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“My Languages Profile”

One of the ongoing projects at the University of Glasgow is the development of an online self-reflective tool entitled ‘My Languages Profile’. This takes the form of a One Note Class Notebook administered through Glow. The intention is to create an online tool through which students can be supported to work on their own linguistic development as well as reflect on the pedagogy of teaching languages. Students can collate resources, record and evaluate their own progress as well as share and comment on each other’s ideas.

Currently, specialist undergraduate primary trainees are sharing lesson plans and resources with their colleagues who have chosen other specialisms. For postgraduate modern languages specialists the ‘My Languages Profile’ also offers the same forum for recording and evaluating their development as languages teachers, albeit with a different focus. It is hoped that both sets of students will continue to use the ‘My Languages Profile’ as they continue into their career in teaching. There are a number of sections in the Profile including a series of ‘I can’ statements within which students can add files, images, web links and videos as well as ideas and comments. In the case of the primary trainees, the Profile forms part of a ‘flipped classroom’ approach to teaching languages and is aimed at promoting student independence as well as facilitating more in-depth discussion of pedagogy. Next semester, data will be gathered on the students’ use of the Profile with a view to evaluating its effectiveness and adapting it for further use. We should also gain insight in to the ‘flipped’ approach and its appropriateness in this context, informing both modern linguists and initial teacher educators in general.

Examples of pages from the Profile can be found here:

Main aims

Structure

Personal statement

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Survey from Scottish SCILT

ITE students

SCILT offers free support about language learning to primary and secondary teachers at all stages of their careers. In order to help us meet your needs, could you please spare three minutes of your time to complete a short survey about what kind of professional learning you would like? We would appreciate your feedback by Thursday 14th November: http://bit.ly/SCILT_ITEstudents

ITE staff

SCILT offers free support about language learning to primary and secondary teachers at all stages of their careers. We are used to working with universities to support under-grad and post-grad students of education and would appreciate your views on how we can best compliment your existing provision. The short survey will inform our planning to help us meet the needs of your establishment and students. We would appreciate your feedback by Thursday 14th November: http://bit.ly/SCILT_ITEstaff

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Background 1 + 2 Languages – a continuing policy

Languages are one of the eight areas of Curriculum for Excellence, and the Scottish Government remains fully committed to the 1+2 policy to enhance and extend language learning for all children and young people from early primary stages onwards. The 1 + 2 policy should be fully embedded in Scottish schools by 2021. Crichton and Valdera-Gil’s (2018) small-scale research study aimed to ascertain 38 primary teachers’ perceptions of their confidence to teach an FL to primary learners and what they felt would be helpful in developing their language proficiency and language teaching pedagogy. The teachers, while enthusiastic about the thinking behind the policy, expressed concern about their ability to provide a good model of language to their classes and their own development as learners of a language while simultaneously having to teach it. FL assistants, secondary colleagues and FL development officers were seen as valuable sources of support, but questions were raised about the sustainability of the policy without long-term permanent commitment.

(https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09571736.2018.1448430?journalCode=rllj20)

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Recent publications and resources

New European Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on improving the teaching and learning of languages

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.

The “Proposal for a Council Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages” and its Annex about “Language Awareness in Schools – developing comprehensive approaches to language learning” are available in all official EU languages to be downloaded here:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1527006129608&uri=COM:2018:272:FIN  

Involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education

The aim of this website is to disseminate knowledge on the benefits of involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education. A number of activities are presented which will provide parents and teachers with tools that will help them to work together in plurilingual and intercultural education.

More information can be found on: http://parents.ecml.at/

More languages? PlurCur! Research and practice regarding plurilingual whole school curricula

European language policy aims at fostering plurilingualism in individuals, but how this goal can be attained within schools as institutions has not been part of the education policy discourse. A project at the ECML took up the idea of a plurilingual whole school curriculum, and specific elements of such a curriculum have been implemented and tested at 16 schools in a number of European countries. Some of the elements have been accompanied by research. This volume presents research and reports on practical implementation of plurilingual whole school curricula.

More information can be found on: https://www.ecml.at/Portals/1/documents/ECML-resources/PlurCur-EN-final.pdf

A lifeline to learning – Leveraging technology to support education for refugees by UNESCO

The issue of provision of education and related services for refugees is complex and multifaceted. With a record number of 65 million individuals who were forcibly displaced worldwide in 2016, the magnitude of the refugee and displacement crises is unprecedented (UNHCR, 2017). Particularly alarming is that children make up more than half of the 22.5 million refugees, i.e. those individuals who fled their countries to seek protection elsewhere. The repercussions in the field of education can be quite severe. Immediate, strategic and sustainable educational responses are required to ensure that refugees and displaced populations have access to equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.

This publication presents the results of a collaborative study undertaken by subject matter experts and UNESCO specialists (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002612/261278e.pdf )

The Gaelic Language in Education in Scotland, 2nd Edition

This document was published by the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning with financial support from the Fryske Akademy and the Province of Fryslân.

https://www.mercator-research.eu/fileadmin/mercator/documents/regional_dossiers/Gaelic_2nd.pdf

New perspectives on Language Teaching & Learning: Cross-Sector Annual Conference, 9thJune 2018 in St Andrews.

The cross sector annual conference explored new pedagogical perspectives in language learning and teaching. Participants reflected on how new perspectives and practices may be applied in practice and curriculum. This year’s theme is “Engaging Language Learners”.

More information regarding the presentations delivered on that day, including contribution from Ingeborg Birnie, and Argyro Kanaki, can be found here: http://newperspectives.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/abstracts/

 

 

 

 

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Do Coyle: Shifting thinking on a global scale

In recent months I have been working in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland with teachers in primary schools who are language teachers in contexts where they are tasked with teaching an additional or a ‘foreign’ language but do so using CLIL (content and language integrated learning), bilingual or immersion pedagogic approaches. An integrated approach means that teachers are required to link their language teaching to thematic or subject elements of the curriculum so that learners not only learn new language, but that this language is embedded in the new knowledge and understanding of topics or themes which connect the curriculum. Integrated approaches require very careful planning of classroom tasks and activities and their sequences in order to ensure that pupil progression in both conceptual growth and language development is visible. They also usually involve collaboration between teachers, since some of the tasks are not necessarily in the repertoire of language teachers and vice versa. Yet all believe they have a contribution to make to creating a language-rich experience for our young learners.

I wish to highlight three key areas which are attracting a great deal of discussion (and action) on a global scale involving the teaching and learning of language and languages in and across the curriculum – including some contexts which have many synergies with the Scotland. This builds on varied discussion over the last few years about the nature and implementation of integrated approaches to teaching and learning. It is interesting to note that Finland, respected as having a highly successful education system as evidenced by PISA results, has now introduced a phenomenon-based curriculum when one phenomenon (e.g. climate change) is studied across all curricular areas using a problem-based approach for an extended period of time. Globally there is renewed interest in the role of literacies across subjects and languages where some interesting work is being carried out in Australia for example (check out their EAL curricular guidance). Moreover, due to our rapidly changing landscapes and the movement of peoples, our classrooms are rapidly developing as plurilingual and pluricultural communities. This has shifted the role of language and languages in and for learning, reflecting the European Movement for over three decades, for a reconceptualisation of the languages of schooling in order to use those experiences to provide appropriate conditions and experiences to develop global citizens.

With ‘recycled’ attention to using languages across the curriculum (nothing new here- see Bullock’s report in the 1970s), literacies across subjects and languages (hence pluriliteracies) and the need to explore links between first language settings and other languages (e.g. EAL, L1, L2, BSL, Gaelic-medium, MFL), the scene is set for enabling our student teachers and the more experienced teachers who guide them in school, to look closely at the potential of CLIL principles (which also link to immersion/bilingual/embedded approaches for those in Gaelic-medium education) and the way these can guide interdisciplinary learning (IDL) in primary schools (and of course beyond) to provide deeper learning and a balanced language-rich meaningful experience for our pupils. This requires a shift in practices and certainly a shift in how we approach language learning and using across the curriculum. CLIL is complex and needs careful, collaborative design, implementation and evaluation – yet it has now been piloted and implemented into the regular curriculum in many countries across then world including anglophone countries, so that there is evidence of good practices (principles and resources) which can be used and recycled. There are already some outstanding examples of using this approach and Scotland has a key contribution to make in furthering innovative classroom practices. Check out the ECML website (https://pluriliteracies.ecml.at/) and in particular learning resources. In a future blog, I would like to include some practical examples of how student teachers are being prepared for integrated CLIL approaches to interdisciplinary learning across the curriculum.
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Introduction

Welcome to the blog pages of the SCDE Languages Group. The Group is a collaborative academic and professional network representing all Schools of Education across Scotland where there are ITE programmes. The group has been meeting for several years as an independent, supportive group of language teacher educators and researchers. Our focus has always been on sharing aspects of our core work including: how to grow, support and sustain high quality language learning and using in schools and in teacher education; using our European and international networks to carry out and be informed by research and academic/professional outputs; to address challenges of a declining take-up of languages in schools; developing strategies for changing mindsets inherent in commonly held views about language teaching and learning including the role of languages for learning; making more visible the underlying values and beliefs which drive our work; and more recently our contribution to transforming the 1 + 2 Language Policy in Scotland from an ambitious policy into purposeful classroom pedagogies. Our current emphasis is to provide relevant experiences for new entrants to the profession as well as experienced teachers in schools, so that they are better equipped to enable learners in primary school to enjoy and progress their language skills in at least two other languages. We are tasked with researching principles and practices to understand better the challenges of the rapidly changing landscape in our schools This is aspirational. The Languages Group connects and collaborates with other national government agencies and networks, providers, associations and institutes. Growing concerns about the language competence and pedagogic demands on future primary school teachers prompted the group to be seek funding from Local Authorities who wish to support our endeavours to help teachers and ultimately learners. Hence the development of this website. We not only wanted to provide guidance via a National Framework (drawing on the processes used by the group responsible for the Inclusion Framework) but we wanted to help make some of the key principles and theories about language learning, using and teaching accessible to busy teachers and student teachers in our endeavour to contribute practically to national and international contexts. Our blog will be regularly updated and will enable individual members of the group, educators and student teachers to contribute ‘think pieces’ for discussion. We hope that this will lead to meaningful and engaging discussion about the complexities and challenges of languages within and across the curriculum and beyond.