LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Parlez-vous Vietnamese?

After an idle boast, language teacher Rick Jones will try to learn Vietnamese in three months, if a student works at his French.

The GuardianTuesday February 26, 2008

Friday, 22 February 2008

Call for Mini-Grant Funding Bids (Education for Sustainable Development)

There is growing pressure and expectation on the higher education (HE) sector to respond to the sustainability challenge and consider how best to embed sustainable development into policies and practices, not least in learning and teaching and curricula. To that end, the Higher Education Academy’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Project is continuing to support a programme of development activity and capacity building so as to better assist institutions and subject communities in their development of curricula and pedagogy to equip students with the skills and knowledge to live and work sustainably. This recognises the importance of increasing 'sustainability literacy' among students and the growing demand for sustainability skills among employers.
As background, prospective applicants are encouraged to see the Higher Education Academy’s report (2008), Employable Graduates for Responsible Employers: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/ourwork/tla/sustainability/EmployableGraduates2008.pdf

The Higher Education Academy’s ESD Project invites applications for the funding of mini-grants designed to develop small-scale work in one or more of these areas:
Explore the links between employability and sustainability in the curriculum and the potential for innovation and development in this area
Link sustainability with careers advice and student volunteering
Critique, develop and explore the notion and substance of sustainability literacy skills and how best to embed this area in the curriculum
Support student outreach programmes and integrate off-campus activity into programmes

The ESD Project is setting aside £15k for grants in this Tranche; the maximum funding for any single proposal will be £2.5k.

The deadline for applications is noon April 23rd. The full Call plus the Application are available from our website: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/esd

Heather Witham

ESD Project Coordinator

HE Academy

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Community languages 'lack status'

Languages such as Arabic, Bengali and Mandarin should be given higher status in England's schools to enable more pupils to learn them, Ofsted says.
"Community languages" should have the same status as French, German and Spanish, the education watchdog said.

Thursday, 21 February 2008
BBC website

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Call for GCSE languages regrade

Head teachers and language experts say it is harder to get good grades in modern languages than other GCSEs.
They are calling for exam grading in modern languages to be brought into line with other key subjects.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008
BBC website

People offered lessons in Cornish

People are being given the chance to drop into a Cornish library and have a go at learning Cornish. Truro Library will be holding a Cornish language taster day, where people can learn a few words and phrases. There are thought to be up to 400 fluent Cornish speakers in the county, with thousands more who know at least some words of the language.

Tuesday, 19 February
BBC website

CILT statement on changes to GCSE languages assessment

'Recent press reports have created a perception that proposed changes to the assessment arrangements for GCSE foreign languages will lead to a lowering of standards. This is unfortunate, as above all we need to hold on to the value that language learning has for learners, employers and for academic study. The misunderstanding perhaps arises from a misplaced confidence in the existing system of measuring oral competence. We concur with Lord Dearing that the current arrangements can be demotivating for pupils – not only because they are stressful, but because the tasks involved are not creative or stimulating. Bringing in more teacher assessment is an opportunity to correct this, not a threat to standards, but it will need to come with more training, support and appropriate monitoring arrangements.'

Full press statement from CILT:


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

QCA response to Dearing published

This document provides QCA's response to Lord Dearing's view that the award of grades in GCSE languages is more demanding than for most other subjects.


DCSF statement on GCSE language orals

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2008/0028) issued by The Government News Network on 18 February 2008

Monday 18 February 2008

Monday, 18 February 2008

Pourquoi? Warum? Perché? Study of languages is in decline

An influential group of experts is putting pressure on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to make Scotland more multilingual.

Figures show that the number of school pupils taking modern language Highers has slumped by nearly 60% since the 1970s. The group has highlighted an "apartheid" in foreign language study in Scottish universities and fear the nation is becoming less competitive in the global economy as a result.

Saturday, 16th February 2007
The Herald

Language GCSEs 'could drop orals'

Oral tests could be dropped from language GCSEs because they are "too stressful", according to a report.

Sunday, 17 February 2008
BBC website

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

AUSTRALIA: Aboriginal languages 'dying out'

Campaigners in Australia have warned that indigenous languages are declining at record levels.

They believe that the country's cultural heritage is at risk unless more is done to ensure the survival of these ancient tongues.

BBC website
Monday, 4 February 2008

Language development mirrors species evolution

The sudden emergence of American English is an example of how languages evolve rapidly when people want to carve out a new identity, and mirror the way that new species evolve, according to a new study.

The Telegraph
31 January 2008

Predictive text creating secret teen language

Forget a dictionary of slang, if you want to know what your kids are talking about then use your mobile phone. Children are inventing a whole new verbal language based entirely on the predictive text function they use to send messages on their mobiles. They are replacing words they mean with the first alternative that comes up when typing a message.

7, February 2008
The Telegraph

Monday, 11 February 2008

Facebook translated into Spanish

Facebook has introduced a Spanish version of its popular social networking website as part of efforts to attract new audiences.
It said this was the first of several languages besides English that the site plans to offer, with French and German versions expected soon

BBC website
Friday, 8 February 2008

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Demand brings a new Chinese GCSE

A new GCSE in Chinese is to be available from next year, following growing demand from schools and business.

Teenagers will be able to study for the new qualification from September 2008, England's biggest exam board announced.

Thursday, 7 February 2008,
BBC website

Monday, 4 February 2008

'Routes into Languages' manager on BBC Radio 4

Heather McGuinness, Manager of the 'Routes into Languages' was among the guests on today's edition of the Learning Curve on BBC Radio 4.

Monday, 4 February 2008
Listen Again at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/learningcurve.shtml