Making the Case for Languages
This page lists a variety of resources for teachers to use to make the case for language study. These can be used with a range of audiences and links range from resources written and shared by teachers, to published articles in the national media or published articles, opinion pieces and research from a range of organisations which share similar objectives to ALL…
Materials making the case for language study and for exchanges
Resources shared by teaching colleagues: making the case resources
The following resources have been selected by teaching colleagues or partner organisations who have been happy to share their resources for the benefits of other language teachers.
- Joined up – bringing it all together – Making the case for languages – Rachel Hawkes
- Making languages the most popular subject in the school (Language World 2011 presentation) – Eva Lamb
- Languages are always an asset – Case studies from Headteachers – Routes into Languages
- 15 Reasons Why You Should Learn the German Language
- 10 Compelling Reasons to learn French
- Why teach Japanese in primary schools
- Why teach Japanese in secondary schools
Materials to use with parents: The benefits of engaging parents in students' learning
The benefits of exchanges
- International education case studies – Looking for ideas for activities or trips to run in your school? Case studies written by teachers on their exchange experiences, collated by the British Council
- The British Council school exchange starter kit will get you thinking about the necessary steps to plan and run a school exchange at your school. You can download and edit these documents to suit the needs of pupils, parents and staff in your school.
Materials to use with students
Celebrity inspiration to encourage your students to learn languages
- Read and hear more from Audrey Hepburn, Bradley Cooper, Eddie Izzard, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman; to name but a few ………
- ” Languages have changed my life – and enhanced it.They can yours too”. Read what Paddy Ashdown has to say about how languages shaped his experiences.
- Barack Obama on why not speaking another language is embarrassing
Why study languages at university?
Watch an ex-student from Tuxford Academy explain why learning a language at university is important.
Read the University of Leeds recent project ‘Because I study a language‘ in conjunction with the University of Sheffield and York St John University. The project aims to bring together the unique experiences of undergraduate languages students, to show the depth and breadth of opportunity available to those who learn new languages. Can you think of your own reason too?
Volunteer language speakers coming into primary or secondary schools
Inspiring the Future provides a quick and easy way for schools and employers to connect: They have hundreds of volunteers who use languages in their jobs who’ve offered to go into schools to talk to pupils, including lawyers, civil servants, engineers, psychologists and more.
Primary Futures: Inspiring Languages
Secondary: Inspiring Languages
Materials for 11-18 year olds - why study languages?
Routes into Languages: website with resources for teachers to use in class with 11-18 year olds. It is divided into KS3, KS4 and Post-16. The site contains lots of interactive quizzes and videos as well as information written by university students who have recent experience of studying languages at GCSE and A-level.
Promote languages through the European Day of Languages
- An initiative of the Council of Europe,the European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September. On the occasion of the day, a range of events are organised across Europe: activities for and with children, television and radio programmes, language classes and conferences. Find out more.
- Ideas on developing a Languages Week, including the European Day of Languages
Career benefits of studying and using languages
Languages give you the edge in the job market
- Talking the talkTalking the talk – trading our way out of recession: The many ways in which languages can boost growth.
- Foreign language skills make jobseekers more employable during recession: Recent research shows that the mean salary of language graduates three years after finishing university is ahead of that of graduates of engineering, maths, physics and astronomy, and chemistry.
- Career ammunition for language graduates: “You are a linguistic graduate! You are a valuable commodity! …With a grasp of a foreign language or an inside knowledge of another culture, you are in a position to approach employers speculatively and offer your services to help them develop new business in those geographical areas.”
- “It opens up so many more opportunities”: Knowledge of a foreign language, whether studied formally or picked up informally, can lead to exciting career opportunities that those without an extra language have little chance of accessing.
- “The globalisation of legal practice means that many international law firms will not hire lawyers without language skills”: Patricio Grané Labat, partner of public international law firm Volterra Fietta, who speaks native Spanish and French, as well as English.
- Languages are in vogue in the fashion industry: International brands and overseas supply chains make languages essential for a career in fashion: “It would definitely have been difficult to have done the job without my language skills. To be able to speak in French rather than just English made everything more efficient,” Kat Shallcross, marketing administrator for New Look.
- Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme: Hopefuls must have command of English plus one of 14 other languages including Yoruba, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Portuguese.
- Marc Joss is a football translator and interpreter: “The idea of combining languages with football was something that had always appealed to me. I didn’t really know how to get into it until it happened. A key moment was when Guillem Balagué posted online that he was looking for a native English speaker who spoke Spanish, knew about websites and was passionate about football to work for him full-time.”
- See where languages can take you: “TV chef Simon Rimmer explores the variety of careers and opportunities available to those who speak languages. He meets people from a range of professions and chats to them about how languages have helped them to get where they are today.”
- The re-opening of the Foreign Office Language School aims to “build the strongest skills in negotiation, analysis, policymaking and economic and political diplomacy”.
- Learning languages is critical for Scottish tourism: Within the Scottish tourist sector, a dearth of language skills is leading to insularity, with some attractions lacking translations of guide books or even brief explanations in different languages.
Career ammunition for languages graduates!
Career ammunition for language graduates: An armoury of stats, facts, figures and quotations to help you with your job hunt and interviews.
Learning languages gives you greater opportunities to travel, study and work abroad
Students of a wide range of disciplines now spend some of their degree time in a placement abroad; some knowledge of a foreign language is a clear advantage, as it is for increasing opportunities to travel or work with organisations around the world.
- The British Academy, with the support of the European Commission Representation in the UK,has produced a booklet, Talk the Talk – a guide to maximising your prospects using languages, which brings the excitement of languages to life and demonstrates how perseverance with languages study can open doors to an array of careers and life experiences. It is intended as a guide for current undergraduate students and school pupils to illustrate the value of language learning. The booklet contains personal endorsements of learning languages from leading figures in the arts, sport, media, business, politics and other fields. It includes contributions from Arsène Wenger, Ellen MacArthur, Baroness Jean Coussins and Nick Holzherr. Other contributors include the Head of the UK Representation of the European Commission, Chair of UBS, BBC TV and radio presenters, MPs and MEPs and the Director of the VSO’s Africa, Latin America and Caribbean Group.
- Student mobility into and out of the UK: The British Council’s Michael Peak runs us through the trends in recent years.
- Expanding opportunities to travel: “More than 10% of modern language graduates in the UK were in overseas employment six months after leaving university. Employers at home also look favourably on applicants who have a second language, especially when recruiting for jobs in journalism, development, international business and publishing.”
The European Commission has teamed up with ThirdYearAbroad.com to interview UK language graduates and discover how their language skills have benefitted their careers. See the videos at Language Launchpad: graduate career interviews
Work talk* -A guide to languages and careers from Languages Work
How languages can work for you, and a wealth of information on finding your vocation using languages: Work Talk
CILT Cymru- languages careers pages
The CILT Cymru Careers pages (now archived), are full of information and advice for those interested in a career using languages.
Published articles and features
Languages teach you communication skills and adaptability
- Speaking your mind – links between languages and other skills: the many ways in which languages boost brain power.
- Language is in our biology: study results show a clear statistical correlation between a high level of language competence and a good working memory in the students tested.
- Speaking languages has a ‘positive effect’ on children: New research shows that the more languages children speak, the better they can speak them.
- Building a solid foundation: The contribution of language learning to improving literacy.
Languages teach cultural awareness
- Learning a language is not just important for education and skills, but also for the economy, security and community relations
- If you talk to the locals in their language, you understand their needs: languages can make a career in development not only more effective, but also more rewarding – a great example of how languages have enhanced one man’s international career.
- Language and community cohesion: uniting cultural groups: Can language learning unite a community?
- Languages are Great Britain: How Great Britain benefits from its diverse culture and language.