Cultural Diversity


Cultural Diversity

Young Europeans Award

23 October 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Calling all pupils interested in European issues! Take part in the Young Europeans Award and win a trip to Warsaw!

This initiative aims to encourage dialogue and exchange between young people in the 'Weimar Triangle' countries - Germany, France and Poland. For the 2017-18 round, the UK has been invited to take part as a guest country.

Teams of young people from within schools in Germany, France, Poland and the UK are invited to enter the competition (with support from their school) in groups of 6+ by sending in a collaborative creative project of their choice addressing the statement: 'To be or not to be...a European'.

Winning teams will have the opportunity to visit the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Applications should be submitted by 1 March 2018.

To find out more about the initiative and how to take part, visit the UK-German Connection website.

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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.

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European Youth Event (EYE) 2018

11 October 2017 (European Parliament)

There's still time to apply for the third European Youth Event (EYE) which will be taking place 1-2 June 2018 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

EYE provides a unique opportunity for young Europeans, aged between 16 and 30, to make their voices heard and to come up with innovative ideas for the future of Europe.

EYE2018 includes a wide range of activities in English, French and German run under the motto "The plan is to fan this spark into a flame." (Hamilton, My Shot). The activities centre around five main themes:

  • Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
  • Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
  • Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
  • Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
  • Local and global: Protecting our planet

Visit the EYE2018 website for more information. Groups of at least 10 young people who want to take part need to register on the website between October and December 2017.

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eTwinning face to face workshops

10 October 2017 (eTwinning)

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

Applications are now open for teachers from Early Years to Upper Secondary to attend a 2-3 day professional development workshop in Ireland and Spain. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning e-safety to computational thinking, MFL, history and culture.

Visit the website to find out more and apply by 16/19 October 2017 respectively.

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2017-18 Tianjin Scholars Blogs now live

6 October 2017 (CISS)

The first blog entries from a number of Tianjin Scholars are now available to read on the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools website.

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Glasgow named one of the top cities in the world to learn about Chinese language and culture

20 September 2017 (Glasgow Live)

Glasgow is officially home to a world leader in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS) has been appointed a Model Confucius Institute by the global headquarters, Hanban.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is one of only 40 facilities out of 500 across the globe to be given the status.

Bosses have also announced the institute, which is open to people from all over the country, is set for a move to a new HQ at the university's Ramshorn Theatre.

The Grade A-Listed building is being given a £2 million refurbishment - which includes a substantial investment by Hanban - to develop it as a publicly-accessible hub for learning and cultural exchange.

The new premises will have the capacity to host performances, conferences and exhibitions.

A plaque marking the new status of the institute was unveiled at a conference attended by Scottish Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK, was also a keynote speaker at the event, held to mark the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Institute.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “As a leading international university, we are extremely proud of our academic links around the globe and our diverse student and staff community.

“This prestigious accolade for our Confucius Institute reflects the important role it plays in improving understanding of Chinese language and culture across Scotland, and we congratulate everyone involved on their fantastic achievement.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Institute’s move to its new headquarters on campus will enable even more schools, businesses and community groups to benefit from increased educational and economic opportunities, with a further 10 Confucius Classroom Hubs being announced today.”

Read more...

Related Links

China bolsters Confucius Institute culture scheme in Scotland (The Times, 20 September 2017)

Confucius Hub opens at Braehead Primary (Stirling Council, 21 September 2017)

Magical Christmas Trips deadline reminder: 26 September

19 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

There's still time to apply to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip to Germany this year!

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved: either by applying to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection or by applying for funding to run your own Christmas visit to a partner school anywhere in Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to apply by 26 September 2017.

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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.

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Six ways to build a supportive, language-rich EAL community

28 August 2017 (TES)

Supporting EAL students is personal to this assistant headteacher. Here she gives her six tips to ensure these students – and their families – get the right assistance.

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Bring the world into your school

24 August 2017 (British Council)

We offer many ways to help enhance learning and teaching in schools in Scotland. Raising attainment, building literacy and numeracy, and helping bridge the attainment gap are high on the schools agenda. An international dimension can be motivational for staff and learners, and has been shown to make a real difference in these priority areas.

Our professional development opportunities, curriculum resources and international linking programmes offer a range of exciting and innovative approaches to learning and raising attainment.

Our Bring the World into your School booklet details each of our programmes and shows how they have been developed to strengthen the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. We also outline how international education can be used across Scotland to improve whole school performance.

Visit the website for more information about the Bring the World into your School initiative, the Learning for Sustainability programme, eTwinning, Erasmus+ funded projects and Language Assistants programme and how these can support and benefit Scottish schools.

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What not to do: Tips from a returning Tianjin scholar

21 August 2017 (CISS)

Having returned from her year on the scholarship programme, Maeve MacLeod shares her experiences and advice on making the most of China.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

18 August 2017 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Emma Gallacher, whose language skills have taken her from Scotland to the Costa Blanca, where she now works as receptionist for an established Real Estate firm. She firmly believes learning the language has enabled her to settle and integrate into the Spanish way of life.

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

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Magical Christmas Trips 2017

15 August 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip this year and build on or set up a partnership with a school in Germany?

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved:
  • apply to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection to set up a link to a school in Germany
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany
To find out more, please visit the UK-German Connection's website and apply by 26 September 2017.

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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.

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Connecting Classrooms programme

22 June 2017 (British Council)

If you're thinking about collaborating with an overseas partner school next term, Connecting Classrooms could be the programme for you.

The global education programme is brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

Listen to participating teachers share their experiences, and learn more about how you can get involved, on the Connecting Classrooms website.

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Host a Teacher from Germany

21 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Provide your school with authentic German cultural input by hosting a teacher from Germany for two or three weeks, at no cost to you.

Schools do not need to be teaching German to apply and visits can take place at any time between September 2017 and July 2018. Deadlines 10 July(*) and 21 September 2017 (**).

(*) If you’d like to host in the autumn term 2017
(**) if you’d like to host in spring / summer 2018

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to apply.

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EVALUATE Project

15 June 2017 (EVALUATE Project)

EVALUATE is a European Policy Experiment project funded by Erasmus+ Key Action 3.

This experimentation will evaluate the impact of telecollaborative learning on student-teachers involved in Initial Teacher Education in the participating European countries and regions. Telecollaboration, also commonly known as Virtual Exchange, involves engaging trainee teachers involved in Initial Teacher Education in task-based interaction and collaborative exchange with fellow trainees in other locations through online communication technologies.

The guiding research question for the study is: “Will participation in telecollaborative exchange contribute to the development of competences which future teachers need to teach, collaborate and innovate effectively in a digitalised and cosmopolitan world?”

A teacher-training event is due to be held in Italy 5-7 July 2017.

Visit the website for more information about the project and how to get involved.

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UK-German Connection news - Summer 2017

9 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for UK schools to partner with a school in Germany. The following options are currently available. Follow the appropriate link for more information:

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about all their activities.

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Host a teacher from Germany

2 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

Offers from UK schools to host teachers from Germany in 2017-18 are now being accepted. Application deadlines are 10 July 2017 / 21 September 2017.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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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.

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CISS Spring 2017 newsletter

24 May 2017 (CISS)

The Spring 2017 CISS newsletter has now been published online. It is a great showcase of all the fabulous work being done across Scotland to promote Chinese language and culture.

You can view and download the newsletter on the CISS website.

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Online course: How to succeed in the global workplace

11 May 2017 (British Council)

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

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

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

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HIBIKI SHAMISEN visit to Orkney, 5-6 May

25 April 2017 (HIBIKI SHAMISEN)

HIBIKI SHAMISEN will have their first public performance in Orkney at the Pier Arts Centre on Friday 5 May at 7:30pm. The performance is free, and will include an introduction to the TSUGARU SHAMISEN, a versatile 3 stringed instrument that extends the range of the traditional shamisen in both sound and volume, and which can be used to improvise in a way similar to jazz.

The shamisen came to Japan originally from India, via China, through Okinawa, and has been established in Japan for about 300 years. It is the instrument associated with KABUKI theatre (in a form called NAGAUTA) and music played by GEISHA (KOUTA) and with the BUNRAKU or puppet theatre. Each of these genres has a particular type of shamisen associated with it.

The TSUGARU shamisen is the biggest and the boldest of all the shamisen types, and is the only one that is also used for contemporary music.

Hibiki Ichikawa, internationally acclaimed master of the tsugaru shamisen, and blues and ENKA singer Akari Mochizuki will perform both traditional and contemporary music, and have prepared some special material in honour of Children’s Day, which is celebrated on 5 May in Japan.

The two musicians will also conduct workshops with students from Stromness Academy and Kirkwall Grammar School while in Orkney. The students will have the opportunity to play the instruments and learn about the history of Japanese music.

There will also be an opportunity for them to meet and exchange music with Douglas Montgomery of Saltfish Forty, and Gemma McGregor whose repertoire also includes the Japanese shakuhachi flute.

HIBIKI SHAMISEN will feature at the Japanese Children’s Day celebration at the Orkney Library on Saturday 6 May, when they will perform at 11am. This performance will also be free, and all ages are welcome.

HIBIKI SHAMISEN’s visit to Orkney has been made possible with the support of the OIC Culture Fund, The Japan Society of Scotland, the Pier Arts Centre, the Orkney Library and blue earth works. The initial contact with HIBIKI SHAMISEN was through the kind offices of Japan Foundation.

For further details about the performance and Pier Arts Centre contact Isla Holloway isla.holloway@pierartscentre.com 01856 850209.

For further details about the visit from Ruta Noreika contact blueworks2@mac.com
07712 411149.

Find out more about HIBIKI SHAMISEN on their website.

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Link with a German school

24 April 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Broaden your pupils' horizons and enhance your school's international dimension by linking with a German school. Find out how to set up and develop a partnership with a German school, including practical tips and advice on joint activities, projects and visits to Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Japanese for young learners - 6 week teacher course

30 March 2017 (Japanese for Young Learners project)

This course, organised by the Japanese for Young Learners Projects, aims to introduce teachers to Japanese language and culture for use in the classroom. Teachers will be introduced to Japanese language for beginners and to cultural learning activities such as origami and Japanese food.

The course will include developing literacy in Japanese and an introduction to Japanese reading and writing - easier than you think!

The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Japan Foundation, UK. It takes place over six weeks, commencing Thursday 20 April.

Visit the website to register for this free professional development opportunity and see the press article below relating to the project's pilot in Liberton Primary School, Edinburgh.

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Related Links

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot (Edinburgh Evening News, 27 March 2017)

Commission gives a boost to youth mobility in Europe

27 March 2017 (European Commission)

The European Commission presented today an initiative under the Erasmus+ programme which further supports learning and mobility of young Europeans. Called "Move2Learn, Learn2Move", it will enable at least 5,000 young citizens to travel to another EU country in a sustainable manner – individually or together with their school class. The one-off initiative, which is linked to the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme, is consistent with two central priorities of the Commission: to put a renewed focus on Europe's youth, and to facilitate EU citizens' mobility, particularly low emission mobility.

Move2Learn, Learn2Move builds on an idea put forward by the European Parliament in 2016. It will be implemented through eTwinning, the world's biggest teachers' network. Part of Erasmus+, it enables teachers and pupils across Europe to develop projects together through an online platform.

[..] The initiative will be open to school classes of students aged 16 and above taking part in eTwinning.

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Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot

27 March 2017 (Edinburgh Evening News)

They already love manga, Pokemon and Nintendo and now schoolchildren in the Capital have been given the chance to learn about the language behind some of their favourite pastimes.

Liberton Primary School has become a language trailblazer thanks to a new scheme designed to introduce youngsters to Japanese from an early age.

The Japanese for Young Learners project has seen two P5 classes give the language a go, as well as learning about the history and culture of the far eastern country.

While Liberton already teaches a number of other languages – such as French, German, Spanish and Mandarin – it is the first Edinburgh primary school in many years to add Japanese to its offering.

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Consultation on Erasmus+

20 March 2017 (Erasmus+)

The March 2017 edition of the Erasmus+ newsletter invites organisations and individuals to complete a questionnaire to share experiences and opinions to help shape how the programme might look after 2020.

The newsletter also contains news on upcoming events and activities.

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Emotional celebration of Perth Polish Saturday School's 10th year in the Fair City

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

A school in Perth has been hailed for keeping Polish children and those with connections to the eastern European community in touch with their history and culture.

The Perth Polish Saturday School celebrated its 10th anniversary and a special ‘Jubilee’ reception was held at North Inch Community Campus on March 4.

On Saturdays the school based at St John’s Academy teaches Polish history, geography, culture and language from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Many children from Polish families have been born in the Fair City and the school provides them with a link to their family’s origins.

They learn nursery rhymes, songs and poems which keep their culture alive, as well as mastering the notoriously difficult Polish spellings and grammar.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 February 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Katie Targett-Adams, a professional singer and harpist currently based in Hong Kong. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Chinese New Year comes home to roost for students

14 February 2017 (Falkirk Herald)

Pupils from all over the Falkirk area gathered at Larbert High School for a double celebration with a far Eastern flavour. The youngsters, including pupils from Graeme High School and Ladeside Primary School, marked Chinese New Year and also acknowledged Larbert High’s new status as a Falkirk Council Confucius Hub with song and dance performances, Chinese cuisine and art displays during the event.

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Many Languages, One World - 2017 student essay contest

7 February 2017 (Many Languages One World)

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students, 18 years and older, who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a college or university, to participate in the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest.

The essay should discuss global citizenship and cultural understanding, and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these and must be written in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish).

Visit the Many Languages, One World website for more information about the competition and how to enter. Submission deadline is 16 March 2017.

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eTwinning Workshops

3 February 2017 (British Council eTwinning)

Interested in eTwinning and partnering with schools across Europe on collaborative projects? Check out the professional development opportunities in the UK and overseas for both primary and secondary sectors.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information.

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017

1 February 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Taking inspiration from Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote “Life is a desire, not a meaning”, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 features an all-encompassing introduction to Japanese cinema through the prism of “desires, hopes and impulses”.

Presenting films by established and up-and-coming directors, animation, documentary and classics, this year’s programme promises to not only entertain but also provide a vivid insight into what drives human action.

Screenings are taking place between 3 February and 29 March in various locations around the UK, including Stirling, Edinburgh, Inverness and Dundee.

Visit the website for full programme details.

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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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Pass the Panda across Scotland

19 January 2017 (RZSS)

Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is excited to announce the official launch of its brand new ‘Panda Pass It On’ game for schools. The game, which is part of the conservation organisation’s Beyond the Panda education programme, launched at four schools in all four corners of Scotland on Tuesday 17 January: St. Patrick’s, South Ayrshire; Lasswade High, Midlothian, Portree Primary, Isle of Skye and Forehill Primary, Aberdeen.

With only four copies of the game available, the intention is for schools to keep the fun, learning resource for a week before passing it on to other schools. The panda games will hopefully make their way across Scotland, with each school logging their location through a QR code on the back of the game, which will allow RZSS to follow the games as they travel.

Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly excited about the launch of the Panda Pass It On game. It is the first of its kind and is a fun way for children to learn more about China, its history, culture and language as well as their famous animals, the giant pandas. It will be really interesting to track the games as they travel to different schools.”

The game forms an introduction to the Beyond the Panda education programme, which is designed to promote cross-curricular learning, with pupils investigating and discovering more about China. The materials cover Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. This is delivered through an outreach programme with fun, interactive games led by an education officer from RZSS, or in the case of the Panda Pass It On game, by itself.

The programme is sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scotland China Education Network and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools at the University of Strathclyde.

For more information, please visit the RZSS Beyond the Panda website.

picture of children playing gamepicture of children playing

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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.

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Japan days for schools

16 January 2017 (RZSS)

Come along to our Japan days at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, held in partnership with the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth StampIT programme.

Experience a day at the park to visit the Japanese macaques along with an educational session using games and activities to learn about Japanese language and culture. Suitable for P6/7 and S1 levels. Entrance to the park is free for these special pilot events but places are limited and booking is essential.

Places available on Wednesday 8 March or Wednesday 15 March 2017. First come, first served. Contact Sandie Robb srobb@rzss.org.uk for further details and booking information.

Give your curriculum an international edge

6 January 2017 (British Council)

Spark enthusiasm for international learning by getting your school community on board with the International School Award.

Managed by the British Council, the International School Award is a supportive and motivational framework that guides schools through their international work. With three certified levels, and free in the UK, the award will take you from introducing international work to the curriculum, to embedding it within your school’s culture.

Following an accessible methodology you will forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance your curriculum and prepare your students for life as global citizens.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website to find out more about how your school can grow and develop with the International School Award and read the article below from the British Council Voices blog which offers advice on 'Six ways to make your school more international.'

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Related Links

Six ways to make your school more international (British Council Voices blog, 14 November 2016)

Generation UK – China Scholarship programme

14 December 2016 (British Council)

Through Generation UK, the British Council have opened up a range of opportunities in China, giving students the chance to experience the country, language and culture while gaining valuable skills for the future.

One student from the University of St Andrews shares her experience of taking part in the Generation UK - China Scholarship programme.

Read Victoria's story and find out more about the opportunities available on the British Council website.

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Media Release: Confucius Classroom launches in Moray

29 November 2016 (All Media Scotland)

A facility dedicated to promoting closer cultural links between school pupils in Moray and their counterparts in China was formally opened today.

The Confucius Classroom is part of a growing network of hubs – currently standing at more than 20 – being set up across Scotland to help promote Chinese language and culture in schools.

The Moray hub is based at Elgin Academy and will be resourced for children and young people from across the area to study all aspects of Chinese life.

It will also serve as a base for two teachers from China who will work closely with a total of 14 local secondary and primary schools during the current session.

The teaching posts are funded by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University where the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools is based.

Opportunities will also exist for teachers from Moray schools to undertake exchange visits to China, while pupils will also be able to take part in language immersion courses in Chinese schools.

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The top 100 universities in the world for employability revealed

21 November 2016 (The Independent)

Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London, King’s College London and the University of Manchester all ranked highly in terms of graduate employability.

[..] Taking into consideration opinions from 2,500 recruitment managers from international companies in 20 countries around the world, researchers named “professional experience” as the most important factor when predicting a graduate’s employability.

A high degree of specialism, and proficiency in at least two foreign languages were also hailed as important skills favoured by recruiters.

Responding to the results, Vicky Gough, a spokesperson for the British Council, said: “Despite languages being valued by employers the world over – as this latest ranking shows – the UK is currently facing a shortfall in these vital skills."

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Too few UK students are studying overseas, and it’s a problem

17 November 2016 (THE)

This week is the British Council’s International Education Week, which promotes the benefits of international learning and cultural exchange.

The UK is a global hub for international students with more than 400,000 studying here last year. Yet British students travelling outside the UK to study is relatively rare, and this is a problem. Just 1.3 per cent of UK students travelled abroad to study or go on work placement in 2014-15.

For graduates to find jobs and succeed in today’s post-Brexit world, they need international and cross-cultural knowledge. It is also critical for the UK’s competitiveness in international markets that the next generation entering the workplace understands how to compete globally.

Employers expect graduates to appreciate cultural diversity, universal business language and be familiar with globalisation. However, in terms of having a global mindset, nearly a quarter of employers (24 per cent) have rated graduates as weak in this area.

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Grab opportunities in this Century of Asia

16 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s people have, historically, been our greatest asset, making a significant impact both within the UK and abroad. The impact made overseas by Scots has been remarkable given our small population.

The Scottish Government’s own strategy incorporates “the Four Is” s as highest priorities, beginning with “Investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way”. But are we doing enough to unlock the true potential of Scotland and embrace the opportunities that arise, even in a post-Brexit environment?

A critical factor for Scotland will be the ability of its companies and institutions to engage effectively with many new markets. The majority of these sit in Asia and require a special knowledge of practices and customs to ensure success. Since most companies in Scotland are SMEs this means that they need to wake up to the need to create market entry strategies and produce the right products and services to attract both investors and customers or clients.

[..] Learning starts at an early age. The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) was founded in 2006 by Dr Judith McClure to bring together individuals, national agencies and associations keen to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools.

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European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2017

28 October 2016 (European Parliament)

Since 2008, the European Parliament together with the ‘Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen’ have each year been inviting young people from all EU Member States to submit projects run by and for youth showing an active participation in the development of Europe.

Young people aged between 16 and 30 from any EU Member States can submit projects for the European Charlemagne Youth Prize. Projects can be submitted individually or, preferably, in groups.

This year's competition is now open and invites projects on EU development, integration and European identity issues which must be submitted by 30 January 2017.

Visit the website for more information.

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£3.9 million modern languages research project launched in Manchester

11 October 2016 (University of Manchester)

A consortium led by The University of Manchester has launched a four-year language research project which aims to demonstrate the UK’s critical need for modern languages research and teaching. The project will collaborate with schools and universities to develop curriculum innovations, and strengthen university commitments to local community heritage.

The launch of ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, which is funded by an AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant, took place at The University of Manchester. They are leading a consortium which includes 11 other universities, city councils, the Royal Opera House, Tyneside Cinema, political think tank Chatham House, and a sixth-form college known for its strengths in modern languages.

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Erasmus+ information sessions: Autumn 2016 series

19 September 2016 (Erasmus+)

Erasmus+ will be holding a series of free half-day information sessions in 6 venues across the UK.

The sessions are for any organisation in the UK working in the sectors of education, training, youth or sport. These events will provide an overview of the funding opportunities available under Erasmus+ in 2017, and are primarily intended for newcomers to the programme.

There will be a session in Glasgow on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

For information on all the locations and to register your place, visit the Erasmus+ website.

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Global Collaboration Day - 15 September

8 September 2016 (Global Education Conference)

Students, teachers, and organisations will celebrate global collaboration on 15 September 2016!

On this day (and beyond), experienced global educators and professionals will host connective projects and events and invite public participation. The primary goals of this whole day event are to demonstrate the power of global connectivity in classrooms, schools, institutions of informal learning and universities around the world, and to introduce others to the tools, resources and projects that are available to educators today.

Between now and 1 October 2016, global educators will design collaborative projects in which other students and teachers may participate during the course of the 2016-2017 school year. The objective is to create and present as many globally connective projects for students and educators as possible.

If you would like to design an activity for Global Collaboration Day (15 September) in which you promote your upcoming project, please get your project submitted by 11 September. Or you can join any of the listed events for an introduction to projects which interest you.

Visit the Global Collaboration Day website for more information and details as to how you can get involved.

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Cultural Classes in China

25 August 2016 (Claire Smith / CISS)

For 2 weeks in July I had the opportunity to visit Beijing on a language immersion course with a group of 20 teachers from all over Scotland. We were there as guests of the Beijing Culture and Language University to learn Mandarin and experience the culture of this amazing and, at times, intense city.

Language classes were held every morning, with the focus on vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and pronunciation. As Mandarin is a tonal language it is a challenge to learn but it proved useful when exploring a city where English is not widely spoken! In the afternoon cultural activities were organised. We visited the main landmarks of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. A trip north took us to the awe-inspiring trip to summer palaceGreat Wall. On the afternoons when we weren’t sightseeing, we stayed on the university campus to learn calligraphy, tai chi and experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

This fantastic opportunity to further my knowledge of Chinese language and culture has enabled me to develop calligraphy classmy practice – in both the teaching of Mandarin and China as an interdisciplinary topic. This term, I will also run a calligraphy class, where pupils will learn an ancient skill and the story behind the Chinese characters. For my own professional development, I am continuing to learn Mandarin through books and podcasts and in December I will take the HSK 1 exam.

This experience, along with the friendships I made and strengthened, is something I will never forget. Beijing is a city like no other – a mixture of ancient architecture and modern structures, of chaos and calm, of communism and capitalism, of east and west. At times it seemed daunting, but led by Meryl, Professional Development Officer from CISS, we were in excellent hands!

group photo on head teacher trip to China 2016

Connecting Classrooms school partnership programme

31 May 2016 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

To find out more about the programme and how to take part, visit the British Council Schools Online website, where you can also hear a participating teacher reflect on her time visiting Nigeria with Connecting Classrooms.

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How to prepare students for international communication

25 May 2016 (British Council Voices)

To communicate successfully in an international environment, you need to be able to grasp what is being said and respond appropriately.

In this blog, Chia Suan Chong offers three strategies to help students use English in international environments, including considering different cultural views of the same situation - an ideal exercise for those with a multinational class.

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Police Scotland mobilises first Polish officers

24 May 2016 (The Herald)

Two Polish police officers have joined Scotland's national force in a pioneering move to tackle criminality in the country's biggest migrant community.

The men have been seconded for six months as a pilot scheme that may be expanded in the future as EU law enforcement agencies tighten co-operation.

Senior officers at Police Scotland say the two officers have already helped on crucial inquiries involving Poles as perpetrators, victims or witnesses of crimes.

Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: "They are here to advise us and to help us on criminal and other inquiries. "They don't have the power to arrest anybody or question anybody so they are always with Scottish officers.

"But they can assist us with understanding cultural and linguistic issues and connecting with law enforcement in Poland to deal with everything from organised crime to domestic abuse."

[..] However, Poles would also like to see Scottish police raise their knowledge of migrant communities, including learning the language.

Read more...

Can Facebook data tell us how European Scotland is?

20 May 2016 (STV)

Will Britain stay in Europe or leave?

I couldn't say but what I can be sure of is that this will dominate discussions from political journalists and many others from different sections of society.

A large part of the debate is centred on freedom of movement within Europe.

The European Union is a melting pot, a mixture of cultures, languages and peoples from various different backgrounds. To some, this is positive and to others a threat to the job markets in each member state.

Personally, I love it. On my walk from the station to the office, I pick up a number of different languages. As culturally diverse journeys go, from the New Town to Leith is like strolling through New York City.

So, just how diverse is Scotland?

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.

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eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning

29 March 2016 (eTwinning)

Thinking about linking your class with another through an eTwinning project? Read the latest publication from the British Council eTwinning team which contains an inspiring collection of testimonials from former participants in eTwinning projects.

Many of the interviewed young people consider eTwinning to be the most motivating
and enjoyable way to learn. Their experiences with eTwinning have helped them to
develop their language and ICT skills, as well as an understanding of different cultures,
in line with the goals set out at the launch of the platform back in 2005. But there is
much more to it.

See the book 'eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning' and visit the website to find out how to start your own eTwinning journey.

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Go and work abroad – it could have career benefits you never imagined

17 March 2016 (The Guardian)

I had a lot of good times working abroad – teaching English in Germany and working on summer camps in France and Spain – but I didn’t realise that I was also building valuable skills for my career.

Employers really value those with international experience. Katie Bateman, a careers advisor at the University of Gloucestershire, says it can set you apart from a crowd of other applicants. “Graduates can learn another language and prove just how adaptable they are by embracing change and learning to adjust to a different culture,” she says.

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TES School Awards 2016 - deadline extended

8 March 2016 (TES)

There are still a few days left to get your nomination in for the International Award category of this year's TES School Awards.

This award is for the school with the most innovative international strategy, ranging from initiatives to improve pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of other countries, languages and cultures to full-scale international partnerships.

You will need to demonstrate the impact this strategy has had across the school and the wider community. The judges will be keen to see clear achievements and quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiatives.

Visit the TES School Awards 2016 website for full details and to submit your nomination by 13 March 2016.

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...

International School Award

11 February 2016 (British Council)

There are three entry points to the International School Award: Foundation, Intermediate and Accreditation. The level your school is at will depend on how much international work you have already done.

Hosting a language assistant automatically qualifies you for the Foundation Level of the International School Award.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website for more information.

Read more...

The long adieu: how Britain gave up learning French

22 January 2016 (The Guardian)

Is it important that more people speak English? Only this week, David Cameron launched a new scheme encouraging more Muslim women to learn the language, one argument being that the inability of many to do so weakens their voice , and in doing so strengthens radicalisation.

[...] I'm much more worried about the number of people learning the other historic language of England; the language used at the first parliament, spoken at Runnymede in 1215, a language that still features in much of our legal system and which, until 1858, was the only one on British passports: French.

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White Hot Employer Demand For MBAs Who Speak Multiple Languages

17 January 2016 (Business Because)

Ask anyone working at a business school what makes it unique and you’ll get a spiel about global diversity. Yet companies are desperate for graduates who have honed multiple languages and cultural norms.

“Languages are always good for us,” says Julia McDonald, head of talent acquisition for EMEA at Infosys. English is the company’s common language, “but our clients often want people that can speak their local language,” Julia says.

Mark Davies, employer relations manager at London’s Imperial College Business School, says there is growing demand for multilingual European language speakers at companies including BP, GE, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK, which have operations in emerging markets.

André Alcalde, an executive at Lojas Renner, Brazil’s largest fast-fashion retailer, speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

“In a business world that is more internationally-connected,” says the HULT MBA student, “it is mandatory when building an executive career to be able to deal with different cultures.”

Nearly two-thirds of businesses in the UK want to recruit staff with foreign language skills. A survey by the business lobby group the CBI and education company Pearson found European languages are the most sought after: French (50%); German (49%); and Spanish (44%).

Read more...

Making an impact in Erasmus+

13 January 2016 (Erasmus+)

This is a selection of project stories from 2015 demonstrating how UK organisations are making an impact as a result of the Erasmus+ and predecessor EU programmes. Take a look at the achievements of projects across all the sectors for both the organisation and project participants, including Brae High School from the Shetland Isles who exhibited and shared their experience at the 2015 Erasmus+ Annual Conference.

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How many kisses do you want?

12 January 2016 (BBC News)

"Hello, nice to meet you..." and then what? Handshake, one kiss, two kisses, three kisses, four kisses...

British comedian Paul Taylor's video about how difficult it is for him to greet people in his adopted country, France, has gone viral.

We asked a variety of people at the BBC World Service how they greet each other in their countries... and this is what we found out.

See the video on the BBC website.

Read more...

'Get students to create a buzz': how to show the impact of eTwinning

15 December 2015 (The Guardian)

More than 341,000 teachers from across Europe have registered on www.eTwinning.net, a programme which enables schools to collaborate internationally using a safe, virtual environment.

Managed in the UK by the British Council, the initiative has grown in size and impact since it launched 10 years ago, with benefits including improved academic achievement for students – especially around communication, language and ICT skills – and increased motivation for staff and students alike.

But timetables are under pressure and accountability is intense, so proving the benefits of the approach in the classroom is of the utmost importance.

As international education co-ordinator, Andrée Jordan, says: “We know that international collaboration leads to improvement of motivation, learning and inspiration, but it’s so hard to prove – and people need proof.”

Here’s how some of the UK’s most successful “eTwinners” have evaluated and communicated the impact of their projects.

Read more...

British Council news

30 November 2015 (British Council Schools Online)

The British Council has a number of resources and partnership working opportunities they offer to schools in the UK.  Below are some of their forthcoming developments with a language or international element which may be of interest to teachers:

  • Shakespeare lives - Designed as a cross-curricular activity pack which could also be part of project with a partner school overseas, this resource will be available mid-December and will be available in Welsh, Chinese and Arabic.
  • Teaching the core skills - In today’s globalised world children not only need to be able to communicate and collaborate; they also need to be prepared to do so interculturally, in diverse and often multilingual settings. More information about teaching the communication and collaboration module can be accessed on page 14 of the brochure: Unlocking a world of potential. Sign up to Schools Online to access the training package.
  • Employ a language assistant in Scottish schools - Employing a British Council Language Assistant is a unique way to broaden your pupils' understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness. See the online video. Applications open 4 January 2016.
  • International School Award (ISA) - Read about Portlethen Academy's cross-curricular project which took them to France and earned them an ISA in recognition of the global dimension of their work.

Global Education Conference 2015 - recordings available

23 November 2015 (Global Education Conference)

The 6th annual Global Education Conference, a free week-long online event, brought together educators and innovators from around the world from 16-19 November 2015.

The conference seeks to present ideas, examples, and projects related to connecting educators and classrooms with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real–world problems.

Recordings of the presentations at this year's event are now available online.  In addition to a host of sessions on the theme of connecting classrooms worldwide for cultural understanding and collaborative projects, language teachers may also be particularly interested in the sessions 'Technology as a possibility to value language teaching profession' and 'Global collaborations: world language and STEM '

Visit the website to access the full list of recorded sessions.

Read more...

Five ways to be a global student without doing a year abroad

9 November 2015 (The Guardian)

As a language student, I was lucky enough to have a year abroad as part of my degree. I spent it in Chile, and learned a lot more Spanish and real life skills than I ever would have done sat in a lecture hall.

But for some students, a year abroad isn’t an option. Either it’s not offered as part of their course, or a year is just too long to spend away from home.

For those who don’t want to miss out on the benefits of globetrotting while they study but can’t take a full year out, there are still many opportunities available that can offer an equally valuable international experience. Here are five suggestions.

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Christmas Around the World Project 2015

2 November 2015 (Mr P's ICT blog)

As a follow-up to the successful project last year, we will once again be looking to connect classrooms across the world. In the lead up to Christmas, you can deepen your understanding of different Christmas traditions by asking other children from around the world about how they celebrate Christmas in their community.

This is a great IDL opportunity combining global connections with ICT.

Visit the website to register your class for this free project!

Read more...

Schools Online

25 September 2015 (British Council)

School's Online is the British Council's international learning programme for schools and teachers.

The programme helps to develop international education in your school by creating meaningful connections with educational institutions on a global scale.

Embedding international learning into your classroom also deepens students' understanding and respect for the world around them.

By registering with Schools Online you will gain access to classroom resources, professional development courses and form relationships with schools across the world.

Visit the British Council's Schools Online website for more information.

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UK-German FLA/ELA Ambassadors

21 September 2015 (UK-German Connection)

Do you want to inspire your pupils by providing authentic contact to young people in the other country, whilst also improving your own intercultural skills? Then apply for the FLA/ELA Ambassadors Network 2015-16.

The FLA/ELA Ambassadors are a network of language assistants who are working in schools in the UK and Germany. They run small projects, activities, events or clubs in order to inspire and motivate young people in their schools for the language and culture of the other country. Projects should address themes that are of educational value as well as interesting and relevant for the target group.

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about the Ambassador Network and to apply by 19 October 2015.

Read more...

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

31 August 2015 (FutureLearn)

Are you interested in other countries? Do you want to study and understand other cultures? This free 4-week online course will take you on a journey through a number of periods from the medieval to the modern day, from Russia to Europe and all the way to Latin America.

The course starts on 12 October 2015. Visit the FutureLearn website to register.

Read more...

Learners International - new resource for schools!

28 May 2015 (British Council/Education Scotland)

British Council in partnership with Education Scotland has today launched a new online resource to help schools and pre-school centres improve outcomes for pupils and staff through international engagement.

The resource is designed to support schools in their journey of continuous improvement in learning through partnerships with educational establishments in other countries.  Working in partnership the aim is to develop learners' skills and attitudes that are necessary to participate effectively in a globalised world.

International engagement involves learning about other countries:

  • their cultures
  • education systems
  • languages
  • the global themes of interest to us all
  • and by forming a partnership with educational establishments abroad and/or being involved in global learning programmes

The aim of the partnerships are:

  • to improve knowledge and skills across curriculum areas
  • to challenge stereotypes and prejudices
  • and to make learners aware of the possibilities that exist for learning and work outside Scotland

This, by extension, allows learners to understand Scotland and its place in the world. Partnerships allow those involved the opportunity to share ideas in pedagogy and the space to reflect on their own practice; and in so doing, improve the quality of learning and teaching. Partnerships can be developed digitally or can also involve face to face meetings between staff and/or learners.

Find out more about Learners International on the Education Scotland website.

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World Class: how global thinking can improve your school

29 April 2015 (British Council)

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

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Building one community in a school where 38 languages are spoken

15 February 2015 (The Guardian)

Leading a school with a diverse cultural mix has its challenges, says headteacher Becky Ingram, but we all want the same things for our children.

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European Charlemagne Youth Prize

2 February 2015 (European Parliament)

Are you running an inspiring project for EU youth? Why not enter the European Charlemagne Youth Prize? Submission deadline extended to 23 February 2015! The European Charlemagne Youth Prize" aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects. The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community. The prize for the best project is €5000, the second, €3000 and the third, €2000.

More information is available on the European Parliament website. 

Read more...

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

28 January 2015 (FutureLearn)

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

Read more...

Schools Online Forum re-launch

13 January 2015 (British Council)

This year we are re-launching the Schools Online forums, with the goal of encouraging greater sharing and conversation between schools around the world. The first forum of 2015 will focus on New Year festivities and how students and teachers around the world mark the passing of the year.

We would like you to share stories and pictures about the festivities and celebrations that you and your students took part in over the Christmas break. In return, schools in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will share their stories, with those in China telling us about how they are preparing for Chinese New Year on 19 February and the traditions that they will be continuing.

This forum will be an exciting and unique opportunity to talk to other schools around the world about celebration and tradition. Topics within the forum will focus on food, culture, family and friendship, with everyone encouraged to talk about what makes their festivities special. Schools currently with international partners will find the forum a valuable addition to their work, while those without will gain a level of sharing and discussion that was previously not available unless in a formal partnership.

As the forum begins why not ask your class how they celebrated New Year? Or think about the photos you might want to share that tell a story about how the New Year is celebrated in the UK? We would love to see written and visual contributions, including links to Google Images search results that might give an international student an insight to UK festivities.

The forum begins on Tuesday 13 January on Schools Online and runs until 31 January. You can view the forum on the Schools Online website (look for New Year Festivities).

Read more...

European Charlemagne Youth Prize

13 January 2015 (European Parliament)

The Charlemagne Youth Prize is organised jointly by the European Parliament and the International Charlemagne Prize Foundation in Aachen and awarded each year for projects which foster understanding between people from different European countries.

The projects are run by people aged between 16 and 30 and winning projects should provide models for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.

Past winners include youth exchange programmes and artistic and internet projects with a European dimension.

The deadline for submissions is 2 February 2015.  More information and guidelines for submitting applications are on the website.

Read more...

Related Links

The European Parliament also provides a number of online teaching resources and opportunities for schools to learn about the European Union and related issues.

New course Exploring Languages and Cultures at the Open University

18 December 2014 (Open University)

The Languages Department at the Open University has introduced a new module which will be compulsory for all students studying for a full languages degree. The module is Exploring languages and cultures.

Exploring languages and cultures (module code L161) is designed to introduce key concepts relating to languages, language learning, plurilingualism and intercultural communication, to help develop intercultural skills and language awareness. A distinctive feature of this module is that it develops linguistic and cultural awareness in an integrated way throughout the different topics covered in the module, using examples from the full range of languages and cultures that may be studied as part of a degree. L161 equips students with a sound linguistic and intercultural awareness; the former supports getting the most out of language studies and the latter helps with developing a critical understanding of intercultural issues throughout your further study. Additionally, professional recognition by The Chartered Institute of Marketing is recognised for this module, under their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

More information is available on the Open University website or you can contact the OU in Scotland  at 0300 303 5303 or write to us at:

The Open University
10 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh
EH3 7QJ

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

5 December 2014 (SCILT)

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

Our latest addition to the section comes from Heloise Allan, Head of Education for Project Trust, an educational charity specialising in overseas volunteering in 34 countries for school-leavers aged 17-19.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

International Education Week Case Studies

24 November 2014 (British Council)

Do you want some inspiration for activities or trips to run in your school? Read our case studies written by teachers about their international activities, including advice and experience from their own school exchanges. Included is the feedback from Saint Roch’s school in Glasgow about their trip to Sarajevo.

Read more...

London Language Festival - the highlights

21 October 2014 (The Guardian)

The Language Festival may have set out to be a celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity, but the first session of the weekend – the Born Global Symposium – didn't shy away from some of the big, and difficult, questions around the state of language learning in the UK.

Read more...

What I've learned from studying abroad

6 May 2014 (The Guardian)

A student blogger shares his experience of picking up a language and getting to grips with a different culture.

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The school with 42 languages in the playground

5 May 2014 (BBC News)

With immigration a big topic in the European and local elections, BBC News local government correspondent Mike Sergeant visits a school in north-west London, where there are 42 languages spoken in the playground. Byron Court in Brent is one of the most diverse schools in the UK. The playground at lunchtime is an extraordinary mix of vibrant London life.

Children from Iraq, the Philippines, Somalia, India, Nepal, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia, to name but a few, mingle happily and play together.

Read more...

Travel bursaries will expand cultural horizons

18 April 2014 (The Scotsman)

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

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

Read more...

Into Film

13 March 2014 (Into Film)

Into Film seeks to put film at the heart of children and young people's learning, contributing to their cultural, creative and personal development. Our UK-wide programme of learning through and about film provides 5-19 year olds with unparalleled opportunities to see, think, make and imagine. Visit our website for details of the free resources and opportunities available in your area to support all curriculum areas.

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Piet Grobler's top 10 multicultural books

13 March 2014 (The Guardian)

Many lovely picture books celebrate cultural diversity by retelling or reinterpreting myths and folk tales. This list of 10 focuses more on picture books that are consciously proclaiming that all cultures in our world deserve respect, that no cultures are inferior to others and that multiculturalism enriches our lives.

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PaiBa! Photo Club

07 March 2013 (Ricefield)

Literally meaning “Shoot it!” in Chinese, PaiBa is one of Ricefield’s new, free monthly meet-ups for keen photographers to enjoy shooting and sharing photos inspired by Chinese photography and culture:
* Chinese inspired photo assignment each month
* Bring your photos along to share views and techniques
* Chat in a relaxed setting at Feast restaurant (upper floor)
* Amateurs and beginners welcome!

Featuring presentations from Chinese photographers Yao Hui, Cui Ying and Guo Xueci.

To join PaiBa please contact info@ricefield.org.uk

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Connecting Classrooms: Professional learning courses

25 February 2014 (British Council)

Our courses offer support and advice on how to introduce global themes in the classroom.

Enjoy the flexibility of studying when you want with our Connecting Classrooms online courses or network with other teachers in your local area at our face to face workshops

Read what teachers have to say about the benefits of taking part on our Professional Development Stories webpage.

Read more...

Embedding the international dimension at Milton School

18 February 2014 (eTwinning)

Milton School, which caters for children with complex learning needs, has become a model of how to use international education to improve standards within the classroom and support the professional development of teaching staff.

The situation at Milton in April 2012, when the school first joined eTwinning, was extremely challenging. Staff morale was low following an HMI inspection in early 2012. However, with follow-up support through HMI Education Scotland’s Transformative Change programme, staff at Milton were able to work together to develop a whole-school strategy for improvement. In particular, they were interested in exploring how international education and ICT could help transform teaching and learning.

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Student blog – Peter Reid’s Pupil Immersion Visit to China, Tianjin Summer Camp 2013

30 January 2014 (Engage for Education)

Peter Reid was one of the senior pupils who represented the Edinburgh Confucius Classroom hub at the 2013 Pupil Immersion Visit to Beijing and Tianjin. This is an annual visit organised by the Tianjin Education Commission (TEC) and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), based at the University of Strathclyde, which aims to develop young people’s understanding of Chinese culture and language. The group visits many Chinese, historic monuments and takes part in cultural lessons and intensive Mandarin language classes, for which the young people receive SQA accreditation.

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Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2014-15

29 January 2014 (Japan Foundation)

The criteria of the Japan Foundation’s Local Project Support Programme has changed for 2014-2015.  If your school is considering introducing Japanese, you might be able to take advantage of this funding programme.

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which will have a significant and wide impact on the promotion of Japanese language education throughout the UK, or in their local area. Priority is given to the following:

  • Projects with a wide impact on Japanese language education - up to £3,000 for projects that contribute widely to the maintenance and strengthening of Japanese language education, eg conferences on Japanese language education, seminars for teachers, projects to produce Japanese language teaching materials, projects by organisations working in partnership, which benefit not only the institution applying for the programme, but which have a beneficial effect on others etc. 
  • Introducing Japanese to schools or universities:
    • Up to £3,000 for projects that promote the introduction of Japanese into the curriculum (or onto the main school timetable) at primary and secondary schools. Or projects that support the introduction of Japanese language classes at university. 
      As part of our Primary Japanese Campaign, primary schools that would like to introduce Japanese as their main language in the new Key Stage 2 curriculum from September 2014, will be able to maintain their project by re-applying for funding twice for the same project. This means primary schools will be able to apply for up to a total of £9,000 over three years. 
    • Up to £1,000 for projects in primary or secondary schools that introduce Japanese as an extra-curricular activity or enrichment subject, even if this is not within the school timetable. These activities must continue for at least a year to qualify for the grant.

There will be four application deadlines for the 2014-15 programme: April 1st 2014, June 20th 2014, September 26th 2014 and November 28th 2014. This funding will last until March 2015.

For further information about the programme and the application process, visit the Japan Foundation website.

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Northamptonshire Police officers to learn Polish as part of multicultural training

27 January 2014 (Northampton Chronicle & Echo)

Police officers in Northamptonshire will be learning Polish and other Eastern European languages as part of a new cultural awareness training programme.

Northamptonshire Police has joined forces with The Association of Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools (ANSS) to provide frontline officers with access to short language courses to give officers some basic phrases in different languages.

The training also covers a variety of subjects such as how to engage with people from different cultures, facts about the major faiths, festivals and local places of worship and face-to-face sessions with people from a range of communities.

Read more...

Free classroom resources for international learning

23 January 2014 (British Council)

Bring the world into your classroom.  Our new guide to international learning gives you easy access to our projects, resources and professional development courses. Whatever your current level of experience, we have a wealth of opportunities to suit you. From setting up a partnership, to running a project and achieving the International School Award, there is plenty to explore as you embark on your journey with us.

British Council Connecting Classrooms also offer grants of up to £1,500 for partnerships between schools in the UK and other countries.  Applications are currently open until 31 January 2014.

Read more...

How international teacher exchanges can refresh a whole school

22 January 2014 (TES)

A teaching career can get locked into repetitive cycles: as another year starts, the same old textbooks, jargon and exams loom yet again. Some things get done simply because they’ve always been done.

Hosting a teacher from foreign climes can jolt you out of that deadening loop. Philippa Seago, who takes charge of psychology at Littleover Community School in Derby, England, saw for herself how a school might benefit.

Read more...

Related Links

Teacher Exchange Programme (TES, 22 January 2014)

Talking the talk in a global economy

20 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

A recent report warned that we are risking the economic health of the country by not teaching second languages effectively enough; we need to tap into the linguistic richness of today’s pupils, says Fiona Barry.

Read more...

How I Teach - Simulate a culture clash

10 January 2014 (TES)

When teaching about intercultural issues, it is crucial to let students experience how it feels to be culturally isolated from another person. A great way of doing this is through a game I like to call Ninja Chopsticks.

This article includes several ideas to introduce Japanese language and culture to your students. You will need a TES userid and password to access the materials.

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Language lessons teach you more than just verb tables

6 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Behind mundane conversation topics, studying a language gives learners an insight into how a country works.

Read more...

A language skills deficit is damaging diplomacy, warns British Academy

26 November 2013 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

Read more...

European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2014

19 November 2013 (European Commission)

The European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen invite young people from all the EU member states to participate in a competition on EU development, integration and European identity issues.

The 'European Charlemagne Youth Prize' is awarded to projects, which:

  • promote European and international understanding
  • foster the development of a shared sense of European identity and integration
  • serve as a role model for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community

The projects can focus on the organisation of various youth events, youth exchanges or online projects with a European dimension.

Submissions for 2014 are now invited.  Applicants should be 16-30 years of age and should apply by 20 January 2014. Entries in all official languages of the EU are eligible.  Visit the website for full details.

Read more...

Chinese TV - “Dad, where shall we go?”

6 November 2013 (YouTube)

A Chinese TV programme, on YouTube, which gives insight into China and the Chinese and is very good for pupils who may not know a lot about China even if they have a Chinese background.

There are subtitles all the way through so it is suitable for many types of classes/teachers/pupils. It is a TV series called: “Dad, where shall we go?” Children and their fathers are followed in various places in China. The programme aims to develop the independence of the child, to develop them as responsible citizens and get them to think and stand on their own two feet.

Follow the link below to the first episode of 爸爸去哪儿

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Dragon premieres at the Citizens Theatre

15 October 2013 (CISS)

In conjunction with the Confucius Institute at Glasgow University, CISS was given the opportunity to take 350 pupils from all over Scotland to see the premiere of the play Dragon at the Citizens Theatre. This wonderful co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland, Tianjin Children’s Art Theatre and Vox Motus is highly unusual given that there are no words spoken throughout the play. The audience is invited to take a visual and emotional journey using their imagination. The use of puppetry, illusion and music allows this to happen.

Read more...

Related Files

Ruta Quetzal 2014

4 October 2013 (Consejería de Educación)

Information regarding this expedition and the competition on 29th November is now available on the Consejería de Educación website.

Please send us your nominations no later than 27th October.

Read more...

British Council Schools Online

24 September 2013 (British Council)

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

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

Read more...

Chinese Pupils from Tianjin No.42 High School visit St Ninian's High School

2 August 2013 (East Dunbartonshire Council)

A group of 33 pupils and 5 teachers, led by the school’s Director, Mr Hongjie Liu, during their tour of the UK are visiting our East Dunbartonshire Council Confucius Hub, based in St Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch. This visit will further deepen the partnership between the two schools, St Ninian's HS and Number 42 High School, Tianjin.

Read more...

eTwinning: Transforming Teaching and Learning

12 August 2013 (British Council eTwinning)

eTwinning promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This YouTube film illustrates how eTwinning can transform classroom practice to motivate teachers and pupils and help raise standards. Children and young adults of all ages from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all feature in the video celebrataing their success through eTwinning partnerships. 

The video contains a strong focus on eTwinning partnerships providing a collaborative tool for language learning.

Read more...

Related Links

More information on eTwinning can be found on the British Council eTwinning website.  There is also free support available to help schools set up their eTwinning partnership.

The French Connection

9 August 2013 (TES)

Exchange trips to France, or further afield, were once a rite of passage for many British students, who returned with a stash of new swear words and tales of strange foreign food.  But in these risk-averse times the custom is under threat, as Irene Barker reports.

Read more...

Magical Christmas Trips 2013

1 August 2013 (UK-German Connection)

The application process for our Magical Christmas Trip to Berlin for primary and secondary pupils is now open.

The visit offers primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

For full details of the programme and how to apply, visit the UK-German Connection website.  

Application deadline: 30 September 2013.

Read more...

Host a teacher from Germany 2013

25 July 2013 (UK-German Connection)

We are now inviting UK schools to host a qualified teacher from Germany in their school for 2 or 3 weeks between November 2013 and March 2014. Schools do not need to be teaching German in order to participate, and all teachers hosted will have a good level of English. There is no cost to the hosting school.

Benefits include enhancing the international dimension in your school, an opportunity to discuss current educational issues with a colleague from Germany, and the potential for development of a partnership.

You can find more information and download the hosting form at our website.

Hosting forms can be returned at any time before the deadline of 20 September 2013. For offers received by mid-July, we will confirm your participation in this programme by the end of July, with full details on the visiting teacher to follow by early October at the latest.

Read more...

Chinese cultural partnership

25 June 2013 (Scottish Government)

Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf has announced a cultural partnership between the cities of Edinburgh and Nanjing.

The partnership will see a major exhibition, A Tale of Two Cities, staged firstly in Nanjing between November 5, 2013 and May 5, 2014 and then in Edinburgh. The date of the Edinburgh exhibition is still to be confirmed

Speaking in Beijing, Mr Yousaf said:

“It is a great honour that Scotland has been chosen for this exhibition, which is one of the first full curatorial partnerships to be established between a Chinese museum and an institution from another country.

“Scotland and China both share a strong appreciation for cultural heritage, and this exhibition will enable people in both countries to find out more about our respective cultures and history."

Read more...

Glasgow secondary leading way in modern languages

24 June 2013 (Evening Times)

THE kids at All Saints don't need to be convinced that foreign languages are important.  Because they hear them every day.

Scots-born pupils at this Glasgow comprehensive – thanks to a decade of steady immigration – are now routinely exposed to the chat in an estimated 30 languages.

And, say teachers, it is starting to rub off on them.

So much so that the school is expanding its capacity to teach languages amid solid demand.

Read more...

Pisa's tests could get curiouser and curiouser

21 June 2013 (TES)

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

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

Read more...

Which countries want to be influential and attractive?

19 June 2013 (British Council)

A new British Council report, ‘Influence and Attraction: Culture and the Race for Soft Power in the 21st Century’, discusses global trends in cultural relations and soft power. Anne Bostanci explains.

Read more...

Funding for school partnerships - webinars on the application process

16 May 2013 (British Council)

Is your school involved in a partnership between the UK and another country? If so, you could be eligible for funding from the Connecting Classrooms programme. Getting involved will help you develop your young people as global citizens and as a teacher, you will also benefit through sharing best practice with colleagues in other countries.

If you are applying for a Connecting Classrooms grant this year, we are running a series of webinars in May and June to help you with the application process. The webinars will take a detailed look at the application form and provide guidance and advice for completing it.

Visit the website for details of the webinar dates and to register.

Read more...

Students go abroad to immerse themselves in a new culture

14 May 2013 (The Guardian)

UK universities are setting up campuses overseas to meet international demand, but studying on a foreign campus also has many benefits for UK students.

Read more...

Languages in Europe: We can't afford to rely just on a lingua franca

29 April 2013 (British Council)

Our Language Rich Europe research shows, among other things, that there’s a tendency that English is beoming the most widely chosen language at schools in Europe. That’s not much of a surprise as English has established itself as the lingua franca across Europe, with 51% of EU citizens speaking it as their first or second language. In comparison, German comes second with a total of 27% of EU citizens speaking it. English is also the language predominantly used on the web and for business.

According to an estimate by META (Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance), 2000 languages worldwide will not survive in the globalised digitised world in a business and academic context. What does that mean for Europe? I have recently attended the Closing Conference of Language Rich Europe - so here are some thoughts...

Read more...

KENYON: While abroad, politeness, flexibility can bridge language gap

24 April 2013 (Daily Nebraskan)

“Gracias,” “Dĕkuji,” “Danke,” “Takk,” “Merci,” “Thank you.” Languages can be a lot of fun. They can also be challenging.

Read more...

eTwinning spring campaign launched

23 April 2013 (eTwinning)

Taking part in the Spring campaign is simple.

  • Click on the banner from the homepage of the Desktop to enter 
  • Organise an eTwinning event around the week of 13-17 May 2013 - and / or 
  • Design an eTwinning poster for your chance to win a HD pocket camcorder! 
  • You can also vote for your favorite eTwinning posters up until 16 May

Read more...

No snags on this fine silk road

5 April 2013 (TES)

Twelve children from St Luke's Primary in North Ayrshire took centre stage last month at a masterclass in interdisciplinary learning, run by the Tapestry Partnership in Glasgow.

The young people led the audience on a journey along "The Silk Road to Scotland" - the theme of one of Tapestry's interdisciplinary programmes, which explores the links between Eastern Asia, North Africa and Europe created by the trade in silk and other products over thousands of years.

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

4 April 2013 (Language Rich Europe blog)

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

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

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The end of the school exchange trip? Council bans pupils banned from foreign homes despite NO evidence of abuse

23 March 2013 (Daily Mail)

Hundreds of schools across the country have banned pupils from staying with families on exchange trips abroad because of child protection fears.

British pupils can still visit the home of a French, German or Spanish student, but many are not allowed to stay there overnight. Instead they must stay in hotels or hostels.

Experts say fluency will not improve if pupils aren't fully immersed in culture.

Read more...

Cracking the English code

12 March 2013 (British Influence)

(Relates to England) There was much embarrassment recently for Michael Gove when the cabinet's golden boy announced that he would not, after all, be replacing GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC). Part of the reasoning for Gove's EBC had been to increase the take-up of modern European (as well as other) languages – where research shows that there are clear advantages in terms of cognitive skills and understanding.

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Culture at work - The value of intercultural skills in the workplace

5 March 2013 (British Council)

This research, published by the British Council, shows that there is real business value in employing staff who have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organisations from cultural backgrounds different from their own. In particular, employers highlight the following as important intercultural skills:

  • the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints
  • demonstrating respect for others 
  • knowledge of a foreign language

The findings of this report may help teachers argue the case for languages with pupils, parents and colleagues.

Read more...

Related Links

Avoiding cultural chalk and cheese in the world of business (British Council blog, 5 March 2013)John Worne, the British Council’s Director of Strategy, argues that a lack of intercultural skills can be a big risk in the business world, as our recent research shows.

eTwinning Plus launches on Monday 4th March 2013!

1 March 2013 (eTwinning)

Ever wondered what is life like in Lviv? Or what’s on the curriculum in Chisinau? What kind of technology is most popular in Tbilisi?  From the 4th of March 2013, you’ll be able to find the answers to these questions, and many more, with the official launch of eTwinning Plus. eTwinning Plus is a pilot that will see a select number of schools and teachers from Ukraine, Tunisia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan join the thousands of eTwinning teachers who are already collaborating online.

Read more...

English as the language of Europe?

26 February 2013 (Language Rich blog)

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

Read more...

New study underlines benefits of eTwinning

15 February 2013 (European Commission)

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

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Meet, network and learn with eTwinning teachers in Cardiff, 22nd-24th March 2013

6 February 2013 (eTwinning)

Are you interested in finding a partner school from France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands or Luxembourg to start an eTwinning project?

The British Council eTwinning team is giving up to 15 teachers from the UK the chance to travel to Cardiff to meet and network with other European teachers at a joint eTwinning event. Taking place from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th March, this event gives you the opportunity to explore how to enhance your students’ 21st Century skills through eTwinning, find a compatible partner and discuss project ideas face to face.

Apply for your place by 17 February 2013.

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European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013

29 January 2013 (European Parliament)

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

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

Read more...

Peace and Cooperation School Award 2013

23 January 2013 (Consejería de Educación)

Peace and Cooperation and the World Association of Early Childhood Educators (AMEI-WAECE) invite students and teachers from around the world to engage in Creativity for Peace using art as an expression of Cultural Identity for knowledge, outreach and understanding between people.

Entries are invited in the following age categories, with six diplomas to be awarded in each category and eight prizes of 300 Euros:

  1. Free drawing (up to 6 year-olds)
  2. Drawing with written message (7 to 12 year-olds)
  3. Mural or group work (12 to 15 year-olds)
  4. Free art (16 to 18 year-olds)

Works can be submitted in any of the 6 official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English or Russian) and should be submitted by July 5th, 2013 to the headquarters of Peace and Cooperation in Madrid by mail or email.

Visit the website or download the attached flyer for further information.

Read more...

Related Files

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

15 January 2013 (The Independent)

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

Read more...

“Take Away China 2013”

8 January 2013 (Ricefield Arts Centre)

James Thomson, director of Ricefield Arts Centre, would like to offer an opportunity to schools to take part in the launch of “Take Away China 2013” on 12 February, the beginning of the Year of the Snake. This is the third year of “Take Away China” – the notion being to take a small part of China away with you from each event. Schools are invited to participate in forming a long snake. The idea is to form a snake made of twenty willow lantern sections with each section being supported by 4 or 6 pupils from each school or hub.  Download the attached file for more information.

If you feel your hub or school might be interested in this opportunity, please contact jamesthomson188@btinternet.com

On Location German / On Location Italian

13 December 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blogposts from Germany and Italy and pick up some useful phrases relating to Christmas.

Read more...

Related Links

On location Italian (Radio Lingua blog, 13 December 2012)

School Partnerships

5 December 2012 (British Council)

Is your school involved in a partnership between the UK and another country? If so, you could be eligible for our exciting new funding offer for school partnerships, from the Connecting Classrooms programme. The deadline for applications is 11 February 2013. For more information on eligibility and how to apply visit our website.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2013

3 December 2012 (Education Scotland)

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

Read more...

‘On location’ blogs

28 November 2012 (Radio Lingua)

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

Read more...

Report on SCEN China Youth Summit

23 November 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

The SCEN China Youth Summit at Gleneagles on 12 November, known as the G50 after the 50 schools, universities and other organisations represented and in memory of the famous G8 Summit held at Gleneagles in 2005 was an inspiring day for all those who attended the event.

Read more...

New report published on Sustainable International School Partnerships

23 November 2012 (Education Scotland)

British Council Scotland and Education Scotland have recently published ‘Sustainable International School Partnerships – Make the Difference’.

Effective practices, challenges, opportunities and a framework for reflection combine to illustrate how the development of sustainable international school partnerships can ‘make the difference’ within Curriculum for Excellence. This new publication draws on the experience of practitioners who have been closely involved in developing international school partnerships.

Read more...

Even the boys wore woolly tights

17 November 2012 (Guardian)

After two memorable years I can say with certainty that no reading or even language lessons can prepare anyone adequately for a family move to a country as wonderful, complex and sometimes dark as Russia, and also marvel that we were so ready to take such a leap with our children.

Read more...

Plan for Catalan film event

14 November 2012 (The Herald)

Scotland has a new annual movie event: A movie festival which celebrates films from the Catalan region of Spain.   A programme of nine days of films in five venues across Edinburgh will attempt to tap into Catalan culture as well as providing room for discussion about its culture and society.

Read more...

European personalities urge EU leaders to back Erasmus

9 November 2012 (European Commission)

More than 100 European personalities from the worlds of education, art, literature, economics, philosophy and sport have signed an open letter to EU Heads of State and Government in support of the threatened Erasmus student exchange programme. The signatories come from every Member State of the EU and include the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, the president of FC Barcelona Sandro Rosell, Nobel Prize winner Professor Christopher Pissarides and several Olympic champions.

Read more...

Related Links

Record Number of UK Students Study or Work Abroad in Europe with Erasmus (British Council, 16 November 2012)

English - MFL - singing their praises

9 November 2012 (TES)

Religion can be hard for small children to grasp as it involves abstract ideas. So it helps to have an activity that allows you to discuss world religions in a way that children of all faiths and none can relate to.

Start by asking pupils what problems people all over the world have. Put these words on the board and teach them in the target language.

Read more...

Teaching in multicultural classrooms: tips, challenges and opportunities

7 November 2012 (The Guardian Teacher Network)

What does a range of nationalities in class bring to the teaching and learning experience? A collection of teachers give us a glimpse into their multicultural classrooms.

Read more...

New SCEN website launched

7 November 2012 (SCEN)

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

Read more...

Teaching and Learning in the Global Classroom

5 November 2012 (eTwinning)

This week the Guardian Teachers Network are exploring issues around global awareness and understanding in schools. Various articles and blog posts will be available to explore throughout the week.

Read more...

We must save Gaelic before it's too late

5 November 2012 (The Herald blog)

Did you get the cruel irony that the surname of the Barcelona player, Jordi Alba, whose last gasp goal in the Nou Camp broke Celtic hearts, means “Scotland” in Gaelic? If not, that means you know even less Gaelic than me!

Read more...

Scotland keen to promote conversation with China: official

31 October 2012 (NZ Week)

Edinburgh, Oct. 30 — Scottish Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Language Alasdair Allan on Tuesday highlighted the importance of Scottish links with China to promote mutual understanding and friendship. Allan made the remarks at a reception at the Scottish Parliament held here for the two-week “Scotland in Conversation with China” under the theme of “Defining Scotland’s Distinctive Identity in an Era of Globalization The Chinese Perspective”.

Read more...

Chinese Culture & Conversation Corners in November

30 October 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

Chinese Culture & Conversation Corners take place on Friday evenings at the Confucius Institute for Scotland from 5.30-7pm in the Autumn and Winter terms. Open to anyone who is learning Chinese or who has an interest in Chinese culture, each week there is a special theme. This Friday 2 November is your chance to find out which are the `must see` places to visit. For details of all the CCC events in November, visit the Confucius Institute Edinburgh website.

Read more...

Gillard: Australia must embrace 'Asian Century'

30 October 2012 (CNN)

Every Australian child should learn Mandarin, Hindi or other regional language as the nation's future is tied to the rise of the "Asian Century," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a policy speech on Sunday.

Read more...

Ruta Quetzal BBVA 2013

25 October 2012 (Consejería de Educación)

Ruta Quetzal BBVA is an “enlightening" and “scientific” journey of initiation in which culture and adventure come together. Thanks to this initiative, over the past 22 years nearly 8,000 young people from Europe, the Americas and countries such as Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines and China have had the opportunity to discover the human, geographic and historical dimensions of other cultures. Successful participants will travel to Panama and different regions of Spain.

To learn more about the competition, eligibility and how to apply visit the Ruta Quetzal 2013 webpage.

Read more...

World Class – BBC’s international project for schools

10 October 2012 (BBC)

Join the BBC's World Class to celebrate International Education Week during the week of 12-16 November.

International Education Week (IEW) is a British Council initiative giving schools a chance to learn more about education around the world, and to celebrate their own international links and partnerships. For IEW week in 2012, the main theme is entitled 'Use your Voice'. During the week, World Class will be hosting a series of live, interactive debates, in which pupils from across the world can offer their opinions on a range of topics. Email worldclass@bbc.co.uk to book into a live debate.

Read more...

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