective classroom practice and autonomy.

Through this project we are making practical techniques for action research widely available to language teachers across Europe by establishing a community of practice which connects academic expertise on action research with good practice in language classrooms. We are also designing action research tools to support teachers who want to carry out projects and to encourage dialogue between practitioners in schools and universities.

All project results and action research tools will be published on the project website.

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Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee Report on Erasmus+

5 April 2018 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee launched a short and focused inquiry into Scotland's participation in the Erasmus+ programme in November 2017. The purpose of the inquiry was to learn more about the opportunities currently available under Erasmus+ and to consider the implications of Scotland no longer participating in the programme after the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

The report highlights that Erasmus+ also plays an important role in supporting the Scottish Government’s 1+2 (mother tongue + 2 additional languages) approach to language learning.

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European Language Gazette 41 - March/April 2018

3 April 2018 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's Language Gazette is now available on their website. The newsletter includes updates on the organisation's projects along with new initiatives, events and resources of interest to the language teaching community across Europe.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Finalists announced!

29 March 2018 (Daily Record)

Following an editorial campaign running in the Daily Record, the finalists for this year's Scottish Education Awards have been announced.

Finalists will attend the prestigious awards ceremony at Glasgow's Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central on June 6th, where each of the fifteen winners will be announced.

Details of all the finalists can be found in the Daily Record news article online.

Congratulations and good luck to the schools shortlisted in the language-related categories!

Read more...

Related Links

Falkirk district schools aiming for top marks at Education Awards (Falkirk Herald, 16 April 2018)

Bilingual benefits: why two tongues are better than one

27 March 2018 (Irish Times)

Ireland is speaking more languages than ever before with Polish, French, Romanian, Lithuanian and Spanish all echoing through our family homes.

For years, there was a belief that bilingual children lagged behind academically and intellectually.

More recent studies, however, comprehensively show this is untrue: switching between two or more languages gives the brain a dexterousness and improves our attention, planning, memory and problem-solving skills.

Evidence shows bilingual children score better across a range of cognitive tests than their monolingual classmates.

In an Irish context, speakers of a second language have an advantage in a jobs market that places significant value on both their linguistic and cognitive skills. And bilingual children who sit minority language subjects in the Leaving Cert consistently get top grades.

In spite of the clear benefits, many newcomer parents have concerns about bilingualism.  

Dr Francesca La Morgia is assistant professor in clinical speech and language studies at Trinity College Dublin and the founder and director of an organisation called Mother Tongues, which supports parents in passing on their native language.

Read more...

Online learning event: Welcoming refugee and migrant children to mainstream classrooms in Europe

27 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)

Aimed at teachers of primary and secondary learners aged 4-16, this eTwinning workshop will develop teachers' awareness, confidence and skills in learning about refugee issues, welcoming refugee and migrant children to mainstream classrooms from a social and emotional perspective, and will give a basic introduction to language acquisition and the importance of maintaining and developing mother tongue and home culture.

Visit the website to sign up for the course between 9 - 17 April 2018.

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European professional development workshops

22 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)

This term, why not apply to go on a short, fully-funded workshop in another European country?

Applications are now open for teachers of pupils aged 3-19 across a range of subject areas to attend a fully-funded 2-3 day professional development workshop in Turkey, Latvia, Norway and Armenia. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning cultural diversity to SEN and the environment.

Visit the website for more information about each event and submit your application by 31 March 2018. 

Read more...

SQA course reports for National 5 Modern Languages 2017

22 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 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 full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

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Arsenal Double Club 2018 World Cup Competition

20 March 2018 (Arsenal Double Club)

Calling all modern language teachers! As we look forward to this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Arsenal Double Club are back with yet another FREE languages competition – open to all UK secondary schools – for boys and girls in Year 7 or 8 (S1 or S2 in Scotland).

In small groups, pupils must organise and run a language-themed football match or activity.

Visit the Double Club website for more information and to enter your school by 29 March 2018.

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Young People in Scotland Survey 2017: STEM and language findings

19 March 2018 (Scottish Government)

This report presents data from Ipsos MORI's Young People in Scotland Survey 2017 on the choices young people make regarding STEM and language subjects in school.

The report can be accessed on the Scottish Government website.

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A 1+2 approach to language learning in the secondary sector - FAQs

19 March 2018 (Education Scotland)

These FAQs produced by Education Scotland cover the main points raised during a series of secondary 1+2 ‘roadshows’ held in 2017.

This resource is for those teachers in secondary modern languages departments who are responsible for transition and course planning. It can be accessed on the Education Scotland website.

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SQA course reports for Higher Modern Languages 2017

16 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 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. They 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 Verification and Course Reports tab.

Read more...

SQA course reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2017

9 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 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. They 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 Verification and Course Reports tab.

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The article that changed my view…of how bilingualism can improve society

17 February 2018 (The Guardian)

Guardian supporter Emilio Battaglia explains how an opinion piece by Tobias Jones clarified his view of bilingualism’s power to build bridges:

As someone who has dedicated so much of his life to the study and exploration of languages, Tobias Jones’s article 'The joys and benefits of bilingualism' immediately caught my eye. The Guardian is not a paper I know well but it is quite popular in Toronto, and becoming increasingly so. And this piece, written with a huge amount of research and an openness of spirit, seems to sum up so much of what the publication stands for. It made me gain a better understanding of how bilingualism can effect positive change, but it also sparked my appreciation of the Guardian’s journalism more widely.

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New competition launched - LinguaChef 2018!

13 February 2018 (SCILT / City of Glasgow College)

We are thrilled to announce that we are working in partnership with City of Glasgow College to host a pilot version of a new SCILT competition called LinguaChef. The competition brings together two of our favourite topics – languages and food! As well as practising linguistic and culinary skills, pupils will work on their wider social, literacy, numeracy and financial skills.

Pupils from P1 – S6 are invited to work in teams of four to submit a recipe for an international dish symbolic of a country where either a language they are learning in school or a language that pupils use at home is spoken. So we are expecting to see some exciting recipes from France, Spain, Germany, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Poland, Russia, the Middle East or even as far as China or Japan. We are also encouraging pupils to be creative, for example they could incorporate a bit of Scottish ‘fusion’ into their recipe to give it a twist.

Three semi-finalists from each age category will be selected based on their submitted recipes and they will then be invited to the grand finale with a chance to prepare, cook and present their dish in the professional kitchens at City of Glasgow College. An overall winner from each category will be chosen to win a prize for themselves and their school. Their recipes will also feature in the first ever SCILT cook book.

There are four age categories:

o P1-P3


Primary categories to present a
SWEET dish that could be a cake, biscuit, pudding or dessert for example

o P4-P7

o S1-S3


Secondary categories to present a
SAVOURY dish that would be eaten as a main course

o S4-S6

Recipes should include an introduction/explanation of the dish, a list of ingredients and the method. It can be submitted as a video clip (3 mins max) or as a PPT including photos of steps involved and the final dish, and possibly a voice-over too if pupils would like to add audio. Younger primary pupils in particular may find a video clip easier to submit as it does not require writing although if they choose to submit a PPT version we understand they may require some adult help with this.

A costings sheet will also be provided to help pupils with their financial education skills and to stay within budget.

Key dates and deadlines

Friday 9th March - Deadline for teachers to register interest using the online form
Friday 27th April - Submit entries via email to SCILT
Early May (tbc) - Judging of videos/PPTs to select semi-finalists
Friday 22nd June - Grand Finale at City of Glasgow College

After registration closes on 9th March, teachers will receive a further email with detailed guidelines, exemplar entries, costings sheets and an entry form. However, if you have any queries in the meantime then please contact Angela de Britos by email (angela.de-britos@strath.ac.uk ).

Register now via the online form

MTOT 2017-18 winners announced!

9 February 2018 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition in Scotland. The poems we received were inspiring, creative, funny and thought-provoking. We were delighted to receive so many entries and had an incredibly difficult time selecting those we felt were most deserving of a place in the 2017-18 MTOT anthology. Thank you to all who participated! 

We are pleased to announce this year’s successful entries as follows:

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P4 – P6

Winner

Julia Wólszczak (Polish)

St James' Primary

 

Highly commended

Rayan Al-Boushi (Arabic)

St Albert's Primary

 

Highly commended

Zinaida Benya (Hungarian)

St James' Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Nora Dhanou Rodriguez (Spanish)

West Primary

 

Highly commended

Bahadar Esakhiel (Pashto)

East Fulton Primary

 

Highly commended

Mohamad Al Chouhel (Arabic)

Williamsburgh Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Erika Aitkenhead (Russian)

Kirkintilloch High

Senior Phase

Winner

Danai Nikitea (Greek)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Sayma Hossain (Italian)

Craigroyston Community High

 

Highly commended

Anett Ziegler (Hungarian)

Johnstone High 

FE/HE

Winner

Su Min Lai (Chinese)

University of Dundee

 

Highly commended

Yinuo Wang (Chinese)

University of Dundee

 

Highly commended

Hong Lin (Chinese)

City of Glasgow College

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

Early Years

Winner

St Bridget's Early Years Class (Gaelic)

St Bridget's Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Ava Stewart (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

Highly commended

Kole Murray (Spanish)

Moray Primary

 

Highly commended

Nathan Decuyper (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Maria Stewart (Irish)

St Mari Goretti Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Emily McNally (French)

St Margaret's Academy

 

Highly commended

Ella Blake, Ashley Forrest, Hollie Speirs, Ilari Tsiko, William Wilson (French)

Craigroyston Community High

 

Highly commended

Harley Ewen (French)

Graeme High

Senior Phase

Winner

Maria Dorot (Spanish)

Craigroyston Community High

 

Highly commended

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Jasmin Jardine (French)

Loudoun Academy

FE/HE Winner Arnault Bembo (Spanish) University of the West of Scotland
  Highly commended Farah Nabila Binti Mohd Zin and Nurul Syakirah Binti Ahmad Ghazali (Japanese and Italian) University of Dundee and University of Edinburgh

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools and institutions will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 17 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

1 December 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

Read more...

The dos and don'ts of writing a personal statement for languages

8 November 2017 (The Guardian)

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein may have made a good case for studying languages when he said: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” But be warned: if you quote him in your personal statement, you may test the admission tutor’s patience.

Students often start by quoting someone famous, says Mike Nicholson, director of admissions at the University of Bath, who thinks it’s a “waste of space” and “just demonstrates that you can copy and paste”. Hilary Potter, a teaching fellow at the University of Leeds, adds that quotes “don’t tell us anything about the student”.

Whether you’re interested in French, Spanish, Arabic or Japanese, your first step will be to impress admissions tutors and convince them you deserve a place on their course. A strong, cliche-free personal statement is a must, but what else should you include? And what mistakes should you avoid?

Read more...

Will learning a language abroad for a year make you fluent?

27 October 2017 (The Guardian)

There’s no right way to learn a new language; some people prefer poring over books, while others go for apps or traditional lessons with a tutor. Immersing yourself is a surefire way to accelerate the process, though, and a year abroad is an opportunity to do just that. Which is not to say that it’ll be easy. The road to fluency is long and likely to be littered with confusing – and often embarrassing – moments. Here’s a quick guide to help you get there.

Read more...

The need for a national languages policy and a more holistic approach towards languages in the UK

21 October 2017 (MEITS)

In this podcast Wendy Ayres-Bennett from the University of Cambridge talks to Baroness Jean Coussins, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, about the need for a national languages policy and a more holistic approach towards languages in the UK.

Read more...

Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12

16 October 2017 (ECML)

With over 40 official languages in the member states of the Council of Europe and more than 70 regional and minority languages officially recognized in addition to a number of languages spoken by migrants, it is important that Europe’s language diversity is recognized and acknowledged.

The reality for many European citizens is that in the course of their lives they will need to develop proficiency, not only in their native language, but in a variety of languages. Demands of study, work, travel, relocation and personal development will also mean that skills in new languages will need to be added to their existing repertoire. Therefore, learning the skills required to learn languages is of paramount importance. Furthermore, language learning and identity construction are closely interlinked.

Recognizing the importance of languages in the lives of Europeans and the benefits that early language learning provides, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) has launched a two-year project "Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12".

The project is focused on early language learning, from 3 to 12 years of age. The innate curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to learning during this initial period in their formal education makes it the ideal time to introduce, nurture and motivate learners in the area of additional language learning. Strong foundations, built at this stage in children’s development, will facilitate language learning throughout life and openness to, as well as respect for different cultures, values and traditions.

Find out more on the ECML website.

Read more...

SQA vacancies: Modern Languages Event Verifiers

12 October 2017 (SQA)

Are you looking for CPD opportunities? Become an appointee for SQA – apply to be an Event Verifier in Modern Languages. It's a really worthwhile role and great professional development in relation to building confidence about national standards.

Visit the SQA website for more information and to apply by 29 October.

Read more...

Languages Lost and Found (Being Human Festival)

12 October 2017 (University of Dundee/UCMLS)

A series of events celebrating languages and cultures across Scotland as part of the UK’s annual Being Human Festival of the Humanities, 'Languages Lost & Found' aims to make visible the often hidden richness and diversity of languages and cultures in Scottish society through community-led workshops and demonstrations.

Events will take place simultaneously on 18 November in a number of locations across Scotland, and activities will vary by location. The event series is organised by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland with support from Scotland's National Centre for Languages and British Council Scotland and financial support by the AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow funds (Prof. Janice Carruthers).

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

GCSE modern languages scheme 'doubles uptake' in some areas

7 October 2017 (BBC)

A scheme to encourage more pupils in Wales to take modern languages at GCSE has reported "significant" success.

More than a third of Welsh schools now have less than 10% of Year 10 pupils studying a foreign language.

But the Welsh Government-funded modern foreign languages (MFL) mentoring project said it had seen uptake double in some schools.

The scheme trains students from Welsh universities to talk to pupils about the benefits of studying languages.

Read more...

National 5 Modern Languages update

6 October 2017 (SCILT/SQA)

The course specification for National 5 has been updated following the Scottish Government announcement that unit assessments will no longer be mandatory from session 2016-17 at this level. As well as extracting the key points providing an overview of the content and assessment requirements, we now have links to SQA's recording of the National 5 webinar held in April/May and repeated in September/October 2017 on our website.

Other National Qualifications will be reviewed and updated in due course.

Read more...

Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.

Read more...

Language Perfect Northern Championships 2017

18 September 2017 (Language Perfect)

The 2017 Language Perfect Northern Championships dates have been announced!

Join schools from the northern hemisphere 7-14 November for a week of online competition, and celebration of language learning!

Visit the website to find out about how the competition works and register to take part.

Read more...

1+2 approach to language learning: National road shows for the secondary sector - May/June 2017

15 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

This video resource contains the key messages by speakers from the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Education Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), and SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages, on the 1+2 approach to language learning and the impact of the policy in the secondary sector. The resource also contains key PowerPoint slides.

This resource can be used in modern languages departments, to support discussion around transition, entitlement and effective timetabling for L2 (first additional language) and L3 (second additional language).

Visit the Education Scotland website for more information.

Read more...

eTwinning

15 September 2017 (eTwinning)

eTwinning offers a platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate, share and develop projects with like-minded colleagues across Europe.

Visit the website to find out more about eTwinning and how being part of the community can benefit you and your pupils.

Read more...

Languagenut and SCILT exclusive

15 September 2017 (Languagenut)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 21 modern foreign languages. 

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning.

We’ve collaborated with SCILT to give Scottish schools free exclusive access to Languagenut for 45 days! Visit the website to register.

Read more...

ECML Think tank - Language learning pathways

13 September 2017 (ECML)

The aim of the new ECML think tanks is to create a network of expertise from across ECML member states and beyond which can advise the ECML secretariat on how to address a range of key priorities in language education.

The first step in the think tank process is the development of an online questionnaire for each theme which is then disseminated as widely as possible so that a picture of the current state-of-play emerges, revealing both success stories as well as challenges. 

You are invited to share your views and experiences on language learning pathways in the online survey by midnight (CET), Sunday 1 October 2017, and you might be selected to participate in the think tank meeting in January 2018.

Visit the ECML website to find out more about the think tanks.

Read more...

ALL Language Teacher of the Year Award 2018

7 September 2017 (ALL)

Do you know an inspirational primary or secondary teacher?

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) are now looking for nominations in the two categories for the 2018 awards – which are now open to teachers throughout the UK.

The award scheme aims to support and promote language teaching, recognise the efforts and achievements of language teachers, encourage and disseminate exciting, motivating practice among language teachers and raise the profile of language teaching as a career.

Visit the ALL website for more information about each award and how to make a nomination.

Read more...

10 of the best language with activity holidays around the world

5 September 2017 (The Guardian)

Spanish and tango? German and skiing? Or even Japanese and manga? Learn a language in the native country and add some extracurricular fun with these holiday courses that offer a skill or some culture, too.

Read more...

How to improve children’s language awareness at primary school

4 September 2017 (The Conversation)

Young children have a lot to fit into each school day. So making the best use of the little time allocated to learning a foreign language is paramount. In England, state primary schools have been required to offer children aged seven to 11 a foreign language since 2014. This seems to chime with the common assumption, supported by research, that the earlier we start learning a foreign language, the better we will eventually be able to speak it.

Yet the situation is quite different when learners have just a few hours’ exposure each week. In these circumstances – unlike full immersion in a second language – younger is not necessarily better. Large-scale classroom-based research in Spain has shown that after the same number of lessons, students who began learning after age 18 achieved greater success in English than students who started at age eight, 11 or 14.

A likely reason for the different effects of starting age in different learning environments is the type of learning mechanism in operation. Primarily, young children learn implicitly – without effort or awareness. By contrast, adolescents and adults can learn explicitly, with the intention to learn and with conscious effort. Implicit learning only works well if there is ample exposure to language input, while explicit learning can work even with little language input. So having just a few hours a week of language lessons at a young age doesn’t meant a child will learn that language successfully.

Read more...

Cross-Sector Hub meetings

24 August 2017 (SCILT)

UCMLS, the professional organisation representing languages staff in Scottish universities, is again holding two sets of regional cross-sector meetings during 2017-18, with support from SCILT.

The first round of meetings will be during the week beginning 11 September 2017. We will present our planned events and initiatives for the coming session, including the new Languages Lost & Found events on 18 November.

Language teachers and staff in schools, colleges and universities are warmly invited to attend. For those who live too far to attend in person we are also offering the option of joining us on one of two virtual meetings via Skype.

Please register for your session choice by Friday 1 September 2017.

Read more...

Slump in foreign language students sparks fear for UK competitiveness

5 August 2017 (The Herald)

FRESH concerns have been raised that not enough youngsters are learning foreign languages, as figures show a slump in applications to study the subject at university.

The numbers of applications for degree courses linked to European languages have fallen by almost a quarter in the past five years, while the numbers for other language courses have dropped by almost a fifth, according to an analysis by the Press Association. At the same time, there has been a decline in the numbers studying languages traditionally offered by schools, such as French and German, to GCSE and A-level.

The analysis indicates Spanish has grown in popularity in recent times along with other courses, such as Arabic and Chinese.

The British Council, which specialises in international cultural relations, warned that if the UK is to remain globally competitive in the wake of Brexit it needs more young people to be learning languages.

Read more...

These are the languages employers want most - and how much it could add to your salary

2 August 2017 (Birmingham Mail / The Mirror)

A new study has found the most lucrative foreign languages for British workers to learn.

Apparently, Japanese and the Chinese languages offer average salaries of more than £31,000 for those who can speak them.

Adzuna compiled the study to mark the anniversary of the Brexit vote.

And researchers uncovered the languages most in demand by UK employers, alongside how much they are willing to pay for them.

A growing interest in non-European languages was revealed, with Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian all featuring in the UK's top 10 most wanted languages, according to the Mirror.

Read more...

From Brexit to Scandi-noir: The Importance of Modern Foreign Languages

31 July 2017 (AHRC)

Many of us will be familiar with the sight of groups of young language students in UK cities over the summer months. Their excitement at being abroad away from their parents often for the first time is obvious. In 2016, he International Association of Language Centres (IALC) reported that there were 2.28 million language students travelling abroad each year, with English language travel making up around 61% of this market.

Whilst these language-learners only represented 0.25% of second language learners across the entire globe, most travelled to English-speaking countries to learn English. If the motivation for learning English in our increasing globalised world is clear, the British often struggle to appreciate the reasons for learning another language.

“The headline news for Modern Languages recently has not been good, with decreasing numbers of entrants at A-level and a number of university departments under threat of closure or severe contraction", said Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Professor of French Philology and Linguistics from the University of Cambridge.

In response to this national concern and its global implications, the AHRC has committed £16m to research in modern foreign languages (MFL) in its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project. Its aim is to explore and understand the language learning landscape of the UK, and how it might be transformed.

As part of OWRI, the AHRC has invested in four major research programmes, one of which is Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS). Alongside her responsibilities at Cambridge, Prof Ayres-Bennett is Principal Investigator for the MEITS project.

“I think that in the current political climate of Brexit and of extensive migration, the need to learn modern foreign languages has arguably never been more important", says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

“I believe that there are huge benefits from being able to step outside a single language, culture and mode of thought", explains Prof Ayres-Bennett. "It enables you to see the world through other people’s eyes".

Prof Ayres-Bennett argues that the ability to speak another language is valuable to many different areas of society. "Whether we think of international relations, diplomacy, security and defence, or areas such as conflict-resolution and peace-building, or, crucially today, business, international trade, and social cohesion, all of these have languages at their heart."

Linguists are needed to provide vital translation and interpreting services. However, the need for direct communication between parties was well demonstrated by the experience of the British military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prof Ayres-Bennett also thinks that through reading literature in the language in which it was written, we can begin to see the world through the linguistic categories and worldview of its speakers.

"The gradual opening up of new worlds and the move from incomprehension to being able to make sense of another language and culture can be truly magical ”, says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

Scandi noir dramas have become very popular and one of the biggest hits of the year has been the Spanish language song 'Despacito'. Many young people in Europe improve their English through listening to music and watching films in English so that they no longer need to depend on subtitles.“TV and the internet increasingly provide opportunities for people to view foreign language material and to learn about other cultures.”

Read more...

Speaking with Smaller Tongues

7 July 2017 (BBC Radio 4)

Penzance-born Rory McGrath writes and performs a Cornish song at the SUNS International Festival - a multilingual alternative to the Eurovision song contest, where English is banned.

Rory talks with fellow performers, and to academics, about how the internet and the spread of English as a lingua franca is threatening to smother small languages. The United Nations predicts that 90% of Europe's 200 minority languages will have ceased to exist by the end of the 21st century.

Read more...

An open letter to my student peers: why you need to rethink languages

5 July 2017 (TES)

Language learning in school suffers from negative attitudes, cultural issues and an approach to teaching that is too guarded and not ambitious enough, says this Year 12 student.

Read more...

Coming soon: SCILT Associates

23 June 2017 (SCILT)

New for session 2017/18, SCILT is compiling a database of partners and stakeholders, including teachers from all sectors, who wish to become associate members of the SCILT team.

Throughout the year, we may contact our associates if we are planning either a project or piece of work where we require additional capacity, expertise or advice.

If you think you might like to work more closely with the team and help us enlarge the 'SCILT family', then please keep your eye on the bulletin at the start of the new session when we will be able to give further information and sign up details.

New approach to SCILT/CISS promotional events

23 June 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT and CISS are currently reviewing their strategy for promotional events. In order to ensure all schools have the opportunity to benefit from our involvement, we are now requesting that you complete an online application form. You will be asked to outline how a promotional event might support your uptake in the senior phase and what other measures you are putting in place to address the Attainment Agenda, National Improvement Framework and Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

Please contact us at SCILT (scilt@strath.ac.uk) in the first instance. An application form will be sent to you once finalised.

1+2 FAQS for practitioners: revised and refreshed

13 June 2017 (SCILT)

Following a wide-ranging consultation with the profession earlier this academic session, our 1+2 FAQs for practitioners have been updated and uploaded to the SCILT website.

Sincere thanks go to all the primary and secondary teachers who took the time to participate in our survey.

If you have any further questions about the 1+2 Approach, please contact scilt@strath.ac.uk.

Read more...

New website dedicated to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

5 June 2017 (ECML)

The CEFR was created in order to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the development of language programmes, curriculum guidelines and teaching/learning materials, as well as to assist the assessment of foreign language proficiency.

The Framework is particularly well-known for its 6-level proficiency scale (A1 < C2), which can be divided into different categories in order to create transparent and coherent language proficiency profiles – a major innovation in the domain of European education.

However the CEFR does not begin and end with the levels, nor is it intended as a standardisation instrument. As a reference tool, its aim is to facilitate transparency and coherence in language education at all levels: curricula, teaching, assessment and teacher education.

The new CEFR website offers a range of different resources, contributed by major European institutions and developed in different research projects and investigations.

Read more...

In an age of Brexit and closing borders we need to embrace multilingualism

2 June 2017 (The Independent)

Being able to speak to people in their own tongue instantly breaks down hostility and broadens the mind. But in the age of Brexit, the acquisition of other languages has become a political act. Andy Martin wonders was there ever a Big Bang moment when we all understood each other?

Read more...

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

31 May 2017 (EIFF)

The programme for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) taking place from 21 June to 2 July 2017 has just been published.

The event will showcase films from 46 countries so there are plenty of opportunities to test your language skills!

For more information about what's on offer, visit the EIFF website.

Read more...

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

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

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

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

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

Date

Event Location

Authorities involved

Tuesday 20 June

Stirling

Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire

Wednesday 21 June

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian


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

Graduate jobs: top 12 degree subjects for getting a job

12 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

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

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

Read more...

The Stephen Spender Prize 2017

9 May 2017 (Stephen Spender Trust)

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

Entry deadline is Friday 26 May 2017.

Visit the website for further information and submission guidelines.

Read more...

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

9 May 2017 (ECML)

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

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

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

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

Read more...

National 5 Modern Languages Course Specification

4 May 2017 (SQA)

SQA has just published the revised National 5 Course Specification.

This document contains important information about the changes to the Performance of Talking and the new Assignment-Writing.

The document can be accessed on the SQA website.

Read more...

Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills 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.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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UCMLS 1+2 action plan published!

25 April 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

Following our final consultation with stakeholders at the national UCMLS conference in Glasgow on 10 March 2017 we have produced our cross-sector Action Plan in support of Scotland's 1+2 language policy, and it is now available online. Click below for more details but please REFRESH THE PAGE to get the latest version of the webpage!
Marion Spöring, UCMLS chair.

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Introduction to Interpreting

25 April 2017 (Heriot-Watt University)

This course, being run by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, is ideal for anyone fluent in a language but with no interpreting techniques.

As a speaker of a second language, do you find yourself in situations at work where you have to act as an interpreter but have had no formal training? Then this course is for you!

Are you a language student considering a career as an interpreter? Come and join us for a taster course and find out what it means to be an interpreter.

The course will run from 3-7 July 2017 in the university's state of the art interpreting facilities.

Visit the website for more information and book your place by 19 June.

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Setting grade standards in A level modern foreign languages

21 April 2017 (UK Government)

Ofqual has today (21 April 2017) announced that it will take action this summer to ensure standards are set appropriately in A level French, German and Spanish.

The decision stems from new research, published by the regulator today, which suggests that awarding should take into account the fact that native language speakers take these subjects. The adjustment to grade standards will be decided in early summer. If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August.

Read more...

Related Links

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers - study (The Guardian, 21 April 2017)

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme

20 April 2017 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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

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

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."

Read more...

Education Scotland Modern Languages newsletter - April 2017

18 April 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages newsletter is now available.

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SQA National 5 Modern Languages webinars

31 March 2017 (SQA)

The SQA is running a series of subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) webinars to help you prepare for the revised National 5 course assessments that are being introduced in session 2017-18. The Modern Languages webinars will take place on Thursday 20 April, Monday 24 April and Thursday 4 May, and will focus on the requirements of the revised assessments.

Further details of the webinars are provided on the SQA's NQ events page. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note also that the content of Modern Languages webinars is the same, and colleagues need only attend one of the three scheduled.

For those unable to secure a place, recordings of the webinars will be published on the SQA website within six weeks of the webinar date. This will be accompanied by a transcript of any questions and answers discussed during the webinars.

Details of published webinars will be provided in SQA Centre News over the coming months.

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Jackie Kay celebrates pupils’ multilingual poetry success

24 March 2017 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of budding young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony in Glasgow. Jackie Kay, Scotland's Makar, presented the prizes.

Primary and secondary students from Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Lothian used their language skills to create and share poetry for this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition. Winners received their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SEC Glasgow on Saturday 11 March 2017 as part of the wider Languages Show Live Scotland event. Their work is published in an anthology.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages which are used by children and young people across Scotland, in school and at home. The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde. Jackie Kay is the patron of the competition.

One teacher said of the event: “Taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition was a very worthwhile endeavour. Pupils really enjoyed creating poems in another language and interesting language based discussions were generated. The emphasis on celebrating all languages from across the globe was a great message to share with pupils and they especially enjoyed mixing their own language with the languages they are learning at school. We will definitely be taking part again next year.”

Whilst one of the pupils summed up their feelings: “I feel happy, proud and special.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, says: “Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a celebration of the many languages that are spoken and learned by children and young people across Scotland. The collection of their poems weaves a rich tapestry of voices that honours cultural diversity and pays testament to the wealth of Scotland’s many languages and cultures. We were delighted to see such a high calibre of entries this year, submitted in 35 different languages. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all who took part in the competition.”

Mother Tongue invites children who do not speak English as a first language to write a poem, rap or song in their mother tongue and share their inspiration. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, ‘Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach’ by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way. The competition provides children who do not have English as their first language an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue.

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. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland, creative writer Juliette Lee and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Details of the winners and the anthology are published on the SCILT website.
MTOT 2016-17 winners with Jackie Kay

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Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks

23 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

The Benchmarks in modern languages provide clarity on the national standards expected from first to fourth curricular level.

They draw together and streamline a wide range of previous assessment guidance (including significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplars) into one key resource to support teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgement of children’s and young people’s progress.

The Benchmarks will also support consistency in teachers’ professional judgements and will help teachers to ensure that young people achieve the pace of progress they need right across the Broad General Education.

The Benchmarks can be accessed on Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub along with Benchmarks exemplification to support practitioners to use the Benchmarks.

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Summary of SQA Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages

23 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 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 full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Lynn Sheppard, Masters Student and travel writer, former English teacher, diplomat and civil servant.

Lynn tells how languages have not only helped in all her diverse job roles, but in developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships around the globe. Language skills have given her a cultural insight into how others think and behave.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read more...

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

14 March 2017 (SCILT)

Thank you to everyone who came to see us at Language Show Live Scotland at the SEC last weekend! It was a fabulous event and great to meet so many teachers, pupils and language professionals and to find out how we can help support you all in learning, teaching and promoting languages. If you left an enquiry with us, we’re currently working our way through these and you should have a response within the next week or two, if you haven’t had one already.

We were so proud of our Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry winners who came along to the event and recited their poems for us on Saturday morning. Thank you so much to the teachers who took this initiative forward in school and of course to all the pupils who took part. We will be uploading the winners’ anthology and photos from the event to the website in due course, so keep watching the bulletin for updates on this.

If you didn’t make it along, our PDO Lynne Jones provides a flavour of the show in this video:

Teachers ‘ill-prepared’ for primary language strategy

14 March 2017 (The Herald)

Teachers have warned an ambitious strategy to expand language learning in Scottish primary schools lacks direction.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said training for school staff was variable and had led to lower confidence levels in some areas.

The criticism centres on the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy under which primary pupils are to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.

The government has argued primaries should incorporate as large a pool of languages as possible, including Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

However, critics say schools and teacher training universities need a much smaller group of languages to focus on to ensure continuity of study and expertise among staff.

In a letter to councils, Andrea Bradley, EIS assistant secretary for education, said information from primary teachers had identified training that was not of a consistently appropriate standard.

She said members had highlighted a “lack of direction” as to which languages would be taught at which stage as well as “variable quality of teachers’ experience of training course delivery”.

She also said there was “inconsistency” in the duration of training courses and therefore inconsistency in “outcomes for our members in terms of their levels of confidence to teach foreign languages”.

She added: “The EIS therefore calls upon all local authorities to work with Scottish Government to address the issues that are raised here, with a view to ensuring coherence of approach and adequate resourcing in order that the worthy aims of the policy can be met.”

The concerns were echoed by Gillian Campbell-Thow, chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching.

Read more...

Related Links

SALT's response to EIS (SALT, 15 March 2017)

SALT schools competition 2017

11 March 2017 (SALT)

There are four categories in this years competition: Primary & BGE, National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher.

The theme is I love Languages Because and students can submit their entries in any format (PowerPoint, poster, song, poem, etc).

Visit the SALT website for further information and to submit entries by 26 May 2017.

Read more...

Pupils celebrate success at multilingual poetry competition

9 March 2017 (Renfrewshire 24)

Six bilingual pupils from Renfrewshire have scooped up awards at a national poetry competition for their creative writing talents.

Of the 14 awards up for grabs through the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition run by SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, six were awarded to pupils from St John Ogilvie Primary School, St James Primary School and Castlehead High School, who had written poetry in their native tongue in order to share their “other voices”.

Renfrewshire EAL (English as an additional language) teachers helped support bilingual pupils to create a collection of poems written in languages such as; Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Punjabi, Catalan, Arabic, Greek, Filipino, Korean and Dutch.

Read more...

From busuu to Babble, language-learning startups adapt to thrive

7 March 2017 (The Guardian)

Language learning is big business. Each year, students coming to study English in the UK contribute £2bn to the economy. It’s also a market suited to the flexibility of mobile learning and, sure enough, language learning apps are seeking to fill the gaps – more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone.

But language tech isn’t an easy space in which to succeed. Rapid changes in technology have meant that its startups have had to adapt to survive, as Bernhard Niesner, co-founder of busuu, can attest.

Originally from Austria, Niesner had always loved languages: he learned Spanish and travelled in Latin America before undertaking an MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid. There he met Adrian Hilti, originally from Switzerland. It was 2008, Facebook was expanding rapidly, and the two wondered if they could combine technology and learning a language with social media.

So busuu, named after a Cameroonian language, was born, teaching users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.

Read more...

“My language learning hurdles” competition

3 March 2017 (Open University)

Make a short video explaining what you consider your biggest hurdles to language learning and you could win up to £150 in Amazon UK gift vouchers.

We want to hear what you find most difficult about language learning, especially when you start learning a new language. We are looking for well thought-out answers with specific examples of your language learning experience, or maybe good one-liners that showcase some of the difficulties that you have faced in the following areas:
  1. Your motivation for learning a new language
  2. Managing your expectations when starting to learn a new language
  3. Coping with grammar and grammatical terminology
  4. Creating (and sticking to) a learning routine
  5. Practising speaking (as a beginner)
  6. Listening (as a beginner)
  7. Learning vocabulary (as a beginner)
  8. Reading (as a beginner)
  9. Writing (as a beginner)
  10. Finding, evaluating and selecting resources to support learning for beginners
  11. Immersing yourself in the language when not in an area where it is spoken
  12. Getting support from others (including online communities
  13. Keeping your motivation going in the medium to long term
Your video must cover only one of these areas, but you are welcome to submit a video for each of the topics that are relevant to you.

Your video must be no longer than 30 seconds and must be in English.

Visit the Open University website to find out more and how to submit your entry by 17 March 2017.

Read more...

Just 1 Week Until Doors Open on Language Show Scotland 2017!

3 March 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow.

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 week away and new performances are still being announced every day, with salsa classes and an additional Gaelic introduction class added today! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more! Take advantage of our pre-show discount on our Language Plus Classes too. These two hour intensive classes are the only thing at the event that we charge for as we bring in some of the world’s top teachers and charge just £18 for the full two hours. Don’t miss out!

Visit the Language Show Live website today!

Read more...

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

24 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

There's still time to get your tickets for this year's Language Show Live Scotland event at the SEC, Glasgow!

The event, dedicated to language teaching and learning, is just a fortnight away and all programme details, teaching seminars and language classes are now live online. Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content.

For full programme details and to register, visit the Language Show Live website. Don't miss out!

Read more...

Do we need modern language graduates in a globalised world?

23 February 2017 (THE)

Six academics offer their views on the state of language learning in a populist climate.

Read more...

Time to listen to teens on language learning

21 February 2017 (Scholastic blog)

For far too long it seems that media columns have been filled with reports of declining interest of British teenagers in modern foreign languages (MFL).

Take the figures published last summer. The number of children studying French to A-level has fallen by around 50 per cent in eight years to fewer than 10,000. Only around 3,800 youngsters took German. There was also a fall in those studying Spanish, which had previously bucked the anti-languages drift.

The government replied that it has been encouraging pupils to take languages, mainly through the English Baccalaureate – the wrap-around qualification which requires pupils to sit a range of certain GCSEs including a language.

But the problems don’t end there. More university language departments are facing closure if student recruitment continues to decline, and the key problem facing language courses is the drop in the number of students sitting the relevant A-levels that are required for entry. And there is a shortage of MFL teachers.

This ought to worry us – even more so as we head towards Brexit. It has been estimated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages that our failure to communicate in anything other than English costs Britain up to £50 billion a year in lost trade. Declining numbers of MFL students have led to calls for a joined up strategy where the full contribution of languages to the economy and society is realised, with the National Association of Head Teachers particularly vocal.

Read more...

Language Rights Need to be at the Center of Global Policy

20 February 2017 (Diplomatic Courier)

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

More than 50 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 percent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the promotion of education for all and the development of knowledge societies are central to UNESCO’s work. But they are not possible without broad and international commitment to promoting multilingualism and linguistic diversity, including the preservation of endangered languages.

While the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has signed an agreement with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure global citizenship and sustainable development education, the persistent marginalization of mother languages worldwide is threatening Goal 4 of the UN for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Agenda 2030 includes seven targets in Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The seventh target – Goal 4.7 – obliges the international community to ensure that in the next 15 years “all learners (would) acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

UNESCO relates global citizenship to the empowerment of learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.

But the chances that Goal 4.7 would be achieved are rather bleak unless adequate steps are taken urgently. The reason can be deduced from some important data released by the UNESCO on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21.

Read more...

Agenda: So much to be gained from young people learning modern languages

12 February 2017 (Sunday Herald)

Does language learning have a place in the Scottish curriculum? Yes. Are modern languages and their teachers under pressure in secondary schools? Yes. Has there been a better opportunity for promoting language learning in our schools ? No.

Language learning has a vital place in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) on a learner journey from 3-18 but in a manner that does not see it as the preserve of the secondary school.

It has always baffled me that traditionally in Scotland, given its place in Europe, we started language learning so late in a child’s development.

The earlier we expose children to learning languages, the better their chance is of seeing this as something that is just part of their culture.

From a child development point of view, there’s much research to confirm that children are more receptive educationally and emotionally to language learning from an early age.

They soak it up and acquire language skills at a great pace. We know that bilingualism not only helps the cognitive development of the child but also that children who are in bilingual education such as Gaelic Medium Education also attain and achieve at least as well as, in many cases better, than their monoglot peers. They are fluent in two languages and are learning a third by the age of 11. In addition, there is another plus to early exposure to acquiring additional languages; most parents like it, understand it and support schools that promote it.

The Scottish Government-led 1+2 languages programme is a long-term policy commitment started in 2011 due to run until 2021, aimed at making it normal for all children and young people in Scotland to learn languages from primary one.

Read more...

New Content Announcement for Language Show Scotland 2017!

10 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 month away and the teaching seminar, TEFL forum and language class line ups have all been announced and are now live online! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more!
Language Show Live Scotland logo

Read more...

UCML and others send Brexit letter

10 February 2017 (UCML)

This letter has been written by a number of heads of UK modern languages and linguistics subject associations, including UCML, and endorsed by several others. It will be sent to the media and a number of leading UK politicians.

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary

 

Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary

 

Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary

 

Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew

 

 

Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)

 

St James’ Renfrew

 

Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3

Winner

Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High

 

Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s

 

Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6

Winner(s)

Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary

 

 

Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

 

Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy

 

Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s

 

Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Join the EOL network

9 February 2017 (ECML)

Do you feel passionate about the learning and teaching of languages? Do you believe that your learners will benefits from acquiring language skills? Would you like to improve your school environment in relation to language teaching and learning? Are you interested in working with the ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) of the Council of Europe?

Then why not join the EOL network? The EOL project team is delighted to work with all stakeholders in education in order to develop learning environments where modern languages flourish. More than 40 schools are already involved in the EOL project.

To find out more about the project and to join, visit the ECML website.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

New and inclusive!

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Content for the ‘Languages for all’ area of our website is now up. The blog has launched. Pointers to professional learning opportunities are there. Links to relevant materials already on SCILT are listed.

We promise even more to come in the months ahead, so check back regularly for updates.

We’re also very interested to hear your comments about your experiences of inclusive practice in languages. To contact the group, please email SCILT or tweet @Lynne_SCILT using the hashtag #langs4all.

Read more...

Rescuing and reviving the curriculum is not enough to restore modern foreign languages to their rightful position

28 January 2017 (TES)

It's not enough to grandstand the fact that languages have been introduced at primary school and leave it at that, writes this veteran journalist.

I can remember my first German lesson at school only too clearly.

The first two phrases that I was taught were "Mutti bleibt zu hause" and "Vater geht zu arbeit". For the uninitiated, that means "mother stays at home" and "father goes to work". 

Apart from giving a rather forlorn view of the state of society in the early 1960's, it also shows how mind-bogglingly dreary were the German textbooks of the day.

Read more...

Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!

10TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 6:00PM GLASGOW SECC
11TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 5:30PM GLASGOW SECC

Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo

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Cuts forcing schools to axe language and science exams

19 January 2017 (The Herald)

Schools are having to cut the number of subjects they offer to pupils as a direct result of cuts, teachers’ leaders have warned.

An education union said current budgetary pressures meant courses such as extra languages and sciences could not run unless at least ten pupils were interested.

The concerns were raised at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee which is examining the roll-out of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) reforms.

Read more...

Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.

Read more...

United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad 2017

17 January 2017 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The UK Olympiad also enters at least one team in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) for 2017 will soon get underway with round 1 taking place from 6-10 February.

If you are interested in finding out more about the competition and registering your school to take part, visit the UKLO website.

Read more...

Regional Cross-Sector Hub Meetings, Round 2

13 January 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

UCMLS (University Council for Modern Languages Scotland) is again holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings during January and February.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with university colleagues to discuss current and future collaborative events in support of the Scottish Government's 1+2 language policy. Comments will feed into the UCMLS cross -sector action plan in support of 1+2, due to be launched on Friday 10 March 2017 at Glasgow City Chambers.

  • Central Hub: Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-11.30, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Room 2G13 (Registrations for the Central Hub meeting have now closed but if you wish to attend please send an email to m.m.g.sporing@dundee.ac.uk)
  • North Hub: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 4-5.30 pm, University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Top Floor, Room 1. Please register by 25 January
  • West Hub: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 5-6.30 pm, City of Glasgow College, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Meet in Cafe Zero. Please register by 27 January
  • East Hub: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2-4 pm, Open University, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. Room tbc. Registration will open once room details have been confirmed so please look out for the update!

How to save MFL? Paint a brighter global future…

6 January 2017 (TES)

As students flee modern foreign languages in droves, Alistair McConville says that we should stop talking about the earning potential of subjects and instead appeal to pupils’ youthful sense of social empathy – especially at a time of political upheaval around the world.

The full article can be accessed on TES online, 6 January 2017 (subscription required).

Read more...

SQA Course Reports

15 December 2016 (SQA)

SQA has now published the Modern Languages course reports for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

These contain helpful information on candidate performance in the 2017 examinations as well as providing invaluable advice to centres. Teachers may find the information particularly useful in the run up to prelims.

To access the reports for all Modern Languages visit the SQA website and choose National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher.

The course reports can be found under the tab Verification and Course Reports at the bottom of the page.

SCILT will summarise the key messages and publish them on the website early in the New Year.

Read more...

1+2 languages Development Officers’ conference

15 December 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland, SCILT and UCMLS ran a joint DO conference on Tuesday 29 November with a focus on sharing good practice in implementation strategies for 1+2 languages.

The morning session was given over to a presentation by Professor Angela Scarino, University of South Australia, architect of the Australian languages policy. You can now view Professor Scarino's presentation online.

Read more...

UCMLS - Second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings

15 December 2016 (SCILT / UCMLS)

We are holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings in January/February where we are seeking your views in preparation for the UCMLS action plan in support of the 1+2 language policy (Launch date: 10 March, in Glasgow!).

Dates for Central and North Hub are already decided, those for East and West Hub will be announced in the New Year.

First up, though is the Central Hub meeting, which will be held at the University of Dundee (Dalhousie, Room 2G13) on Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-12 (Registration from 9.30). The North Hub meeting will be at the University of Aberdeen, on Wednesday 1 February (Library, top floor).

Please check for updates on the SCILT website.

Read more...

Learning a second language still matters

10 December 2016 (Times Higher Education)

The Brexit vote sent shock waves through the UK’s modern languages community.

Already shaken by the closure of modern languages departments at the universities of Ulster and Northumbria, a continuing downward trend in undergraduate enrolments, and the loss of Higher Education Funding Council for England funding for the Routes Into Languages programme, the vote seemed to many to be symptomatic of a lack of understanding of the value of languages both nationally and internationally.

Part of the problem derives from the widespread misconception that speaking English is enough and that monolingualism is the norm.

Read more...

The best places to study for a degree in Europe

8 December 2016 (The Guardian)

Studying abroad is a fun way to grow up. You travel. You meet new people. You get out of your comfort zone. It shows you’re willing to get out, leave your home town, and go see the world. 

As it stands, some European countries enable Brits to study without paying tuition fees or incurring anywhere near as much debt as they would in the UK. Living costs can also be cheap. Many learn a new language and experience a different teaching style. Some stay on and find jobs. Others fall in love and life takes a different direction altogether. Whatever comes of it, studying in Europe is worth considering. Here’s a roundup of our top destinations.

Read more...

A map showing how many foreign languages children study at school in different European countries

3 December 2016 (The Independent)

Learning foreign languages is key to getting ahead. The UK used to be much better teaching languages in schools, but in recent years we've been outdone by our fellow Europeans.

Recently data from Eurostat was transformed into a map by linguist and cartographer Jakub Marian.

Based on their most recent data from 2013, it shows what European countries teach foreign languages to their young populations.

Read more...

SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

2 December 2016 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!

Read more...

Arabic? Polish? Dutch? Your views on the languages schools should teach

1 December 2016 (The Guardian)

What languages should we teach children in schools, and why? The question came to the fore on Monday after the Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło, called on Theresa May to introduce Polish classes in British schools.

With 831,000 Poles living in Britain – they make up the largest immigrant group in the UK – introducing the language certainly could help communities feel more integrated.

Traditionally in secondary schools in the UK, the most widely taught languages have been French, Spanish and German, according to data from the British Council in collected from 2013 to 2014. In 2010 the government also decided to train 1,000 Mandarin teachers to work in secondary schools in England thanks to China’s increasing influence on the global economy.

How should we select languages for the curriculum? Should we choose those that are spoken the most in Britain? What languages have been most helpful to you? We asked our readers these questions and this is what they said.

Read more...

Making teaching more conversational could help tackle languages crisis

18 November 2016 (TES)

Foreign language teachers should teach more commonly used words and conversational subject matter to engage pupils in their subjects, a report published today recommends.

The Teaching Schools Council argues that such changes would help more students persist in studying foreign languages, which the research described as being in “crisis” beyond GCSE.

The council's Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review report points out that fewer than half of pupils take a GCSE in a language. It recommends that the "vast majority of young people" should study a modern foreign language up to age 16 and take a GCSE in it.

The report, designed to provide advice for secondary school languages teachers, suggests some language teaching uses vocabulary that is too specialised because it sticks with set themes, such as "free-time activities" and the "environment".

Read more...

'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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

News Exclusive: The Arsenal Double Club

14 November 2016 (Arsenal Football Club)

With a total of seven languages in his armoury, Petr Cech is by far the most lingual member of Arsenal’s squad, now that Mikel Arteta, conversant in nine tongues, has left the club. Earlier this year, Steve Eadon, Languages coordinator for the Arsenal Double Club, interviewed Cech about his experience with languages.

“Before I do these interviews, I have a little time with the players off camera,” explains Steve, who has also interviewed Hector Bellerin and Gabriel on the same subject. “I asked Petr how many of these languages he is actually fluent in. He said that he was fluent in all of them. So we tested him and, needless to say, he was telling the truth!”

Cech voluntarily learned Spanish and Portuguese when he arrived at Chelsea due to the proliferation of Spanish and Portuguese speaking players in the Blues’ defence. Cech revealed earlier this year that he uses three different languages to communicate with the Arsenal defence.

Read more...

Make Time for Languages! - International Education Week 2016

8 November 2016 (British Council)

A reminder that this year's International Education Week (IEW), taking place from 14-18 November, has a focus on languages.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the British Council's IEW website.

Read more...

Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Interactive map reveals the cost of mastering the world’s top 20 languages

3 November 2016 (Daily Mail)

Whether it’s the winter weather or the global political flux that has set your wanderlust in motion, it’s hard to resist the idea of one day living overseas.

Indeed some 323,000 Brits left the UK for foreign climes last year, but if you’re tempted to pack up and book a ticket, it’s worth considering the cost and time it takes to learn a new language, because it's more than you think.

An interactive map of the world's top 20 languages has revealed that Mandarin is the most expensive language to learn, averaging £66,035 to become fluent. Francophiles will be delighted to discover that French is the easiest language to grasp - taking just 550 hours and £14,000 to learn.

Read more...

Business Brunches 2017

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

For the third year in succession SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events across Scotland in January and February 2017. These will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education.

Registration is now open for the Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen events. (Edinburgh and Inverness will open soon).

To find out more and to register by 21 November, visit our Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

Read more...

Erasmus+ 2017 deadlines announced

21 October 2016 (Erasmus+)

All the deadlines and information on the types of activities you can apply for are contained in the 2017 Call for Proposals document and the 2017 Programme Guide both of which you can download from the Key Resources page of our website. The Call for Proposals is an overview document containing all the deadlines for 2017, while the Programme Guide contains all the detailed information on how to apply for Erasmus+ funding. You will need to read both documents when planning an application.

Read more...

'It's a crying shame': teachers on scrapped A-level subjects

21 October 2016 (The Guardian)

There has been an outcry this week over minority A-levels that are being cut from the curriculum, with news that archeology and history of art will no longer be offered to sixth-form students.

Suzanne O’Farrell, Curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders discussed modern languages.

O’Farrell fell in love with languages at school. She studied French and German at A-level, then at degree level and went on to teach modern languages in schools for 28 years. This year her son started his A-levels but there was no longer an option to study either French or German. Now she’s trying to teach him herself.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Our Europe - film competition for schools

12 October 2016 (SEET)

Our Europe 2016-17 is now open for registration!

The film-making competition for S3-S6 pupils is an annual competition run by the Scottish European Educational Trust. Teams of 4 design a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make based on the competition theme. This year the topic is global citizenship, specifically addressing one of the following themes:

  • Travel and Leisure
  • Migration and welcome
  • Trade

As always, films must include the use of at least one language other than English. This year any and all languages will be accepted in entries. All teams have to do is put their ideas into a storyboard and send them to SEET by 8 December 2016.

For more information, visit SEET's Our Europe competition website.

Read more...

Brexit: Scheme extended to encourage foreign language take up

8 October 2016 (BBC News)

Addressing a serious decline in the number of Welsh pupils learning foreign languages is "urgent" following the Brexit vote, an academic has warned.

There were 700 A-level language entries in 2015 compared with 1,152 in 2009.

A scheme, which sees university students mentoring secondary school pupils, is being extended after making a "clear impact" on class numbers.

Professor Claire Gorrara said the scheme was more important than ever after the Brexit vote.

The Cardiff University professor, who leads the project, said it had led to improvements to the 28 schools involved in the pilot across Wales.

Read more...

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #2

7 October 2016 (University of Cambridge Research)

In the second of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr Heather Inwood, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture, argues that Britain needs to improve its language skills to build trade relations and break through cultural divides.

Read more...

Related Links

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #1 (University of Cambridge Research, 26 September 2016)

How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Language Ambassadors Programme

6 October 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

Now in its 5th year, the Language Ambassadors Programme is offering visits to Secondary or Primary schools (and other formats too). As Language Ambassadors we will talk about our varied experiences as language learners and do our best to encourage your pupils to follow in our footsteps…

Motivation, experiences abroad, transition to First year at university, job prospects, university courses… This is what we can tell them about.

Boost your young learners’ motivation, invite us in!

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website and to organise a visit, simply contact: Cédric Moreau, c.moreau@strath.ac.uk.

Language Ambassadors at Strathclyde photo

Read more...

Celebrate National Poetry Day!

6 October 2016 (SCILT)

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is 'Messages'. To mark the occasion we've created our own triolet poem in French on this theme.

You can see the poem on the National Poetry Day webpage of our MTOT website. We hope it will provide some inspiration for those taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Scotland! There are lots of other poetry resources on our website too. So take a look and get creative!

Read more...

European Day of Languages - SCILT blog

30 September 2016 (SCILT)

How did you celebrate the European Day of Languages 2016? Visit our EDL 2016 blog to hear how schools used cooking, bingo, green screens and Eurovision to celebrate the linguistic diversity of Europe this year!

If you would like to feature in our EDL blog then send some colourful photos and a description of your activities to scilt@strath.ac.uk.

Read more...

SQA news

29 September 2016 (SQA)

The following news items from the SQA may be of interest to language teachers:

Removal of Higher exemplar question papers

Exemplar question papers (EQPs) were created as a revision resource for learners during implementation of the new Higher and Advanced Higher National Qualifications. As we now have two years' worth of past papers for new Higher as well as a specimen question paper for each subject with an exam, the EQPs will be removed from SQA's open website in the week commencing 24 October 2016. Associated guidance documents and guidance on the use of past papers documents will also be removed at this time.

The Advanced Higher EQPs and associated guidance will remain for session 2016-17 and will be removed from the website in July 2017.

Marker opportunities 2017

Are you an enthusiastic and committed teaching professional looking for a new challenge? Do you want to gain valuable insight that will benefit your students? SQA markers are at the heart of our examination operations, gaining valuable insight into assessment and quality assurance processes.

We are currently recruiting markers across all subjects and levels for the 2017 examinations.

Please note that applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience at the level they wish to mark.  Find out more about becoming an SQA marker.

European Day of Languages - ideas and blog

23 September 2016 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages takes place on Monday 26th September and we're delighted that so many schools around the country are celebrating this year. If you need any last minute inspiration for your class there are lots of ideas and links on the SCILT EDL webpage.

Let us know how you celebrate we will feature you in our EDL 2016 blog. If you include some colourful photos your article could even appear in our next newsletter!

Read more...

Languages 'Beyond School'

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies checks out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

Read more...

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!

Read more...

ALL Language Teacher of the Year Awards 2017

5 September 2016 (ALL)

Calling all head teachers, heads of department, language coordinators and ALL primary hub leaders!

Do you know a very special primary or secondary language teacher?

If you know a teacher who inspires pupils through superb teaching and supports colleagues by sharing their expertise and ideas, then why not nominate them for an Association for Language Learning (ALL) Language Teacher of the Year Award 2017?

Now open to teachers throughout the UK.

Visit the ALL website for full details and submit your nomination by Friday 21 October 2016.

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 launch!

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

We're delighted to announce the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and are thrilled to welcome the new Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, as the competition's patron.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category.

We are in the process of finalising poetry workshops for teachers, which will take place towards the end of September/beginning of October. Further details will follow soon.

In the meantime, you can find out more about this year's competition and previous events on our MTOT website and register your school to take part!

Read more...

European Day of Languages 2016

19 August 2016 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2016 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL2016 blog.

Read more...

New SCILT/CISS Professional Learning Menus for 2016-17

10 June 2016 (SCILT / CISS)

It’s Launch Day! The brand new professional learning menus for SCILT and CISS are out now!

The focus of both CLPL menus is on supporting teachers and making connections between languages and other high profile aspects of Scottish education such as the Developing Young Workforce, raising attainment and parental engagement agendas.

As always, our CLPL comes to local authorities for no charge. Nada, zilch, gratis!

There are both sector specific and cross-sector workshop options to choose from. In addition, we are also happy to develop bespoke inputs to match your particular professional learning needs, just get in touch.

Don’t hang about though! Bookings have already started coming in and calendars at SCILT and CISS are filling up fast. Please contact scilt@strath.ac.uk with your request in writing.

P.S. Remember to keep a look out on the bulletin for other professional learning opportunities that will be taking place at SCILT HQ and on Glow during the year. If you don't already receive our weekly e-bulletin, make sure you don't miss out on updates and subscribe now!

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MOOC: Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

3 June 2016 (Future Learn)

This free 3-week online course, commencing 13 June 2016, will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages.

In week 3 you can hear about the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition, where school pupils are invited to express themselves either in the language they speak at home or in one they are learning at school, and which will be run again in Scotland by SCILT in the new term.

For more information about the course and to enrol, visit the Future Learn website.

Read more...

SQA Modern Languages update - May 2016

31 May 2016 (SQA)

The SQA has recently published their National Qualification update for Modern Languages.

Read more...

The benefits of teaching languages outdoors

24 May 2016 (Innovate my school)

In the beginning, human beings were not designed to spend hours each day surrounded by brick walls. They were naturally programmed for survival, for the great outdoors with its unpredictability, and each day provided naturally occurring learning opportunities which were a necessity if our ancient ancestors were to survive. 

[..] Combining language learning with being outside, enjoying nature and teaching the use of natural resources and the local environment around learners makes for a stimulating, enriching opportunity. This is relevant to the context of a school or community, and which can be developed and linked to a much wider global context. One very effective way to do this in Scotland, and beyond, is by combining language learning with the John Muir Award.

Read more...

The value of languages: Ideas for a UK strategy for languages

23 May 2016 (UCML)

What value should we put on languages in the UK? Why do they actually matter (if the world is learning English...)? What strategies do we need as a country in respect of languages? This excellent report draws out some of the current evidence, illustrated by excellent case-studies and then makes several strong recommendations about a way forward.

The report, published in May 2016, follows the high level cross-departmental workshop held in autumn 2015 which brought together language academics, lobbyists and civil servants and was chaired by Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Languages.

Read more...

University guide 2017: league table for modern languages & linguistics

23 May 2016 (The Guardian)

Use the Guardian's 2017 league table of modern languages and linguistics taught at UK universities to help with course choices.

A link to the guide can also be found on the Beyond School area of the SCILT website under the Language courses, UK universities section.

Read more...

Film producer aims to raise questions about language in the classroom

11 May 2016 (The Herald)

There are 72 indigenous languages spoken in Zambia. In the classroom, however, pupils are taught in none of them. As a new Scottish film, The Colours of the Alphabet, reveals, English is the language of education in the country.

Current estimates suggest that nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language. It is a problem that is increasingly felt in Scotland too as the country becomes increasingly multicultural.

In Zambia, the film’s Scottish producer Nick Higgins points out, teaching in English is something of a colonial hangover. It also is a result of an impoverished education system that can’t afford to produce material in indigenous languages. But he hopes the film will also raise questions about our own attitudes towards language in schools in Scotland and beyond.

Read more...

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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The Languages Trends Survey 2016

18 April 2016 (British Council / Education Development Trust)

Teachers have expressed 'deep concerns' about the current state of language learning in schools in England, according to a new report from the British Council and Education Development Trust.

The Language Trends Survey 2016 - now in its fourteenth year - identifies numerous challenges currently facing language teaching in England and highlights that teachers and school leaders see the exam system as one of the principal barriers preventing its successful development.

[...]The Language Trends Survey 2015/16 is the 14th in a series of annual research exercises, charting the state of language teaching and learning in schools in England. The research is based on an online survey completed by teachers in 492 state secondary schools, 556 state primary schools and 132 independent secondary schools across the country. This year, case studies from both primary and secondary schools have been included to provide a more detailed picture of what is happening on the ground.

Read more...

Stem and languages specialists 'more likely to go to top universities'

29 March 2016 (TES)

A level students focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects or languages are more likely to go to Russell Group institutions, according to research.

And the study finds that students who specialised in "applied" or "expressive" subjects – such as accounting, law, music and performing arts – were more likely to go on to study at less prestigious newer universities.

Read more...

FREE! Euro 2016 challenge for secondary schools

16 March 2016 (Arsenal Double Club)

In celebration of the European Championships in France this summer, the Arsenal Double Club team are launching an exciting, free-to-enter language challenge for all UK secondary schools.

The challenge is to create a language activity for primary school children aged 9-11, in a language of your choice, about any aspect of France or French culture.

The best overall group, as decided by the judges, will receive the Arsenal Double Club Euro 2016 trophy and have their language activity adapted and published as an official Arsenal Double Club teaching material!

This competition is open to all UK secondary schools and you do not need to be an existing Double Club school to participate.

Deadline for entries is 6pm on Tuesday 10 May 2016.

Visit the Arsenal Double Club website for more information and how to register to take part.

Read more...

Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2015-16 finale!

15 March 2016 (SCILT)

Our Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition came to its finale at the Languages Show Live at the SECC, Glasgow on Saturday 12 March. Pupils, parents and teachers celebrated the children’s creativity at the event which gave the opportunity for the children and young people to perform their poems to the audience.

The event drew in a huge audience, with passers-by stopping to also hear their poetry and see them being presented with trophies and prizes from Atta Yaqub, SFA Equity Officer and actor, and Juana Adcock, bilingual poet and translator. The MTOT 2015/16 anthology was also launched, with children and teachers taking home copies containing their wonderful poems.

With over 400 children participating, the hardest task was to decide upon our winners and highly commended entries from each category. Our award winners are as follows:

Category

Name

School

Mother Tongue

 

 

P1 - 3 (Winner)

Simon Paulicek (Czech)

St Paul’s, Shettleston

P1 - 3  (Highly Commended)

Emili Harris (German)

Preston Street Primary

P4 – 6 (Winner)

Daniel Homstol (Norwegian)   

Bishopton  Primary

P4 – 6  (Highly Commended)

Milmante Dzisevic (Russian)

St Fergus  Primary

P4 – 6 (Highly Commended)

Andras Poszmik (Hungarian)

St Anne’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Weronika Jargielo (Polish)

Douglas Academy

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Blanka Szopa (Polish)

St Paul’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Nina Bourdarias (French)

Inveralmond Community High

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Keren Mingole  (BSL)

St Roch’s Secondary

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Solange Becquart (French)

Ellon Academy

Senior (Winner)

Lin Meng  (Mandarin)

Ellon Academy

 

 

 

Other Tongue

 

 

P1 – 3 (Winner)

Freya Mole (BSL)

Preston Street Primary

P4 - 6 (Winner)

Khadidja Chaher (French)

Netherlee Primary

P4 - 6 (Highly Commended

Avelon Mungersdorf (French)

St Ninian’s Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Ailbhe Murphy (Gaelic) 

Glasgow Gaelic School

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Maggie Lawson (French)

Douglas Academy

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Gregor Murray (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Aimee Campbell (French)

Inveralmond CHS

Senior (Winner)

Ronan McCart (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior (Highly Commended)

Eleanor Pain (Italian)

George Heriot’s School

 

Once we have published photographs from the day and the on-line version of the anthology, we will post via the weekly e-bulletin.  If you don't already receive the news bulletin you can sign-up to receive this each Friday during term time.

SCILT at Language Show Live

10 March 2016 (SCILT)

We’ll be at Language Show Live Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow for the 2-day celebration of all things languages this weekend, so if you’re attending come and see us at stand 432. Our CISS colleagues will be based at stand 440 and we’re also running a number of seminars over the course of the event.

See the Language Show Live website for more information. Hope to see you there!

Read more...

Last chance to book your ticket for Language Show Scotland

9 March 2016 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s largest language event opens this weekend at 10am! Join us for an incredible celebration of languages and save time on arrival by registering for your ticket now.

At Language Show Live Scotland you’ll find a wealth of language resources, expert advice and networking opportunities to help your professional development.

Top reasons to attend:

  • The best language companies exhibiting on the main show floor
  • Over 30 free CPD certified seminars
  • 1+2 Primary Hub supported by SCILT and Goethe Institut
  • Careers Zone and CV Clinic
  • Gaelic & Scots Festival
  • Networking opportunities

All this and much more on your doorstep this 11-12 March. And here's the best bit: it’s all FREE to attend!

Don't delay! Register in advance for free entry tickets and avoid the queues on the day.

Language Show Live Scotland will take place at the SECC in Glasgow. Visit www.languageshowlive.co.uk/scotland for more information.

Read more...

Language Show Live Scotland opens next week!

3 March 2016 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s largest language event opens next week at the SECC in Glasgow and will bring you the best suppliers and speakers from the language industry all under one roof.

Start planning your visit in advance to make the most of your time at the show. Here’s a few of the highlights we've picked out to get you started: 

  • ‘1+2: A National Overview’ with Louise Glen, Education Scotland 
  • ‘Contextualising Learning in the Broad General Education’ with Julie-Anne Mckenzie, SCILT 
  • ‘Is your Primary Language Teaching Effective?’ with Juliet Park, Yewlands Academy 
  • ‘Using School Partnerships to Support Languages’ with Kate Walker, British Council

This is just a taster of what’s on offer at Language Show Live Scotland. Browse our full seminar programme and discover all the other inspirational sessions we’ve planned.

This is a unique opportunity to meet national and international top industry experts all in one place in Glasgow. Don’t wait any longer and register today to receive your FREE ticket.

Read more...

Let’s talk about wider cultural dialogue

25 February 2016 (THE)

In the very near future, the Arts and Humanities Research Council will announce the large projects that it will finance over the next four years as part of its Open World Research Initiative.

The scheme seeks to provide “a new and exciting vision for languages research in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by a globalized research environment”. While the individual projects will no doubt be excellent, they will also address a range of broader issues at the heart of the study of modern languages today.

In common with any other subject, modern languages needs to articulate a strong sense of what it stands for (especially considering the national decline in its provision) and why it is important. Equally, in an age that is increasingly defined as post-national and mobile, all research and teaching must confront the reality of globalisation. If one works on a European culture – and I write as an Italianist – then one has, more and more, to explain its relevance in global terms.

Read more...

1+2 Primary Hub, free seminars and much more at Scotland’s largest language event

24 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

It’s not long now until Language Show Live Scotland opens its doors to Glasgow. Don't miss this incredible celebration of languages and register in advance to secure your free ticket.

Stop by the 1+2 Primary Hub where practitioners from SCILT and the Goethe Institut will be on hand to give you advice on the new 1+2 approach for language learning and delivering languages at primary level.

Elsewhere on the show floor you’ be able attend over 30 free seminars and workshops and be inspired by top industry experts. Plus attend language classes, watch cultural performances and meet the best language suppliers over two days of insight and inspiration from the best in the business.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity and register today for your FREE ticket.

11-12 March • SECC, Glasgow

Language Show Live Scotland 2016: Over 30 free seminars and workshops from top industry experts

18 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

March is just a few weeks away so don’t delay and get your FREE ticket to attend Scotland’s largest language event.

Language Show Live is a unique opportunity to network with colleagues and industry experts while attending educational seminars dedicated to teachers and other language professionals.

Plus you’ll be able to meet the best suppliers from the language world and source the latest products – all under one roof.

Don’t miss out! Register today for your FREE ticket and avoid the queues on the day.

Read more...

International Mother Language Day

17 February 2016 (UNESCO)

International Mother Language Day (21 February) was designated in 1999 by UNESCO and is designed to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The theme of the 2016 International Mother Language Day is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.” 

Find out more on the UNESCO International Mother Language Day website.

Read more...

CPD - Task-based language teaching using ICT

16 February 2016 (UWS - PETALL)

This Continuing Professional Development course will allow language teachers to further develop their knowledge of a range of ICT applications and ICT mediated strategies.

This course is appropriate for teachers of modern foreign languages in primary and secondary
schools in Scotland. 

This course will introduce and explain the principles of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)
with specific reference to the work of Ellis, Willis and Nunan. It will introduce participants to the
EU-funded PETALL project including its background, aims and objectives. Particular focus will be
placed on the samples of good practice that teachers can freely access, download and adapt from
the PETALL project website.

The course will be delivered via two face-to-face sessions on 27 February and 26 March as well as online.

More information is available on the attached flyer.

Language barriers may be consigned to history by earpiece gadget

13 February 2016 (The Independent)

"Language barrier" may be a phrase lost in translation to the next generation.

By 2025, when someone speaks to you in a foreign language, an earpiece will be able instantly to translate their words into your native language, Hillary Clinton’s former innovation advisor Alec Ross has written in The Wall Street Journal.

[...] The earpieces won’t necessarily spell the end of foreign language learning, however.

“I can't imagine a time when we don't value the ability to communicate in languages other than our own”, Mr Ross told The Independent. “But I can't help but think that this will have some kind of impact for the future of foreign language learning. Exactly what, I don't know.”

Read more...

Mind your language! Teacher takes on Government over cuts to foreign language budget

10 February 2016 (Cambridge News)

A petition launched by a Cambridgeshire teacher to save the provision of languages teaching in schools is closing in on its target of 10,000 signatures.

Language teacher Jane Driver is calling on the Government not to cut funding for the Routes into Languages (RiL) organisation, which is due to stop in July.

Ms Driver, of Godmanchester, has said it is vital RiL continues to be funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and her petition has now been signed by 7,500 people.

She said: "Unlike other organisations, they [RiL] work together with schools and teachers to develop collaborative projects aimed at promoting language-learning at GCSE and beyond.

"The ability to speak another language is a skill that is in high-demand by UK businesses, who are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit UK residents with foreign language skills.

"We have a shortage of linguists – businesses are desperate for people with languages. It's not the right time for the government not to re-fund this project."

Read more...

Join thousands of language teachers and professionals next month!

10 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

It’s not long now until Language Show Live Scotland opens its doors to Glasgow this 11-12 March. Don’t miss this brand new language event taking place in the heart of Scotland and celebrate languages with thousands of other language teachers and professionals.

Taking place for the first year in Glasgow, the show will offer over 30 free CPD certified seminars, support and advice from industry experts and over 80 exhibiting companies – all under one roof!

Don’t delay and book your free ticket today at Language Show Live.

For more information and full seminar programme please visit our website.

Read more...

Find inspiration and keep in touch with industry developments - Scotland’s biggest language event • 11-12 March, SECC Glasgow

29 January 2016 (Language Show Live)

Join thousands of other language teachers and find the resources you need to keep up-to-date with this fast-paced industry at Scotland’s biggest language event.

We’ve curated an extensive seminar programme to expand your knowledge, develop new skills and keep you up-to-date with industry changes. Highlights include: 

  • ‘1+2: A National Overview’ with Louise Glen, Education Scotland 
  • ‘Contextualising Learning in the Broad General Education’ with Julie-Anne Mckenzie, SCILT 
  • ‘Using School Partnerships to Support Languages’ with Kate Walker, British Council 
  • ‘Is your Primary Language Teaching Effective?’ with Juliet Park, Yewlands Academy 
  • ‘Exciting Projects to take languages out of the classroom’ with Angela Gallagher-Brett, Routes into Languages

All sessions are free to attend and can be counted towards your CPD as well.

Don’t miss out and register online for free tickets at the Language Show Live Scotland website.

Read more...

Half of schools make big cuts to courses under CfE

22 January 2016 (TESS)

Almost half of Scottish secondaries have significantly narrowed their curriculum at S4, offering just six courses instead of the eight that was typical before the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence, according to figures released today.

Subjects disadvantaged by the new curriculum include languages, business studies, computing, some of the creative and aesthetic subjects, the sciences and social subjects.

See page 6-7 of TESS digital for the full article.  (TES subscription required).

Read more...

Parents can help, but children take a DIY approach to learning language

17 January 2016 (The Conversation)

Parents can help children develop their language. But when it comes to building the linguistic structure that undergirds the language, new research shows that children would rather do it themselves.

Perhaps one of the oldest debates in the cognitive sciences centres on whether children have an inborn faculty of language. This faculty makes it possible for children to learn the language of their community.

Evidence for its existence comes from the richness of the system that language users come to have as compared to the finite set of sentences that any one learner is exposed to.

Read more...

Official - Exams in 'soft' subjects really are easier: Board admits pupils are unfairly marked down in courses such as maths as they discuss overhaul of the grading system

13 January 2016 (Daily Mail)

School pupils studying rigorous subjects like foreign languages and maths at GCSE and A-level are being unfairly marked down with lower exam grades than those taking ‘softer’ subjects, the exams regulator has admitted.

Ofqual is now discussing a complete overhaul of the exam grading system to ensure pupils taking ‘tough’ academic subjects are not losing out when they start applying to university.

For the first time, the regulator’s chiefs have conceded that it is harder to get top grades in maths, science and modern foreign languages than it is in so-called ‘soft’ subjects like art.

Read more...

Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching - free online course

12 January 2016 (FutureLearn)

Registration is now open for this online course commencing 18 April.

This free online course is designed for current and trainee teachers of additional languages. It offers you practical tools, as well as theoretical insights, to best accommodate and meet the needs of students with dyslexia in foreign or second language classes.

The course gives an up-to-date overview of current theoretical knowledge about the nature of dyslexia and how it affects the learning of additional languages.

You will learn about a variety of useful techniques, including recent computer-assisted tools, which you can take into your classroom, to help students with dyslexia in acquiring another language.

Sign up on the FutureLearn website.

Read more...

European Language Gazette (December 2015)

11 January 2016 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available.

The newsletter provides news about the ECML's events, projects and resources, the Language Policy Unit and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe as well as their partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

Access French and English versions of the bulletin on the ECML 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...

Get your free ticket for Language Show Live Scotland

5 January 2016 (Language Show Live)

We are pleased to announce that you can now register for your free ticket to attend Language Show Live Scotland 2016, taking place from 11-12 March at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.

Language Show Live Scotland is your chance to join thousands of language teachers, learners, linguists, translators, interpreters and job seekers who love languages as much as you.

The event will bring together 100 exhibitors, free educational seminars, language classes, live forums, careers advice and cultural performances in an incredible celebration of languages.

Register for free tickets

Read more...

Why these UK school kids love learning languages

29 December 2015 (British Council)

In this video school pupils in the UK share their thoughts about language learning and the benefits it can bring. Actor, Larry Lamb, who is backing the British Council's campaign for Britons to learn a language in 2016 also shares his views.

Read more...

Five ways to welcome refugee pupils to your school

28 December 2015 (TES)

Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, is preparing advice for schools on how to welcome refugees and migrants.

The union’s advice on steps to welcome pupils from refugee families includes learning simple greetings in the pupils' first language.

Read more...

MTOT deadline for submissions – 18 December

15 December 2015 (SCILT)

Last chance to submit entries for this year’s MTOT multilingual poetry competition!  You have until midnight 18 December to get your entries in.

Thanks to all those who have participated. We look forward to seeing all the great work which has been produced and will be in touch again in the New Year once judging has taken place. 

If you still need to submit your pupils’ entries, follow the guidance in the Teacher's Pack within the RESOURCES tab on our MTOT pageOr see the MTOT blog where you can also find submission guidelines.

Read more...

How short films are encouraging more pupils to study languages

13 December 2015 (TES)

Despite huge demand for employees who speak multiple languages (Baroness Jean Coussins, chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, stated in 2014 that the UK economy was losing up to £48 billion worth of contracts each year due to a lack of language skills among employees), fewer students are choosing to pursue MFL subjects at A-level or degree level. How can we turn this around?

The BFI suggests the key may be short films. Over the past two years, the charity has run the Screening Languages project, involving 19 schools, 27 teachers and about 800 students.

Read more...

Govan dementia language project launched

12 December 2015 (BBC)

A new scheme is being launched which helps elderly and vulnerable adults battle dementia by learning foreign languages.

Lingo Flamingo was founded by Robbie Norval who was inspired by his grandmother, who had dementia.

Research has indicated that speaking several languages can delay the onset of dementia, as well as other forms of brain ageing and mental illness. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to help launch the project.

Read more...

MTOT deadline approaching!

10 December 2015 (SCILT)

Entries have been arriving thick and fast in our inboxes here at SCILT. It is fantastic to see the hard-work and enthusiasm of your pupils in a multitude of languages being creative in such a wide variety of themes from football to holidays, memories of family to recent terrorist events in Paris.

Just a reminder that the closing date for entries is 18 December. All the information and documentation you need to enter pupils' work can be found in the Teacher's Pack within the RESOURCES tab on our MTOT page.  Those of you following our MTOT blog can also find submission guidelines there.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2016

9 December 2015 (Scottish Education Awards)

Nominations are open for the Scottish Education Awards 2016!

Categories include:

  • Gaelic Education Award - recognising establishments who provide opportunities for children to develop fluency in the Gaelic language and culture
  • Making Languages Come Alive (primary) - recognising establishments who are working effectively to implement the 1+2 policy for language learning

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for information on all the nomination categories, criteria and to submit your nomination by 15 February 2016.

Read more...

BB is back!

4 December 2015 (SCILT)

Due to popular demand, SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) is delighted to announce that we will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events (formerly Business Breakfast) across Scotland next year! Last chance to register for all events 4 December (except Edinburgh - 10 December)!

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, each event will provide learners with the opportunity to hear from a wide range of dynamic business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth of the success of their organisations and why they compete successfully in a globalised market.
Most importantly, it will give young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the variety of careers and employment opportunities that are open to people who can demonstrate language skills on their CV.

In addition, we will highlight the benefits of offering the SVQ unit 'Building your own Employability Skills' from the Languages for Life and Work Award, because it can be an effective stepping stone for the employability context in National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

To find out more and register interest for these events, visit our Business Brunches 2016 webpage.

Read more...

1+2 - an update

24 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

If you missed Education Scotland's Glow TV event on 18 November supporting the 1+2 approach to language learning you can view the replay now on the Glow TV Watch Again channel.

Please note, a Glow login is required to access the recording.

Read more...

Language Show Live is coming to Scotland!

19 November 2015 (Language Show Live Scotland)

Following the continued success of Europe’s longest running premier language event, hosted in London for the past 27 years, Language Show Live is excited to be opening its doors to Glasgow this 11-12 March at the SECC for two inspirational days packed with free educational seminars, language classes, live forums and cultural performances in an incredible celebration of languages.

Language Show Live Scotland is your chance to join thousands of language teachers, learners, translators, interpreters, linguists and job seekers who love languages as much as you.

Applications for the event programme are now open.

If you’re an experienced speaker and would like to be part of the Language Show Scotland programme click on the link to find out more about the several ways to participate and apply.

The deadline to receive all applications is Sunday 29 November.

Visit the Language Show Live Scotland website for more information about the event.

Read more...

International Education Week 2015

12 November 2015 (British Council)

We know that familiarity with other cultures and modern foreign languages skills are an essential part of preparing young people to work in the increasingly globalised economy - take your work one step further by taking part in International Education Week 2015 (#IEW15) between 16-20 November.

The theme this year is about ‘my international journey’. At the British Council we provide a number of opportunities to support teachers and young people with their international journeys – both inside and outside of the classroom. 

There are plenty of ways you can get involved in International Education Week. Start planning now with our top five activities.  The Homework Challenge contains a range of fun activities such as creating a song in a modern foreign language or trying new cuisines from different cultures.

See the British Council website for more information and use their attached press release template to get your IEW activities covered by the local press.

Read more...

Related Files

Modern Languages: Assessing progress and achievement in significant aspects of learning

6 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published a revised format of the professional learning paper ‘Assessing Progress and Achievement in Modern Languages’ on their website.

The work in progress on significant aspects of learning was reviewed in June and July 2015
in the light of feedback from practitioners, schools and education authorities and in the
context of developments in national education policy. This has led to a number of changes
both in the overarching paper and in each of the papers related to an area of the
curriculum.

Practitioners are encouraged to use this document to support professional dialogue through quality
assurance and moderation activities. It may be used by individuals to inform reflection on practice
and plan for improvement in approaches to supporting learners in their progress and achievement.

Read more...

Human languages could have evolved to suit natural habitats in which they were originally spoken, says study

4 November 2015 (The Independent)

Human languages may have evolved to suit the natural habitats in which they were originally spoken according to a study of the different sounds used in vocal communication around the world.

Languages that originated in the dense forests of tropical regions are more likely to use low-frequency sounds and vowels compared to languages that evolved in more open habitats where high-pitched sounds and consonants are more easily understood, scientists said.

Read more...

SQA National Qualifications Update - Modern Languages

30 October 2015 (SQA)

SQA has published its Course Reports for Modern Languages containing the key messages from the 2014-15 diet.

Read the document on the SQA website.

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...

Availability of past papers for all Modern Languages qualifications

21 October 2015 (SCILT/SQA)

We have been advised by the SQA that there are no plans to remove 'old NQ' materials out with the SQA retention policy. That is that all past paper materials on the site is available for 5 years after the examination - so from now 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 materials are available.

SQA only clears copyright for the years the materials are published and therefore centres should not store materials out with that period.

There has been no specific communication to centres on this matter as there has not been a change to policy or practice.

Past materials can be found on the SQA website.

Read more...