Language Learning


Language Learning

The UK-German Bears project

21 June 2019 (UK-German Connection)

With a set of resources, a range of interactive online features and a focus on joint Bears activities with a partner school in Germany, Alex and Ben bring a fun and accessible international dimension to the primary school classroom!

UK-German Connection can help UK schools form a partnership with a German school and will provide support should schools wish to continue links after the bears' visit.

There are hosting dates available for the autumn term, so if you are planning ahead for the new school session visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more.

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Host a Teacher from Germany

21 June 2019 (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 one, two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

The programme provides pupils with a real-life learning context for German language and culture and offers teachers the chance to share best practice on an international level. 

Hosting can take place at any time during the school year. German does not have to be on the school curriculum.

Application deadlines - 12 July for autumn 2019 hosting slots and 20 September to host in spring/summer 2020.

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

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Young culinary and linguistic talents celebrated

21 June 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos from LinguaChef 2019

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

Irish language to be taught through PE classes

20 June 2019 (Irish Examiner)

Irish will be taught through PE classes in a bid to improve school children’s confidence in learning and speaking the language.

The three-year project encourages primary and post-primary students to adopt the Irish language more naturally outside the classroom when talking and playing.

The aim of the PE as Gaeilge project is to improve school children’s competence, disposition and confidence when learning the language.

It will also support teachers to implement a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach to language learning.

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Learning maths in foreign language 'boosts MFL grades'

20 June 2019 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Gap year opportunities with Project Trust

12 June 2019 (Project Trust)

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

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

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

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Glasgow's West End Festival 2019

11 June 2019 (West End Festival)

This year's West End Festival is in full swing and with a range of events ongoing until 30 June there's still chance to sample some Gaelic culture or Spanish bilingual storytelling sessions for children.

Visit the West End Festival website for more information.

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Britain´s Brexit hangover cure: Start learning languages

9 June 2019 (Shout Out UK)

Britain has a terrible attitude towards learning languages, and consequently, we are one of the least likely countries in Europe to be able to speak another foreign language; following only Hungary and Italy. In 2015, 9 per cent of 15-year-olds in the UK were competent in another language, compared with 42 per cent of Europeans.

Unsurprisingly, languages are not on Westminster´s agenda. However, if we want to better understand ourselves and our culture, a new language-based education system can be the policy to provide the modernizing cultural shift Britain requires.

The benefits of learning a second language are huge. Cognitive studies reveal a link between learning a language and fighting off the onset of dementia. For Brits, it will improve our employability and boost economic growth. Estimates say that the UK loses £50bn a year over its poor language skills: Put that on the side of a bus.

Yet, it is more than just about economics. It is about attitudes and what sort of country we want to be. Our poor language skills facilitate the worst types of Britishness. It is the fuel to our engine of superiority. The vote to leave the EU was a break from the anxieties that Britishness comes with, and it is no surprise that the other two European countries with the worst language skills are plagued by far-right populists.

However, it is important to be aware that language is bound to privilege. For many, learning another language is a form of elitism, reserved only for the few, and to impose language learning insensitively would be dangerous. Crucially, it is an agenda that needs the support of time, and protection from the threat of a new government legislating differently. We must be aware that to work, the policy will require a deep cultural change in Britain.

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

6 June 2019 (Evening Times)

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

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

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

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

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

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UCL Japan Youth Challenge 2019

4 June 2019 (Japan Foundation)

Applications are invited for the Japan Youth Challenge 2019.

Hosted at UCL (University College London), the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge (UJYC) brings together pre-university students from the UK and Japan in a 10-day summer school programme. 

Students from both countries will engage in a series of topic-focused activities including workshops, lectures and a symposium. Our highlight is the Grand Challenge Workshop “Accessibility for All: AI and Robotics”, a topic important in our society today.

Running from 20-27 July 2019, non-Japanese sixth-form students residing in the UK, aged 15, 16, 17 and 18 years are welcome to apply.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information.

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SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages update

3 June 2019 (SQA)

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

Visit the SQA website to view the document.

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Host a Teacher from Germany

3 June 2019 (UK-German Connection)

Applications are open for UK-German Connection's 'Host a Teacher from Germany' programme.

This provides an opportunity for UK schools to boost their intercultural dimension by welcoming a teacher from Germany to any department for one, two or three weeks in the next school year.

This free programme provides pupils with a real-life learning context for German language and culture and offers teachers the chance to share best practice on an international level. 

Hosting can take place at any time during the school year. 

Application deadlines - 12 July for autumn 2019 hosting slots and 20 September to host in spring/summer 2020.

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

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Is Scotland's school subject squeeze damaging pupils?

2 June 2019 (The Herald)

[...] Figures from the Reform Scotland think tank show a majority of schools now only offer six subjects in the fourth year of secondary school. Others schools, with a different interpretation of the curriculum, are still offering eight or nine, although this usually means choosing subjects earlier than CfE envisaged.

[...] With English and mathematics seen as essential, the narrowing means particular subjects are now in decline in S4. Research by Professor Jim Scott, from Dundee University, identified these as German, French, art, drama, music, computing studies and some sciences.

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What doing journalism in a foreign language taught me about human nature

1 June 2019 (The Independent)

I have been in a committed relationship with the English language for almost 20 years. It all began in primary school, with clips of Muzzy (the animated character created by the BBC in 1986 to teach children English as a second language), the Winnie the Witch books, and group renditions of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” (an international hit if there ever was one).

Two decades later, English is the tool with which I earn my keep as a journalist. It’s the language I speak when I go home to my partner. It’s the pillar of so many aspects of my life, from the most fundamental to the most trivial. I read in English. I write in English. I argue in English. I dream in English. I discipline my dog in English. All this to say: the English language is the most useful gift I have ever been given, and I can barely believe there was a time when I didn’t speak a word of it. It has also taught me a valuable lesson about perfectionism.

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Kickstart your German

1 June 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

Are you planning a visit to a German-speaking country, would you like to be able to speak with German-speaking friends in their native tongue or would you like to learn a bit of German just for fun?

This 2-week intensive course is aimed at complete beginners. Immersion in the language, in a relaxed atmosphere, will help you to learn the basics of the language fast.  

This course will train all 4 language skills: listening, reading, writing and above all speaking. At the end the learners will be able to communicate in simple everyday situations.

Course commences 24 June 2019. Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to enrol.

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Scotland's National Centre for Languages reviews where we are with Gaelic language learning in Scotland

31 May 2019 (GTCS)

Learning languages can have cognitive benefits for learners of all ages

Research by Bilingualism Matters at the University of Edinburgh explains that children exposed to different languages have a better awareness of other people’s perspectives; tend to be better than monolinguals at multitasking; are often more precocious readers; and generally find it easier to learn other languages. More recent research suggests that learning another language may have benefits in later life, delaying the onset of dementia symptoms and slowing cognitive aging.

Given the benefits of pluri-lingualism, demand for Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is increasing.  Glasgow Gaelic School opened in 2006 with only 33 pupils.  Now it has 343.  Education Scotland Parentzone (see bit.ly/parentzone-gme) states that:
“Gaelic Medium Education is available in 14 out of 32 Scottish local authorities … It is available in about 60 primary schools and their associated secondaries, including dedicated Gaelic Medium schools. An increasing number of early learning and childcare centres, secondary schools and further education centres also provide learning through the medium of Gaelic.”

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OU/SCILT primary languages course

31 May 2019 (SCILT/OU)

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the OU/SCILT primary languages course, which will be running again from October 2019. In light of positive feedback and popularity of the first year of the course, we are now also delighted to offer a second year, post-beginners’ course. The latter would be suitable for those who have successfully completed year 1 and wish to continue their studies, or for those who are looking to begin studying at a more advanced level.

  • The courses will run from October 2019 to July 2020, and will develop language and pedagogy skills; language learning is provided by the Open University and pedagogy is provided by SCILT.  The courses are aligned to the Scottish curriculum and support the 1+2 languages approach.
  • Both courses are delivered online with two opportunities to attend face-to-face day schools. 
  • Learning is very flexible and participants can study at a time and place of their choosing.
  • Each course carries a fee of £252, reflecting the input and student support for the language and pedagogy strands from both organisations.

Funding may be sponsored through your school or Local Authority who can register on your behalf.   Initial registration information must be submitted to the OU by Monday 17 June 2019 and LAs should contact Scotland-Languages@open.ac.uk.  
Students also have the option to fund the fee themselves. In this case, an interested teacher should contact the OU directly at
Scotland-Languages@open.ac.uk.

Here is some further information:

Beginners level

  • will be offered in a choice of four languages - French, German, Spanish and Mandarin plus study of primary pedagogy with direct application in the classroom.
  • takes students to the end of the equivalent to level A1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages.
  • allows students to gain 15 university credits for the language study.
  • also gives students the option to gain GTCS recognition for the pedagogy study; all students will receive a certificate on successful completion from SCILT.
  • study hours will be approximately five hours per week, including time spent on the direct application of the new skills in the classroom.

Post-beginners level

  • teachers who have started studying one language in the beginners level of the course would need to continue studying the same language at post-beginners level.
  • teachers who already have some basic knowledge in one of the four languages can directly enrol on the post-beginners level course to further develop their skills in that language and learn about primary languages pedagogy (without having to have studied beginners level).
  • will follow the same format as the beginners level course and will be offered in the same four languages (French, German, Mandarin and Spanish).
  • will teach primary languages pedagogy in more depth and cover:
    • the skills of writing and reading,
    • IDL with a special focus on outdoor learning as well as links with other key subject areas through CLIL,
    • learning and teaching of languages in multilingual contexts/communities.
  • will have the same:
    • number of study hours,
    • assessment structure,
    • accreditation with 15 university credits,
    • optional GTCS recognition for the pedagogy strand, as above ;
  • in their language study, students will reach the equivalent of the end of level A2 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (end of post-beginner level).
  • after completing both courses, students would then be in a good position to go on to study one of the standard language courses at the OU should they want to improve their knowledge of the language even further.

Course codes are as follows:

Beginners level

LXT192 French

LXT193 German

LXT197 Mandarin

LXT194 Spanish

Post-beginners level

LXT191 (language choice will come as a second step once students have registered)

St Winning's Primary parental engagement case study

31 May 2019 (SCILT)

In our third case study focusing on parental and community engagement, read how St Winning's Primary School in North Ayrshire have successfully achieved a high level of parental engagement in language learning.

To facilitate the development of learners' skills, St Winning's also opted to take language learning beyond school, collaborating with partners from Lingo Flamingo to strengthen links with the local community.

If you’re interested in how SCILT can help you develop parental engagement and family learning opportunities in your local authority, please get in touch with clare.mouat@strath.ac.uk.

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Deputy First Minister TELT about OU languages course

28 May 2019 (Open University in Scotland)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Write Away!

28 May 2019 (Light Bulb Languages)

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

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

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

Visit the Light Bulb Languages website for full submission guidelines.

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I regret not learning my mum’s first language. Britain needs those ties

27 May 2019 (The Guardian)

Journalist and author, Christina Patterson, writes when I was a child, the fashion was to ‘fit in’. But in the face of Little Englanders, we need cultural richness more than ever.

When I was a child, we had a ritual at the end of every meal. Tack för maten, we would each intone, as we licked our cutlery and placed it on our plates. Varsågod, my mother would say, as she slammed down the fruit bowl. My mother hated cooking, so she couldn’t actually claim that it had been a pleasure, or that we were very welcome, as the phrase implies. The important thing was that we had thanked her for the food, as instructed, and in the language instructed. Her children might be irritating, but at least they were reasonably polite.

I can’t sing in Yoruba, of course. I can barely sing in English, and a few years ago I had the excruciating experience of having to sing Swedish folk songs at regular intervals through an evening meal. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the sheets of paper next to the plates. I was in Sweden with my mother. My aunt had invited the neighbours round for dinner. Between courses, there was a custom my mother had forgotten to mention. Let’s just say that it doesn’t improve the taste of the food to sing in a language you can’t speak.

When my parents met, on a hill in Heidelberg, they didn’t speak each other’s language. The love letters they wrote, after they parted, were in German. The telegram my father sent was in English. “Will you marry me?” it said. Her telegram back was also in English: “Yes!”

My mother learned English. My father learned Swedish. Soon, she was fluent in English, German and Italian as well as Swedish, very good at French, and with a basic command of Thai (they lived in Bangkok for a while). My father, who had a first in classics at Cambridge, soon spoke fluent Swedish, German and Italian, and some basic Thai. They were all set, clearly, to produce a family of internationalists, perhaps in the mould of the Cleggs. Except that they didn’t. We all grew up monoglot in Guildford.

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London children learning their mother tongue

26 May 2019 (BBC)

Over 300 languages are spoken in London, with some more widely spoken than others.

But an increasing number of parents are choosing for their children to learn their mother tongues, be it Cantonese, Urdu, Polish or in the case of a new cultural centre in south London, Yoruba.

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Education Scotland National Improvement Hub new resources

24 May 2019 (Education Scotland)

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

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

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

Visit the National Improvement Hub website to access the resources.

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Babel Young Writers’ Competition 2019

23 May 2019 (Babel)

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

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

Visit the website for full entry guidelines.

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A voice for Scotland or an irrelevance of history?: Why Gaelic interest is on the rise in Fife…

21 May 2019 (The Courier)

Michael Alexander hears about efforts to promote the Gaelic language in Fife. 

[..] According to the last major census of Scotland in 2011, only 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population) speak Gaelic including just 0.3% of Dundee’s population (474 people out of 148,000) with some of its lowest use recorded in Angus and Fife where just 0.7% of residents were familiar with the language.

But more than 1500 years after the ancient language of the Scots first entered Argyll via the Gaels, more than 900 years after it reached its zenith as the language spoken the length and breadth of the country, and almost 300 years after the routing of the Jacobites at Culloden made the Scots tongue illegal before the Highland Clearances almost wiped it out completely, are centuries of Gaelic decline finally being halted?

Debate about the relevance of Gaelic in the modern world has reignited in Fife – formerly the Pictish kingdom of Fib – after figures revealed that one in every 30 speakers of Scottish Gaelic is now living in the Kingdom.

Fife Council’s Gaelic development officer Kirsty Strachan highlighted the statistic while outlining the region’s Gaelic Language Plan to councillors.

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Beware ‘lazy typecasting’ of working-class pupils

20 May 2019 (TES)

The row over languages availability reveals the false assumptions made about pupils in poorer areas, says Gordon Cairns.

Earlier this month, the press reported that schools in some areas were less likely to offer modern languages due to the socioeconomic environment. Statistics showed that pupils in prosperous districts were more than twice as likely to sit a foreign language exam compared with those in more economically challenged neighbourhoods. However, these figures referred to England and contrasted affluent Kensington in London with Middlesbrough in the deprived North East.

Despite similar headlines in Scotland, the story is not the same. Looking at middle-class Jordanhill and working-class Drumchapel, there is no gap in the uptake of modern languages due to deprivation in Glasgow. So why were journalists so keen to report the comments of modern languages lecturer and author Francisco Valdera-Gil to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee without doing a basic fact check?

I think the remarks, which Valdera-Gil has since apologised for, were seized upon in part because the story buys into an underlying snobbery about poverty and foreign languages that has existed in Scottish culture, probably since the industrial revolution. You hear it from those working in Castlemilk, jokingly referring to the housing scheme as “Chateaulait”, the irony in the contrast of the melodious French and the harsh reality. Modern languages teachers in all of Glasgow's outlying schemes must be sick of hearing, “Would you not be better trying to teach them English?”

Despite welcome progress in tackling racial and sexual stereotyping, there is still a lazy typecast of working-class lives being narrow and lacking culture, and so when someone from the Scottish Council of Deans of Education backs this up, then, of course, it will be latched on to. As if anyone from one of Glasgow’s housing schemes would have aspirations to travel, work for a company with foreign contacts or simply have an affinity for a different culture, so why bother teaching them another language?

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

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Student mentors help pupils say ‘si’ to GCSE languages

18 May 2019 (The Guardian)

It is a question arguably more fiendish than mastering the French subjunctive or the thousands of characters in Mandarin. How can schools halt – and even reverse – the swift decline of languages at GCSE and beyond?

Now a pilot project may have found the answer. A report published today finds that numbers of pupils choosing to take a foreign language can be dramatically increased by mentoring from undergraduates who have chosen to specialise in the subject at university.

Independent analysis of a government-funded pilot in 10 Sheffield secondary schools found that more than half of participating pupils said they would take a language GCSE as a result of mentoring by undergraduates. The study showed that the programme also boosted take-up among pupils who were not mentored: GCSE entries this year for languages across schools in the Sheffield pilot are up 43% on 2018.

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New sign language manual launched – complete with dialect words

14 May 2019 (The Shetland Times)

A new manual to help children and adults with communication difficulties has been launched for the isles.

“Signalong” is a key word-signing system, based on British Sign Language, in which adapted signs are used alongside speech to support communication.

This new manual has been developed to provide an image bank of over 250 signs, many of which have a Shetland flavour, including new signs for puffin, ferry, knitting, fiddle and Up-Helly-A’.

The manual has been developed by Signalong tutor Susie Fox, an additional support needs (ASN) teacher at Bell’s Brae Primary School in Lerwick, who has worked closely with the national communications charity.

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Euroquiz National Final 2019

14 May 2019 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from St Mary’s Primary School, Duntocher who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s National Euroquiz Final 2019, which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 13 May 2019.

See the attached press release for full details and photos from the final.

Related Files

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

8 May 2019 (Forbes)

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

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

Read more...

Teachers ‘lack understanding’ of the benefits of learning languages

8 May 2019 (TES)

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

Read more...

Can you learn a language playing video games? What the research says

8 May 2019 (The Conversation)

Online gaming has become a concern for some parents in the past few years and there are worries children might become addicted, with negative effects on their socialisation. This has led some parents to think of creative ways to reduce gaming, including rationing the time children spend online.

Read more...

Traditional masculinity may keep English-speaking men from studying new languages

29 April 2019 (The Conversation)

For decades, more women have been entering male-dominated educational fieldsand careers. The proportion of men in female-dominated areas, on the other hand, has remained mostly unchanged. Now, gender gaps in female-dominated undergraduate majors—like foreign language—are larger than gender gaps in biology, math or the physical sciences. Foreign language proficiency is a useful skill that can lead to job opportunities and potential cognitive benefits.

Read more...

Children great Gaelic Visual Art exhibition in East Ayrshire

28 April 2019 (Cumnock Chronicle)

The Dick Institute is delighted to present Gaelic Visual Art: Project Exhibition, an exhibition by pupils from East Ayrshire’s Gaelic language provision primary school ‘Sgoil na coille nuaidhe’, translated as ‘New Beginnings School’ which will be on display from Friday 24 May until Saturday 22 June in the Young People’s Gallery.

Guided by visual artist and Gaelic speaker Eòghann MacColl, the pupils have been responding to themes from the exhibitions Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories and Karl Blossfeldt, Artforms in Nature to create their own new artwork featuring video, large-scale charcoal works and illustrations.

Now in its second year, this unique creative learning project aims to promote the use of Gaelic and the development of Gaelic language skills utilising visual arts and culture, and is supported by Bòrd Na Gaidhlig and Creative Scotland.

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Scottish Education Awards 2019 - Finalists announced

26 April 2019 (Education Scotland)

Congratulations to the schools who have made it to the final stage of the Scottish Education Awards 2019 in the 1+2 Languages and Internationalism and Gaelic Education categories:

The 1+2 Languages and Internationalism Award
  • Lockerbie Primary School, Dumfries and Galloway
  • Newtonhill School, Aberdeenshire
  • Neilston Primary School, East Renfrewshire
Gaelic Education Award
  • Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar, The Highland Council 
  • Sgoil Stafainn, The Highland Council
  • Sgoil Bhaile a' Mhanaich, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

The results will be announced at the award ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Glasgow on 5 June. Good luck everyone!

For information on finalists in all the categories, visit the Scottish Education Awards website.

Read more...

Wee Famille case study is now live!

26 April 2019 (SCILT)

In the first of our case studies focusing on parental and community engagement, read how Springside Primary School embarked on an initiative to engage families in learning French alongside their children. The aptly named Wee Famille project, a collaboration with partners from SCILT and North Ayrshire Council, resulted in a seven-week project involving the whole school community in learning about the culture and language of France. Resources developed for the project are also available to download as part of the case study.

If you’re interested in how SCILT can help you develop parental engagement and family learning opportunities in your local authority, please get in touch with clare.mouat@strath.ac.uk.

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Creating an inclusive school environment

25 April 2019 (British Council)

Teachers interested in creating an inclusive school environment should download British Council's new free resource.

Read more...

Beyond the Panda resources

25 April 2019 (RZSS)

Beyond the Panda's website has supporting material for the China Mobile Library 'panda packs', containing information on how to play the games; answers, follow-on materials, mini course and much more.

The first part of the website provides general information and lesson plans on the giant panda project - Project History; Planning for Pandas and Meet the Panda team. The second part is Mandarin related - China Mobile Library; Endangered Species; Panda Pass It On; Zoo Fun with Mandarin and Additional Resources. All of these are free to download and now include sound files for all the associated words, phrases and sentences within the primary resources. (The secondary sound file vocabulary will follow later in year.) Please see the Beyond the Panda website.

There is also a premium section which gives you access to download the actual panda pack games and activities. Primary access is £30 and Secondary also £30. 

For primary there are expert visits, which is an outreach related to the games in the panda pack, and these are free of charge. Contact Sandie Robb, RZSS Language Project Coordinator srobb@rzss.org.uk to book or for further information. 

Read more...

Threlford Cup 2019 - call for nominations

25 April 2019 (CIOL)

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

The cup is presented annually to a person, to an organisation, or for a project that has inspired others with an original language-learning initiative and made a significant contribution to fostering the study of languages.

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

Read more...

French classes in Glasgow

23 April 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is now taking enrolments for their summer classes taking place between June and September. Click on the relevant link below for more information and to register.

For more information about the organisation's activities, visit the Alliance Française website. 

Read more...

Building language skills with architecture

18 April 2019 (University of Strathclyde)

Spanish and architecture are proving to be a winning combination in a competition at the University of Strathclyde.

More than 250 S3 pupils at five west of Scotland schools are taking part in Espacios Increíbles (Amazing Spaces), in which they will be challenged to design a building or space using Spanish as an integral part of their research, design and presentation.

The stimulus for the designs will be from the pictures on postcards sent by Strathclyde Architecture students studying on exchange in Chile and Bolivia.

As well as enhancing pupils’ aptitude for languages, the project is aimed at developing skills for life and work - creativity, leadership, management and written and oral communication.

Read more...

Related Links

Clydebank pupils take part in Espacios Increíbles competition (Clydebank Post, 24 April 2019)

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

18 April 2019 (The Sun)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Online National 5 Gaelic (Learners) course

18 April 2019 (e-Sgoil)

e-Sgoil are looking for expressions of interest from school pupils who would be interested in doing National 5 Gaelic (Learners) as a live online course in 2019-20.

Priority will be given to those based in the Northern Alliance Scotland region.

E-mail e-sgoil@gnes.net for more information. 

SQA revised Advanced Higher Modern Languages Course Specification

16 April 2019 (SQA)

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

SCEN news update

15 April 2019 (SCEN)

The latest SCEN newsletter has just been published. In this edition you can read about the SCEN Conference 'Developing Mandarin: Regional models for the future' held on 29 March along with upcoming events and activities, including the SCEN Youth Summit taking place 8 November. 

The network is actively seeking to expand and engage with schools where there is currently little or no Mandarin provision. Find out how you can get involved.

Read more...

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

14 April 2019 (Sky News)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

English language usage and politicians’ prowess

14 April 2019 (The Guardian)

Terence McSweeney explains why English is often used internationally, Steve Callaghan says politicians need to invest in modern language teaching across all sectors, Philip Stewart recalls a teacher exchange scheme shunned by Thatcher, Anke Neibig explains why fewer students are taking up languages, and Paul Tattam on how the media can help.

Read more...

Brexit risks unravelling the ties that bind us to the world

12 April 2019 (TESS)

Young people will lose out if leaving the EU leads to a slow, inexorable deterioration in international connections, writes Henry Hepburn.

Thirty years ago next month, I was one of several dozen pale, freckly young Scots who boarded a bus outside our school in Aberdeen; 24 hours later, we were in Paris. The journey can’t have been comfortable, but all I remember is the excitement and anticipation.

I was 13, had never been outside the UK before, and loved our four days in Paris: the camaraderie of adventurers abroad; the unintelligible trill of a foreign language in its natural habitat; the jutting beauty of picture-book landmarks come to life.

If it weren’t for that trip, I might never have taken French to the end of S6. That year, our studies were bolstered by a language assistant whose name I can’t now recall (Amandine? Manon? Aurélie?). An easy coolness set her apart from our stressed-out teachers. Her presence opened my eyes to the possibilities of studying a language.

Without meeting her, I don’t know if I’d have gone on to study French at the University of Glasgow, a decision that led to my spending a year as an English-language assistant at a lycée in Le Puy-en-Velay, amid Auvergne’s join-the-dots extinct volcanoes. That year gave me a more international outlook and established friendships around the world that have lasted the 23 years since. But my thirst to see and understand the world traces back further, to those few days in Paris as a wide-eyed 13-year-old.

Read more...

Improver level Gaelic classes

11 April 2019 (Newbattle Abbey College / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Improver Gaelic classes are starting on 25 April at St Thomas of Aquin's RC High School and Tollcross Community Centre in Edinburgh. Classes run on Thursdays for 8 weeks.

See the attached flyers for more information and to book.

Opening up the universe to Scottish schoolchildren with a little help from Erasmus+

11 April 2019 (Erasmus+)

Pupils at an independent day school in Scotland have stars in their eyes - thanks to an Erasmus+ project spanning the breadth of Europe.

Wellington School, in Ayr, already had a strong international pedigree, having won the British Council International Schools Award more than once, so it was natural to turn to its European peers for an initiative that would reach for the skies, quite literally.

The Eurostronomia project sees Wellington collaborating with seven schools that stretch from the westernmost parts of the European Union to the easternmost, encompassing eight languages, cultures and educational systems, with partners from Germany, France, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

“Having Europe come into our schools is very important," said Susan Coontz, Principal Teacher of Modern Languages and International Co-ordinator. "During past projects, parents have commented on how much they and their children have learned and benefitted.

"The aim of this Erasmus+ project is to give our students an increased knowledge of astronomy and an appreciation of how astrophysics has shaped our world, solar system, galaxy and universe.

"We also want to improve the knowledge, understanding and application of key skills, linking many academic areas with science at its core, inciting pupils’ curiosity about the universe and encouraging them to learn how to separate fact from fiction.

"As Astronomy is becoming an increasingly important part of school curricula across Europe, this Erasmus+ project is also helping to build capacity in all the partner schools through enabling us to share best practice.

"Whether it is our 30 years of experience of organising international projects and exchanges or our Slovenian partner’s proficiency in working with gifted science students, each partner school brings an added dimension to collaborative work which enriches the curriculum and enhances the learning experience for all our pupils.”

Andrew McPhee, Principal Teacher of Physics and Science, explained how activities have been specifically tailored to all levels of mathematical, physics and scientific ability and for a wide range of student ages.

“It is helping us to develop pupils’ skills, knowledge and competencies in science and maths, using astronomy to develop observational, research and data-handling skills," he said. "We are exposing our pupils to a style of experimental teaching and learning that some have never previously experienced.

"Pupils are also developing skills in IT, film and video, language and literacy, report writing and presenting, and are developing their self-confidence in the process. They are discovering different approaches to problem-solving and are experiencing new cultures, religions and languages. Erasmus+ is opening doors to the next stage of their lives, be it in work or in higher education.”

Teachers also benefit from Wellington being involved in projects like Eurostronomia.

“Collaboration with staff from other countries is an invaluable form of in-service training," said Susan. "Teachers are able to observe how their subject is taught in other countries and can see different methods of classroom and student management, impacting on their own practice when they return home. The interdisciplinary nature of the project encourages them to embed the activities into their everyday teaching.”

Read more...

Behind the scenes with Coffee Break Chinese in Beijing

10 April 2019 (Radio Lingua)

Come behind the scenes with the Coffee Break Chinese team.

In this video you’ll join Mark on his first trip to China in which he visits the Great Wall, Chángchéng, 长城, the Forbidden City, Gùgōng 故宫, the Hútòngs, 胡同 and records a number of conversations for the final batch of lessons in Season 1. 

Coffee Break Chinese is a series of 40 free podcast lessons for beginners in Mandarin Chinese.

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UK schools are turning to foreign governments to fund languages

9 April 2019 (The Guardian)

Some primaries would be unable to afford specialist language teaching without the money they receive from overseas schemes.

In Holly class, Matilda, aged six, calls the register. “Ciao, Tyler,” she says. “Presente,” he replies. “Ciao, Arthur,” she says next. “Ciao, Maestra Matilda,” he says. The class collapses into giggles: Matilda is taking the register as part of today’s Italian lesson. Her teacher, Stefania Cellini, helps the children count aloud to check everyone is there. Even though these year 1 pupils are only five or six, they easily count to 28 in Italian. “You are all bravissimi,” Cellini says.

Today, Cellini – the pupils call her Maestra Stefania – is teaching Holly class the names of common objects used in the classroom. She calls children to come to the front in turn to pick out objects from her pencil case without looking. “Apri l’astuccio e cerca la matita,” she tells Joshie. He rummages about and pulls out a pencil. The class applaud and Joshie smiles proudly.

Cellini is one of 70 Italian teachers paid by the Italian government to work in UK schools and promote the language. The scheme provides 112 primaries and 27 secondaries with an Italian teacher – for free.

Sadly, this level of language tuition is rare.

Read more...

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

6 April 2018 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

Read more...

The European Language Gazette no. 46

5 April 2019 (ECML)

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

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

Read more...

Sorry, on ne comprend pas

4 April 2019 (Chatham House)

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

Read more...

Research update: Linguistic creativity in the language classroom

3 April 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

Over the last 18 months our classroom-based research project has been exploring the impact of using poems and authentic texts (on such themes as love, death, migration) and different teaching approaches (‘creative’ versus ‘functional’) on 14 year-old language learners’ language development and attitudes towards languages.

We have been working with approximately 600 French and German learners in year 9, and, of course, their teachers, from 16 secondary schools across England. Classes were allocated to a text type (literary or factual) and a teaching approach (creative or functional) for use in their year 9 language lessons, using materials that we designed in collaboration with teachers. Broadly speaking, the creative teaching approach involved activities that asked learners to respond imaginatively and emotionally to the texts, while in the functional approach they focused on learning grammar and vocabulary and gaining factual information from the texts.

In December 2018 we met with a group of enthusiastic project teachers to share with them some of the initial, preliminary findings from our project.

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

31 March 2019 (The Guardian)

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

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More than NINE out of 10 Brits don’t know more than two words of British Sign Language

27 March 2019 (FE News)

There are 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK, yet new research has revealed that a staggering 94% of Brits admit that they do not know more than two words of British Sign Language (BSL).

The research, conducted by adult-education college, City Lit,reveals that over a quarter of Brits (27%) feel embarrassed that they can’t communicate with people with hearing loss, with 59% calling for sign language to be made part of the National Curriculum.

It is estimated that there are at least 24,000 people* across the UK who use BSL as their primary language. Yet some 61% of Brits feel that those who are deaf or suffering with hearing loss are marginalised from society because not enough people know how to communicate with them.

The research suggests that one common area of day-to-day life where people with hearing loss might experience marginalisation is in the workplace, with only one in five saying their employer has measures in place to help people communicate with deaf colleagues. Research by the NHS has shown that almost three quarters of deaf people (74%) felt that their employment opportunities were limited because of their hearing loss, and over two thirds (68%) have felt isolated at work.

While 50% of people admit they don’t know any sign language, 60% would like to learn to communicate better with people with hearing loss.

Read more...

Related Links

‘People get judged’ – meet Britain’s only deaf full-time football coach (The Guardian, 26 March 2019) Ben Lampert, who works with Brentford and England’s deaf team, wants a place for deaf players and coaches in the professional game.

Modern Languages Newsletter - March 2019

26 March 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just published the latest Modern Languages Newsletter.

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

The newsletter is available to read online now.

Read more...

Young poets’ multilingual talents celebrated

26 March 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

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

Pupils reciting at the MTOT celebration event 16 March 2019

Learning Foreign Languages (Nearly) Naturally

25 March 2019 (Bilingualism Matters)

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

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

Read more...

Scotland would be biggest loser from abolition of Erasmus scheme after Brexit

24 March 2019 (The Herald)

A 30-year-old student exchange programme that faces the axe after Brexit disproportionately benefits students from Scottish universities, according to new figures. 

More students north of the Border choose to study and train in the EU through the Erasmus scheme than in nine other areas of the UK.

The Erasmus programme, which was set up in 1987, allows students to study or acquire skills in another EU country.

The Prime Minister’s Chequers agreement promised to “explore participation” in the scheme, but it was not mentioned in the political declaration on the future relationship with the EU that May negotiated.

Read more...

Revealed: Prince William Can Speak Five Foreign Languages

24 March 2019 (The Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a requirement, learning a foreign language is common in the royal family. Even Prince George and Princess Charlotte are already on their way to becoming bilingual — and they have quite the built-in tutor. Prince William is one of the most impressive linguists in the royal family and allegedly knows at least five foreign languages (some of which he is fluent in!). 

Just like his children, Prince William started learning a foreign language at a young age — partly because his father wanted him to be fluent in Welsh before becoming the Prince of Wales. But while some members of the royal family know one or two languages, the Duke of Cambridge has them beat with five (and possibly more). What languages does Prince William speak?  

Read more...

Erasmus gave me an opportunity I would never otherwise have had

22 March 2019 (The Guardian)

Joining the tremendously long list of downsides to the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union is the possible loss of the Erasmus programme, an exchange scheme that has given more than 3 million students the chance to study in 37 countries since 1987. Of course, there are many other exchange schemes across the world, but the majority require the student to have several thousand pounds spare for tuition, accommodation and so on.

Losing Erasmus is another devastating blow for the social mobility of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Not only are they about to lose the freedom to live and work in the EU, they have also lost incredible opportunities to immerse themselves in another culture and build invaluable skills, which research has proven sets them up for the world of work much better than their peers who don’t undertake Erasmus placements.

Read more...

Travels have made me ashamed of being monolingual British

22 March 2019 (The Herald)

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

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

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

Read more...

Major study of Scots vocabulary being launched by University of Aberdeen

21 March 2019 (BBC)

A major new linguistic survey of the Scots vocabulary is being launched, in a bid to help preserve the language.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen will lead what they describe as the first comprehensive appraisal of the language to be conducted since the 1950s.

It will cover Scots as well as what is known as Ulster-Scots.

The project - said to be a "huge undertaking" - is expected to take many years to complete.

Read more...

Go Global! Theatre languages show for primary pupils

21 March 2019 (North Ayrshire Council)

Go Global in North Ayrshire

Take a Culture and Creative Team, a 1+2 Team and a Children’s Theatre Company and what do you get?  ‘Go Global’, a theatre show specifically designed for primary school pupils based on the 1+2 Languages Approach covering phrases in French, Spanish, Mandarin, Gaelic and Scots tongue.

It was all aboard The McDougalls Tour Bus as hundreds of pupils from across North Ayrshire made their way to the Harbour Arts Centre to join Max, Auntie Aggie and a host of magical characters on a globetrotting musical mission to learn the lingo!

From the Highlands of Scotland, to the Mountains of China, from Sunny Spain to a fancy French Cafe, pupils and teachers joined the gang on the trip of a lifetime, packed with original music and some well-known singalong songs.

One parent commented: “That was absolutely brilliant! We need more shows like this, teaching our children about places around the world.”

Creative director Ruairidh Forde said, “We had great fun performing for two weeks at the Harbour Arts Centre. We welcomed early years and school groups who participated fully with the action and adventure. Through working in partnership with the Harbour Arts Centre, we were able to produce a memorable and educational live theatre experience for the young people.”

The musical show is set to tour primary schools in Scotland from April 2019. See the attached flyer for booking information.

Scotland 2019 Tour Dates

East, South and North Ayrshire 15-18 April

North Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire 29 April - 3rd May

Fife 7-10 May

Inverclyde 13-17 May

East Lothian 19-23 Aug

Highland 26-30 Aug

Dumfries and Galloway 1-4 Oct

Renfrewshire 7-10 Oct

Midlothian/West Lothian/Edinburgh 4-8 Nov

Aberdeen 11-15 Nov

Related Files

Pupils who learn lessons in Gaelic come top of the class

20 March 2019 (The Herald)

An ever-present amongst the top schools in Scotland over the past few years has been the Glasgow Gaelic School.

This year is no exception with the school coming top for council-run state schools in Glasgow and tenth overall after 68 per cent of school-leavers secured five or more Highers.

Although located to the west of the city centre, the school is unusual because its catchment area covers the whole of Glasgow and all lessons are taught through the medium of Gaelic.

When the secondary opened in 2006 it only had 33 pupils, but there are now 343 and numbers are growing.

Donalda McComb, the school’s headteacher, said the bilingual nature of the education on offer helped boost attainment and provided a special atmosphere.

Read more...

News Release: New Grammatical Guidance for Gaelic

19 March 2019 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig / University of Glasgow)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the University of Glasgow have today (19 March 2019) published new grammatical guidance to help aid Gaelic speakers, including teachers, broadcasters and other Gaelic professionals.

The 27-page document is the first attempt to draft collaborative grammatical guidance for today’s users with input from Gaelic language professionals, traditional speakers, and academic linguists.

The guidance will benefit all people who are working with Gaelic or learning Gaelic by providing a comprehensive, authoritative source of acceptable usage in modern Scottish Gaelic, and will provide the foundations for future work on a comprehensive grammar of the language.

The new resource, hosted by the University of Glasgow’s Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), covers 11 of the most challenging topics in Gaelic grammar as identified by a survey of Gaelic language professionals and teachers.

It was drawn up in response to a wide-ranging consultation project in 2013 (Dlùth is Inneach) in which Gaelic users and learners identified access to reliable guidance on modern Gaelic grammar as one of their most important needs.

Read more...

The Future Of Language Learning Is Coming Soon From Volangua

19 March 2019 (PR Underground)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Spring break revision courses

19 March 2019 (Alliance Française)

There are still some spaces available on the semi-intensive revision courses running 8-12 April for Secondary School pupils and University students who are due to sit their French examinations in 2019.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to register.

Read more...

Erasmus scheme in chaos as UK students left in limbo

19 March 2019 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Higher Gaelic (Learners) @ James Gillespie’s High School Learn Scotland’s oldest living language in the heart of Scotland’s capital

19 March 2019 (James Gillespie's High School)

James Gillespie’s High School has long been a centre of excellence for Gaelic Medium Education in Edinburgh, and is now delighted to offer Gaelic (Learners) Higher to school pupils in the senior phase across Edinburgh and Lothian in the travel column for Session 2019/20. James Gillespie’s High School staff, in a supportive, yet immersive and intensive environment, will deliver this course.

Knowledge of Gaelic opens up many opportunities for young people in employment, music, culture and history and allows pupils to progress towards further study at college or university. Previous Gaelic (Learner) students who have travelled to James Gillespie’s High School have gone on to fluency, and gained many awards, including National Gaelic Learner of the Year.

This course may be of particular interest to those pupils who have already studied a language at Higher level, have some prior knowledge of Gaelic, or are involved in traditional music.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in taking part in this exciting opportunity, contact Jeff Warden, Depute Head Teacher at James Gillespie’s High School.

Jeff.Warden@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk                       

0131 447 1900

Children's workshops and storytelling sessions

15 March 2019 (Puppet Animation Festival)

Le Petit Monde brings you a new puppet-making workshop based on the famous Aesop fable The Fox & The Crow! Aimed at 7-9 year olds, the workshop takes place at two Scottish venues during April 2019.

After a short introduction to the story, participants will make their own puppets out of old socks and then get to manipulate them before practising a few key French phrases from Tania’s own billingual version of the fable and re-enacting the story together. 

This workshop is accessible to non-French speakers. (Please note there is a small charge to attend).

There are other free events for children and young people available at Edinburgh and Lothian's libraries, including Polish Bookbug storytelling sessions.  

Visit the website for more information.

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‘We spoke English to set ourselves apart’: how I rediscovered my mother tongue

14 March 2019 (The Guardian)

While I was growing up in Nigeria, my parents deliberately never spoke their native Igbo language to us. But later it became an essential part of me.

[..] None of us children spoke Igbo, our local language. Unlike the majority of their contemporaries in our hometown, my parents had chosen to speak only English to their children. Guests in our home adjusted to the fact that we were an English-speaking household, with varying degrees of success. Our helps were also encouraged to speak English. Many arrived from their remote villages unable to utter a single word of the foreign tongue, but as the weeks rolled by, they soon began to string complete sentences together with less contortion of their faces. My parents also spoke to each other in English – never mind that they had grown up speaking Igbo with their families. On the rare occasion my father and mother spoke Igbo to each other, it was a clear sign that they were conducting a conversation in which the children were not supposed to participate.

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Worldwide Napier magazine - Issue 3

13 March 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

The latest edition of the Worldwide Napier magazine is now available online.

The publication is designed to promote the study of modern languages and showcases articles written by students at Edinburgh Napier University on a range of topics relevant to young people. This not only makes the articles ideal for sharing with pupils in the language classroom, but for each edition the magazine editorial team invites secondary school pupils to submit contributions in Spanish, Italian, French or German on subjects they have an interest in. 

Read more...

What Foreign Languages Are Members of the Royal Family Fluent In?

13 March 2019 (Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a royal rule, learning a foreign language is highly recommended in the royal family. After all, much of their job involves traveling to different parts of the world, hosting world leaders, and giving speeches outside of the United Kingdom. And while many royal family members know enough of a foreign language to get by, some are full-on fluent.

Here are the languages members of the royal family have mastered. 

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

9 March 2019 (TES)

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

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

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

But, no.

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

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

Read more...

The importance of using Scots language in the classroom

7 March 2019 (TES)

Scots speakers must be encouraged by teachers to use and celebrate the much-neglected language, says Bruce Eunson.

The 2011 census reported that over 1.5 million people in Scotland speak Scots language. If we were to say that roughly a third of adults speak Scots, could we also say that a third of Scotland’s children and young people speak Scots?

That might be going too far. Scots is a minority language and one that many believe is dying out. We would be able to measure that more accurately if the 2001 census or the 1991 (or any previous census ever recorded) had asked all adults living in Scotland if they could speak, read, write and understand Scots. The 2011 census asked the question for the first time because Scots language has for so long been seen as either something of the past, or as a dialect of English, or as being simply “wrong” or “bad” or “slang” – or many other derogatory terms that led to Scots being marginalised from both education and wider society.

If you work in a school, do a third of the weans or bairns there speak Scots? Think beyond the classroom. Because Scots has suffered so many years of low status, neglect and of being undervalued, there are a huge number of children and young people who are using Scots in the playground with their friends, at the front gate of the school with their mam or their grandad in the morning and afternoon – but who do not bring that wealth of vocabulary and creativity with them into the classroom.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Vive la Francophonie! Quiz 2019

6 March 2019 (Francophonie UK)

Vive la Francophonie Quiz is back! The Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Francophonie UK, is pleased to offer a quiz during the Semaine de la Francophonie 2019 to celebrate the French language and the French-speaking countries.

The quiz is open to UK learners of French in the following two categories :

  • UK Secondary Schools : KS3 pupils (S1,S2, and S3 in Scotland)
  • UK participating Alliances Françaises and Instituts Français : all students, teens and adults

The quiz will be available online during Francophonie week, from 16 to 24 March 2019, and takes a maximum of 45 minutes to complete.

Visit the website for more information and register before 14 March to take part.

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Argyll and Bute Council’s Gaelic gathering a success

5 March 2019 (Buteman)

The second Argyll Gaelic Gathering took place at Corran Halls in Oban on Saturday (March 2).

More than 60 delegates enjoyed a packed full day, with a call to increase the pace of Gaelic language development delivered by keynote speaker John Swinney MSP, the Deputy First Minister.

The theme was picked up by policy and practice experts who included Shona MacLennan for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Dr Gillian Munro for Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The value of Gaelic to Scotland’s heritage and its economy was discussed by Ruairidh Graham from Historic Environment Scotland and Rachel MacKenzie from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The importance of keeping Gaelic of continued appeal to young people was ably demonstrated by Dòmhnaill Morris of Spòrs Gàidhlig and Arthur Cormack from Feisan nan Ghaidheal, and not least by young advocates of the language themselves – musicians and broadcasters Kim Carnie and Iain Smith.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for Gaelic, said: “It was great to see academics, professionals, learners and ordinary members of the community get together to share our passion and commitment for increasing the use of Gaelic both in our communities and in the fields of tourism and heritage.

“Argyll and Bute Council was pleased to see the variety of good ideas and hope to build on them going forward.”

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MPs and Peers in urgent call for a National Recovery Programme to revolutionise language skills in the UK

4 March 2019 (British Council)

Britain’s dwindling language skills are a disaster for the country and must be recovered through concerted action led by the government and supported by us all, a group of MPs and Peers warns today. 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages National Recovery Programme for Languages makes an economic, international relations and security case for a renewed focus on language learning in Britain.

It argues that languages are not just an issue for schools, but that their educational and cultural value means that businesses, government and higher education institutions must all play a part.  

It highlights:

  • The UK loses 3.5 per cent of GDP in lost business opportunities due to our poor language skills; SMEs who deploy languages report 43 per cent higher export/turnover ratios.
  • That homegrown language skills are vital to national security, diplomacy and international relations
  • Young people need languages to become culturally agile, ready for the mobile and inter-connected jobs of the future.

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

2 March 2019 (The Observer)

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

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

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

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

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SQA new materials for National 5 Mandarin (Simplified) and National 5 German

1 March 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published new candidate evidence and commentary materials for National 5 Mandarin (Simplified) and National 5 German assignment-writing. 

These contain examples of candidate evidence with a commentary from a senior examining team member that explains why the candidate has or has not met the required standards for the assessment.

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Student teachers get Japanese taster in a bid to boost language learning

1 March 2019 (University of Stirling)

The University of Stirling hosted a “Japanese for Beginners” event for student teachers in a bid to encourage them to take foreign language skills in to the classroom.

The session, themed “O–Bento” (Japanese Lunch Box), encompassed elements of history, lifestyle, and education using language as a medium. Participants were also able to taste Japanese cuisine and sushi.

Those taking part learnt some key Japanese phrases and also how to apply their newly acquired skills to teach prospective pupils.

This is in line with a commitment by the UK and Scottish Governments to improve the acquisition of language skills by introducing the learning and teaching of more foreign languages in schools, amidst the steady decline in the number of pupils taking foreign language courses across the country.

Read more...

Brexit Britain cannot afford to be laissez-faire about its languages crisis

1 March 2019 (The Guardian)

National myths play a central role in the story of a country, and the UK is no exception. Over the centuries, we Britons have come to believe that we are naturally proficient – exceptional, even – in certain pursuits. These include engineering, literature, the classics, pop music, geography and football. As the country that gave the world Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Beatles, and the beautiful game, perhaps we have a point. To be British, we understand, is to excel in these areas, and this tacit understanding powers us on to ever greater achievements.

But it is instructive, when thinking about the UK and Britishness and what might lie in store for us in the future, to consider the pursuits about which we do not feel so confident. Of these, by far the most significant – and the most worrying – is other languages.

At some point in our history, we seem to have accepted the idea that we do not need to learn languages and that we are not very good at them anyway. This is curious, given that we are an island nation that needs to trade to survive.

[...] This simply cannot go on. With Brexit just around the corner, it is critical we start to value languages and wake up to the enormous advantages multilingualism can bring.

Read more...

'How can we rejuvenate languages learning in Britain?'

1 March 2019 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Japanese Language Proficiency Test

1 March 2019 (Japan Foundation)

The next Japanese Language Proficiency Test will take place on Sunday 7 July 2019.

It will be held at SOAS University of London and the University of Edinburgh.

Registration for the Edinburgh test is open from 5 March.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information.

Read more...

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

27 February 2019 (BBC News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Related Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the spread of Gaelic inexorable?

27 February 2019 (The Courier)

Language is a tool, an implement. Used in a certain way you might even describe it as a weapon. It can shape the way you think, perhaps without you realising it is doing so.

It is a fictional example, but if you are unconvinced try reading George Orwell’s magnificent Nineteen Eighty-Four, which depicts a state imposing language control to remove even the vocabulary required to express dissension.

The terms you use are important.

Consider, then, the spread of Gaelic names on road and rail station signs, and police car decalcomanias, throughout Scotland.

This is in line with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, passed by the then-named Scottish Executive (now the Scottish Government), under the First Ministership of Labour’s Jack McConnell.

Might it be possible that the use of Gaelic, from this kernel, could grow to become widespread?

Read more...

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

26 February 2019 (The Conversation)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

UK-German Connection Spring Newsletter 2019

22 February 2019 (UK-German Connection)

The latest opportunities and updates from the UK-German Connection are now available to read in their Spring 2019 Newsletter.

Please note, if you're interested in the funded summer immersion courses for pupils of German or wish to take part in one of the courses as a group leader, the application deadline is 1 March - so apply now!

The newsletter also contains links to the Voyage Kids Carnival and Easter Special if you're looking for resources for the primary classroom.

Read more...

Espacios Increíbles project

22 February 2019 (SCILT)

Espacios Increíbles – Our learners need you!

You might have seen our tweets with the #getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles but what is it all about?!

What is the project?

For the project ‘Espacios Increíbles’, based on the TV show ‘Amazing Spaces’, our young people will be designing ‘un espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile with whom the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde run exchange programmes for undergrads. Through this project learners will be researching and finding out about both countries using the internet, looking at photos taken by students at the University of Strathclyde whilst on their exchanges abroad and reading and listening activities which have been developed specifically for this project. When they have completed their research they will design their ‘espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile and present their final design to their class in Spanish. A winning team from each of the 5 schools will attend a final at the university and present their project to an audience of their peers and a panel of judges.

Who is involved?

SCILT have been working in partnership with the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde and with teachers across 2 subject areas, languages and design and technology, in 5 schools across 3 challenge authorities to develop this cross-sector interdisciplinary project;

  • St. Peter the Apostle  (West Dunbartonshire)
  • Clydebank High School   (West Dunbartonshire)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Glasgow)
  • St. Margaret Mary’s (Glasgow)
  • St. Matthew’s Academy (North Ayrshire)

What role have the schools had in the partnership?

Teachers in the participating schools have led on the development of lessons, resources and activities for the project whose inspiration came from @MrGeorgeClarke programme ‘Amazing Spaces’. Through their participation there has been inter-authority moderation taking place to ensure that all resources developed meet with national benchmarks at level 4 for languages and technologies. The project has also sought to ensure that our young people ‘make well informed choices about learning opportunities and pathways and relate these to possible future careers’ (HWB 4-20a) by giving them an insight into other further education pathways which exist and are not exclusively language based.

How you can you help our learners?

Our learners need your help in this pilot to #getgeorgetothefinal @MrGeorgeClarke. As part of a social media campaign to encourage Mr Clarke to attend our final as a judge at the University of Strathclyde on 24th April learners will be tweeting the various stages of their project via twitter with our hashtags. It would be great if George could attend but we appreciate he is a very busy man so even a video message for the final would be gratefully received. Please follow the hashtags below and retweet your support for our learners

#getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles

What’s in it for you?

At the end of the project all resources, lessons and activities will be made available via the SCILT website for you to use in collaboration with design and technology departments in your own context. This is a full unit of work which can be used when doing the topic of town with your own learners.

If you wish any further information about this project please contact via email at  louise.m.whyte@strath.ac.uk or twitter @Louise_SCILT

Des bonnes idées éducatives observées au Royaume-Uni

22 February 2019 (Académie Montpellier)

Last month ten teachers and QIO's from Montpellier visited Marr College, Kyle Academy and Forehill Primary. The result of these exchanges is the publication of a bilingual brochure bringing together articles, photos and video reports on the good practices observed.

Visit the website to see the video and read the brochure of their visit which is in both French and English.

Read more...

SCHOLAR Higher Modern Languages tutor session

22 February 2019 (SCHOLAR)

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

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

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

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Let's learn and teach - Primary language learning courses

21 February 2019 (WLC 1 Plus 2 Team)

Each 8 week course will build confidence in delivering Primary Language Learning and develop a greater understanding of age-appropriate methodology to support delivery to First Level in the target language.

The course will focus on building confidence in speaking the language; developing a working knowledge of core First Level vocabulary and supporting the delivery of Primary Language Learning through a range of curricular areas.

Follow the appropriate link below for further information about each language course and to register:

The courses are offered by the WLC 1 Plus 2 Team. Both commence in March and are free to attend.

Fairtrade Fortnight

21 February 2019 (Various)

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

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

Celebrating Scotland's Indigenous Languages in 2019

21 February 2019 (British Council)

Three years ago, the UN proclaimed that 2019 was to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019). The announcement came in response to a recommendation by the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Languages, which stated that 40% of the world’s languages were in danger of disappearing – that’s 2680 languages!

The IYIL2019 is an opportunity to help promote and protect indigenous languages, to improve the lives of speakers, and to achieve the objectives of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Led by UNESCO, activities throughout the year will include international conferences, training courses, festivals, exhibitions, online events and film screenings.

We all use language to communicate, to define our identity, and to preserve our history and culture. Language is crucial to good governance, peace building, sustainable development and the protection of human rights. 

Read on to find out about events taking place to celebrate Scotland’s indigenous languages in 2019.

Read more...

Keeping the ‘Mither’ tongue alive: Celebrating minority languages in all their diversity and distinctiveness

21 February 2019 (Education Scotland)

​Education Scotland is ensuring the preservation of the Scots language for future generations by keeping the ‘Mither tongue’ alive in Scotland’s classrooms.

This International Mother Language Day (21 February), Education Scotland acknowledges the importance of Scots in helping children and young people to learn about Scotland's culture, identity and language. 

Hailing from Shetland, Bruce Eunson has been Education Scotland’s Scots Language Coordinator for the past five years.

Bruce said: 'I’ve had the privilege of visiting schools across the country, working with teachers to explore the educational benefits for learners that Scots language brings when used in the classroom. 

'From Early Years to Senior Phase and into Adult Learning, I have seen the positive effects for learners when Scots language is given the equal status it deserves.'

Read more...

This website is inspiring young Scots to travel, study and work overseas

21 February 2019 (Study International)

After an intense final year in university, Adele Sreeves wanted a change of scenery while simultaneously learning a brand-new skill. The graduate in International Business with Spanish picked China and has absolutely no regrets.

In an article titled A Scot in China, part of a digital campaign called GlobeScotting, Sreeves described her experience in Wuhan, central China, while on a Generation UK China Scholarship. During her time abroad, she brushed up her Mandarin language skills through intensive classes and complete immersion in a foreign environment.

“My placement helped to improve my communication, teamwork and lone-working skills whilst at the same time educating me on different cultures and customs in countries all over the world,” said Sreeves, who added this experience contributed to her later winning two Mandarin scholarships in Beijing and Taipei.

A collaboration between the British Council Scotland and Young Scot, GlobeScotters is a digital campaign for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. Young Scot is Scotland’s national youth information and citizenship agency.

Launched in June last year, GlobeScotters aims to inspire more Scottish youth to gain more international experience and opportunities to improve their social life, education and career prospects.

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HERE OUI GO Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers speaks fluent Spanish and French to stunned students at Strathclyde Uni event

20 February 2019 (Scottish Sun)

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers wowed students during a foreign language event - by talking fluently in Spanish and French.

Rodgers, 46, told students and schoolkids at the Q&A at Strathclyde University in Glasgow that learning foreign lingos was vital for his role as Hoops gaffer.

And he impressed with his skills in Spanish and French as he chatted away with uni boffins in the lecture theatre.

One attendee told The Scottish Sun: “Brendan really inspired students with his talk. That was the aim and that’s what he achieved.

“The event was all about the importance of communication - and foreign languages - for him in his job.

“He answered one question in Spanish from an audience member, which was good and spoke a bit of French at the beginning as well.

“The evening was very good. He emphasised the need to speak a foreign language. The feedback from students was very positive.

“It was very interesting, and not just about football. It was very kind for him to give up his time.”

The Northern Irishman was the very first speaker at the Living Languages event hosted by Senior Language Teaching Fellow Cedric Moreau on Monday night.

Kids from St John Ogilvie High School in Hamilton and Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow were also invited to hear his chat about his love of linguistics.

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Scots dialect brought to life in sign language

20 February 2019 (BBC)

Actor Connor Bryson brings to life the Scots dialect in sign language.

The 24 year old advised the cast of the BBC comedy 'Two Doors Down', teaching the actors to speak in sign language but with a Glaswegian accent.

He said: "There are different signs for different regions in the UK. Glasgow is more like the people in Glasgow, more expansive, more emotional."

Read more...

Real Lives exams

19 February 2019 (CIOL)

The Real Lives exam series is a brand new format for testing practical, applied language skills in real life scenarios. Focused this year on listening skills, the series has the potential to be extended to all skills in future. It will be of interest to students who are cadets (ACF, SCC, ATC or CCF) or are completing awards such as The London Challenge, Duke of Edinburgh, St John's Ambulance Brigade.

Real Lives is based on situations which have authenticity and urgency which will appeal to students who don’t always immediately recognise the usefulness and relevance of learning another language. The exam intends to boost the declining interest in language learning amongst students, motivating learners by presenting them with the challenge of real life scenarios where accurate communication is critical.

There are two exams available, both offered in French, Spanish and German (Mandarin, Arabic and English coming soon):

Service Lives

Service Lives is a real world multiple choice listening comprehension exam suitable for cadets, testing their language skills in adventure and leadership situations, linked to the services, in which emergencies require clear and accurate communication and understanding.

Saving Lives

Saving Lives is a real world multiple choice listening comprehension exam suitable for those taking a Duke of Edinburgh award or anyone with an interest in the outdoor world, helping others and the emergency services.

Visit the CIOL website for more information.

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Babel competition for schools

19 February 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

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

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

A) Magical Translation

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

B) Fabulous Translation

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

C) Futuristic Translation

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

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

Read more...

How does switching between languages impact your body?

18 February 2019 (Euronews)

UAE-based researchers are exploring how switching between languages affects the body and brain.

PhD student Blanco-Elorrieta uses a neuro-imaging technique called Magnetoencephalography to measure how much brain power is exerted when test subjects change between languages.

The areas of the brain predominantly used in language expression are the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex.

Blanco-Elorrieta discovered that when the group naturally alternated between Arabic and English both brain areas showed almost no signs of activity. However, if they were instructed to translate from one language to the other, both cortexes became highly engaged.

The researcher performed tests over two years with about 20 native bilingual speakers.

According to Blanco-Elorrieta, the findings reveal that the brain perceives a specific translation task as ‘harder’ than when the subject instinctively switches language.

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TES School Awards 2019

18 February 2019 (TES)

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

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

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Six Italian words or phrases we definitely need in Scottish football

18 February 2019 (Football Scotland)

There’s nothing as creative as the Scottish language. The Inuit people may have 50 words for snow, but we’ve got at least 30 words for drunk and the most varied use of swear words you’ll find anywhere in the world.

[..] For all the creative language you’re likely to hear on the terraces though, there are some things we just don’t have a word or phrase to easily describe, and that’s where we could learn something from the Italians.

Everyone knows trequartista and catenaccio, and we already have a word for a nutmeg, even if the Italian coda di vacca or “cow’s tail” is much more pleasing. Unless you’re Alex Cleland being mugged off by Alessandro Del Piero, that is.

Here are some phrases which would vastly improve the Scottish football lexicon.

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A plan for study exchange is essential for ‘Global Britain’

15 February 2019 (THE)

Paul James Cardwell considers the alternatives to staying outside the Erasmus+ programme if the UK has no national student mobility strategy.

The panic button is being hit in terms of what a no deal Brexit means for the Erasmus programme. With only weeks to go until the UK leaves the European Union and with no strategy to replace the scheme, future UK students will be shut out of one of the longest running and most successful transnational education schemes in existence.

Most people I have come across in higher education see Erasmus as a good thing and do not need to be convinced of its benefits. It is a great chance for students to get a new experience somewhere different, pick up or improve a foreign language and maybe add a skill to their CV while expanding their job interview talking points. 

But, when those of us in the higher education sector argue the benefits of Erasmus to the wider public, some misconceptions usually come up.

The most common is to challenge why the UK needs to be in the whole architecture of the EU just to swap students with European universities. The simple answer is that it doesn’t. Other European countries participate fully as programme countries (such as Turkey and – this week – Serbia) and Erasmus+ (as it is now known) has taken the scheme to a global level that allows exchanges beyond Europe. 

But – and it is a big but – only EU members get a say in the key decision-making and the budget. Being outside that makes having any kind of influence more difficult.

There is nothing stopping UK universities from having exchanges with European partners. After all, this is how the UK does exchanges with non-European countries in the Americas, Asia and Australasia. But students would have to rely on other sources of funding, perhaps from their universities, which are hard to come by for those that need the most help – and study destinations further afield mean increased travel costs and complex paperwork, including visas.

As universities face uncertain finances post-Brexit, they are unlikely to be able to step in to the place that Erasmus funding occupies. What is more, non-standard exchange contracts come with a lot of red tape. The beauty of Erasmus is that it makes things much easier by working to a standard form. European partners might still be willing to continue relationships, particularly long-standing ones, but they would also need sources of financing for students to come to the UK.

(Note - registration required to read full article).

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

15 February 2019 (Innovate My School)

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

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LinguaChef 2019

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

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

Schools have until 8 March 2019 to register their interest.

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

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MTOT 2018-19 winners announced!

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

David Taiwo (Yoruba)

Our Lady of Peace Primary

 

Highly commended

Giulia Ferretti (Italian)

St Aloysius College JS

 

Highly commended

Syeda Jannata Farhin Ishal (Bengali)

West Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Nermeen Jamal Horani (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Jamal Oladunjoye (Yoruba)

St Charles's Primary

 

Highly commended

Lucja Lubanska (Polish)

St Charles's Primary

P7-S1

Winner

Qainat Qamar (Urdu)

Pollokshields Primary

 

Highly commended

Kitty Zhu (Mandarin Chinese)

St James' Primary

S2-S3

Winner

Shahd Dongo (Arabic)

Craigmount High

 

Highly commended

Alex Mandova (Czech)

Bishopbriggs Academy

 

Highly commended

Lovely Selwyn (Tamil)

Bishopbriggs Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Diana Procházková (Czech)

George Heriot's

 

Highly commended

Alexandra Grimaldo (Spanish)

Craigroyston Community High

 

Other Tongue

Category          

Award                           

Name                                   

School

P1-P3

Winner  

Anna Inglis (Spanish) 

St Aloysius College JS             

P4-P6

Winner

Holly Price (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Milly Russell (French)

St George's Primary

P7-S1

Winner

Orla Kelly (Spanish)

St Aloysius College JS

 

Highly commended

Melody Elizabeth Clark-Want (Gaelic/English)

Port Charlotte Primary

S2-S3

Winner

Emily Feerick (Japanese)

Bearsden Academy

 

Highly commended

Brooke Braidwood & Chloe Gibb (French)

Graeme High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

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

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

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Using foreign language film to boost language attainment

14 February 2019 (Into Film)

Our Into Film Club of the Month for February 2019 is Y Pant Comprehensive School, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, South Wales. We took some time to speak to the leader of the club, Mrs Sarah Rose, who is head of French at the school. Sarah talks to us about how the film club is used to broaden her members' film choices, showing them films they would never normally consider watching.

The film club has given pupils more confidence in listening to different French speakers, and has helped them improve their French pronunciation. The club members are now more culturally aware and are more open to new things.

Into Film clubs are free for state-funded schools and non-school settings, such as youth clubs and libraries. Information on starting a club can also be found on the website.

Read more...

Erasmus+ funding

14 February 2019 (Erasmus+)

The 2019 deadline for Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships funding applications on 21 March (11am UK time) is fast approaching. The February newsletter contains links to a wide range of resources, including webinars with live Q&As, guidance notes and one-to-one support calls, to make sure you submit a high-quality application.

In other news, you can get the latest update on Brexit and the UK government's commitment to Erasmus+ and if you want to inspire your pupils to consider studying abroad, share Rachel Lowe's story. After studying abroad in Spain through Erasmus+, Rachel accomplished her dream of speaking another language. Sixteen years on, she is using Spanish to communicate her research, present at conferences and engage with schools.

Read more...

DAAD/IMLR German Writing Competition 2019

14 February 2019 (DAAD)

This year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) are joining forces for the sixth time to invite all learners and lovers of German, from secondary school upwards, to take part in a writing competition.

2019 marks the 200th birthdays of Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. This year’s competition is launched on Valentine’s Day to commemorate a love that blossomed across borders, cultures and languages, between the Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the British queen. 

They first met in May 1836, were engaged in October 1839 and married in February 1840. During the years before Albert moved to Windsor Castle, many letters crossed the Channel – from Britain to Saxony and back from Saxony to Britain – and most, if not all of them were written in German, the language Victoria had learnt from her mother as a little girl.

Your competition brief is to imagine one of these letters. You could:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of Victoria or Albert (or both) and write a (pair of) letter(s) or
  • Creatively adapt one (or an exchange) of their letters as a mini-play, lyrics for a rap song (à la Hamilton), a (set of) poem(s) or similar

Does Albert share his thoughts with Victoria about moving to Britain and becoming a part of her life? Does Victoria tell Albert about Britain while contemplating their life together?

Be creative and think outside the box. The only two rules: your text must be written in German and not be longer than 350 words. Submission deadline is 15 May 2019.

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Interdisciplinary Learning: preparing for the future

13 February 2019 (SQA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book a trainer

12 February 2019 (British Council)

You can book one of British Council's specialist trainers to visit your school and deliver our global learning courses. This could be an INSET or twilight session - choose a time, place and length that works for you. 

Cluster leads can also deliver training to teachers in their cluster, using our specialist training materials on global learning and developing international partnerships. 

Visit the website for more information and to book.

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Speaking the same language at national meeting

12 February 2019 (Education Scotland)

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

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

Participants heard updates from:

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

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

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

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Digital Modern Languages tutorial writing sprint - Call for proposals

12 February 2019 (Language Acts and Worldmaking)

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

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

The DML tutorial writing sprint aims to: 

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

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

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

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

  • Language learning and
  • Learning and research about ML cultures 

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

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In pictures: FilmG Awards winners

12 February 2019 (BBC)

A short film about domestic violence has won two top prizes at the 2019 FilmG Awards.

Sòlas won its creator Lana Pheutan the best drama accolade and Lewis-based actor Mairi MacLennan the prize of best performance.

Held annually since 2008, FilmG is a Gaelic-language short film competition.

[..] The theme for 2019 entries was "In the Blink of an Eye", and the full list of winners can be found on FilmG's website.

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Brendan Rodgers hopes to pass Spanish lesson against Valencia

9 February 2019 (The Herald)

Brendan Rodgers remains something of a footballing linguist. The Celtic manager is learning French and he is already fluent in Spanish. It’s a handy string to the bow in these multi-cultural times.

“A lot of them [overseas] are surprised because normally us British people are a bit insular that way,” said Rodgers of his ability to turn his hand to another language.

“Young Maryan [Shved], the player we signed from Ukraine was a great example of what language can do. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Ukranian but we could speak Spanish because he had two years at Sevilla.

“If I could do two things in the world I’d speak every language and I would play every musical instrument. Why? It’s the ability to communicate. As you grow older you understand communication is so important."

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More British children are learning Mandarin Chinese – but an increase in qualified teachers is urgently needed

8 February 2019 (The Conversation)

Mandarin Chinese is seen as being of increasing strategic importance, and in recent years there’s been a growing number of students taking up the language in schools across the UK.

There were more than 3,500 GCSE entries for Mandarin Chinese in 2018. But it’s not just China’s global dominance that makes Mandarin an appealing alternative to learning a European language. For students, it’s exciting and opens up a window into other cultures and ways of thinking.

Take the character for home and family 家 – which is a pig under a roof – many students are keen to find out why. New learners of the language are also always pleased to discover that verbs don’t change – so no having to remember different endings off by heart – and there are no tenses in Mandarin Chinese.

The learning of Chinese is taking off globally, so there are many new and innovative resources for students. China is also keen to welcome guests and school students have been able to benefit from in-country learning – supported financially by Chinese host institutions during their stay. Many come back home and realise the opportunities to work in China or with Chinese companies in their future will be huge.

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Fitting in: why Polish immigrant children say ‘aye’ to the Glasgow vibe

8 February 2019 (The Conversation)

All of us have a range of speech styles, altering how we talk to fit different situations. The adjustments we make can be barely noticeable: you might tell a work colleague that you’re going “swimming” after work, and then later tell your friends that you’ve just been “swimmin’”. But even tiny, subconscious adjustments have a real social effect, playing a part in building social relationships and constructing identity.

This is something that linguists study and describe and gather evidence about, but it’s not something that only academics understand – it’s something we all notice, experience and talk about. I explore this particular skill in episode two of my podcast, Accentricity, which brings together what academics know about style-shifting with how we all experience it in everyday life.

Sociolinguistic research has built up a picture of how people alter their speech, or “style-shift”. However, most of the research we have is on people using their first language; we know less about style-shifting in a new language. Do learners pick up style-shifting behaviour even as they are picking up the sounds and structures of their new language?

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Deaf actress learns to sign in Glaswegian for hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down

8 February 2019 (Daily Record)

Deaf actress Sophie Stone had to learn to sign like a Glaswegian for her role in hit BBC comedy Two Doors Down.

She plays Louise, an old friend of Joy McAvoy’s character Michelle, and appears in Monday’s episode – which is the last in the series.

Sophie admitted she wanted to get the right regional dialect sign language for the show.

Sophie, 38, who’s originally from London, said British Sign Language – BSL – has dialect influence, slang and phrases of its own from region to region, just like an accent.

Read more...

Gaelic support service to inspire Scots to speak the language

8 February 2019 (The Scotsman)

Young people will be able to access a range of support services provided in Gaelic as part of a new initiative.

The project, launched by Young Scot, will offer advice online about topics including financial management, puberty and internet safety. It aims to help inspire more young people in Scotland to speak the language.

Read more...

Registrations now open for Language Linking Global Thinking 2019-20

8 February 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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

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

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New job profile on the SCILT website

8 February 2019 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website covering a range of careers and roles where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Craig Smith, a manufacturing engineer with Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems Europe Ltd based in Livingston. As the company has its HQ in Japan, he tells us that learning Japanese has been a great advantage and improved his future career prospects.

Teachers, share his profile with your pupils to highlight the benefits language learning for life and work.

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Funding for ASMCF's Schools Liaison and Outreach Activities

5 February 2019 (ASMCF)

The deadline for the ASMCF's Schools Liaison and Outreach Activities is fast approaching. This fund offers up to £500 to support members of the Association who organise teacher- or pupil-focused events in a partnership between universities and schools, and which fulfil the following objectives:

  • promote the learning of French in its social, political, historical and cultural context in schools to prepare pupils for the diversity of content of current UK French degrees
  • assist teachers who wish to engage in personal intellectual development in subjects relating to those which they are teaching, with a view to enrich their provision and enable them to help students to bridge the gap between school and university

The deadline for the submission of applications is 28 February 2019 for projects to be undertaken between April and October 2019. More information about the scheme, including project criteria and application procedure can be found on the ASMCF website.

More information about successful past projects and examples of outreach activities are available on the ASMCF blog.

Read more...

Summer courses in Germany: Deadline 1 March 2019

5 February 2019 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection run summer courses in Germany, which are now open for application.

Both programmes combine language learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families.

There’s also a paid CPD opportunity for teachers to act as group leaders on the German Pupil Courses.

The application deadline for all programmes is 1 March 2019.

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

5 February 2019 (ECML)

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

Visit the ECML website for more information.

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How Arsenal are teaching young fans to learn new languages

3 February 2019 (BBC Sport)

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

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Falkirk teacher creates new Scots resource for bestselling children’s book

1 February 2019 (Falkirk Herald)

A Falkirk teacher has created a new Scots classroom resource based on a popular children’s book.

Kirsty Crommie (39), from Reddingmuirhead has written teaching notes to accompany ‘Diary o a Wimpy Wean’, a Scots version of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid bestseller, which has been translated into Scots by writer and poet Thomas Clark.

The project came about after Kirsty read the book and enjoyed it so much that she made contact with the author to discuss the possibility of creating some teaching resources to go along with it for schools across Scotland to use.

Read more...

French pop video competition

1 February 2019 (Institut français)

French Pop Video Competition

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni, with the support of Francophonie UK, is organising a French song video contest for all primary and secondary students in the UK school systems of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and the Channel Islands. Teachers can submit their students’ video clips in 3 age-categories before 5 April 2019. In May, local juries in 9 geographical areas (including 5 in England) will award qualified laureates with £100 worth of book tokens per winning entry. Local laureates will automatically enter the National final, and the UK grand winners, announced in early June, will be invited to attend the Francophonie UK School Music Awards as part of a special-guest concert on Friday 28 June at the Institut français in London (travel expenses paid!). Visit the website for more information and free registration or see the attached flyer.

Teaching French through Music CPD tour, from 25/02 to 02/03

As part of the French Pop Video Competition, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni will be offering a UK-wide teacher training tour from 25 February to 2 March to learn how to teach French through music. FREE Workshops led by the prestigious international French training centre CAVILAM will be delivered for secondary teachers of French in London, Jersey, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Belfast. Visit the website or see the attached flyer for more information and register before 15 February.

Read more...

Why are children so good at learning languages?

31 January 2019 (Horizon Magazine)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

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

30 January 2019 (Phys Org)

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

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

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

Read more...

Worldwide Napier magazine - Call for contributions

30 January 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Building on the success of the first two issues of Worldwide Napier, our magazine in foreign languages, we are, for our next issue, calling for submissions about the cultural concepts of “attachment” and “detachment”, ie the emotional connection one may have with a place, a period of time, a person, a thing, what makes someone nostalgic (or not).

Secondary school pupils are being invited to contribute articles for the next issue. As per usual, the article(s) will be written in one the following languages your students are currently studying: French, German, Italian or Spanish. Submission deadline is 1 March 2019.

See the attached letter for more information and to access previous versions of the magazine online. There's also a printable poster to promote the opportunity on school noticeboards.

Education Scotland Modern Languages Newsletter

30 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

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

Read more...

Scots is a language and not ‘slang’ – Alistair Heather

29 January 2019 (The Scotsman)

A new study of Glasgow Scots finds that child immigrants learn how to speak it, but also pick up on the idea that some view Scots as ‘slang’ and therefore not appropriate for certain situations, writes Alistair Heather, who says it’s time to “breenge intae 2019 wi a bit mair smeddum whan it comes tae the Scots language”.

Being told to “speak proper”, having your language mocked on national TV and derided as incomprehensible across the UK and the world. This is the typical fate of the speaker of Glasgow Scots, the Glaswegian dialect of the Scots language. These prejudices have contributed to a complex pattern of ‘code-switching’ in which a speaker might use Scots with friends, but move along a language continuum towards Scottish Standard English when in a classroom, a job interview or talking on the phone.

You could imagine newcomers to the city and country struggling to navigate this linguistic quicksand. ‘Yes’ and ‘aye’ are commonly used in the city, but pinning down precisely where, when and how to use one over the other would be a tricky lesson to teach, let alone assimilate into practise. Yet according to a recent study by Dr Sadie Ryan of Glasgow University, young migrants to the city are adopting not only elements of the Scots language, but are quickly learning how to code-switch like native speakers based on their audience.

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions - Higher Modern Languages

28 January 2019 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR turns its attention to Higher Modern Languages in February:

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

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

Read more...

Scottish Education Award for languages

28 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

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

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

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

Read more...

German Educational Trainees Across Borders 2019/20

25 January 2019 (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz / SCILT)

Expressions of interest are now being taken from local authorities who would like to host a German student teacher for a 6 month placement during the 2019-20 school session.

German trainee teachers from Universities in Mainz, Leipzig and Koblenz are available to work in Scottish schools for a six month placement from September/October 2019 to March/April 2020. Participating students are native German speakers, training to become secondary teachers of English. 

German Educational Trainees (GETs) support language teaching and intercultural understanding, bringing language alive for learners with a trained and motivated native speaker. 

Local authorities interested in hosting GETs should complete and return the Note of Interest form below to SCILT by Friday 1st February.

For more information contact SCILT.

Read more...

Related Files

MSP urges young Gaelic speakers to pass on language to next gen

24 January 2019 (The Herald)

Young Gaelic speakers have a duty to pass on the language to the next generation, according to SNP MSP Kate Forbes.

Ms Forbes made the comments ahead of delivering the first annual address in memory of John Macleod, the former president of An Comunn Gaidhealach - the Highland Association.

She will deliver her lecture in Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh later on Thursday.

The organisation was set up in 1891 to help support and promote the Scottish Gaelic language, culture and history at local, national and international level.

Read more...

Related Links

Young Scots have a duty to protect Gaelic, says SNP MSP (The Scotsman, 24 January 2019)

Glasgow Film Festival 2019

24 January 2019 (Glasgow Film Festival)

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

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

View the brochure for more information.

Read more...

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

23 January 2019 (SQA)

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

Visit the SQA website for more information.

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Hotel staff told ‘learn the language and provide Pot Noodles’ to welcome Chinese tourists

22 January 2019 (The Metro)

Hotel staff in the Scottish Highlands could learn Mandarin and provide chopsticks and noodles in rooms to make Chinese tourists feel welcome, a travel expert has said.

Visiting the scenic region is becoming increasingly popular among middle class tourists in China but cultural nuances are not often catered for.

Monica Lee-Macpherson, chairwoman of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and Moray Chinese Association, said making a few changes would benefit the tourism industry and it starts with B&B owners.

Ms Lee-Macpherson, a Chinese-Scot who organises tours of stunning Highlands beauty spots, said restaurants could include more imagery in their menus and rooms should have an option of twin-beds, which are more popular with Chinese visitors, to make tourists feel more ‘at home’.

Approximately 62,000 Chinese visitors travelled to Scotland in 2017, an increase of 51 per cent from 2016, spending a total of £44 million, according to VisitScotland.

Read more...

Asterix's latest quest: To help Scottish primary pupils learn French

22 January 2019 (The Herald)

The struggles of cartoon character Asterix the Gaul against the might of the Roman empire will be taught in Scottish primary schools under the latest curriculum shake-up.

A unique collaboration between Glasgow University academics and teachers has paved the way for the French version of the 2013 graphic book Asterix and the Picts to be used in primary schools as a language resource.

The move is part of a wider initiative between the university and curriculum body Education Scotland to produce a range of new online teaching materials based on academic research.

A total of 12 resources have been created for pupils in primary and the first three years of secondary school, including the history of the Vikings in Scotland, political songs and poems and medieval history.

In addition, Polish films will also be used as a language resource while pupils can learn about the hundreds of Scots words used to describe snow.

Read more...

Related Links

University of Glasgow research used to create new resources for primary and secondary pupils (University of Glasgow, 21 January 2019)

The University of Glasgow and Education Scotland officially launched a range of online teaching resources from academic research tailored to the needs of Scottish pupils.

A total of 12 resources using University research have been specially created by teachers for the Curriculum for Excellence to use in Broad General Education, which covers nursery to S3.

The resources, based on the latest scholarship in Arts and Humanities at the University, cover a diverse range of topics from French comics to archaeology, political songs to medieval history, Polish films to Scots language.

Broad General Education @ The University of Glasgow (Education Scotland, January 2019)

This project is a partnership between the University of Glasgow and Education Scotland. It brings together academic staff from the University with education practitioners in schools to create resources which are suitable for use in the Broad General Education. The resources are located in a number of curricular areas such as Social Studies, Modern Languages, RME and Technologies. This project is funded by the University of Glasgow's ArtsLab.

Astérix chez les Pictes (Education Scotland, February 2018)

Using comics to teach French.

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

20 January 2019 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the SRF has been published. This includes information on events and activities taking place in Scotland and beyond. Anyone wishing to practise their conversational skills should note the next Чай н Чат / Chai n Chat is on 7 February in Edinburgh.

Read more...

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

19 January 2019 (CERES)

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

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

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

Read more...

After Brexit, disadvantaged children will be sent abroad to boost their languages

18 January 2019 (iNews)

Thousands of disadvantaged pupils will go on foreign exchange trips in a bid to build character and boost the take up of languages post-Brexit, the Education Secretary has said.

Damian Hinds will call on heads in some of the country’s poorest areas to apply for grants to take secondary students to countries across the globe to open their eyes to different cultures.

Speaking exclusively to i, Mr Hinds said there were a range of benefits from taking part in such trips beyond giving children “positive life experiences”.

“Experiencing somebody else’s culture, somebody else’s town will help broaden people’s minds,” the Cabinet member said. “But it will also help to develop their languages – there is clearly a benefit to studying overseas.”

Mr Hinds also said the move would help to develop a more “globally-minded” UK post-Brexit.

Read more...

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

18 January 2019 (Welsh Government)

Applies to Wales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

18 January 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

Read more...

Policy Briefing – Modern Languages Educational Policy in the UK

17 January 2019 (AHRC)

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

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

Read more...

RZSS Spanish packs

16 January 2019 (RZSS)

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

Read more...

Mathématiques sans Frontières

15 January 2019 (North Lanarkshire Council)

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

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

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

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

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

11 January 2019 ( TES)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Exclusive: The schools reversing the languages decline

11 January 2019 (TES)

Applies to England

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Advanced Higher Modern Languages

10 January 2019 (SCHOLAR)

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

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

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

Read more...

School partnership bursaries for 2018-19

10 January 2019 (UK-German Connection)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

International Year of Indigenous Languages

10 January 2019 (UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Scottish Learning Festival 2019 – Call for seminar proposals now open

9 January 2019 (Education Scotland)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

FilmG

7 January 2019 (FilmG)

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

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

Read more...

French classes in Glasgow

7 January 2019 (Alliance Française)

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

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

Read more...

University of Hull's language degrees suspension 'damaging'

5 January 2019 (BBC)

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

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

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

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

The University of Hull has been approached for a comment.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

MyFrenchFilmFestival 2019

3 January 2019 (MyFrenchFilmFestival)

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

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

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

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

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

3 January 2019 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how do you make immersion work in practice?

Read more...

Scotland sets out its stall to woo Chinese tourists

2 January 2019 (ECNS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Nihongo Cup 2019 - Applications open!

2 January 2019 (Japan Foundation)

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

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

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

Read more...

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019

2 January 2019 (Japan Foundation)

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

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

Visit the website for full programme and venue details.

Read more...

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

1 January 2019 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

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

Au boulot – to work!

Read more...

Down's syndrome no bar to bilingualism, study suggests

21 December 2018 (BBC)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Bioran is festive Gaelic story treat for youngsters

21 December 2018 (Stòrlann)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Threlford Cup 2019

20 December 2018 (CIOL)

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

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

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

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2019

20 December 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

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

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

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

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

Read more...

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

20 December 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

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

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

Read more...

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

20 December 2018 (Press and Journal)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

19 December 2018 (Education Scotland)

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

Read more...

Teach abroad as an English Language Assistant

18 December 2018 (British Council)

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

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

As an English Language Assistant, you will: 

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

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

Visit the British Council website for more information.

Read more...

Year of the Pig education pack

17 December 2018 (British Council)

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

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

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

Read more...

Brexit ‘will leave Scotland short of foreign language teachers’

14 December 2018 (TESS)

The leader of the organisation that represents Scottish independent schools has issued a warning about the impact of Brexit on the education sector.

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, suggested that schools specifically should be worried about the end of freedom of movement.

“Only 14 EU teachers applied for General Teaching Council for Scotland registration up until 30 June 2018 – down from 128 in 2015, 159 in 2016 and 186 in 2017. There are already significantly fewer language teachers in Scotland than in 2008. There were 722 French teachers last year in the state sector, compared with 1,070 in 2008.

“Over the same period, the number of German teachers has almost halved, to 100 (the number of Spanish teachers has increased from 64 to 107).

“At the very least, EU withdrawal poses a real challenge for the Scottish government’s admirable 1+2 modern language ambitions.”

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Immersion courses in France and Spain

14 December 2018 (LFEE)

Languages for Education Europe (LFEE) run immersion courses for primary and secondary teachers of French and Spanish, with funding available from Erasmus+. The next funding deadline has been extended to 12 February 2019.

Visit the LFEE website for more information.

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SQA course reports for Higher Modern Languages 2018

13 December 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

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

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

Read more...

Japanese Language Group for Scottish Schools

12 December 2018 (Japanese Language Group for Scottish Schools)

The Japanese Language Group for Scottish Schools met in Edinburgh in November to discuss the work being done to support the teaching of Japanese within Scottish schools.

Attached are the minutes from the meeting. Anyone with an interest in the subject who would like to join the group or mailing list can contact petra.mclay@fife.gov.uk - petrasmclay@gmail.com.

French language competition - Concours de la francophonie 2019 !

11 December 2018 (Institut français)

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

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

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

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

More information is available on our website. 

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Erasmus+ schools funding

11 December 2018 (British Council)

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, which runs from 2014 to 2020. Through Erasmus+, UK schools can access funding for life-changing international activities:

  • Pupils can take part in international exchanges and study experiences: to develop new skills, raise their aspirations and gain vital international experience
  • Staff can teach, train or job shadow abroad: to develop their professional practice, build relationships with international peers and gain fresh ideas
  • Schools can collaborate with international partners: to drive innovation, share best practice, and offer new opportunities to young people.

The 2019 Call for applications is now open, with €36 million proposed for UK schools.

Visit the Erasmus+ website for more information.

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Teaching primary foreign languages in multilingual classrooms

10 December 2018 (EAL Journal)

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

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Arabic Language and Culture Programme

10 December 2018 (British Council)

The British Council and Qatar Foundation International are working together to promote the teaching and learning of Arabic language and culture in the UK

The new phase of this collaboration aims to make Arabic a realistic choice for UK Schools, Headteachers, parents and students. 

Recent research into long-term language needs, looking at a variety of economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational indicators, identified Arabic as the second most necessary language for the UK over the next 20 years. 

However the gap between this need and current provision is particularly great: Arabic is taught in only five or six per cent of secondary schools in the UK, the majority of which are Muslim faith schools, and often only as an extracurricular subject or in the supplementary sector. 

The British Council and QFI are working to develop Arabic to the same standards expected of the other major world languages in the British school system as a viable option for any student of any background to explore.

UK schools are invited to work together with us to provide Arabic in the curriculum, with three-year funding and support available.

Visit the British Council website for more information.

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Latin reading competition

7 December 2018 (Association for Latin Teaching)

The Association for Latin Teaching (ARLT) is holding a reading competition for secondary schools. Entries should be a recording of pupils reading the prescribed Latin text.

Entries will be judged on accuracy of pronunciation and ability to convey the meaning and mood of the passage. For verse, sensitivity to metre will also be noted. These features will be given approximately equal weighting. 

Visit the website for full competition details. Recordings should be submitted by 22 February 2019.

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French pop video competition

7 December 2018 (Institut français)

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

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

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

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New job profile on the SCILT website

7 December 2018 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on our website showcasing professions where language skills are being used.

The latest addition comes from Francesca Smith, a former marketing professional who is now studying for a PGDE Secondary in Modern Languages (Spanish and German).

Having embraced languages from an early age, Francesca tells us her skills gave her confidence and opened many doors and opportunities for her around the world. Her aim now is to share that experience and encourage language learning in secondary schools in Scotland.

Teachers share her profile with your pupils to demonstrate the benefits of language learning for life and work.

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Gaelic teachers encouraged to share resources via new website

6 December 2018 (Stòrlann)

A website for Gaelic teachers to share resources has been created by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig. Material can be uploaded and downloaded via the website Seo Sibh.

The website is aimed at saving teacher time and effort through the sharing of resources. All resources that are uploaded will be quality assured by Stòrlann staff for vocabulary, grammar and good design, before being made available for download.

The resources are split into sections – early years, primary, secondary, parents and general resources – and teachers are encouraged to contribute towards building a bank of material that can be accessed by colleagues across the country.

Some of the Seo Sibh resources are also editable files, so they can be tailored to suit.

Teachers who submit their resources will be clearly credited for the work, although they can also opt to be anonymous.

Neil Smith, Head of Development Services for Stòrlann, said the site had been created “to meet a need and respond to teacher feedback” and added: “We want to encourage people to use the sharing site and share their work with others to help each other out.”

Visit the website for more information.

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Gaelic education: is it effective?

6 December 2018 (Holyrood)

“Teachers in Gaelic medium are exceptional because they have to instil this language that will be new to most pupils,” Donalda McComb, headteacher of Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu in Glasgow, tells Holyrood.

“The experience [the children have] had in the nursery, a Gaelic nursery, will help give a baseline, but they’ll still go through processes for language learning where a lot of it is understanding before they’re actually speaking it.”

In Gaelic-medium education, children are fully immersed, taught solely through Gaelic, in primary one and two. English literacy is then introduced during primary three or four, with elements of Gaelic and English taught throughout the rest of the primary years.

Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (SGG) is currently the biggest provider of Gaelic-medium education (GME) in Scotland and the only end-to-end Gaelic school delivering nursery, primary and secondary education through the medium of Gaelic. McComb has more than 30 years’ experience in Gaelic-medium teaching, which began in Glasgow and Inverness in 1985 with 24 pupils, and now sees around 5,600 children being educated in Gaelic in 13 local authority areas.

In that time, the profile of the pupils has changed significantly, from most being the children of Gaelic speakers to now a majority of children coming from non-Gaelic-speaking households.

This in itself presents challenges. At one end, some children arrive at school having been exposed to Gaelic at home and been through croileagan (Gaelic toddler group) and sgoil àraich (nursery), while others have not heard a word of Gaelic before they start.

This year, SGG is piloting two separate classes, one for children with a background in Gaelic and another for those with no Gaelic. The school has also brought in play-based learning in primary one, because the school was finding that some children “weren’t ready for that more formal side of things”.

This is already used in Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pàirce in Edinburgh. Anne MacPhail, headteacher there, says the play-based approach works well because it means the teachers have opportunities to take small groups of children, work with them and encourage them to “become confident in trying Gaelic”.

Gaelic-medium education is considered a success story and the benefits of it, and its encouragement of bilingual competency in general, have been well publicised. Research shows it provides improved cognitive development and pupils going through GME perform at least as well, if not better, in English than their monolingual peers. Academically, for example, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu has the highest attainment in the city, with around half of sixth years achieving five or more Highers.

There are plans to expand GME as part of a drive to secure the future of the language. The Scottish Government’s Gaelic language plan aims to double the intake into GME primary to 800 and increase the range of subjects taught in Gaelic at secondary, while expansion of GME has been among Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s key priorities in successive national Gaelic language plans.

But there are serious challenges. Firstly, in achieving the aim of Gaelic-medium education creating a new generation of Gaelic speakers – with much of the focus of discourse around GME levels of attainment in general, particularly in English, rather than on levels of attainment in Gaelic – and secondly, the needs that go with the planned expansion, given a serious shortage of Gaelic teachers and other resources to meet existing and future demand.

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Getting Down with the Lingua!

4 December 2018 (Developing the Young Workforce)

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

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

View the video to see some of the action.

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FOKUS: Films from Germany 2018/19

1 December 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The fourth edition of Fokus: Films from Germany takes place from 22 November 2018 to 31 January 2019.
 
This year, we are presenting a particularly exciting and eclectic snapshot from the contemporary film scene in Germany. Alongside a selection of documentaries, we are presenting some beautiful new feature films as well as glimpse into the oeuvre of iconic filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. Come and join us for screenings in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, St. Andrews or up north in Huntly!

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

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The German Quiz Challenge - coming soon!

30 November 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

THE GERMAN QUIZ CHALLENGE is the second assessment and learning tool produced and developed by the Goethe-Institut London in partnership with ovos, the development company based in Vienna, Austria.

After the success of the Erasmus + Project THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN, a language learning and assessment tool for primary school pupils, our most recent gaming project THE GERMAN QUIZ CHALLENGE is targeted at secondary school pupils aged 13 to 16. The goal is to supply a tool that allows increasing the quality of German lessons and the motivation of learners to study the German language.

The game allows teachers to see the development of the pupils’ knowledge and their ability to use the language. It increases the motivation to learn, as the gaming nature of this assessment tool prevents students from feeling stressed by the evaluation process. 

The game will be available online for free by the beginning of the new school year in 2019.

Read more...

SQA AH Modern Languages Visiting Assessing

29 November 2018 (SQA)

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

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

Read more...

Virtual virtues

23 November 2018 (TESS)

Through remotely taught lessons, e-Sgoil gives pupils in often isolated communities a wider choice of subjects while also providing much-needed flexibility for teachers. And in a time of squeezed budgets and recruitment challenges, the model is increasingly finding favour beyond its Western Isles base, reports Emma Seith.

Mairi MacKay is a secondary teacher with a more comfortable working environment than most. There is no long walk down endless corridors to get to the toilets. And while jeans would be frowned upon in most Scottish schools, she is wearing a pair today because, by and large, her pupils will only ever see her from the waist up.

MacKay, who teaches from her living room in Perth using a laptop, delivers Gaelic lessons to learners in Argyll and Bute, Highland and the Western Isles with the aid of videoconferencing software. She is employed by the Western Isles e-Sgoil, which launched in 2016 and which recently inspired the Welsh government to start beaming lessons into its own schools. To meet her pupils in person would take MacKay the best part of a working day by road and sea.

The ambition of e-Sgoil is to provide equal access to courses and subjects for pupils, irrespective of whether they are able to attend the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, which has more than 1,000 pupils, or Castlebay Community School on the island of Barra, with its secondary roll of just 65.

It came into being because the council was struggling to deliver on its goal that all pupils should have access to six secondary subjects through the medium of Gaelic. However, the potential of the virtual-teaching model at a time of staff shortages had long been recognised, and the Scottish government invested £550,000 in the project.

Now, e-Sgoil headteacher Angus Maclennan – who was a depute head at the Nicolson Institute before taking up his current post in 2016 – says the virtual school has a steady presence in eight of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, and has been used in 13.

The initiative has also spurred on other authorities to establish similar initiatives. 

Read more...

Digi-Languages – Stimulating Language Learning in Schools

22 November 2018 (MEITS)

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

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

Read more...

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

22 November 2018 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the Scotland-Russia Forum (SRF) is now available online. It includes a round-up of events, activities and classes available.

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Literature quality linked to foreign language ability in young people

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Related Links

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

K-pop and Latin: Why the time is now for foreign language hits

21 November 2018 (BBC)

At a time of Brexit and divisive world politics, something has happened with the UK chart.

While other European countries and America have traditionally been more open to music in languages other than their own, the British charts have been fairly resistant to anything not in English.

Until now.

Following the 2017 global success of Despacito there seems to have been - with a little help from Justin Bieber - a sea change.

Since then Little Mix, Cardi B and DJ Snake are just some of the acts to have charted with music either partially, or entirely, in Spanish.

And it's not only Latin stars, but K-pop artists who are jumping in on the act too - with boyband BTS sweeping awards shows, achieving two number one albums on the US Billboard chart, and selling out London's O2 last month.

Since then Dua Lipa has collaborated with South Korean supergroup Blackpink, and the Black Eyed Peas have joined forces with K-pop's self-proclaimed "baddest female", CL.

So why have the British begun to embrace music in foreign languages?

Read more...

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

21 November 2018 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Related Links

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

Why choose languages?

19 November 2018 (University of Strathclyde)

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

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

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

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

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website.

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

Photo of University of Strathclyde Language Ambassadors

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Oxford German Olympiad 2019

16 November 2018 (Oxford German Network)

The Oxford German Olympiad is now open! There are four age categories enabling students aged from 9 to 18 to take part.

This year's theme is about animals and monsters - Tiere und Monster. 

All entries should be submitted in German, unless otherwise stated within the instructions.

Additionally, there is the option of a Discover German - Taster Competition for pupils with no prior knowledge of the language.

Visit the website for full details and how to enter. The entry deadline is 12 noon on 15 March 2019.

Read more...

European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2019

16 November 2018 (European Parliament)

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. They should promote European and international understanding; foster the development of a shared sense of European identity and integration; and provide role models for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community. UK projects will continue to be eligible.

The three winners will be chosen from the projects nominated by national juries and representatives from all countries will be invited to the award ceremony in Aachen in May 2019.

Visit the website for more information. Entries should be submitted by 28 January 2019.

Read more...

Parlons français: A competition for students of AH French

16 November 2018 (AMOPA)

The AMOPA Advanced Higher French speaking competition has been running for eight years and is going from strength to strength. This year AMOPA are in partnership with the Franco-Scottish Society who share many of the aims of AMOPA.

To enter, all you need to do is submit a short recording of students as they prepare for their speaking test. The panel will assess it and give everyone some feedback. Prizes and certificates will also be awarded.

We hope that taking part in the competition is a way to support your pupils’ learning and exam preparation, and it's a great opportunity for them to receive feedback. 

Full details of how to enter can be found in the attached document. Submission deadline is 15 February 2019.

International Education Week 2018

15 November 2018 (British Council)

#BeInternational: eTwinning, ISA and me

Claire Mackay, EAL Teacher at St Andrew's Learning Community in Glasgow, on her school’s international journey.

Our world is changing. As teachers, it is our duty to teach children the skills needed to navigate and actively take part in our society, locally and globally. It is important that we leave the next generation capable for the challenges of the future. This is one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher.

International education and global citizenship have always interested me. I have often worked with my learners on international education and, for me, taking part in eTwinning  as a pedagogical method for delivering these skills to learners seemed a good next step in my journey. 

Taking part in eTwinning has been one of the most positive and motivating experiences in my teaching career. To see children interact with their peers around the world is a sheer joy! Families tells us that pupils often talk about their faraway friends and when a project is finished, they ask when we can start a new one.  

I am lucky enough to currently work in a richly diverse school in the East End of Glasgow. Many of our learners are EAL and come from a multicultural heritage. Their experiences add to the classroom dynamics in many positive ways. 

As a school, we have identified the importance of international education and have been awarded a British Council International School Award  (full accreditation). As a staff, we encourage children to see themselves as global citizens and find their place in our world. So, how did we start our journey?

Read more...

Our Erasmus+ project – the halfway point

Brian Campbell, Deputy Head Teacher of Trinity Academy in Edinburgh, reflects on a successful Erasmus + project for International Education Week 2018.

In September 2017, Trinity Academy started on the exciting journey of our new Erasmus+ project in conjunction with schools from Germany, Sweden, and The Netherlands. The aim is to develop toolkits that schools and other partners can adopt to assist with the support of inclusive practices in education and is an opportunity to make a difference at both a local, national and international level. We are now at the half way stage and this is a summary of our journey so far. 

Read more...

Arabic Language and Culture Programme

15 November 2018 (British Council)

The British Council and Qatar Foundation International are working together to promote the teaching and learning of Arabic language and culture in the UK.

The new phase of this collaboration aims to make Arabic a realistic choice for UK Schools, Headteachers, parents and students. 

Recent research into long-term language needs, looking at a variety of economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational indicators, identified Arabic as the second most necessary language for the UK over the next 20 years. 

However the gap between this need and current provision is particularly great: Arabic is taught in only five or six per cent of secondary schools in the UK, the majority of which are Muslim faith schools, and often only as an extracurricular subject or in the supplementary sector. 

The British Council and QFI are working to develop Arabic to the same standards expected of the other major world languages in the British school system as a viable option for any student of any background to explore.

UK schools are invited to work together with us to provide Arabic in the curriculum, with three-year funding and support available.

Visit the British Council website to find out more about our funding offer to schools and how to apply.

Read more...

Duaisean na Gàidhlig – The Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018

14 November 2018 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

SCILT’s Gaelic Professional Development Officer Eòghan Stewart was amongst a range of winners at Duaisean na Gàidhlig – The Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018 at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday 14th November. 

Eòghan was awarded the prize for Innovation in Education, thanks to his involvement in Gaelic Learners’ resource Gàidhlig Gu Leòr which uses Apple’s Clips app to create short, snappy Gaelic learning videos.

Others honoured included rock legends Runrig who received the Urram nan Gàidheal (Honour of the Gael) Award and Professor Boyd Robertson (formerly of University of Strathclyde) and John Norman MacLeod for their work over many years for Gaelic, but over the last decade together at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.

The Awards were sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Daily Record.

photo of Eoghan Stewart receiving his award at the Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018

Visit the website for the full list of winners.

Read more...

Related Links

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018: Runrig honoured for inspiring generations (Daily Record, 19 November 2018)

Gaelic education: your ideas wanted

14 November 2018 (GTCS)

In issue 76 of the GTCS publication, Teaching Scotland, read about the role Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is playing in delivering Bòrd na Gàidhlig's National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 (see pages 20-21). 

GTCS is committed to supporting the Gaelic education agenda and readers are invited to submit their suggestions on what more might be done to take Gaelic education forward.

Read more...

Win a trip to Paris

12 November 2018 (ULIP)

Studying French at AS/A Level (or equivalent) and fancy a weekend away to the City of Light? 

The University of London Institute in Paris’ (ULIP) annual Win a Trip to Paris competition is now open for students of AS/A-Level French (or equivalent)! The weekend offers the perfect chance to explore the French capital, try out your taste for croissants, and see what it might be like to live and study for your undergraduate degree in one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities.

For your chance to spend a weekend in Paris, simply visit the website to watch the video and answer a few questions before midnight UK time 31 January 2019.

Read more...

Change Scotland with coffee and cake! #Gaelic sessions in the Scottish Parliament #gaidhlig

12 November 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

We will be holding a Gaelic week in the Scottish Parliament in the week commencing 26 November.

We’ll be busy with activities to raise the profile of the language amongst the public and staff alike.

Events include the final of the School Debate – Deasbad nan Sgoiltean, a Gaelic information session and an informal Gaelic coffee afternoon where you can learn how to make your voice heard in the Scottish Parliament. 

Visit the website for more information and to register for the information session.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

9 November 2018 (SCILT)

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

We have a new profile from David Cant, Managing Director of Albion (Overseas) Ltd, a company which helps UK businesses to enter the Russian market. After learning French and German at school, David tells us that he took up Russian by chance at university - a choice which became life-changing.

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

Read more...

Lost in translation: leaders speaking other languages

8 November 2018 (The Telegraph)

As Jeremy Hunt addressed a Parisian audience in French we take a look at polygot politicians past and present.

Read more...

Benefits of being bilingual highlighted in new video

8 November 2018 (Highland Council)

The Highland Council is to launch a new video this week “Educational Growth” aimed at parents who are thinking of enrolling their children in Gaelic Medium Education.  The video will be viewed by parents, pupils and staff at Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis on Thursday 8 November 2018.

The video features a range of different people who explain the benefits of Gaelic Medium Education and of being bilingual.

Professor Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh gives an insight into how young children can pick up languages quickly and the skills a person can gain from learning more than one language.

The video also features the experiences of parents who enrolled their children into Gaelic education without speaking the language themselves. It answers fears and questions parents may have about the opportunity, such as how they are able to help with homework and how they can still feel very much included in their child’s education.

Read more...

Survey: Education & careers abroad with #Globescotters

7 November 2018 (Young Scot)

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

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

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

Read more...

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

7 November 2018 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages start again on Monday 12 November 2018. At 6pm it will be Higher, and the session will be on translation. It will be accompanied by worksheets sent out in advance to teachers for pupils to help prepare for the interactive parts of the session. Languages addressed are French, German and Spanish at both levels. Access is by: http://heriot-watt.adobeconnect.com/scholartutorsessions/, and you do not need a SCHOLAR password to attend, just log in as a guest.  

The new ‘Directed Writing’  for Higher will form a session on 26 November, again at 6pm.

Advanced Higher translation and the overall purpose question will form a session on 3 December.

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Queen Elizabeth II Can Speak This Foreign Language After Learning It Privately

5 November 2018 (International Business Times)

Queen Elizabeth II can speak at least one foreign language fluently after getting a private education by governess Marion Crawford.

Harriet Mallinson, a journalist for Express, revealed that Her Majesty can speak French fluently. French is regarded as the official language in 29 countries. But the Queen has used her knowledge in the language during her visits to France and Canada.

In 2014, the Queen went to Paris for a state visit and met with former President Francois Hollande. The two discussed the weather in French. During her fifth French State Visit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, the monarch also gave an address in both English and French. A year later, the Queen spoke with a schoolgirl from Dagenham in French.

But Mallinson noted that the most impressive instance was when the Queen went to Quebec in Canada and gave a speech in French for a straight 10 minutes. French language expert Camille Chevalier-Karfis commented on the Queen’s French-speaking videos.

“Her reading skills were excellent – both pronunciation and rhythm were very good, but you could feel she was quite tense,” she said.

In related news, the Queen isn’t the only royal that can speak French fluently. Prince Charles and the Queen’s three other children can all speak the language.

Read more...

Related Links

Prince Harry greets audience in 6 languages (CNN, 31 October 2018)

An Comunn Gaidhealach's newsletter

1 November 2018 (An Comunn Gaidhealach)

The organisers of the Royal National Mòd have published their latest newsletter which is available to view online.

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Harry greets NZ audience in six Pacific languages

30 October 2018 (BBC)

Prince Harry has delighted a gathering of Auckland's local Pasifika community, hosted by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, by greeting them in six languages.

The royal opened his speech by saying greetings in Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands Maori and Maori.

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International Education Week 2018

29 October 2018 (British Council)

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

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

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

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La Jolie Ronde free trials

29 October 2018 (La Jolie Ronde)

FREE TRIALS available of La Jolie Ronde's two award winning French and Spanish resources and classes.

La Jolie Ronde Languages For Children is a leading early language learning organisation offering a proven method of teaching young children French and Spanish. La Jolie Ronde’s award winning programmes are unique, modern and of the highest quality. FREE TRIALS on their resources are available as follows:

P1-P3 - Little Languages Resource - FREE TRIAL AVAILABLE

Little Languages is a unique resource for introducing languages to P1-P3. It provides the perfect solution for introducing some of the different languages and cultures from around the world. To support the non-specialist and as a guide to aid the expert language teacher, Little Languages enables you to start teaching straightaway!

Activities demonstrated in French and Spanish:

  • Additional vocabulary & songs in Italian, Chinese, Hindi and African Shona
  • Includes fun, play-based activities including IWB material
  • Real life DVD clips featuring children from around the world

Product contains detailed lesson plans in a sturdy ring binder & software featuring:

  • Lesson plans
  • Resources
  • IWB activities and games
  • Colourful classroom wall frieze (5 x 2m lengths)
  • DVD clips
  • Also includes French and Spanish traditional and original songs plus songs from other languages
P4-P7 - French and Spanish Resource - FREE TRIAL AVAILABLE

La Jolie Ronde’s award winning resource contains everything you need to help plan and implement your policy for teaching a language in one go. The resource is a flexible four-year programme providing support to teachers with no previous experience of teaching languages and a guide for the more experienced, who can modify to suit. One of the biggest benefits of the resource is that everything is already pre-prepared and planned, so you can literally start teaching straightaway!

  • Perfect for the non-specialist or an aid for the more experienced languages teacher
  • Split into two schemes – for years P4-P5 and P6-P7
  • Plenty of material to fill two years and four years
  • Pre-prepared lessons, divided into short sessions for flexibility
  • Comprehensive and detailed lesson notes
FREE French or Spanish Class

Years of development, dedication and experience in the sector of early language learning, La Jolie Ronde has become the market leader, committed to offering the best possible start to young learners. Through their loyal network of over 560 tutors, who teach in over 1,660 centres, they currently teach in the region of 20,500 children. To find your nearest French or Spanish class and book your FREE TASTER CLASS, visit La Jolie Ronde website.

For your FREE RESOURCE OR CLASS TRIALS simply email your request to La Jolie Ronde quoting SCILT - email schools@lajolieronde.co.uk

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

28 October 2018 (School Education Gateway)

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

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

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

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What is the best age to learn a language?

26 October 2018 (BBC)

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

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

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

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

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

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Euroquiz

25 October 2018 (SEET)

SEET is delighted to announce that registration is now open for Euroquiz 2018-19!

Euroquiz is an annual project open to all P6 pupils across Scotland, which sees teams of four working together to broaden their knowledge of Europe and the wider world. Subjects covered include languages, history, geography, culture and European affairs. Heats take place in every local authority from January to March, with the winning teams from all areas going forward to the National Euroquiz Final held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in May.

See the attached flyer to find out more about how your school can get involved and visit the website to watch the Euroquiz Highlights Film for a taste of the Euroquiz journey, including interviews with previous participants and teachers.

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Related Files

Grants for UK-German activities

25 October 2018 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of grants for joint activities between schools and youth groups in the UK and Germany.

The next deadline is approaching, so if you have any projects taking place in 2018-19 for which you'd like funding, visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 31 October 2018.

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Calls for Scots children to be taught Chinese and Urdu

24 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ELAPSE – Embedding Languages across Primary and Secondary Education

23 October 2018 (ALL)

In September, we received some fantastic news from the British Council – ALL is part of a successful KA2 ERASMUS +application and along with our partners has been awarded funding for the ELAPSE project.

ELAPSE (Embedding Languages Across Primary and Secondary Education) aims to develop primary and secondary language teachers’ awareness of CLIL and soft CLIL methodology transnationally and build teachers’ confidence and expertise to adopt a cross-curricular approach to the planning and delivery of language lessons. It will involve the creation of a good practice guide as well as resources for teachers of English, French, German and Spanish as additional languages while focusing on Literacy, Numeracy, STEM subjects and Health and Wellbeing. There will also be an online course and training opportunities for teachers in participating countries.

Read more...

Get ready for Hallowe'en!

23 October 2018 (Various)

It's that time of year again and to help celebrate Hallowe'en in the languages classroom we've compiled a range of spooky resources! Click on the relevant link below for more information:

Schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018

23 October 2018 (eTwinning)

We are pleased to announce the schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018! A total of 1204 projects received the Quality Label for their outstanding work. See the list of the distinguished schools, teachers' name and the project that got them their Quality Label.

Congratulations to all the Scottish schools on the list who have been recognised with an award!

If you'd like to get involved with eTwinning and collaborative projects with schools overseas, visit the website to find out how you can get involved and be rewarded with a Quality Label for your school.

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‘Teaching linguistics improves language skills’

19 October 2018 (TES)

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

(Note - registration required to read full article).

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How language assistants can make a difference in your school

17 October 2018 (TES)

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

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

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

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I woke up unable to speak English

17 October 2018 (BBC)

Hannah Jenkins speaks English in the morning and German in the afternoon. It's not a routine she chose to adopt - but something her brain requires her to do. It all started with a cycling accident.

Her partner Andrew Wilde was halfway up a mountain in the US state of Montana when he received a baffling text from Hannah.

He understood only two words - "dog" and "hospital" - but knew instinctively something was wrong.

The text was in German, a language Hannah had grown up with, but Andrew didn't really understand. They only ever communicated in English.

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Youth committee to lead Mod into the future

16 October 2018 (Press and Journal)

A youth committee is working with An Comunn Gàidhealach to shape the Mods of the future.

The group was set up this year giving a nod to The National Year of the Young Person – and so far has set its sights on modernising the way in which the historic organisation communicates with the public to secure its future.

The committee of three – Shannon MacLean, 21, Padruig Morrison, 22 and Katie MacInnes 18 – is supported by 25-year-old Alison Bruce who is also employed by An Comunn Gàidhealach.

Miss MacLean, from Mull, said: “Being on the committee has been very interesting. Our main goal is to get more young people to come to the mod and get them involved in local mods around the country.

“This is my third mod in Dunoon, and it is certainly the competitions that have helped me, as a non-native speaker, take the language seriously.

“My job is to make sure it survives for a long time yet.”

Read more...

Related Links

Top Gaelic learner blooms at the Mòd (The Scotsman, 17 October 2018)

Another record year for Erasmus+ in Scotland

17 October 2018 (British Council)

Scotland's share of Erasmus+ EU funding is up by more than €1m since last year. This means that a record total of €22.3m will be shared by 172 Scottish organisations working across a range of sectors:

€14.1m for universities and higher education institutions
€5.9m for organisations working in vocational education and training
€865k for youth work organisations
€832k for schools
€614k for organisations working in adult education

With further funding results for 2018 yet to be announced, and 2019 calls due to open, the figure will again rise. 

Erasmus+ enables people from the UK to go abroad to study, train, or volunteer and is delivered in the UK by the British Council in partnership with Ecorys UK.

Most of the new funding is for projects between Scotland and European countries. But Erasmus+ also reaches beyond Europe and in turn helps Scotland to do so. 

€3.8m of this year’s figure is shared between ten higher education projects, which will connect Scottish universities and colleges with their counterparts in the USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Palestine, China, Canada, Mexico, amongst many other countries.

If you want to find out more about Erasmus+, information sessions giving an overview of the programme and available funding are being run throughout the UK during autumn. Check the website for more details.

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Language Perfect Northern Championships 2018

12 October 2018 (Education Perfect)

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

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

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

Visit the website for more information.

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Königspost competition 2018

12 October 2018 (King's College London)

King's College London's Department of German is delighted to announce its 2018 competition for Year 12 and 13 students of German, the equivalent S5 and S6 in Scotland.

Students are invited to write an article of around 400-450 words in German in response to this quotation from a short story by the German-Japanese author Yoko Tawada: ‘Das Monsterbaby erwartet von der Mutter Meer, immer wieder neue Windeln zu waschen. Das Meer wird als eine überdimensionale Waschmaschine benutzt.’

The winner and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony and seminar at King's College London in early December 2018.

Entries should be submitted by 22 November 2018. See the attached flyer for more information.

Related Files

Book Week Scotland 2018

12 October 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)

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

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

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Our World film making project 2018-19

11 October 2018 (SEET)

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

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

Themes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Inspiring schools: John Paul II Primary, Castlemilk

11 October 2018 (British Council)

Every day at British Council Scotland we hear about how international learning benefits Scottish schools, teachers and pupils. Making this happen is a core part of our work, and we are keen to spread the message far and wide.

Last month, we visited John Paul II Primary School in Castlemilk, where a partnership with a school in Spain has had a powerful effect on pupils. We also heard from our partners at Glasgow City Council, which is a leading example of good practice when it comes to local authorities creating international and intercultural opportunities for their schools.  

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How studying languages got Callum a job at Cardiff City

10 October 2018 (BBC)

There has been a further drop in the number of students from Wales taking language courses at university, according to admissions service Ucas.

The numbers starting foreign language courses was down by a third on the same time last year, in latest figures.

Cardiff University has been working with schools to encourage more pupils to take up subjects such as French.

Helping them is former student Callum Davies, now a player liaison officer at Cardiff City FC. He learnt modern foreign languages at school and spent a year in the south of France as part of the Erasmus programme while doing his degree course at Cardiff University.

He works helping French-speaking players and their families settle in the city.

Read more...

Related Links

French and German language students from Wales fall again (BBC, 10 October 2018)

Edinburgh Council to open new Gaelic schools by 2024

10 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

The city council will press ahead with proposals to open new primary and secondary Gaelic schools despite a “problematic” shortage of teachers who speak the language.

The authority hopes to open a new primary school in 2023 where pupils are taught through the medium of Gaelic - while a secondary school could follow by 2024. A host of short-term improvements will also be taken forward.

The council is facing a growing demand for Gaelic education but council officers admit that at the Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pairce primary school, “as the school has grown, the recruitment of sufficient Gaelic-speaking teachers has proven to be problematic.”

Conservative education spokesman, Cllr Callum Laidlaw, said: “Clearly, there’s a demand for it in Edinburgh for primary expansion. There’s a problem with the citywide catchment area for the current primary school with transport, which is provided by the council. If we move forward with any expansion of primary GME, I would like to see that geographic problem tackled by building it in the south west of the city.

“As it stands, the plan demonstrates ambition rather than reality. There’s a significant recruitment challenge the council has to address first before it moves forward. We need to focus on delivering the six priority high schools in the Wave 4 funding before we commit to the GME secondary school.”

The primary school in Bonnington now has 20 Gaelic-speaking teachers. At James Gillespie’s High School, the city’s Gaelic Medium Education (GME) secondary school, a recruitment drive has helped fill vacancies – but fewer lessons than expected have been taught in Gaelic.

Read more...

Africa in Motion Film Festival 2018

10 October 2018 (Africa in Motion Film Festival)

Africa in Motion is Scotland’s major annual celebration of African cinema, and is delighted to return for the 13th year to bring audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow a wide variety of creative stories from across the African continent.

Screenings will take place from 26 October to 4 November. Several films in the programme will offer the opportunity to brush up your language skills in French, Arabic, Japanese and Swahili.

Find full programme details on the website.

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French Film Festival 2018

9 October 2018 (French Film Festival)

The 26th French Film Festival takes place during November throughout the UK.

School screenings are supported by free Learning Resources prepared by Institut français d’Écosse and Edinburgh Filmhouse. These resources have been designed in accordance with the Modern Languages outcomes and experiences for the Curriculum for Excellence.

Visit the website for full programme details, booking information and to download the accompanying learning resources.

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BTS and K-pop: How to be the perfect fan

9 October 2018 (BBC)

They're the Beatles for the 21st Century, a global pop sensation that generates mania and devotion in equal measure, and they've sold out London's O2 Arena.

BTS, the South Korean seven-member boyband and pin-up stars of the K-pop genre, are performing in the UK for two nights only.

And their fans, who call themselves the Army, are over the Moon. We headed for the queues to find out what makes the perfect K-pop fan.

[..] Fans talk about how regularly listening to BTS, who mostly sing in Korean, has meant they are inadvertently learning Korean.

"You quite quickly become engrossed in Korean culture," says 24-year-old Najma Akther, from Scunthorpe.

Read more...

Related Links

K-pop - BTS (BBC, 11 October 2018)

The British Council's International School Award

8 October 2018 (British Council)

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

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

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

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

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The Pushkin Prizes 2019

4 October 2018 (The Pushkin Prizes)

Somewhere out there, in an S1 or S2 class in a school in Scotland, there are ten writers worthy of the title Pushkin Prize-winner. Are you one of them?

What can you write about? ANYTHING! We're looking for stories, poems, plays, articles, memoirs - anything you like on a subject of your choice. You can write in English, Scots or Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information and submit your entries by 20 December 2018.

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Gaelic centre plan has backing of Inverness public

4 October 2018 (Inverness Courier)

A survey has shown that there is significant public support for a new Gaelic cultural centre in Inverness.

The research, which was carried out by the Alba Heritage Trust with the aim of establishing the level of interest in a project celebrating Gaelic heritage, was met with “overwhelming” backing from members of the public.

Alba Heritage Trust director Alastair Forbes says the reaction has from businesses and individuals across the board has been significant.

“We are delighted to have had so many responses to the survey,” he said.

“The reaction from the public and private sectors and from members of the community for the establishment of a Gaelic cultural centre has been extremely positive which has given us great confidence in moving forward with the project.”

Read more...

National Gaelic Schools Debate 2018

3 October 2018 (Deasbad)

The announcement of the preliminary rounds of the National Gaelic Schools Debate competition has been made and the 2018 competition looks set to be another excellent year! The first two rounds will be held at the Town Hall in Stornoway, on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of November 2018. Last year, for the first time ever the first rounds from Stornoway were available online, through e-Sgoil’s You Tube channel and the Deasbad Committee will be making sure that this year’s first round will also be live streamed to a potentially global audience!

Sixteen teams from fourteen schools are due to compete in the 2018 competition. Following on from the positive feedback received from the new competition format, all the schools will participate in debates over the two days, with the four teams with the highest points, across the two days, progressing to the final stages which will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday the 27th and 28th of November 2018. The Committee welcome Agnes Rennie and Boyd Robertson who will join Iain Stephen Morrison as judges.

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Gaelic Medium Education promotional film previews at An t-Alltan 2018

3 October 2018 (Highland Council)

The 10th annual conference for Gaelic education practitioners, which took place in Aviemore last week, has been hailed a great success.

Around 200 delegates from all over the country attended the conference, held in the MacDonald Aviemore Conference Centre last Wednesday and Thursday (September 26 and 27), which was organised by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government.

Through a programme of talks and workshops, the conference provides delegates with an overview of current best practice and a look at new initiatives for teaching and learning. It caters for staff from the Early Years sector as well as primary and secondary schools.

This year, the conference had a focus that was very much on the whole learner journey through the Gaelic Medium Education system, right from the beginning with Cròileagan and play groups through to developing the young workforce.

A powerful new film which has been created to promote Gaelic Medium Education was shown for the first time at the conference. The film has been made by Fàs Foghlaim – Highland Council’s social media vehicle for promoting Gaelic education – and will be made available to the public later in the year but delegates got a welcome preview of it.

Entitled ‘Gaelic Medium Education – A New Perspective’, the film lasts eight minutes and features testimonies from GME parents and teachers as well as perspectives from leading bilingualism academic Professor Antonella Sorace, of the University of Edinburgh, and Tidelines singer and songwriter Robert Robertson, who came through GME himself.

With 90 per cent of connections in the brain being formed by the age of three, the role of Cròileagan and other Gaelic-speaking pre-school groups has long been recognised for their importance in getting learners started on their journey to bilingualism.

As such, the Early Years sector is seen as an important part of the Alltan conference and representatives from that sector said they gained a lot from this year’s event.

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New language hub which helps dementia sufferers to open on Glasgow’s south side

3 October 2018 (Glasgow Live)

A new language hub which will help empower older adults living with dementia in Glasgow has opened on the south side of the city.

Lingo Flamingo, based on Deanston Drive in the Shawlands area, will be offering a selection of immersive foreign language courses for all ages.

And all profits from the classes will be used to fund dementia-friendly classes in care homes across Glasgow and beyond.

Read more...

Grants for professional development in Germany

2 October 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut is offering German teachers grants for courses in Germany. The programme includes courses on methodology and didactics, "Landeskunde" as well as specialised language courses for teachers.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and apply now for a course in 2019.

Read more...

German debating competition for secondary schools

2 October 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut invites secondary school students to take part in a competition to engage with questions about the future of Europe.

The debating competition offers a great chance to actively use the German language in an authentic setting and at the same time to get to know other secondary school students from across the United Kingdom. Debating in a foreign language will bring immeasurable benefits to significantly improve the student’s communication skills.

Applications are invited from teams of four year 12 students (4th year of learning German).

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to register by 26 October 2018.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2018

2 October 2018 (Vocab Express)

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

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

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

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

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

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Online Arabic from Palestine - course launch

2 October 2018 (University of Glasgow)

University of Glasgow, in partnership with Islamic University of Gaza, has launched an new course, 'Online Arabic from Palestine for beginners'. 

The course will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn, or promote the learning of, Modern Standard Arabic with a Palestinian ‘flavour’ for work, to communicate with Arabic speaking ‘new Scots’, for linguistic solidarity with the people of Palestine, or simply for the pleasure of learning such an important language.

The Online Arabic from Palestine course will be taught by trained and experienced teachers based at the Arabic Center (Islamic University of Gaza) and will make use of bespoke interactive materials created over the past year by an international team of language experts.  Please see the IUG Arabic Centre website for course details and registration.

The Online Arabic from Palestine course is the result of an international and multilingual project (OPAC) run over the past 12 months by a team based in the University of Glasgow School of Education (PI Dr Giovanna Fassetta) and the Gaza Strip (Palestine). The international team has worked in close collaboration to design and develop an online Arabic course for beginners, through the combined efforts of academics, teachers, administrators, IT experts, videographers and graphic designers.

Please note there is a cost to take part in this course. However, research outputs are freely available from University of Glasgow website.

For the past 10 years, the Gaza Strip has been under blockade. The blockade has resulted in very high unemployment, especially among young graduates, and in forced cultural and linguistic homogeneity. The aim behind the course was to create opportunities for multilingual, intercultural and professional collaboration between graduates of the Islamic University of Gaza and a team of foreign language teaching experts based at the University of Glasgow.

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Highland schools come out top at Shinty@the Bught

1 October 2018 (Highland Council)

Iomain Cholmcille – the Gaelic Shinty Project – has worked in partnership with The Highland Council’s Gaelic Team to organise a six aside national Shinty event for P4 to P7 Gaelic Medium pupils from schools across Scotland.

In August Iomain Cholmchille announced funding of £8000, from Bord na Gàidhlig in order to help develop the use of Gaelic in youth Shinty. The project was launched at Bun- Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh and pupils were presented with new Gaelic strips for the school Shinty team. The funding for community projects aims to build on Iomain Cholmcille’s successful work, in partnership with the Highland Council’s Gaelic Team running Cupa Iomain na h-Òige.

Cupa Iomain na h-Òige – Youth Shinty Cup - is in its third year and although based in the Highlands, the competition, which is held entirely through the medium of Gaelic, is open to schools from across Scotland. This year the competition took place at the Bught Park in Inverness which is a national stadium and 14 teams have entered with approximately 100 pupils participating in the event.

Schools from across Scotland entered which include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dingwall, this is the first time that the smaller schools in Skye have taken part.

Iomain Cholmcille is a project dedicated to encouraging the use of Gaelic in the Shinty world and regularly organises international exchanges with Irish-speaking hurling teams for both men and women.

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International inspiration at Carluke High School

1 October 2018 (British Council)

It’s not often that I get to visit a school, so I was really pleased when Alan Sinclair, Teacher of Music at Carluke High School, invited me along to a special day of sharing and celebration with not one but two of their international partners, writes our Communications Manager, Jordan Ogg.

Last week, pupils and staff from Institut Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia in Barcelona, Spain, and Mercy College Coolock in Dublin, Ireland, were welcomed as part of their Erasmus+ funded 'What’s Ours is Yours' project. A busy schedule saw the pupils collaborating through a variety of activities, taking in Spanish language tasks, multimedia production, a Ceilidh in the PE department and Scottish cookery classes in the afternoon.

It was an insightful opportunity to see first-hand how the schools have embraced international and inter-cultural learning and, in particular from a Scottish perspective, how Carluke High School's approach has complimented the wider curriculum. For example, I was impressed to see film and home economic students engaging with classes on music technology and modern languages – and all through this one partnership. 

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John Edward: Languages skills essential for global citizens

29 September 2018 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s independent schools maintain a track record of academic excellence, and this has continued in 2018 with another set of outstanding exam results, which is only strengthened by individual and collective success in sports, art, music and other community endeavours.

With upwards of 30,000 pupils across Scotland, these schools, represented by The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), strive to deliver the best level of service to their pupils and parents.

Independent schools aim to prepare their pupils for further and higher education, their chosen career and their place as global citizens. As an education sector that can design and implement a bespoke school curriculum, we are seeing modern languages continue as a popular and desired subject of choice within schools.

Nelson Mandela said: ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.” This is a powerful reminder that we can’t just rely on English when wanting to build relationships and trust with people from other countries.

From this year’s recent exam results, we can see that languages are topping the league tables with the highest pass rates within independent schools. A total of 68 per cent of pupils who studied foreign languages achieved a Higher grade A.

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

This demonstrates that independent schools in Scotland are supporting foreign languages as vital skills that children and young people will undoubtedly require in the future. Languages now, as a subject choice, are being held in the same regard as STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in independent school curriculums and elsewhere.

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Global Treasure Apps / Rocket Fund £100 Boost

27 September 2018 (Global Treasure Apps)

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

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

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

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British people 'least likely' to speak foreign language

26 September 2018 (Scotsman)

British people have long been renowned as notoriously bad at speaking foreign languages when compared to our neighbours on the European mainland. Now a study has backed up the myth with hard evidence as people from the United Kingdom are ranked as the least likely to speak another language. The study, carried out by the European Commission for the European Day of Languages, found that on average, almost two thirds of EU citizens said they could speak at least one foreign language. But the UK is one of only four European Union member states where less than half of the population can speak a foreign language, with just 34 per cent of Brits saying they can do so.

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

25 September 2018 (Irish Times)

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

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

25 September 2018 (The Irish Times)

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

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News from the Alliance Française

21 September 2018 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française offers a range of courses and activities for French language learners. Click on the relevant link below to find out more about upcoming events:

Visit the main Alliance Française website for more information about the organisation and their initiatives.

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Languages Beyond School

21 September 2018 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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

21 September 2018 (The Guardian)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

19 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

The schedule of online tutor sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018-19 is now available online.

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Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan

19 September 2018 (Daily Mail)

A new five-year plan for promoting Gaelic has been unveiled by the Scottish Parliament.

The proposals set out how the language will be supported between 2018 and 2022 within Holyrood.

They include providing awareness training to all front-of-house staff, showing it as much respect as English as well as creating a space where the Gaelic business community can raise issues with representatives.

Read more...

Related Links

Parliament publishes new 5-year Gaelic plan (Holyrood, 20 September 2018)

Castles light up in celebration of Gaelic and Scots (The Scotsman, 19 September 2018)

Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan (Evening Express, 19 September 2018)

Inspire your students with new funding for global learning

19 September 2018 (British Council)

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

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

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

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

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

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The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust

19 September 2018 (GLPT)

The purpose of the Gaelic Language Promotion Trust is to support and promote the teaching, learning and use of the Gaelic language in Scotland. The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust offers assistance to full-time and part-time students taking Scottish Gaelic language courses or courses through Scottish Gaelic. 

Currently, the main activity of the Trust is the provision of grants to students of Gaelic at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, the Trust recognises the importance of Gaelic pre-school provision, and following a generous legacy from Urras Gnìomhachas nan Gàidheal, Career Development Funding is now available for Gaelic students studying for an HNC in Childhood Practice, for Gaelic pre-school workers and GLPS primary teachers wishing to improve their Gaelic language skills. Priority is given to individuals currently employed in Gaelic pre-school establishments who are completing their HNC Childhood Practice modules on a part-time basis and primary teachers delivering Gaelic L2.

The Trust acknowledges the contribution that primary schools across Scotland are making to the promotion of the Gaelic language through the 1+2 language model and welcomes applications from GLPS schools for designated funding for Gaelic books. The Trust also provides grants in respect of Gaelic publishing, including digital and traditional printed books, and junior drama projects.

The Cameron Fund, a separate funding stream from the general fund, has been created to support community-based media projects. To this end, the Trust welcomes applications from individuals / communities / organisations for projects involving new media. This might include short films and vlogs which the GLPT would showcase on their website.

The next deadline for grant applications is 19 October 2018. 

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Into Film Awards 2019

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

Submissions to the 2019 Into Film Awards are now open!

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

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

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

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Into Film Festival 2018

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

This year's festival takes place from 7-23 November with UK-wide events and screenings. There are some foreign language options included in the 'Visions of Europe' selection of the programme.

Visit the website for more information and to find events near you.

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What’s on in October – Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival 2018

18 September 2018 (Edinburgh Reporter)

The 5th Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival takes place from 4-20 October 2018.

Festival Opens With First Ever Basque Film Screened At Edinburgh Filmhouse.

The 2018 Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival presents a total of 15 feature films and 7 short films in Spanish from 4-20 October in Edinburgh (Filmhouse), Stirling (MacRobert Arts Centre) and Glasgow (Film Theatre).

[..] Many of the films are suitable for all ages and in addition there will be a special screening of Nur And The Dragon Temple for schools at 10am on Wednesday 3rd October. There will also be workshops which will explore Spanish language, cinema and youth taking place in schools throughout Scotland.

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Translation apps on the One Show

18 September 2018 (BBC)

Digital translation apps were put to the test by the One Show on Tuesday 18 September, but guest Michael Palin expressed the view that there was no substitute for trying to speak the language on your travels. The programme is available on iPlayer until 18 October 2018 (NB - registration required. View from 13:54).

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Erasmus+ funding for schools: twilight sessions

17 September 2018 (Erasmus+)

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

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

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

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

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Agenda: Let’s raise a toast to a decade of BBC Alba

17 September 2018 (The Herald)

In a world dominated by media the importance of broadcasting cannot be overemphasised in efforts to revive lesser used languages and so the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BBC Alba – launched on September 19, 2008 – is cause for celebration for all committed to the survival and advancement of the Gaelic language. That it was set up under the aegis of the BBC was a crucial achievement especially in the context of that year’s global financial crisis and the inevitable questions around the licence fee, charter renewal and the like. Therefore, to have our Scottish Gaelic channel on the first screen of the BBC iPlayer – located between the Parliament channel and S4C (the Welsh language channel) – remains a source of pleasure to language activists.

Indeed the creation of a dedicated Gaelic channel is now acknowledged as one of the key cultural developments of the new millennium in Scotland (cf National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee V & A) and crucially complements Gaelic-medium education; and arguably, in terms of impact, more significant than the Gaelic Language Act (2005).

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

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

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

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

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ECML Gazette 43 - July-September 2018

17 September 2018 (ECML)

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

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

14 September 2018 (SCILT)

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

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

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

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1+2 Modern Languages in Parliament

13 September 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

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

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Lefèvre Trust school grants for French study visits

13 September 2018 (British Council)

The British Council is working in partnership with the Lefèvre Trust to offer a limited number of grants to Scottish secondary schools to facilitate reciprocal visits to partner schools in France. The opportunity marks the final round of Lefèvre funding and recognises the recently re-signed Memorandum of Understanding between Scotland and France. 

Schools interested in applying should have an existing link to France through a partnership or exchange. Projects with a STEM focus, and from schools in underprivileged areas, are encouraged.

A French study visit is the ideal way to instil a love of the French language in learners, give them exposure to authentic language usage and enable them to experience French culture first-hand. Pupils can also benefit from:

  • raised levels of language proficiency in preparation for exams
  • improved confidence in speaking French by practising with peers at the partner school
  • increased motivation in continuing to learn French by exchanging language and culture in an authentic environment
  • strengthened partnership and development of new cross-curricular projects for the whole school.

Visit the British Council website for more information and apply by 19 November 2018.

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One Arabic-English translator shares his experience

13 September 2018 (British Council )

Tony Calderbank has been translating from Arabic to English since 1992. He shares some of the knowledge he has acquired along the way. 

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UK-German Connection - Back to School Newsletter 2018

13 September 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Make this a year to remember for your school; welcome a German teacher, take part in our funded Christmas trips to Germany and support your Language Assistant to become a Cultural Exchange Ambassador!

Find out about these initiatives and more in the UK-German Connection 'Back to School' newsletter.

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Worldwide Napier magazine - Call for contributions

12 September 2018 (Edinburgh Napier University)

Do you have young linguists with a passion for writing? Then here's a great opportunity for budding authors!

Worldwide Napier is a free magazine showcasing the work of language students at Edinburgh Napier University.

Senior pupils at secondary school are invited to submit contributions for the second edition of the magazine in French, German and Spanish by 31 October 2018.

You can read the first issue online and see the attached introductory letter and poster for more information.

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EAL: Working with new arrivals

12 September 2018 (SecEd)

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

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

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

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

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Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years

12 September 2018 (ECML)

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

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

Visit the ECML website for more details and developments.

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Dunoon gears up for Royal National Mòd

12 September 2018 (Oban Times)

Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) will return to Dunoon next month (Friday 12 October – Saturday 20 October) for the eighth time – with a very special focus on Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Dunoon for the first time since 2012, with a host of initiatives aimed at encouraging more young people to get involved already under way.

Throughout the year, Dunoon schools have welcomed tutors from FèisSgoil to help them prepare for Mòd competitions, as part of An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Mòd Academy initiative, which aims to help youngsters learn and develop their musical and Gaelic skills.

Local drama workshops for Dunoon’s youngsters were hosted in recent months in a bid to inspire more children to get involved with Gaelic drama, with a group set to perform at this year’s festival; and organisers have been working closely with the Camanachd Association to arrange a junior shinty Mòd Cup match before the annual senior match.

This year also saw the establishment of the first ever Young Person’s Committee, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, which has allowed young Gaels the opportunity to get involved in the Mòd planning process, and to have their say on what they would like to see.

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

10 September 2018 (Newsweek)

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

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

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

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

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

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Lithuanian and Korean to be taught in Irish schools

10 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Lithuanian and Korean will be taught from this week as part of a drive to diversify the number of languages on the curriculum in Irish schools.

Lithuanian will be a short course for junior cycle in schools in Dublin and Monaghan where there is the highest concentration of the country’s natives in Ireland.

According to the last census in 2016, 36,683 Lithuanians live in Ireland. However, the Lithuanian embassy estimates the real figure is twice that if the number of children of immigrants are taken into account.

The course is for a minimum of 100 hours over two years. Some 43 applicants were received from teachers of the language.

The introduction of Lithuanian into Irish school is part of the foreign languages strategy which identifies the need to support immigrant communities to maintain their own languages.

It was introduced last year as part of a 10-year strategy to prepare Ireland for Brexit through a series of steps such as potential bonus Central Applications Office (CAO) points for studying foreign languages.

The Korean language, the 17th most spoken language in the world, is being introduced as a module for transition year. Trade between South Korea and Ireland reached €1.8 billion in 2015.

The language will be introduced into four schools in Dublin.

French accounts for more than half of all language sits in the Leaving Certificate, followed by German (13 per cent), Spanish (11 per cent) and Italian (1 per cent).

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the teaching and learning of foreign languages is a priority in the post-Brexit world.

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DAAD German writing and video competition 2018

10 September 2018 (DAAD)

In addition to accompanying written texts, competitors are asked this year to make a short video on ‘Auf deutschen Spuren - In the footsteps of German-language culture’.

Find out about historical or current traces of German-language culture in your area and create a short film not exceeding 3 minutes featuring German-language dialogue or voice-over. Judges will be looking for creativity and language use - rather than technical ability.

The competition is open to all German speakers upwards from secondary school level.

Find out more about the competition on the DAAD website and submit entries by 5 October 2018.

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'Host a Teacher' Programme: free CPD opportunity

10 September 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Welcome a teacher from Germany to any department in your school for 1, 2 or 3 weeks in 2019 to give your pupils a real-life learning context for German language and culture.

What are the benefits?

  1. Choose your own timings - it's flexible and free!
  2. Enhance the intercultural dimension in your school community
  3. Share best practice on an international level
  4. Boost speaking confidence in your classrooms
  5. Create a connection with a German school

"The guest teacher's input into our curriculum was excellent. She came equipped with resources and lessons, which she delivered to our classes, helping to boost the numbers opting for German."

To find out how you can take part, please visit the UK-German Connection website and apply by 21 September 2018 to host in spring or summer.

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Curriculum for GLE and GME

10 September 2018 (Education Scotland)

e-Sgoil is an interactive, real-time teaching facility which uses Glow, Office 365 and Vscene to support the teaching of Gaelic and through Gaelic in any school in Scotland. It supports the curriculum for 1+2, Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education. A short promotional video is available on the Education Scotland learning blog.

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Maths Week Scotland - Mathématiques sans frontières / Maths wi nae borders

7 September 2018 (North Lanarkshire Council)

As part of Maths Week Scotland, pupils of all ages can participate in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition, which requires students to respond to one of the questions in either Gaelic or Scots.

The new competition is inspired by 'Mathématiques sans frontières'. North Lanarkshire Council, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot Watt University work together to encourage young language learners to apply their knowledge in a Maths setting.

This stimulating and light-hearted competition for secondary schools combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in both their Maths and Language Learning.  S4 classes attempt 10 questions and S5 classes 13 questions.  Ideally a whole class should tackle groups of questions in order to complete the test within the 60 minutes allowed.

The first question require an explanation in a foreign language.  It is hoped that this competition will encourage cross-curricular working and teamwork.

This year 42 teams from 27 schools took part in 'Mathématiques sans Frontières', the winning team in S4 was Girvan Academy and the S5 winners and overall winning school was Grange Academy.

Look out for the e-mail invitation inviting you to take part in January 2019.

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

7 September 2018 (SCILT)

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

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

Find out more on our Business Brunches webpage.

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Languages in the Lords

6 September 2018 (They Work For You)

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

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

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

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CLPL for Beyond the Panda

5 September 2018 (RZSS)

Would you like to find out more about 'Beyond the Panda' and what it offers to assist Mandarin language learning? As the first science specialist Confucius Classroom in the world, we would like to invite you to a FREE session for teachers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo on Tuesday 6 November 2018. 

Find out answers to these questions and more:

  • What is a 'panda box'?
  • How can our programme mix science with language? 
  • What else does the programme offer?
  • What does a science specialist Confucius Classroom mean? 

Two CLPL sessions available 10.30-12.30 and 3.00-5.00 on Tuesday 6 November. Booking essential as limited to 20 teachers per session. Open to Primary and Secondary teachers. 

Meet Sandie Robb, the RZSS language specialist along with Hù Wáng, our Confucius Classroom teacher. 

Contact srobb@rzss.org.uk  or 07963 070654 to book a place. 

Fifth dedicated Gaelic school officially opened

4 September 2018 (Holyrood)

A new Gaelic primary - the fifth school dedicated to the language in Scotland – has been officially opened in Skye.

Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh in Portree is the third Gaelic medium school in the Highland Council area.

It opened to its 133 primary and 47 nursery pupils in April this year, with Education Secretary John Swinney attending a special opening ceremony on Monday.

He said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in supporting Highland Council to realise their vision for the Gaelic language. 

“We are seeing growing demand from parents for access to Gaelic medium education across the country which clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government’s commitments to supporting the language are a having a positive result. 

“I commend Highland Council for their actions and look forward to working with them on future projects.”

Gaelic medium education is available in 14 out of 32 Scottish local authorities to all children and young people.

Read more...

Consternation over suggested French grammar change

4 September 2018 (BBC)

The suggestion by a pair of Belgian teachers to drop a rule of grammar drilled into every French speaker at an early age has led to some amusement and consternation in France.

The teachers say rules for past participles that follow the verb avoir (to have) should be simplified.

The change would save some 80 hours of teaching time, they argue.

It has been endorsed by the linguistic authorities of Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region and Brussels.

Currently, the rule is that the past participle of a verb does not agree with the direct object of a sentence if it comes after it, but it does when the object comes before the participle.

So for instance, in the sentence j'ai mangé des frites (I ate chips), mangé remains the same. But in the sentence les frites que j'ai mangées (the chips that I have eaten), the participle agrees with the word chips, which is feminine and plural.

The two teachers, Arnaud Hoedt et Jérôme Piron, argue the rule is overly complicated and inconsistent, and that the participle should remain unchanged regardless of the position of the object in the sentence if used with the verb to have.

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HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese speaking competition 2018/19

3 September 2018 (British Council)

A great, fun opportunity for students to practise and improve their Mandarin Chinese language skills. 

Taking part in the competition:

  • increases students’ motivation for learning the language
  • develops vocabulary and improves pronunciation
  • raises confidence for oral examinations
  • encourages students to interact with their classmates
  • inspires students to discover more about Chinese culture.

The prize is a week in Beijing! Students will visit historical sites, interact with Chinese students and experience Chinese culture with the British Council, who have over twenty years’ experience in running cultural exchanges with China.

Applications for the 2018/19 competition are now open. Apply by Friday 5 October 2018.

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

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New School Year – New Season of NALDIC blogging

3 September 2018 (EAL Journal)

NALDIC has an ever-expanding membership, creating a vibrant and supportive national (and increasingly international) community of educators and advocates. If you’re in EAL you need to be in NALDIC! If you’re not yet a member please consider signing up. All members get our flagship magazine The EAL Journal every term, full access to the members’ area of our website, and free or reduced price entry to NALDIC events. 

This year we will be taking the national conference to Leeds on Saturday 17 November, where the theme of the event is Evidence Informed Practice for EAL, and features keynote speaker Jean Conteh author of The EAL Teaching Book, among many other classics on teaching multilingual learners. 

We’d love to hear from you if you would like to write for NALDIC. We are always on the lookout for contributors to the blog. We accept pitches for posts about research, practice, and advocacy around EAL and multilingualism.

Read the blogpost for more information on NALDIC's upcoming events and opportunities.

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Introduction to Kansai dialect self-study course

3 September 2018 (Japan Foundation)

The new free Introduction to Kansai Dialect A2 self-study course is available at Minato, Japan Foundation's Japanese language learning e-platform.

Kansai is a region in the west of Japan famous for its delicious food, fascinating history and distinctive dialect. Studying the famous dialect of the region is one way to really discover the vibrant culture of Kansai. 

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Cognitive science is changing language learning

3 September 2018 (School Education Gateway)

In this article, Professor Jon Andoni Duñabeitia from the Universidad Nebrija in Madrid, Spain, talks about inclusive and scientifically validated approaches to language learning.

While my one-and-a-half-year-old son, who is growing up in a Basque-Spanish bilingual environment, shows a surprising ability to process things in either language, his mother still struggles with English when we go abroad, and his Spanish-speaking grandmother devotes considerable time and effort to learning Basque in a classroom environment. Obviously, the process of native language acquisition for toddlers, which naturally occurs at a very early age, is markedly different from the process of language acquisition for a multilingual older adult enrolled in a formal learning programme.

One could easily draw up an endless list of language learning scenarios between these two extremes – and cognitive scientists are working hard to uncover the role played by their respective factors.

Read more...

SCHOLAR

3 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR has updated the Higher French, German and Spanish pages to reflect the changes to Higher which are now in place. SCHOLAR on-line tutor, Douglas Angus, will be hosting a webinar on Monday 17 September at 6pm for an hour to look at the changes, and to talk about the implications for teaching and learning of the new format for Higher Modern Languages. To take part in this event please log in as guest. The webinar will be broadcast live and recorded so it can be downloaded if you miss it.

There will be sessions for pupils at Higher and Advanced Higher level this year again, starting in November. For Higher, amongst the sessions will be on on the Assignment-Writing and for Advanced Higher on on the Portfolio and Specialist Study. Meanwhile, last year’s sessions are still available on the SCHOLAR website, but are open to all and do not require a password.

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Study of Portuguese and Spanish explodes as China expands role in Latin America

2 September 2018 (The Guardian)

Thousands more Chinese students are taking up Latin American languages with an eye to improved employability.

When Zhang Fangming started learning Portuguese, it was with an eye to becoming a top Chinese diplomat in Brazil.

For Sun Jianglin, a Portuguese degree was about landing a job, but also a deeper knowledge of Brazilian music. “Bossa nova!” the 19-year-old undergraduate cooed. “I really like this kind-of-close-to-jazz music!”

The pair – who also go by the names Rodrigo and Antonia – are part of a new generation of Chinese students hoping a mastery of Latin America’s languages coupled with their country’s expanding role in the region will prove a recipe for success.

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British students are too focussed on getting top grades to go on years abroad, university body says as figures show UK behind Europe and US

1 September 2018 (The Telegraph)

he number of undergraduates at UK universities going on years abroad is lagging behind other countries, a report has warned, amid concerns that British students are more focused on getting top grades than gaining life experience.

A report released by Universities UK (UUK), a body which represents 136 British universities, shows that just 6.6 per cent of British students go on ‘year abroad’ programmes during their degrees, compared to 28 per cent of German students, 16 per cent of students in the United States and 20 per cent of Australians.

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, suggested that UK students may be too focussed on their grades and securing jobs to go on a year abroad while they are studying, and while students worry about their grades, employers in the UK may actually value the soft skills more.

“At a time of political and economic uncertainty in the UK, it is understandable that students are seeking stability by focusing on their studies and getting a foot on the career ladder as soon as possible,” Ms Stern said.

“However, sacrificing opportunities to study abroad means that UK students are actually missing opportunities to enhance their careers: we know that graduates who have studied abroad are 24 per cent less likely to be unemployed than those who haven’t,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Read more...

Where have all the modern language assistants gone?

31 August 2018 (TESS)

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

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

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

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

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

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

31 August 2018 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Gaelic education is now available online.

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Brexit prompts surge in Brits signing up to learn languages online

30 August 2018 (Sky News)

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

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

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

Read more...

Caution over drop in numbers sitting language exams

30 August 2018 (SecEd)

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

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

Spanish and Mandarin have made modest rises overall.

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

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

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

Read more...

Narrowing of secondary options hits Gaelic

30 August 2018 (TES)

A leading light in Gaelic-medium education is calling for the Scottish government to investigate the impact of the narrowing of the curriculum in senior secondary.

He says teenagers are being “lost to the language” and that the teacher supply pipeline is “in danger of drying up” as a result.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).

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Related Links

Call for the right to be taught in Gaelic (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

Where next for Gaelic as it gains ground in education? (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

French courses in Edinburgh now enrolling

29 August 2018 (Institut français)

Ready for la rentrée? The Institut français will be commencing classes for adults and children on 18 September 2018.

Open Days are available on 8 and 10 September where you can meet the teachers, have your level assessed and see the premises.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

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WYSE survey shows rise of mixed travel

28 August 2018 (The Pie News)

Young travellers are increasingly combining leisure and study in their holidays, a survey of the youth, student and educational travel market conducted by WYSE Travel Federation revealed.

[..] “More than 20% of the young travellers who responded to the New Horizons IV Survey in 2017 were mixing holiday with language learning. This is up from 14% in our 2012 survey.”

Read more...

The Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF)

27 August 2018 (Consejería de Educación)

The fifth Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) will run from 4 -13 October 2018. Primary and secondary schools are invited to take part in its School Programme.

Also, to link with the Year of Young People, special workshops and screenings have been prepared that will explore Spanish language, cinema and youth.

More information and how to book places can be found on the attached invitation letters.

Help us continue collaborative cross-sector action for languages

27 August 2018 (SCILT/UCMLS)

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

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

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SQA Higher Modern Languages webinars

27 August 2018 (SQA)

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

  • Tuesday 4th September 5-6pm

  • Monday 10th September 5-6pm

  • Thursday 27th September 5-6pm

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

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

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Updates from SQA - Modern Languages

24 August 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

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

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

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

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

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

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SCILT CLPL

24 August 2018 (SCILT)

SCILT CLPL

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

OU/SCILT Teaching Primary Languages programme

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

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

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

GCSE results: Language entries rise for first time since 2013

23 August 2018 (TES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Magical Christmas Trip

21 August 2018 (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 Berlin
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany.

Application deadline: 18 September 2018.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Graduate distance learning Diplomas in French or German or Spanish

20 August 2018 (University of Dundee)

New intake: The online Graduate Diplomas in French, German or Spanish are accredited by the General Teaching Council Scotland GTCS for teachers wishing to teach another language. The course runs 2 years part-time and starts in October 2018, University of Dundee.

The courses are taught online and via Skype and suitable for learners with an entry level comparable to a Higher or equivalent.  On completion graduates are expected to be at C1 level (CEFR) .

For further information please see the distance learning page of the University of Dundee website. 

Please contact us at humanities@dundee.ac.uk if you wish to discuss any aspect of the courses, or your application. 

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Runrig say farewell as Stòrlann launch rocking resource

20 August 2018 (Stòrlann)

Legendary Gaelic rock band Runrig said farewell at the end of a 45 year career with a two-night event which attracted 50,000 people to Stirling Castle. At the event were showcases for FilmG, the Gaelic Sort Film Project, and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College. FilmG’s theme this year is “In the Blink of an Eye.” Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig have also launched a newly developed Runrig resource for use in schools, alongside redeveloping their Fileanta website for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary.

Access the resources via the following links:

Gaelic eLearning by eSgoil available to learners all across Scotland

20 August 2018 (eSgoil)

Comhairle nan Eilean’s eSgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) via computer - these will be open to school pupils and adult learners anywhere. All you need is a computer with internet access.

Get in touch with Angus MacLennan or Catriona Currie at esgoil@gnes.net if you or learners within your school would be interested in this opportunity

This is the timetable for the classes.

  • Monday 8:50-10:30 
  • Wednesday 14:00-14:45 
  • Thursday 13:55-15:35 
  • Friday 12:25-13:15

Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2018-19

20 August 2018 (Japan Foundation)

If your school is interested in introducing Japanese into the curriculum, supporting Japanese at GCSE or A-Level or starting a Japanese Club, you could be eligible for funding.

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education in the UK.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and apply by 22 September 2018.

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Learning German is just the job for savvy millennials

18 August 2018 (The Guardian)

Learning European languages may no longer have much cachet among schoolchildren, but for millennials eyeing the job market, German appears to be more attractive than ever. Growing numbers of young adults aged between 18 and 30 in Britain are learning the language of Friedrich Schiller, Christa Wolf and Thomas Mann, according to the Goethe-Institut, with more than 3,000 people signing up for courses run by the cultural institution.

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Dawn and Meg are on course for fabulous French lessons

17 August 2018 (The Courier)

A French language summer school has ensured that two Fife primary school teachers are fired up to teach their eager pupils le français. 

As pupils across Courier Country head back to school this week, one Fife primary school will be saying “Bienvenue” to the new academic year. Teachers Dawn Allan and Meg Allan (no relation) spent a week in France on a highly sought-after immersion language course, with the aim of enhancing their French lessons at Leuchars Primary School.

Dawn takes up the story: “Meg and I completed a 10-week French evening course at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar two years ago and that was when we first heard about the possibility of attending immersion courses in France or Spain, organised by Le Français en Ecosse,” she says.

Read more...

German courses for the new term

17 August 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

We offer German courses from beginners to advanced levels. If you are a complete beginner or attended a course in the previous semester, you can enrol by phone or online. New students with some previous knowledge are invited to pop in during our Assessment Open Days. 

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.

Read more...

Evening classes in Doric as Scots writing revival blossoms

16 August 2018 (The Herald)

Fancy learning a spot of Doric? Furry boots? Aiberdeen Varsity.

It's better known for its schools of medicine, law or international relations. But now one of Scotland's ancient seats of learning has launched evening classes in a language many of its scholars have derided: north-east Scots.

Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute has devised 10-week workshops in Doric, to help both locals and newcomers to the region learn to speak - and more importantly - write in the mither leid.

Read more...

Compulsory language education should be reintroduced, says Brighton College head

16 August 2018 (ITV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

A-levels: proportion of students in England getting C or above falls

16 August 2018 (The Guardian)

The proportion of students in England gaining C grades or above in A-levels fell back this year, driven by a relatively weaker performance among girls, as schools and students continue to grapple with the introduction of new, more intensive exams.

[..] Modern languages continued their baleful downward trend, with nearly 8% fewer entries in French, German and Spanish. More A-level students took Chinese this year than German.

Read more...

Concours de la francophonie 2019

16 August 2018 (Institut français)

The Institut français d’Ecosse launched in 2016 le concours de la francophonie, a national school competition to encourage all young French learners and their teachers around Scotland to celebrate the international day of la francophonie.

All Scottish primary and secondary schools offering French may enter this competition by submitting a short video of a classroom activity in French. Entry deadline: January 2019.

Visit the Institut français d’Ecosse website for more information. 

Read more...

Institut français d'Ecosse After School Club

16 August 2018 (Institut français)

Paris, c'est parti!

This is the Autumn theme for the new Institut français d'Ecosse After School Club!

The programme, aimed at children from P1 to P7, is the fruit of a collaboration between French Drama company Theatre Sans Accents, the puppet theatre company Le Petit Monde and the institute.

So needless to say, fun and creativity will be at the fore front of all the activities!

For more information, please visit the Institut français d'Ecosse website and click on the 'Autumn Classes 2018' PDF for details.

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The lessons Gaelic schools can teach us about learning

15 August 2018 (The National)

[..] Gaelic medium education succeeds in producing new generations of fluent Gaelic speakers because, as its name suggests, it makes use of the Gaelic language to teach other subjects. Kids don’t sit in classes where they are taught Gaelic in the same way that French or other foreign languages are taught in schools.

The difference in the fluency level that is achieved is stark. I was taught Gaelic the old-fashioned way, and am the proud possessor of a Gaelic Learner’s O Grade and a Gaelic Learner’s Higher. I was taught Gaelic in much the same way kids in modern Scottish schools are taught French or German, in a dedicated class, a couple of hours a week. The result is that although I can puzzle out a written text in the language and have a reasonably sized Gaelic vocabulary, I struggle to follow a Gaelic conversation and can’t express myself orally.

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French courses in Glasgow now enrolling

13 August 2018 (Alliance Française)

Enrolments are now being taken at the Alliance Française for la Rentrée. Click on the appropriate link below to find out more.

Visit the Alliance Française main website for information about their other available activities.

Read more...

Scottish youth to explore the way of the dragon...

13 August 2018 (4barsrest)

Carnoustie High School Band will head east this September to become the first youth brass band to tour China.

The remarkable opportunity came following a performance at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow in 2016 for the renowned Confucius Institute for Scotland.

Such was the success that it led to the school's head teacher Donald Currie being contacted to set the ball rolling on the ambitious initiative — and now, after almost two years of research and fundraising the band will fly out on 7th September for 15 unforgettable days of music and cultural learning.

Confucius Hubs are based in schools and seek to make links with local communities throughout Scotland — with Carnoustie serving the Angus area. It promotes the joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The band will fly out from Glasgow, and after a short stop in Dubai will carry on to China where they will enjoy seven days in Tianjin and seven more in Beijing before their return.

While in Tianjin, the band members will be learning Mandarin, as well as performing three concerts. They will also visit Chinese families and schools, enabling the young musicians to experience Chinese culture first hand with a chance to learn Gongfu (Chinese martial arts), Tai Chi, and the ancient arts of calligraphy and mask painting.

Read more...

Agenda: It's time to take an interest in cool Germania

11 August 2018 (The Herald)

Sometimes it seems there’s a perception that Germany is somehow ... well, boring. Apparently news stories about Germany, even in the Herald, get far fewer views than average ones. But why should Germany be such a journalistic turn-off for readers?

[...] Wherever one stands on Brexit, leaving the EU means that Germany is going to become more important to the UK and to Scotland, not less. Yet fewer and fewer people are learning German. (Which is odd, since, contrary to the widespread myth, it’s a relatively easy language to learn.)

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Scotland experiencing 'mass movement' of parents seeking Gaelic schools

10 August 2018 (The Herald)

Scotland is experiencing a “mass movement” of parents who want their children to be educated in Gaelic, creating increasing demand for more specialist schools to be built.

Allan MacDonald, chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for Gaelic, said there had been a “significant” boost in the number of families interested in Gaelic education in towns and cities.

He said the language was experiencing a “shift in emphasis” away from its heartlands and towards the Central Belt as populations continue to plummet in Scotland’s most rural areas.

He added: “The numbers are growing in the cities and the bigger towns all the time. And that contrasts quite significantly with the economic situation – not just in the Western Isles, but in other areas of the Highlands as well.”

t comes as a series of commitments aimed at boosting the strength of Gaelic were unveiled at a milestone meeting of public bodies chaired by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

This includes plans to publish the first ever Gaelic tourism strategy this autumn to help bring visitors into contact with the language.

Officials also want to increase the number of school subjects which can be taught in Gaelic.

Read more...

Related Links

Perth summit pledges action to accelerate use of Gaelic language (The Courier, 10th August 2018)

Fantastic opportunity to get involved in international work

9 August 2018 (YouthLink Scotland)

YouthLink Scotland, its members and UK/German Connection have teamed up to offer an opportunity to share experiences and make new links between our two countries.

This is an exciting opportunity for workers and the young people (aged 14-21) they work with to get together with German counterparts here and in Germany.

The commitment is two residential weekends taking place in October and December - one in Scotland and one in Berlin.

Places are limited so get in touch soon. The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 August 2018.

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Thousands more pupils to learn Mandarin ahead of Brexit

7 August 2018 (TES)

An expanding academy chain plans to teach Mandarin to thousands of pupils across its schools, to prepare them for life in post-Brexit Britain.

The Co-op Academies Trust will offer Mandarin Chinese to more than 10,000 students.

The trust, which runs schools in Greater Manchester, Leeds and Stoke-on-Trent, is working with the Swire Chinese Language Foundation, which supports the training of specialist Mandarin Chinese teachers.

(Subscription required to read full article)

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Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

7 August 2018 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the SRF is now available which includes upcoming events and activities in Scotland and beyond.

Read more...

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018

7 August 2018 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to launch the 2018 campaign to celebrate Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

Visit the website for more information and submit your nomination by 25 September 2018.

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SQA: Scottish education exam results 2018

7 August 2018 (Relocate Magazine)

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

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

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

Read more...

Related Links

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

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

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

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

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

Shanghai teacher immersion course 2018

7 August 2018 (CISS)

A group of teachers from Scotland spent two weeks in July immersing themselves in new cultural experiences in Shanghai, China.

A typical day consisted of an early start, breakfast in the Shitang (canteen) followed by Mandarin classes. Everyone greatly enjoyed the lessons as beginners were well supported whilst the more experienced speakers were sufficiently challenged. 

This was followed by a cultuphoto of Shanghai skyline by nightral excursion or experience. For most this was the highlight of the trip as it allowed everyone to apply their learning and to experience authentic Chinese culture.

Highlights in Shanghai included a riverboat cruise by night, showcasing the breath-taking skyline, relaxing from the hustle and bustle experiencing Tai chi, and producing calligraphy and hearing stories behind the characters.

Death of the phrase book and rise of smartphone translation apps leads to holiday faux pas, British Council say

7 August 2018 (The Telegraph)

It was once considered a staple of any holiday packing list, on a par with sunscreen, a pack of cards and flip-flops.

But the phrasebook is now becoming a thing of a past, with its demise hastened by the rise of smartphone translation apps, according to research conducted by the British Council.

Google translate and other apps are increasingly popular among the younger generation, who have complained that inaccurate translations are leading to embarrassing faux pas.

Over 60 per cent of 16 to 34 year-olds said they have used their smartphones and apps to help understand the local language, with just 39 per cent opting for a phrasebook.  

A poll of a poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the British Council, found that relying on technology brings its own perils, with more than one in five of this age group reporting that an inaccurate translation on their phone has led to misunderstandings while on holiday.  

Read more...

Government to Improve Foreign Language Teaching in Schools

3 August 2018 (Good Morning Britain)

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

See the video interview broadcast on Good Morning Britain.

Read more...

Deaf boy’s campaign for new GCSE in sign language takes step forward

2 August 2018 (ITV)

A GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) could be introduced in this parliament after the government backed down on a decision to delay it.

Deaf schoolboy Daniel Jillings, 12, is campaigning for the new exam in time for his GCSEs, and his family launched a legal challenge to get one instated as quickly as possible.

The Department for Education had previously said no new GCSEs would be introduced in this parliament, but following submissions from the family’s lawyers it said it may consider making an “exception”.

Daniel’s family’s lawyers argue the lack of a GCSE in BSL may be “discriminatory and unlawful”.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said on Wednesday: “We will consider any proposals put forward for a GCSE in British Sign Language.

“As we have made clear previously, any new GCSE would need to meet the rigorous standards set by both the Department and Ofqual.

“If these expectations are met and a British Sign Language GCSE is ready to be introduced, we will then consider whether to make an exception to our general rule that there should be no new GCSEs in this parliament.”

Read more...

School where refugees are the teachers

1 August 2018 (BBC)

Teaching his native Arabic to students online has been a game changer for Syrian refugee Sami as he makes a fresh start in the UK.

The Aleppo University engineering graduate says that working for an online language learning platform in London has helped him find his feet and motivation as he begins life anew.

The tutors at the start-up firm Chatterbox are all refugees and their work helps them to integrate and adapt to their new surroundings.

"I think language is building bridges between people, because the language is not only in the language itself, the speaking or the words, it's also the culture," said the 35-year-old refugee, who arrived in the UK about two years ago.

The school is the brainchild of Mursal Hedayat, who came up with the idea during a trip to refugee camps in Calais in the summer of 2016.

Read more...

Free language learning and cooking app now available

1 August 2018 (Linguacuisine)

For anyone interested in languages and food!

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Teachers

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

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

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

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

For Professionals working with Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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

For Catering Professionals

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

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

Invitation to London Event

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

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

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Middle class parents use harder GCSEs like Mandarin as a 'signalling device', says Education Secretary

31 July 2018 (The Telegraph)

Middle class parents are using “harder” GCSEs like Mandarin to signal that their children are high achieving, the Education Secretary has said.  

Damian Hinds said it is not just an “attainment gap” that separates rich and poor students, but also a gulf in expectations and knowledge about the system.  

“For middle class parents there is an awareness that there are harder and easier subjects,” he said. “As parents we encourage their children to do the harder ones - whether that's Maths, History or these days Mandarin - because we know they can be a signalling device to universities and employers. 

Read more...

The care home residents proving it's never too late to learn a new language

25 July 2018 (The Guardian)

French and Italian classes are improving self-confidence and wellbeing as well as cognition – even for those with dementia.

Read more...

K-pop drives boom in Korean language lessons

11 July 2018 (BBC)

Korean is rapidly growing in popularity, in a language-learning boom driven by the popularity of the country's pop stars.

A desire to learn the lyrics of K-Pop hits like Gangnam Style has boosted the Korean language's popularity explode in countries like the US, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia.

A report by the Modern Language Association shows that Korean uptake in US universities rose by almost 14% between 2013 and 2016, while overall language enrolment was in decline.

The latest statistics show 14,000 students are learning Korean in the US, compared to only 163 two decades earlier.

The language learning website Duolingo launched a Korean course last year because of rising demand. It quickly attracted more than 200,000 pupils.

Read more...

Family to challenge lack of GCSE in sign language

6 July 2018 (TES)

A 12-year-old deaf boy is at the heart of a planned legal battle to challenge the government’s "discriminatory" decision to delay the introduction of a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).

Daniel Jillings, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, uses BSL as his first language and is concerned that there will be no qualification in place related to signing when he takes his exams in a few years’ time.

Read more...

Can you raise an autistic child to be bilingual – and should you try?

5 July 2018 (The Conversation)

Diagnosed with autism and delayed language development, five-year-old Jose lives with his bilingual English-Spanish family in the UK. In addition to all the important decisions that a family with an autistic child has to take, Jose’s parents must also consider what languages to teach him and how. They would like Jose to learn English so he can make friends and do well at school. But they also value Spanish – the native language of Jose’s mother.

The family’s tricky situation was described in a study from 2013, and illustrates a problem that affects many families around the world. But is it possible to raise a child with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders to be bilingual? And, if so, does it help or hinder the autistic experience? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Read more...

Salve! Latin lessons offered to Aberdeen school kids

30 June 2018 (Press and Journal)

Aberdeen primary pupils may be greeting friends with ‘salve’ rather than ‘fit like’ next term after headteachers were offered the chance to boost Latin in their schools.

The Classical Association of Scotland said a similar campaign in Glasgow had led to 10 schools starting to teach the Roman language.

Now they have written to city council chiefs offering financial assistance to help with training that will enable Latin lessons to take place in city schools.

Learning other languages has proven benefits and the association believes Latin can help with understanding other European tongues.

Read more...

Never mind the Brexiteurs: why it’s time to learn French

28 June 2018 (The Guardian)

English children are increasingly unwilling to learn the language of Molière and MC Solaar, according to the British Council, which reports that within a few years Spanish will overtake it as the most-studied foreign language. At A-level, takeup has already fallen to 8,300, from 21,300 in 1997, while Spanish has climbed to 7,600.

Laziness seems to have a lot to do with it. As Vicky Gough, a schools adviser at the British Council, put it, “There is a perception of Spanish being easier to pick up than other languages, which may account in part for its popularity.” Which, one might say, confirms another perception: that the kids of today want everything handed to them on a plate, from chauffeur service to and from school, to first-class university degrees.

Read more...

Spanish exam entries on track to surpass French in English schools

27 June 2018 (The Guardian)

Spanish is expected to overtake French as the main foreign language studied in classrooms in England in the next few years, and experts say German could face extinction from school timetables.

A report by the British Council says that although the study of languages continues to decline, Spanish is bucking the trend, with entries up in both GCSEs and A-levels.

Read more...

How many words do you need to speak a language?

24 June 2018 (BBC)

Learning a new language can be tricky, but how many words do you need to know before you can actually get by in a foreign tongue?

That was the question posed to BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme by one frustrated listener. Despite learning German for three years, and practising nearly every day, they still couldn't seem to retain more than 500 words.

"I was hoping," they wrote, "you could give me a shortcut, by working out how many words we actually use on a regular basis."

To work out how many words you need to know to be able to speak a second language we decided to look into how many words we know in our first language, in our case English.

Read more...

Higher Modern Languages webinar recordings

21 June 2018 (SQA)

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

Webinars can also be accessed from the Understanding Standards website.

Read more...

Landeskunde German workshops

21 June 2018 (Goethe-Institut)

These workshop at level B1/B2 combine language training in German with topical information on various aspects of German language and culture.

Various dates are available in July, August and September 2018.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to book your place.

Read more...

Stòrlann put Runrig and Sporting Hero resources on-line for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann have also published new literacy resources for Gaelic Medium Education, including a resource about legendary Gaelic rockers Runrig. This multimedia unit comes as the band prepare for their swan song gig in Stirling in August, bowing out after 45 long and successful years promoting Gaelic song and music. It is hoped the resource will teach learners about Runrig’s important legacy for many years to come. There is also a new resource about Highland Sporting Heroes - Laoich Spòrs Gàidhealach.

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Ceumannan 5 - New Health and Wellbeing unit on-line for Gaelic Learners by end of session

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig are about to publish online the second unit of the final book in the Ceumannan series for Gaelic Learners. Like all the resources in the series which launched in 2009, Ceumannan 5 Aonad 2 - Slàinte agus Sunnd, has been written by Emma Christie. It is aimed at Higher and Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners). When the resource becomes available at the end of June 2018, it will be available on the Stòrlann website.

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FilmG

20 June 2018 (FilmG)

The successful Film G project which encourages the use of Gaelic through film-making has entered it’s 11th year. Film G is run by MG Alba in partnership with CGS and has been a very popular event for Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers alike over the last decade. Film G organise school visits and more information can be found on their website.

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CLAS - Successful Gaelic teachers conference held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 2/3 June

20 June 2018 (CLAS)

CLAS - Comann Luchd-Teagaisg Àrd-Sgoiltean, the professional body for Gaelic Secondary Teachers in Scotland, held a successful CLPL conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College in the Isle of Skye on 2 & 3 June. SCILT was in attendance along with other speakers, as colleagues took the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns about Gaelic Education in the present time.

If you are a Gaelic teacher or a teacher who speaks Gaelic and would like to be come a member, contact Catriona MacPhee via CLAS’ facebook page.

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Yell pupils pick up French language awards

20 June 2018 (Shetland News)

TEN pupils at Mid Yell Junior High School received prizes on Monday (18 June) as part of a celebration of the teaching and use of French in Scottish schools.

The S2 students, winners of this year's Concours de la francophonie competition, received their prizes during a special award ceremony at the school in the presence of education attaché of the French Embassy in the UK Thomas Chaurin and Shetland Gas Plant facilities management co-ordinator Jenny Wink, who was also representing sponsor Total E&P UK.

The VIP visit came after the Yell bairns were unable to attend the official award ceremony in Edinburgh in March.

With the majority of children now learning French from P1 in Scotland, la francophonie is said to be thriving.

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A National Framework for Languages supporting implementation of 1+2

19 June 2018 (SCDE)

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

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

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

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

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

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GlobeScotters

18 June 2018 (British Council)

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

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

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

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Crisis as Scots businesses struggle to hire Mandarin speakers amid Chinese tourist boom

17 June 2018 (Daily Record)

Shop owners in Scotland’s busiest tourist traps are struggling to hire Mandarin speakers to cope with a spike in Chinese customers.

Retail outlets, hotels and restaurants are advertising in shop windows as well as online to try to attract staff with specialised language skills.

Balmoral Cashmere in Edinburgh have put out a call for applicants in a street-front display. Last week saw the first direct flight from China to Scotland. 

Official figures show 41,000 Chinese visitors are coming to the country every year.

Highlands hotelier Willie Cameron said: “The Chinese are also buying into hotels and investing so there is business tourism too. “I struggled to get a Mandarin-speaking receptionist. There aren’t very many Mandarin speakers in Drumnadrochit but the websites for all my hotels are translated into Mandarin.” 

Visits from Chinese tourists are worth an estimated £36 million to the Scottish economy, with the average spend per day exceeding £70. Chinese visitors spend about £900 per visit across 12 nights. 

Dr Nathan Woolley, director of the Confucius Institute at Glasgow University, said there is an increasing interest from students and business workers to study Mandarin to augment their skills.

Read more...

e-Sgoil wins top praise from Swinney

15 June 2018 (We love Stornoway)

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has praised Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Sgoil project in a review document of its first year which has been circulated to all schools in Scotland.

Mr Swinney said “e-Sgoil makes use of our national education intranet, GLOW and it is effectively using this to bring teachers and learners together no matter their location. I would like to congratulate those involved at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for their vision, energy and commitment in bringing this project forward in such a short period of time.

“In concluding I would like to commend this report to you and hope you are encouraged by the success set out in the following pages.”

e-Sgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) provision on-line to Local Authorities.

e-Sgoil e have identified the following periods for the delivery of National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners):

  • Mon - 08.50 to 09.40 and 09.40 to 10.30 
  • Wed - 13.35 to 14.45 
  • Thurs - 13.55 to 14.45 and 11.45 to 15.35 
  • Fri - 12.25 to 13.15

Any learners wishing to access these courses can do so using Glow, Office 365 and Vscene. 

e-Sgoil also has capacity to deliver weekly Gaelic Learner classes for any schools requiring support with the 1+2 agenda.

If your school or authority is interested in exploring these options contact e-sgoil@gnes.net or phone 01851 822850.

Read more...

‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’: The Life-Changing Impacts of Travel

14 June 2018 (University of Stirling)

As you’ll have gathered from this blog, a good number of our students opt to apply for English Language Assistantships every year, whether between their 2nd and 3rd years or as graduates. For the past few years, some of our ELA students have also participated in SCILT’s ‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’ scheme during their year as assistants and we thought it’d be good to get a sense of what this actually involves – from the perspective of the students involved.

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Creative Multilingualism

14 June 2018 (University of Oxford)

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

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

Read more...

Language Linking Global Thinking

12 June 2018 (University of Edinburgh)

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

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

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

Read more...

New European Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on improving the teaching and learning of languages

12 June 2018 (ECML)

On 22 May 2018 the European Commission adopted a set of proposed Council Recommendations and other policy documents under the headline “Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies”. The press communication and the Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to language teaching and learning, together with its annex and Staff Working Document, which provides the scientific background for the Recommendation, as well as many examples of good practice are all now available online.

Read more...

Host a Teacher from Germany

12 June 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Opportunity for UK schools to boost their intercultural dimension by welcoming a teacher from Germany to any department for one, two or three weeks this school year.

This free programme provides pupils with a real-life learning context for German language and culture and offers teachers the chance to share best practice on an international level.

Hosting can take place at any time during the school year.

Application deadlines - 26 July for autumn 2018 hosting slots and 21 September to host in spring/summer 2019.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

Read more...

Should we take a more 'German' approach to MFL?

8 June 2018 (TES)

Applies to England

If you’re a modern foreign languages (MFL) teacher, you’re probably already familiar with the horror stories about your subject: more and more schools are cutting MFL at GCSE and A level, while fewer students are expressing interest in learning them.

Despite plans to increase the teaching of Mandarin in schools, European languages have sustained some heavy losses, German faring the worst with a 38 per cent fall in GCSE student entries since 2010.

Meanwhile, the German school system is efficient at producing confident English speakers, with an EU study claiming that 56 per cent of Germans can speak English "well enough to have a conversation", and it is rare to meet a recent high school graduate from Germany without near-fluent English skills.

So, why the gaping divide?

Read more...

ECML European Language Gazette No 42

7 June 2018 (ECML)

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

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Press Release: Teachers to learn to teach languages in the classroom

7 June 2018 (SCILT/OU)

An innovative scheme teaching primary teachers languages and how to teach those languages to pupils is being expanded across Scotland for the first time. The first of its kind in the UK, the distance learning programme will see primary teachers study French, Spanish, German or Mandarin and develop the skills to teach the language in the classroom at the same time. 

Launching across Scotland today (Thursday 7 June) at an event in Edinburgh where guests will hear from pupils and teachers, the programme is now available to primary school teachers in all local authorities following a successful pilot which featured 54 teachers from 49 schools across nine local authorities in 2017/18. The programme is a partnership between The Open University and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde.

Designed to support the Scottish Government’s ‘1+2’ language policy, which aims to enable all pupils to learn two additional languages from primary level onwards, the programme will link up with the cultural organisations of France, Spain, Germany and China to facilitate immersive summer schools for participating teachers. At the same time, schools will also have the opportunity to make connections with schools in the countries whose language pupils are learning.

Dr Sylvia Warnecke, lecturer in languages and programme lead at The Open University, said:

“The key thing about this programme is its flexibility, meaning that teachers in every part of Scotland – whether urban or rural – will be able to learn together and share their experiences and ideas, helping each other to bring the language they’re learning to life in the classroom.

“We’ve already had teachers from the pilot project tell us that their pupils love it and are really engaged. They have been instrumental in starting after school language clubs and making links with schools in other countries. It’s exciting that all teachers, schools and pupils in every part of Scotland now have the chance to learn together through this programme.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said:

“We see this as an important collaboration between our two universities, local authorities and teachers. The course is focused on developing teachers’ confidence so they are able to create exciting and motivating lessons for their pupils. In this way we can make sure that languages feature as an integral part of the Scottish curriculum and that youngsters are given their full entitlement to language learning.

“The teachers’ commitment to developing their skills is humbling. Their willingness to embrace their own learning in order to benefit their pupils’ experience highlights the professionalism and dedication that is the mark of the teaching profession.”

Gwen McCrossan, Principal Teacher for 1+2 Languages, Argyll & Bute, said:

“This course is ideal for the geographical situation of Argyll & Bute. We are delighted to be able to take part, as it provides a quality learning experience for teachers who would otherwise find it difficult to access language training. The course is also unique because it is tailor-made for primary school.”

The pilot project has been shortlisted in the partnership category in this year’s Herald Higher Education Awards. Such is the interest in the programme following its pilot phase and ahead of its wider rollout, it is expected that teachers from Wales and Northern Ireland will join the next presentation starting in October 2018.

A short video featuring teachers who participated in the pilot talking about their experience of the programme is available on YouTube.

Further information on how to sign-up for next year's course is available on SCILT's website

Briefing on Gaelic Education

7 June 2018 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest briefing on Gaelic Education is now available on their website.

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Supporting your EAL learners

6 June 2018 (SecEd)

In a new series focused on supporting pupils with English as an additional language, Nic Kidston and Katherine Solomon discuss how schools can learn more about who their EAL learners are and how they can be empowered and supported to fulfil their potential

This article, the first in a series of articles on supporting EAL learners that will appear in the coming year, examines the recent research report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), with the Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy – entitled Educational Outcomes of Children with English as an Additional Language.

The series will provide insights into, and best practice on, how to support individual learners through a whole school approach.

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Scottish Education Awards 2018 - Winners announced!

6 June 2018 (Scottish Education Awards)

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

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

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

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More and more British children are learning Chinese – but there are problems with the teaching

6 June 2018 (The Conversation)

A drop in the number of secondary school students learning languages in UK schools is fuelling concerns about the country’s global competitiveness, particularly after Brexit. Discussions among both politicians and the media centre on the worry that the UK is being held back globally by its poor language skills. The UK economy loses roughly £50bn a year due to a lack of language skills in the workforce.

British Council and British Academy reports all critique modern foreign language (MFL) teaching in the UK. They also express concern about the lack of learning in state schools compared to independent schools and the widening gap between disadvantaged children and an internationally mobile elite. It is well acknowledged that there is a need to move beyond relying on English as a lingua franca.

In line with this, Chinese, an emerging key world business language – and widely predicted to be key to UK business post-Brexit – has become a foreign language option for some UK students in recent decades. Teaching is beginning to thrive across schools and universities as a principle modern foreign language.

Unsurprisingly, private schools – recognising the language as a new source of cultural capital – were the first to offer the new subject. But some newly established schools, especially particularly poor and disrupted schools in the state sector, have also shown interest in featuring Chinese in the school curriculum. They have been able to do so due to the Confucius Institute programme and the related Confucius Classroom programme initiated by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in 2004.  

The Confucius Classroom program partners with UK secondary schools or school districts to provide teachers and instructional materials. The costs of such programmes are shared between Hanban and the host institutions (the UK colleges, universities, schools or school districts). By adopting Chinese as one of the taught languages in the curriculum, disadvantaged British schools hoped to indicate to parents that they provided something special and ambitious.

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

5 June 2018 (Radio Edutalk)

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

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Can you learn a language with an app? What the research says

5 June 2018 (The Conversation)

Language learning apps are very popular in app stores worldwide – and are said to be revolutionising language learning. These apps offer opportunities to practise grammar and can be a very rewarding way to learn vocabulary. But there has been discussion about just how effective such apps can be – particularly when it comes to other skills such as writing and speaking.

Among the most popular language learning apps are Duolingo and busuu. Research has mainly found positive results on the use of both Duolingo and busuu. But most of this research concentrates on studies with learners who are also signed up to language courses – learners are using the apps for extra practice – so the results don’t provide a good snapshot of language learning through apps.

My recently published research study of 4,095 busuu users aimed to find out more about who uses these apps, how they use them, and what they think of app-based learning. Ultimately, I wanted to find out if users can actually learn a language with an app.

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