LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

What sort of English should Indians learn?

What kind of English should Indians be learning? Purists argue that language skills must meet international standards, but experience tells us that local languages will add flavour to the mix. The result may be fine for the street, but when it comes to the workplace, it is just not good enough.

The Guardian

Monday, 25 January 2010

Sexually explicit dictionary banned in schools

Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex".

The Guardian

Haiti earthquake: BBC starts Creole broadcasts

The BBC has started broadcasting radio programmes in Creole to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

The programmes are to provide much-needed information to Haitians struggling to deal with the effects of last week's devastating disaster.

Connexion Haiti is a 20-minute daily show, broadcast from 0910 to 0930 local time (1410 to 1430 GMT) on FM in Haiti's six largest towns and cities.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Foreign languages becoming 'privilege of elite'

Foreign language lessons are becoming the privilege of elite and wealthy children, a Government adviser warns today as figures showed another drop in teenagers studying the subject.

The blame was pinned on the over-cluttered curriculum which offers myriad choices at the age of 14, including the new diploma, and confuses pupils by pulling them in too many directions.

Just two fifths of schools started teaching a modern language GCSE to more than half of their Year 10 pupils this year, down from 45 per cent last year and 78 per cent in 2003.

The Times

More state secondary schools are teaching Spanish than German for the first time

Almost two-thirds – 62% – of state secondary schools are offering Spanish GCSE this year, compared with 55% offering German, a study by Cilt, the national centre for languages, found.

The Guardian

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Phone texting 'helps pupils to spell'

Children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell correctly, research suggests.

A study of eight to 12 year olds found that rather than damaging reading and writing, "text speak" is associated with strong literacy skills.

BBC website

Radio advert banned for implying Germans are tyrants

A radio advertisement has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for implying Germans are tyrants.

Complaints were upheld about a Reed recruitment website commercial, which had an angry boss speaking in German.

The ASA said it could cause serious offence to some listeners and was found to be offensive because it used a negative stereotype.

BBC news

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

English language schools fear new visa rules

English language school sector has been put at risk by proposals to tighten visa rules, originally aimed at closing bogus colleges, that many schools fear will put them out of business.

The Guardian

Friday, 15 January 2010

New punctuation launched: the SarcMark

Expressing sarcasm in the written word can be a dangerous business, as anyone forced to apologise for sending a tongue-in-cheek email will confirm.

Now a US firm has come up with an ingenious solution to this very real problem – a new item of punctuation.

Daily Telegraph


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Languages GCSE still in decline

Languages continued to suffer a sharp decline as fewer than half of pupils studied the subject to a high level at 1,262 schools and at 32 secondaries no teenagers gained a good grade.

Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Biting the reality sandwich

Office workers are being urged to stop using jargon and go back to "normal" English.

The call came after a list of the most ridiculous business phrases was compiled, ranging from "biting the reality sandwich" to "touching base offline".

Yahoo news

Monday, 4 January 2010

Mandarin for all pupils, says Ed Balls

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, said every secondary school pupil should have the opportunity to take the subject to meet the needs of business.

He said "up and coming languages" were increasingly in demand and pupils should be suitably equipped for the world of work.

The Telegraph

DCSF statement on languages in schools

Statement from the Department of Children, Schools and Families
From http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2010_0002


As Mandarin becomes a GCSE this year, the Government is also today setting out their aspiration that all secondary school pupils should have the opportunity to learn languages like Mandarin if they choose and called for all primary schools to make sure they provide pupils with their entitlement to learn a foreign language from this year.

Through language partnerships between schools, Ministers want every school to have access to specialist teachers, and are encouraging Heads to join up with neighbouring schools to share knowledge and expertise to give all pupils the chance to learn.

From this year, all key stage 2 children in England should have the opportunity to learn a language in class time. This comes a year ahead of foreign languages becoming a compulsory part of the national curriculum for children over seven, which will allow schools to choose which language to teach, from Arabic to Mandarin, Japanese to French.

On top of putting more specialist language teachers into schools, Teach First is into its second year of a pilot to recruit the best language graduates to become specialist teachers in the most challenging schools, for two years.

Teach First is highly successful in secondary schools and the primary pilot has been designed to encourage the best candidates into the profession, and attract more specialist primary teachers.

To back up the Government’s commitment to get all children learning a language for at least 6 years, it has invested £7 million in training around 5,000 specialist primary language teachers since 2003 the most primary subject specialists to have ever been trained. Around one thousand more will start courses in September 2010, which means that around 7,000 language specialists will have been through the intensive training by September 2011, when learning a foreign language become a compulsory part of the primary curriculum.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said:

"In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

“That’s why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up and coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college.

“And to ensure children develop a love for languages early on, I want primary school pupils to be able to learn a foreign language from this year. That’s why we have invested £7 million in training 5,000 language specialist teachers with more to start training later this year as we make languages compulsory from the age of 7 in 2011.

“A growing number of schools are now teaching Mandarin and in the coming years I think we will see this subject sitting alongside French, Spanish and German as one of the most popular languages for young people to learn.

"At the heart of any excellent schools system are good teachers and we are continuing to invest in the schools workforce. The specialist maths teacher programme and the new Masters in Teaching and Learning add increased specialism and status to the teaching profession and will mean that our teaching standards remain excellent.

“Record investment and bold reforms have made a real difference to children and young people. Exam results have never been higher and schools, academies and colleges across the country are being rebuilt as part of the biggest investment in buildings for decades.”