Wales has been given a slightly negative press recently in the media with stories such as ‘Teachers in Wales ‘worried’ about future of foreign languages’ and ‘Wales teacher recruitment in crisis.’ However, the picture isn’t as bleak as it seems, so teachers in Wales, don’t despair, we have highlighted all the positive actions that are happening through language projects run by wonderful languages teachers and organisations.
Jane Harvey, ALL Council Member and newly appointed President Elect has reacted to the current news and says:
“It’s a very positive time for MFL teachers in Wales, with the Welsh Government’s “Global Futures” strategy promoting language learning and encouraging teachers to work together across sectors and schools. The number of pupils learning a language in addition to Welsh has fallen in recent years and the strategy aims to reverse this trend. The recent Gruffalo in German project with schools in Monmouth and Caerleon in South East Wales and the fact that the two Comprehensive school teachers involved won the “German Teacher of the Year Award” is an excellent example of the strategy at work”.
Karl Pfeiffer, Director of Educational Links at the Goethe Institut, London and Observer on ALL’s Management Board explains:
“The Goethe-Institut is very pleased about many new initiatives for German in schools in Wales. An agreement with the University of Cardiff regarding the establishment of a presence of the Goethe-Institut London was signed by both parties. The official opening of the presence is planned for 21 September to be attended by the Minister for Education in Wales. The first blended CPD course Deutsch Lehren Lernen (DLL) is to start at the University of Cardiff Goethe-Institut London presence on 9 September to run until 25 November.
Digital German Networks are now well established in two areas in Wales, Caerleon and Monmouth, and a third to start this year in Blackwood. Two teachers from Wales have won the German Teacher Award and attended the ceremony at the German Teacher Award on 12 June. They met and were photographed with key Note Speaker John Le Carré. Smart Choice: German events and Goethe-Institut stands took place in Cwmtawe, Pentrehafod School, Caerphilly, Swansea University, Bangor University, Aberystwith University.
Last but not least there was the highly successful Digital German Network day in Monmouth with Julia Donaldson, author of the “Gruffalo”, on 25 May at Osbaston Primary School.”
Here is a positive summary of new initiatives currently taking place across the country:
- Government’s triple literacy plan through Global Futures to become a bilingual plus 1 nation – giving every pupil a chance to learn English, Wales and another language form year 5 onwards. Read more about it here.
- Plans to raise the profile of Welsh in schools through the government’s Welsh language strategy – vision to reach a million speakers by 2050
- Modern Languages Student Mentoring Project – places undergraduates from Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities into local schools to mentor pupils and encourage them to choose modern languages for GCSE. Please read more about the positive outcomes of the project here.
- Goethe-Institut will have a presence at the University of Cardiff from 21 September. There will be a CPD course Deutsch Lehren Lernen (DLL) running from September to November
- Goethe Institut had a presence at a range of recent events in Wales
- Digital German Networks have been established in Caerleon and Monmouth
- Two German teachers from Wales won the German Teacher Award
- The Gruffalo in German event showcased the work of The Global Futures Initiative between primary and secondary schools.
Ms. Laura Simons, second in Languages Faculty and Teacher in charge of Welsh at Dylan Thomas Community School, Swansea, South Wales Network Lead for ALL and newly appointed Council member says:
“We have fantastic support from our regional consortia and Routes into Languages Cymru who have organised events such as MFL conferences and pupil ambassador training, to enable our pupils to inform their classmates about the importance of languages. The consortia and Routes into Languages Cymru are supporting schools with promoting MFL as a GCSE option, using Student Language Ambassadors and Business Language Champions to visit schools and work with pupils.
From September, the WJEC Global Business Communication vocational qualification (in French, German or Spanish) is also able to be offered to pupils in Wales which will enable them to have a greater understanding of the importance of languages in the world of business, and is a vocational alternative to the GCSE.
It is hoped that there will be an increase in collaboration between Welsh and MFL departments to share pedagogy and methodology in order to promote Triple Literacy and the Bilingual+1 initiative. The consortia and ALL are providing excellent CPD, particularly to help with the new GCSE specification. Resources and good practice are being shared via HWB (digital sharing platform) and social media networks; so from the smallest to the biggest of departments, no one is alone and there is a lot of support for teachers in Wales.”
Rubén Chapela-Orri, Routes into Languages Cymru North Wales Coordinator adds:
“Feedback for our events and activities have been extremely positive amongst both teachers and pupils, usually increasing number of pupils wanting to do a GCSE in MFL from 5-10% to an average of 35-40%.”
Other stories and articles of interest:
If you have any stories of language learning in Wales which you would like to share, please get in touch by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.