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My World of Work resources for language learners

21 November 2017 (Skills Development Scotland)

Language learners are encouraged to visit My World of Work and find out more about the value of languages in a whole range of careers.

Learners should visit My career options and type in "international" or "languages" into the "I have a career in mind" tab to discover a wide list of careers where language and cultural skills are needed.

There are also live vacancies related to international work, which learners might find helpful as they plan for the future.

Finally, for language teachers, there are new Lesson Inserts related to Modern Languages.

CLPL for primary teachers in 2018

21 November 2017 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

Alliance Française is running a new programme of CPD workshops in French for Primary School teachers in 2018.

  • 10 topics covered over ten weeks, tailored to the needs of Primary School teachers.
  • Suitable as a follow-up to one of our Beginners 1 classes or for French teachers in Primary schools.
  • 4.15-5.45pm between 6th February and 23rd April included. Days of the week will vary; a detailed programme is available below.
  • The cost to attend 10 workshops is £75/teacher.
  • Option to enrol in less than 10 CPDs, please contact us for more information.
  • Certificates of attendance will be given once the programme is completed.
  • Places are limited so booking early is highly recommended.

If you wish to enrol, please contact or visit the Language Office at the Alliance Française as soon as possible:
Alliance Française Glasgow - 3 Park Circus, G3 6AX Glasgow
0141 331 4080

  • Tuesday 6th February 2018: Phonetics / La phonétique
  • Thursday 15th February: Daily life in a Primary School / La vie quotidienne dans une école primaire
  • Thursday 22nd February: Songs from France and the Francophone world / Les chansons françaises/francophones
  • Thursday 1st March: Conducting an activity in French (PE, maths, arts, etc.) / Le français comme langue d’enseignement
  • Tuesday 6th March: Celebrations & calendar / Les fêtes et le calendrier
  • Tuesday 13th March: Resources and activities for year-round festive events / Ressources et activités pour les fêtes
  • Monday 19th March: Indoors and outdoors games / Les jeux d’intérieur et d’extérieur
  • Monday 26th March: Films, Cartoons & TV5 Monde / Les films, dessins animés & TV5 Monde
  • Monday 16th April: Storytelling in French / Raconter des histoires
  • Monday 23rd April: French regions & their delicacies / Les régions de France & leurs spécialités

Gaining international experience and learning new languages enhances careers

17 November 2017 (British Council Scotland)

For International Education Week, we spoke to John Crawford, Team Leader, Education at Scottish Development International, about the importance of being globally mobile.


St Thomas Aquinas Secondary new 1+2 Case Study: language uptake into the senior phase

17 November 2017 (SCILT)

St Thomas Aquinas RC Secondary is a Roman Catholic, co-educational, secondary school based in the West End of Glasgow. As the catchment area is the largest of any school in Glasgow, St Thomas Aquinas serves a very diverse set of local communities that contributes to the multi-ethnic nature of the school. All learners in the St Thomas Aquinas learning community study Spanish throughout the broad general education until the end of S3. This case study focuses on language uptake from the broad general education into the senior phase through a journey of self-evaluation.


The degrees that make you rich... and the ones that don't

17 November 2017 (BBC news)

Why study languages? According to research undertaken by Institute for Fiscal Studies, when ranking subjects according to how much graduates earn five years after graduation, languages come out in the top ten — ahead of both business and law.


Don’t trip over the obstacles left by Brexit

17 November 2017 (TESS)

Building partnerships with schools overseas may seem like a less attractive prospect after the UK exits the European Union, but the benefits to pupils make these continental forays worth fighting for.

Subscription required to access this article


Brexit blamed as language assistant numbers dive

17 November 2017 (TESS)

The number of modern-language assistants (MLAs) in Scotland has almost halved in a year, amid fears that Brexit has deterred European students from working in the UK.

Subscription required to access this article.


Why should we learn Dutch?

16 November 2017 (British Council)

Dutch recently joined the ranks as one of the top ten languages that the UK needs in 2017. But why is learning Dutch useful? We asked Anna Devi Markus from British Council in Amsterdam.


It is essential that education and skills provision builds the knowledge and capability to work well internationally

15 October 2017 (British Council Scotland)

For International Education Week 2017 we asked John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, about the Scottish Government's efforts to engage young people in international activity.


Why limited resource models are of limited use, particularly when it comes to languages

14 November 2017 (University of Edinburgh)

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and lifting of travel restrictions, Vienna become a favourite destination for Eastern Europeans keen to buy hitherto unavailable Western goods. My West German friend Wilhelm recalled a conversation with an East German colleague while looking at the frantic markets. “Poor Viennese”, said the East German, “those Eastern Europeans will buy everything and leave them with nothing”. “Lucky Viennese”, answered Wilhelm, “they are doing the business of their lifetime”. Obviously, their comments reflected different economic reality under which they grew up, but they illustrate rather well the general contrast between “limited resource” and “added value” models.

Limited resource models are so seductively simple and intuitively compelling, that they tend to be applied implicitly, without much critical reflection (let alone empirical evidence) to a wide range of economic, social and political debates (e.g. immigration). Their major weakness is that, unlike the added value models, they do not take into account interactions between individual components and the capacity of well-functioning systems to adapt and re-configure. People buying goods are not just depleting a storehouse, they stimulate the production of new goods and development of better products. Immigrants do not just take away existing jobs; by stimulating economic growth, they can in fact create new ones.

When I first met Dina Mehmedbegovic in European Commission Multilingualism Panel in Brussels in September 2016, we were stunned to discover how much our two disciplines, education and cognitive science, have in common in terms of implicit assumptions made in respect to language learning and use. In our first joint publication, in May 2017, we explored the idea of a “healthy linguistic diet” (1), from primary school education to cognitive ageing and dementia prevention (2). In the second one, published this week, we examine systematically three important implicit assumptions underlying current controversies around multilingualism (3).

The first one is the above-mentioned limited resources model, well illustrated by the recent “Guardian” debate about the merits and disadvantages of learning foreign languages (4). One of the most commonly used arguments against teaching foreign languages at schools is that they prevent pupils from learning “more useful” subjects, such as maths (limited resources). No mention is usually made how learning languages can in fact improve the performance in other subjects (added value). These arguments continue across the lifespan: a new social enterprise Lingo Flamingo has a lot of work convincing professional carers that teaching languages to dementia patients is not dangerous and can even improve their cognitive abilities.

The second assumption is the “myth of the mother tongue”, the idea that the “normal” state of human brain, mind and society is to have one clearly defined “mother tongue”; other language can be learned, but are only secondary. Census questions like those used in the UK, allowing each individual to name only one “home language”, perpetrate this misconception. The third one is the belief that the only worthwhile aim of language learning is to reach a “native-like” proficiency. Although the drive to reach high proficiency is well meant, ultimately such attitude prevents people from appreciating multiple benefits of language learning.

As we demonstrate, there is hardly any evidence in favour of these assumptions, either in education or in cognitive and brain sciences; in fact, most of current research contradicts them. However, as we discuss in the paper, these assumptions are closely connected to political ideologies, dictating what is considered to be “normal” for individuals and states. We argue that such underlying, often implicit, beliefs can exert a profound influence on our thinking. Participants, whose performance we are examining as well as the researchers who analyse and interpret the data are human beings, deeply rooted in their languages, cultures, societies and values. We cannot study human performance in isolation from human beliefs and attitudes which influence it. Social and cognitive sciences and humanities are usually treated separately and there is remarkably little exchange of ideas between them. But we believe that we have much to learn from each other. As proposed by the added value models, a synthesis is more than the sum of its parts. The path is long, but we hope to have taken a step in the right direction.

Thomas H Bak, University of Edinburgh, Strand Leader of Strand 6 (Cognition, health & wellbeing) of the AHRC Project, “Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies” (MEITS). Co-Director, Bilingualism Matters (Bilingualism in later life, healthy ageing & dementia).

(1) Healthy Linguistic Diet (MEITS blog, June 2017) 

(2) Healthy Linguistic Diet: The value of linguistic diversity and language learning across the lifespan (Languages, Society and Policy, May2017)

(3) European Journal of Language Policy

(4) Just speaking English won’t get us very far in the world (Guardian,August 2017)

Kick start your international project with these free resources!

14 November 2017 (British Council)

Until 7 December 2017, UK teachers who register an eTwinning project can choose to be posted a travelling eTwinning teddy bear or a virtual reality headset. We will also post an eTwinning wall map, homework and a passport challenge.

The pack that we will send to you contains pre-prepared, cross-curricular homework challenges spanning key stages one to five, all designed to help you kick-start your first international project with eTwinning.


Share your project images and videos with us on Twitter @eTwinningUK via #eTmaps and we will award the class with the most retweeted post with £500 worth of Amazon vouchers on 8 December.


Which foreign languages will be most important for the UK post-Brexit?

14 November 2017 (British Council)

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is fundamentally changing its relationships with the countries of the EU, and with the rest of the world. But which languages will be most important for the UK? And how well is the UK equipped to meet the current and future language need? The British Council's Alice Campbell-Cree, who edited the Languages for the Future report, summarises.


We must help our young people to embrace internationalism

14 November 2017 (British Council Scotland)

For International Education Week 2017, Jackie Killeen, Director, British Council Scotland, writes about why we need to encourage young people to embrace internationalism.


UK risks mass exodus of EU academics post-Brexit, finds report

Guardian (14 November 2017)

The potential risk to UK universities from post-Brexit academic flight has been laid bare in a report that reveals there are regions where up to half of academic staff in some departments are EU nationals.

The British Academy report warns that economics and modern language departments will be particularly badly hit if European academics leave the UK, with more than a third of staff in each discipline currently from EU member states.


University explores benefits of speaking Gaelic in business

14 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

A university is to discuss whether speaking one of Scotland’s mother tongues could offer an advantage to businesses. 

International business expert Seonaidh MacDonald will talk about his experiences of using Gaelic in a global business context at a lunchtime seminar offered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.


Commonwealth Class children's short story writing competition

13 November 2017 (British Council)

What images, emotions or memories come to mind when you think of the word ‘Peace’? Children around the world are invited to capture its meaning for this year’s Commonwealth Class Short Story Writing Competition. The competition offers a unique opportunity for students to become part of the Commonwealth’s rich storytelling heritage and to be in with the chance of winning some great prizes!


Actors taking sign language to the stage

13 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

A group of actors from the UK’s only degree course for deaf performers are taking their show on the road for the first time this week, with the hope that it will challenge public perceptions. 

The production, which blends British Sign Language (BSL) with spoken English, will be performed by students from the Glasgow-based Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The group of ten actors are all studying Performance in British Sign Language and English, a three-year degree course which is the only one of its kind in the UK.


The Scottish Gaelic Awards are a night to celebrate the surge in Gaelic speakers

13 November 2017 (Daily Record)

The Scottish Gaelic Awards bring together the very best in learning, achievement and development and celebrate the great work being done by Gaels in every corner of Scotland.

From inner cities to the Western Isles, traditional language and culture is being developed and promoted by amazing people from every walk of life.


Study abroad: ‘I like being part of an international community’

10 November 2017 (The Guardian)

Kate Pemberton, 24, spent a semester of her undergraduate anthropology and international relations degree at the University of Copenhagen. She loved it – so when it came to choosing a master’s, the city was her first choice.

[...] Pemberton feels the experience of studying abroad has given her valuable skills. “I’ve been learning Danish, which isn’t the most useful language, but I think any language is a bonus on your CV,” she says. “Plus, employers want what moving abroad and living in a different country gives you – you become more adaptable and can survive in stressful situations. It makes you more resilient and you open yourself up to more opportunities.”


Masters Level Languages Education Study at the University of Strathclyde

10 November 2017 (University of Strathclyde)

Are you teaching a new language to your pupils, or supporting bilingual learners to learn English and keep up with their home language?

Are you ready to start masters level study in 2018? You don’t have to wait until September 2018!

We are now offering a number of Masters level classes relating to modern languages, English as an additional language and support for bilingual learners, starting in January 2018.

First book in Harry Potter series translated into Scots

10 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

The first book in the Harry Potter series has been translated into Scots. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of the boy wizard’s adventures. 

The first book in the series introduces Harry as he discovers that he is a wizard and leaves his family to go to Hogwarts and study magic. 

Matthew Fitt, who translated the novel, said: “I wanted tae dae this for a lang time but kent I wanted tae get it richt. I’m that honoured tae be the Scots translator o this warld-famous Harry Potter buik and chuffed tae ma bitts that Scots speakers, baith young and no sae young, can noo read the novel again, this time in oor gallus braw Mither Tongue.”


Goethe-Institut (London) news

10 November 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The following opportunities from Goethe-Institut in London will be of interest to teachers in Scotland:

  • New Karla and Kai songs - added new songs have been added to the Karla and Kai resources for the fourth year with German. All lesson plans as well as songs are available as a free download.
  • Christmas competition for primary schools - A new clip, Christmas time in Germany with our popular characters Felix and Franzi, has just been published. Let pupils answer some questions about the film and win great prizes!
  • Free 2018 resources calendar - Primary or secondary German teachers can order a free calendar with images, texts and resources for their classroom. The topic this year is Sport in Deutschland. Just fill in the online form and return it to us to place an order. Stock is limited - first come, first served!
  • The two chairs creative writing competition - Pupils can write in English or in German. Their piece can be a poem, short story or piece of prose no more than 1000 words in length. The entry categories will be: under 18s and over 18s, with one winner in English and one in German selected from age group (four winners in total).

A love of languages stops them becoming lost in translation

10 November 2017 (TES)

The recent Scottish Association for Language Teaching conference proved the sector has the staff to enable it to flourish

The language I work and live in, day to day, is not my first language. It is a language I learned in school. I first started learning English aged 10 – in the first year attending my local secondary school in rural Germany – and I fell in love with it immediately.

It is therefore no surprise that the learning of modern languages in school – or any foreign language, for that matter – is something close to my heart. Learning English – and later Latin and French – opened up a new world to me and gave me opportunities I never would have had otherwise. It also shaped how I see and engage with the world.

So it was my pleasure to attend and speak at the annual conference of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching (SALT) last weekend in Glasgow, which this year was titled “Still here”.


Spanish Immersion Day

9 November 2017 (Spanish Embassy Education Office)

The Spanish Immersion Day is intended to provide an opportunity for Higher Spanish students or a similar level of examinations to practise their Spanish meaningfully with native speakers on a wide range of topics. The sessions will aim to provide them with strategies to become more effective communicators and to cope with unexpected language.


Language graduates targeted by Glasgow marketing firm

9 November 2017 (The Herald)

Glasgow-based Pursuit Marketing has announced its creation of 75 jobs, citing a “surge” in demand for its services from the technology sector, writes Ian McConnell.

The telemarketing and digital marketing services business, which was founded six years ago, said about 30 of the new positions were English-speaking roles.

Pursuit Marketing, which currently employs more than 80 people, added that it was also seeking “bilingual and native speakers fluent in French, Spanish, Italian and key Nordic languages”.


Report on Sixth China Youth Summit on 3 November 2017

8 November 2017 (SCEN)

Great thanks to distinguished guests, talented presenters, and all delegates! SCEN's Sixth China Youth Summit was a great success. This magnificent set of photos taken by Fraser Nelson of Simon Jones Media provide a taster of the day.

Presenters were described in the adjectives contained in the scores of glorious emails SCEN has received: Fantastic, Impressive, Energetic, Keen, Inspiring, Exciting!

The President of SCEN, Lord Wilson of Tillyorn KT KSMG FRSE, said that he was delighted to hear the presenters of all ages speaking Mandarin with a commendably accurate and natural use of tones and accents.

See the comments of the students brought together by Ellena Zhou from St Ninian's High School, East Renfrewshire.

National award for modern language GCSE scheme

8 November 2017 (BBC)

A mentoring project which has doubled the uptake of modern languages at GCSE in some areas has won a UK-wide award.

The modern foreign language (MFL) scheme trains students from Welsh universities to talk to pupils about the benefits of studying languages.

Cardiff University, which led the work, was awarded the Threlford Cup by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.


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

8 November 2017 (The Guardian)

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

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

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


How the Guardian helped me to teach a foreign language

8 November 2017 (The Guardian)

Trevor Stevens notes that your editorial (4 November) lamenting Britain’s lack of competence in foreign languages “was devoid of solutions to this problem” (Letters, 7 November).

In the 1990s, however, one section of the Guardian contained a weekly feature article in a European language which, as a linguist and secondary school teacher, I regularly used as a stimulus for spoken and comprehension work with examination classes.

Another simple technique to promote engagement with foreign languages is for news media to be encouraged to broadcast more subtitled interviews, so that listeners can hear the original Catalan, Chinese, German etc. Vorsprung durch Brexit vielleicht?


French schoolteachers push for 'gender neutral' grammar in row with language purists

8 November 2017 (The Telegraph)

French grammar is sexist, according to hundreds of French teachers who insist they will no longer mark alternatives to male-dominated rules as wrong.

The call from 314 French teachers placed them on collision course with the Académie Française, the hallowed guardians of the French language, which has warned that moves to make French more gender-neutral is placing it in "mortal peril".


SQA course reports

7 November 2017 (SQA)

SQA has published the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher course reports for the 2017 examinations. These reports contain information about the performance of candidates in the examinations as well as advice for teachers. SCILT will summarise these reports in due course, but in the meantime they can be accessed by clicking on the following links and selecting the ‘Verification and Course Reports’ tab:

Word Wizard 2018 - new semi-final added!

3 November 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT's Word Wizard competition is returning for its fifth year and we are delighted to announce we are adding a fourth semi-final date!

In addition to the semi-finals already taking place at the Universities of Strathclyde, Aberdeen and Dundee, in collaboration with the UCMLS, this year we will be holding another semi-final at Edinburgh College. 

Word Wizard is a multilingual spelling competition open to S1-S3 pupils learning French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The competition provides a perfect opportunity for language teachers to address The Attainment Challenge by allowing pupils of all levels the chance to excel in language learning. Word Wizard develops skills in acquisition of vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, recall and public speaking; not to mention the many literacy outcomes it addresses. This hugely motivating competition encourages links with other curricular areas and with health and wellbeing, culminating in a high profile celebration of language learning.

Visit SCILT's Word Wizard webpage to find out more about this year's competition and to register your school.


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

27 October 2017 (SCILT)

We are delighted to announce that 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 across Scotland over the course of January and February 2018. These events will take place in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 – S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education and beyond.

Schools will be invited to nominate up to ten pupils who will be able to discover how languages can enhance communication skills, motivation and employability opportunities in line with 'Developing the young workforce', Scotland’s youth employment strategy, and the National Improvement Framework.

Young people will hear from a wide range of dynamic business leaders who view languages as a key skill in today’s globalised world and engage with exhibitors whilst enjoying refreshments.

The purpose of the exhibitor gallery is to present opportunities to speak with representatives from a variety of businesses. Young people will be able to ask questions directly and discover more about the range of careers and employment opportunities available within each of the sectors present.

The networking with exhibitors will be followed by a keynote speaker after which pupils will be invited to listen to two interesting presentations. They will be allocated groups prior to the event and will be able to hear first-hand the important role that languages play in the business community. To finish off the day, an inspirational speaker will address pupils.

This is the fourth year we have offered this successful opportunity to schools.

Business Brunches 2018 Registration
  • 10 January 2018: University of Dundee
    Registration will open on 3 November 2017
  • 12 January 2018: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
    Registration will open on 3 November 2017
  • TBC - 22 January 2018: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
    Registration will open on 3 November 2017
  • 30 January 2018: Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
    For this event only, places are restricted to S3 pupils and to the following authorities:
    City of Edinburgh, East Lothian. Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian
    Register now via Marketplace.
    You will be asked to create an account if you do not have a login to the Marketplace, and will be directed to the page once you have signed up.
  • 7th February, 2018: The Aberdeen Altens Hotel, Aberdeen
    Registration will open on 3 November 2017


Threlford Memorial Cup 2017 - Call for nominations now open

26 May 2017 (Chartered Institute of Linguists)

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

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

The deadline for nominations is Friday 28 July 2017.


Disclaimer: These news stories do not claim to be comprehensive and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of SCILT.

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My World of Work resources for language learners More...

CLPL for primary teachers in 2018 More...

Gaining international experience and learning new languages enhances careers More...

St Thomas Aquinas Secondary new 1+2 Case Study: language uptake into the senior phase More...