School leaders

 

Languages Connect is an integral part of the Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. The Plan sets out a roadmap to put Ireland in the top ten countries in Europe for the teaching and learning of foreign languages, through a number of measures targeted at improving proficiency, diversity and immersion.

In the context of Brexit and the increasing importance globally of non-English speaking countries, Minister Bruton is taking action to ensure Ireland is well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, Ireland will be one of only two English speaking countries in the Union. This Strategy is crucial to ensuring Ireland is prepared for a changed European dynamic.

These challenges also provide opportunities. The teaching of the Irish language from an early age, means our children are exposed to bilingualism from a young age. Our position as a small, open economy at the centre of the world also puts us in a unique position. This Strategy will allow us to maximise our assets by ensuring our education and training service is well equipped to respond to a changing global environment.

 

What Can We Do To Support You?

Access Funding

• PPLI fund heritage languages classes
“Polish lessons have been a great impact on my
school life. Thanks to these I got to use my native
language without fear of someone not understanding
me.” (Klaudia 2nd year)
• School exchanges (15K over 3 years for 20 schools)
• Teacher upskilling (70K available 2019)
• Ex-quota teachers to 60 schools
coming soon:
• Post-grad courses for teachers
• Additional allocation for diversification of languages

 

CPD / Upskilling for teachers

What is the MFL Teacher Upskilling Scheme?

The MFL Teacher Upskilling Scheme was developed under ‘Languages Connect’ strategy to draw out the existing, unused ‘dormant’ language capacity in our schools. The scheme was aimed at languages teachers qualified in a language they are not teaching or are not teaching to full capacity. The idea was that with upskilling these teachers could get equipped to teach a language again after a period of not teaching it, or that they would be able to expand their teaching of the new language, perhaps moving from junior cycle teaching to senior cycle teaching. With upskilling, schools are able to expand their capacity in languages provision or add new languages that are available on the curriculum. MFL teachers in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian languages are currently availing of the upskilling scheme.

The new round of MFL upskilling funding is now open until the 31st May 2019. For further information, click here

 

Funding for School Exchanges Scheme

As part of raising awareness of the value of learning foreign languages and of the value of spending time abroad, schools have been offered the opportunity to apply for funding as part of a new Funding for School Exchanges Scheme. Ten schools have been awarded €15,000 each to contribute towards exchange costs such as flights, to offer scholarships to students who would not otherwise be able to participate, or for other needs that the school identifies as contributing towards language learning on the exchange. Skills developed through taking part in language exchanges which include adaptability, problem-solving, networking and communication skills as well as actual language skills, are necessary in order for students to develop and thrive in the future as well as to find employment.

 

For more information:

Languages Connect: How-to Manual and Toolkit for School Exchanges – click here

PPLI Funding for School Exchanges Scheme – click here

PPLI Guidelines for PP MFL Teacher Upskilling Scheme – click here.

#THINKLANGUAGES TY Languages Fair – click here

Avail of CPD & Resources

• Supplementary training materials are available on the
PPLI website free of charge for all MFL teachers to
diversify, enhance, and expand MFL teaching
• Resources to support teaching and learning in the
classroom
• Resources for guidance counsellors are available as
lesson plans
• Work placement portal and resources

Broaden Your Curriculum

• PPLI can assist you with the introduction of new
languages via short courses, TY modules, and
introductory first year courses. The broader your
curriculum the more options you are providing for
your students.
• Provide a short course for students not currently
taking a foreign language. Curriculum support is
available from the PPLI which have developed a
generic short course for use in providing any MFL,
and specific short courses in ISL, Japanese,
Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. All are fully aligned
with NCCA templates and guidelines.
“Students with languages can go into a whole range
of diverse areas from writing to business to technical
to diplomacy, international law and politics, it’s
limitless.” (Orlaith Tunney, Careers Services, Trinity College)

Benefits of Offering a Foreign Language in Your School

Get National Recognition

• PPLI can help you to promote the work of your MFL
colleagues in school
E.g.
– German department in Newpark Comprehensive
hosting a language assistant
– Teachers in Lucan Community College in
organising a school exchange
– Presentation College Wexford using digital tools to
support teaching and learning
• Apply for a European Language Label from the
European Union to show that you are a centre of
excellence in MFL learning and teaching.

Promote Your School

• Give parents the message that language learning is
important to you – recent research by Red C shows that
78% of parents think learning a language is important as
a life skill, and 81% think it’s important for finding work
• Demonstrate the range of opportunities open to
students in the context of modern languages.
• Support the languages of the new Irish thus recognising
the value that linguistic and cultural diversity delivers to
individuals, society and the economy
• Show that you are a school where languages are celebrated

Shape Student Futures

• Shape the paths that your students take in the future.
• More Languages More Options
“No matter what else is on the CV, we really are
looking for languages”
(Laura Glendon, Software Industry)
“A foreign language is something to make you stand
out from the rest” (Niamh Cacciato, Lawyer)
“Had I not had a foreign language, I wouldn’t have
had the massive opportunities I have had in life”
(Ciaran MacSamhrain, Engineer)

Develop Skills

• Learning languages supports development of
communication skills, resourcefulness and creativity,
problem solving and teamwork
• Language awareness developed in MFL learning
improves skills in the first language
• Languages are an asset because they complement
all sectors including STEM and business
“Students with languages can go into a whole range of
diverse areas from writing to business to technical to
diplomacy, international law and politics, it’s limitless”
(Orlaith Tunney, Careers Services, Trinity College)
• Use languages teaching and learning to support the
Digital Learning Framework. Tutorials to support the
domains in the languages classroom are available on
the PPLI website.

Promote Wellbeing

• Learning languages supports development of
communication skills, resourcefulness and creativity,
problem solving and teamwork
• Language awareness developed in MFL learning
improves skills in the first language
• Languages are an asset because they complement
all sectors including STEM and business
• Use languages teaching and learning to support the
Digital Learning Framework. Tutorials to support the
domains in the languages classroom are available on
the PPLI website.

Look to Europe

• Ireland has signed up to Barcelona objective of mother
tongue plus two for every citizen
• Ireland as the only partly English-speaking nation in
Europe will attract further funding opportunities such
as opportunities for teacher exchange through
Erasmus+
• Foreign language competence is even more important
in context of Brexit
“Export diversification is our best defence in the face of
Brexit challenges” (Minister Breen)

The Strategy

Under the Foreign Languages Strategy we will

  • Increase the number of post-primary schools offering two or more foreign languages by 25%
  • Increase the number of students sitting two languages at Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate by 25%
  • Increase the number of students in higher education studying a foreign language, in any capacity, as part of their course, by 20%
  • Increase the number of participants in Erasmus+ by 50%
  • Double the number of teachers participating in teacher mobility programmes
  • Double the number of foreign language assistants in schools
  • Improve learners’ attitude to foreign language learning
  • Improve the quality of foreign language teaching at all levels

There are 100 actions in the Strategy, including

  • Introduce Mandarin Chinese as a Leaving Certificate subject
  • Introduce curricular specifications for heritage speakers for Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese
  • Develop a range of short courses in languages for Junior Cycle
  • Explore the potential for introducing bonus points at Leaving Certificate for studying foreign languages in cases where students apply for higher education courses in language-related areas
  • Enhance employer engagement in the development of new trade languages
  • Increase the opportunities for short-term teacher exchanges for post-primary teachers
  • Carry out periodic surveys of students’ attitudes and experiences of foreign language learning
  • Incentivise schools to diversify their language offer, including by means of concessionary hours, where appropriate
  • Progress pilot programme for co-operation with foreign-owned companies, or indigenous companies with a foreign presence, to enable students in Further Education and Training and Higher Education to do work placements in the parent country
  • Implement the newly developed Junior Cycle short course in Lithuanian
  • Appoint “language champions” from business and other sectors to demonstrate the opportunities available for graduates with foreign language competences
  • Develop new models of delivering language teaching, such as shared classes and blended learning. This will allow students who are part of small immigrant communities, within specific schools, to develop their heritage language skills

Implementation of this ambitious strategy will require significant changes to how foreign languages have been taught in the past and will require extra resources. The Minister is confident that the correct policies will be put in place under this strategy to increase the number of foreign language teachers.

The strategy contains a number of actions to ensure we have a steady supply of teachers to deliver on the ambition of the strategy, such as:

  • A baseline data collection exercise to understand current supply of foreign language teachers
  • Research to identify future language needs, with the aim of ensuring provision and uptake in line with those needs
  • Identify teachers who are qualified to teach a foreign language but who may not have had the opportunity to teach that language in their schools. Provide opportunities and incentives for these teachers to upskill by means of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or post-graduate courses
  • Consider the possibility of a post-graduate programme for teachers, with a language, who may be able to learn another language
  • Explore the potential for alternative, flexible models such as blended learning (a combination of face-to-face teaching with computer technology), clustering learners, and evening / weekend classes
  • Incentivise schools to diversify their language offer, including by means of concessionary hours, where appropriate

Working with
languages gaelic

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Did you
know?

Only 6.5%
of the world’s population are native English speakers