Language Learning Resources

Current awareness for language teachers and students provided by the University of Sussex Language Learning Centre

Archive for March, 2007

As you like it: Demos on English

Posted by Tom Roper on March 15, 2007

Widely but inaccurately reported as calling for the abolition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Demos report As you like it: Catching up in an age of global English is available as a pdf on their website


Posted in EFL, languages, TEFL | Leave a Comment »

Dearing plenary session at Language World

Posted by Tom Roper on March 13, 2007

Language World, the Association for Langauge Learning’s conference and exhibition will include a plenary session at which Lord Dearing and Lid King will speak about the Dearing Review. The ALL site doesn’t let me link directly to the conference pages. The best I can find is the events page:
Lord Dearing and Lid King will outline the major recommendations and changes which
spring from the Review and also answer questions from delegates about the
issues which preoccupy them.
The conference takes place in Oxford from 30-31 March.

Posted in dearing, modern languages, schools | Leave a Comment »

Bonjour Brighton

Posted by Tom Roper on March 13, 2007

Bonjour Brighton, a new Francophone magazine for people in Brighton, will publish its first issue in May.

Posted in brighton, french | 1 Comment »

Guardian on decline of modern languages in higher education

Posted by Tom Roper on March 13, 2007

Today’s Guardian has a major feature analysing the decline in modern languge teaching in British universities.

Posted in french, german, italian, languages, modern languages, spanish, universities | Leave a Comment »

Blogs in EL Gazette

Posted by Tom Roper on March 12, 2007

The latest issue of EL Gazette contains a piece on blogs, which discusses, among other things, the controversial Sandy’s UK TEFL blog, strapline: “Dishing the dirt on Britain’s tacky TEFL trade…”,, where an EFL teacher uses a blog to give feedback to students, An ELTNotebook, Blog-EFL, Eric Baber’s blog, TEFLlogue and a meta blog using SuprGlu that brings together feeds from a number of EFL blogs, though the URL quoted in the article gives an incorrect hyphen.

The article is not available on EL Gazette’s website and an attempt to use the search button returns a message saying “ELGazette Search Engine is Coming soon“…a curious use of upper case.

Posted in blogs, EFL | 3 Comments »

Dearing review: press coverage

Posted by Tom Roper on March 12, 2007

Times: Call for easier exams as GCSE pupils shun ‘difficult’ languages
Independent: Languages are the hardest GCSEs, research finds
Guardian: ‘Too hard’ modern language GCSEs may be made easier

Posted in dearing, modern languages, schools | Leave a Comment »

Dearing review: recommendations

Posted by Tom Roper on March 12, 2007

Here are the recommendations of the Dearing review of modern languages teaching, filleted from the text of the report, and enhanced with links where possible:

  • “We confirm our earlier recommendation to increase the number of schools having languages as a specialism to 400″
  • “…we recommend that the additional financial support for specialist language colleges to support key elements of the National Languages Strategy should be continued (currently some £8m a year) with appropriate increase as the number of colleges increases”
  • “We recommend that you closely monitor the plans made by schools to achieve this” [increasing numbers taking languages in year 10 to 50 per cent to 90 per cent-TR]
  • “We further recommend you make clear that you are prepared, if the decline is not halted and turned around within a reasonable timeframe, to return languages to the statutory curriculum”
  • “We are advised by the HEFC(E) that for an additional £3m over four years the scheme could be given national coverage. We recommend that this additional funding is provided for this scheme and invite the HEFC(E) to undertake it”
  • “In our consultation report we accordingly proposed that the Department for Education and Skills should develop a continuing programme to promote languages focussing on events like the Beijing Olympics of 2008, the 2012 London Olympic Games and other major international events such as the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007 and the European Football Cup in 2008. At local level, Local Authorities could be encouraged to promote interest in local schools in towns overseas with which they have twinning arrangements, and promote contact at school level through communication technology and exchange visits. […] We now confirm those recommendations”

  • “Some substantial expenditure is a matter that goes beyond our competence to recommend, but we tentatively suggest a budget of £2m a year to support a sustained effort through events, articles, languages days, publications, and for material for use in schools, to raise public awareness of the importance of languages.”
  • “… we recommend that languages become part of the statutory curriculum for Key Stage 2 in primary schools, when it is next reviewed”
  • “We recommend that the provision for teacher support in primary schools should be continued, and where necessary, extended to take schools through the first two years of a statutory curriculum for languages and to help them widen the range of languages offered”
  • “…we think it important to widen the range of languages that can be offered, and we recommend that attention is given to how that can best be achieved”
  • “There should be informal classroom assessment of every child’s learning near the end of Key Stage 2 by reference to the Languages Ladder
  • “…clusters of primary and secondary schools in a local authority area should link up to seek to achieve agreement on the languages to be taught in primary schools and arrangements for progression to the secondary schools”
  • “We recommend that the review [the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) review of the GCSE-TR] proceeds as a priority in consultation with the Awarding Bodies, and language teachers. We also invite consideration of a more flexible “languages in use” GCSE”

  • “We do not propose any reduction in the demands of the Curriculum but we confirm the proposal that the issue should be resolved as soon as possible and we so recommend”

  • “Schools need to be better informed about these alternative routes to learning languages [NVQ language units, the Certificate in Business Language Competence, and an Applied French GCSE-TR], and we recommend that the Department finds means of addressing this need, particularly in relation to the Languages Ladder”

  • ”We also propose that some assessment of pupils’ progress should be available at the end of Key Stage 3…We therefore recommend that a qualification associated with the Languages Ladder (currently Asset Languages) is made available for all pupils at the end of Key Stage 3 at a subsidised cost for schools, and that consideration is given to achievement through the Languages Ladder being recognised through the award of GCSE”
  • “We recommend that the Department working in partnership with its key partners provides more systematic guidance to schools about these possibilities [greater flexibility in adding other languages-TR]”

  • ”We recommend that the Department increases its support for initiatives in this area [languages across the curriculum, including bilingual “teaching and learning (or CLIL5), embedding languages with subjects such as Sport, Performing Arts, and Enterprise-TR] and ensures that existing experience is disseminated more widely”

  • “[Discussing community languages-TR] We recommend that the DfES in collaboration with key partners develop clear guidelines and support for a more appropriate and varied content to the secondary languages curriculum. Crucially this should be promoted though a range of opportunities for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)”

  • “…we recommend the provision of retraining modules for secondary teachers wishing either to support Primary developments or to develop skills as Leading Teachers. These modules should be at no cost to schools and we further recommend that they attract a bursary for teachers recommended by their schools”

  • [On professional development-TR] “we recommend:

    1.The launch of a National Teacher Research Scholarship (NTRS) scheme for languages, enabling teachers to work together and with universities, advisers and other national agencies to develop their pedagogy and find solutions to the challenges of secondary language learning. This could be a development of the current National Secondary training programme for languages which involves face to face meetings, distance learning and coaching and is based on local networks of teachers”

    2. The targeting of Heads of Department who are key to in school change through regional training programmes coordinated by Comenius Centres and SLCs

    3. More systematic provision of on-line distance training resources for secondary teachers, perhaps linked to the proposed Open School for Languages

    4. Provision of model teaching programmes for the range of qualifications outlined in this chapter

  • “…we recommend that the Department continues its provision of information on languages and ICT – for example through CILT and BECTA – and finds ways to support and disseminate innovations in this area.”

  • “We recommend that the DfES should now scope a detailed project with a view to inviting tenders from suitable institutions or consortia to establish an “Open School for Languages” over the next three years”

  • “We recommend support for the expansion of such provision [immersion courses-TR] on a local and regional basis. Such activity should be underpinned by our proposals for an Open School For Languages”

  • “We also recommend additional action to make such experiences [international and intercultural experience-TR] more widespread and easier to organise. This will involve:
    · Advice to LAs on supporting such visits by looked after children and for schools that have a high proportion of pupils on free school meals;
    · Promotion of existing national and European opportunities to schools in challenging circumstances;
    · Financial support for the organisation of work experience, in collaboration with the main Embassies;
    · Support and guidance on overcoming administrative and legal issues associated with visits”
    “We now recommend that the impact of this additional funding [extra funding for specialist language colleges-TR] is reviewed, and that on this basis the funding is continued in the most effective way. Consideration should also be given to whether such funding could be extended beyond the Language Colleges to other good schools with successful languages departments. We further recommend that concerted efforts are made to increase the numbers of second specialisms in languages. We also recommend offering a further or annual opportunity to specialist schools to take up languages as a second specialism ‘out of cycle’ with special attention being given to improving geographical spread”

  • “We recommend that public support for these bodies [British Council, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and its networks supporting specialist schools, CILT, The National Centre for Languages and ALL-TR] is maintained and where possible refocused to address specific concerns relating to languages post 14”

  • “We therefore recommend that as a matter of some urgency the Department reviews the range of support available [local and regional support through Languages Advisers, Specialist Language Colleges and the CILT network of Comenius Centres-TR] and develops a more coherent model for supporting change which it funds for an initial three year period”

  • “We […] confirm our recommendation that the Secretary of State should identify languages as one of his priorities in his annual grant letter to the LSC [Leach Review of Skills-=TR]”

  • “…[in league tables-TR]we recommend two performance indicators: one measuring attainment at GCSE level and one measuring participation and attainment at more modest levels we recommend that the [OFSTED-TR] languages subject survey is expanded to cover more schools and that an interim report is made available to the Secretary of State mid cycle to monitor the impact of the measures that we are proposing “

  • “…we recommend that the take up of languages at Key Stage 4 is added to the list of specific issues that they [School Improvement Partners-TR] must discuss with schools”

  • “…we have been encouraged by that [the introduction of languages into primary schools-TR] to recommend they become a mandatory part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum”

  • Posted in dearing, modern languages, schools | 4 Comments »

    Dearing review published

    Posted by Tom Roper on March 12, 2007

    The Dearing review is out at :
    There doesn’t seem to be an executive summary or summary of the recommendations, but it is only 44 pages. I’ll put up a summary soon.
    For comment, try this Technorati search

    Posted in modern languages, schools | Leave a Comment »

    The ides of March are come…

    Posted by Tom Roper on March 1, 2007

    ….not exactly. In fact today is the Calendae (calends). But the Dearing review of modern languages was to have reported by the end of February. There’s nothing on Teachernet, where the interim report appeared last December.

    Posted in modern languages | Leave a Comment »

    Separated by a common language

    Posted by Tom Roper on March 1, 2007

    For some time I have enjoyed separated by a common language, Lynne Murphy’s diverting blog about the differences between British and American English. It has me taken until now to realise that she is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the very same institution that this blog comes from (in the loosest possible sense; nothing here should be taken to be the official view of anyone or anything).
    See her for example on aischrologia

    Posted in blogs | 1 Comment »