[lg policy] 150 hours to learn Mandarin – and teach it

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 11:22:33 EDT 2018

 150 hours to learn Mandarin – and teach it

Primary teachers will learn new languages from scratch and teach them to
pupils under a scheme launched today

By Henry Hepburn
07 June 2018
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[image: Learn a language – and teach it at the same time]

Hundreds of primary school teachers will have the chance to learn and teach new
languages <https://www.tes.com/news/hub/languages> within seven months,
under a scheme being expanded after a successful trial.

The distance-learning programme – the first of its kind in the UK – sees
primary teachers study either French, Spanish, German or Mandarin
and develop the skills to teach the language in the primary classroom
at the same time.

After a pilot involving 54 teachers from 49 Scottish schools across nine
local authorities in 2017-18, next year the scheme will be available
throughout Scotland. Welsh and Northern Irish schools are also expected to
sign up.

Teachers taking part will spend about five hours a week from October to
June – around 150 hours in total – but they will start teaching the
languages to pupils before completing the course.

The scheme, run by The Open University and Scotland’s National Centre for
Languages (Scilt), will be launched in Edinburgh today.

It is designed to support the Scottish government’s “1+2” language policy,
which aims to help pupils learn two languages other than their native
tongue from primary school onwards, but has prompted concerns about the
ability of smaller, rural schools to deliver it.
Immersive training

The programme will link up with cultural organisations of France, Spain,
Germany and China to run immersive summer training for teachers, while
primary schools will make connections with schools in other countries.

Dr Sylvia Warnecke, lecturer in languages and programme lead at The Open
University, said: “The key thing about this programme is its flexibility,
meaning that teachers in every part of Scotland – whether urban or rural –
will be able to learn together and share their experiences and ideas,
helping each other to bring the language they’re learning to life in the

“We’ve already had teachers from the pilot project tell us that their
pupils love it and are really engaged.”

Scilt director Fhiona Mackay said: “The course is focused on developing
teachers’ confidence so they are able to create exciting and motivating
lessons for their pupils.”

She added: “The teachers’ commitment to developing their skills is
humbling. Their willingness to embrace their own learning in order to
benefit their pupils’ experience highlights the professionalism and
dedication that is the mark of the teaching profession.”

Gwen McCrossan, a principal teacher for 1+2 Languages in the large and
mainly rural area of Argyll and Bute, said: “This course is ideal for the
geographical situation of Argyll and Bute.

"We are delighted to be able to take part, as it provides a quality
learning experience for teachers who would otherwise find it difficult to
access language training. The course is also unique because it is
tailor-made for primary school.”


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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