Our Language Coordinator Jean-Michel DesJacques serves as Stirling’s representative on the University Council of Modern Languages (UCMLS) and recently attend a conference on the 1+2 Language Policy in Dundee on which he has sent us the following report.:
“First I would first to thank the Chair, Marion Spöring, for her excellent organisation of the event. It kicked off with 4 keynote speakers from various backgrounds which illustrated the success and challenges of language learning. We learned from Thomas Hulvershorn from Outplay Ltd. based in Dundee that you never know where learning a language can take you. In his case, designing computer games with the help of multilingual technicians whose expertise in the language and culture is key to success. If you ever played Angry Birds in a foreign language, it is partly thanks to them. This was followed by Do Coyle from Aberdeen University who gave a very good insight of “where are we right now?” regarding the impact of the 1+2 Language policy and its implications on education programmes and the HE sector in general. Then we had the point of view of the local authorities. Sometimes we do need to be reminded of the financial implications and the importance of dealing with day to day issues in schools.
In the discussion groups, it was fascinating to hear and share the views from all sectors of education and to see how we can support each other. There is still so much to be done especially on how to make languages more relevant. I know, the research is there for all to see, the impact of a good knowledge of foreign cultures on the economy is very well documented but simple things such as: convincing parents to let their children continue with languages especially in deprived areas; making sure primary teachers get the right training to give them confidence; gaining the support of your head of school to invest in languages; etc.
The attempt was really to look at how we can generate ideas for a cross-sector action plan in support of the 1+2 implimentation by 2020. The idea is to finalise discussion at local level, this is why the next hub-meeting from the central region will be held at Stirling on Thursday 22 September, 5-6.30pm. Do get in touch if you wish to attend.”