The Linguist

The Linguist 56,5 – October/November 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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18 The Linguist Vol/56 No/5 2017 FEATURES Eneida Garcia Villanueva investigates how Scotland's 1+2 policy of teaching two foreign languages is working five years in I n 2011, the Scottish Government pledged to "introduce a norm for language learning in schools based on the European Union 1+2 model – that is we will create the conditions in which every child will learn two languages in addition to their own mother tongue. This will be rolled out over two Parliaments, and will create a new model for language acquisition in Scotland." This statement marked the beginning of a new language era in Scotland focused on language learning as a central element of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Until the introduction of the 1+2 policy, foreign languages were usually introduced in Scottish primary schools by a specialist teacher in P6 or P7 (ages 9-11). Building on the previous Modern Languages in Primary Schools (MLPS) system, the new policy was set up to address the endemic monolingualism of Scottish primary schools and facilitate the establishment of a national qualification. It grants Scottish pupils parity with their European peers by giving them the linguistic skills that will help them to strengthen bonds with neighbouring countries, which has become particularly important in light of Brexit. Since 2012, the Scottish Government has allocated £24.2 million to support the implementation of the policy by the end of 2020-21 in Scotland's 32 local authorities (LA). Shifting from the specialist teacher model, 1+2 seeks to embed languages in the curriculum, adopting a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach. Scottish pupils have their language of instruction (L1) complimented by a second language (L2) from P1 to P5 (ages 4-9), and a third language (L3) from P5 to P7 (ages 8-11). More than 75% of all primary schools currently have Primary Language Learning (PLL) in place from P1, while 90% offer PLL from P4. The most popular second languages at primary are French, Spanish and Gaelic; and at secondary, French, Spanish and German. Spanish, French and German are the preferred L3 in both primary and secondary, with Italian, Mandarin, Scots, Doric, Japanese, Norwegian, Latin, Shetlandic, Romanian, Swedish and BSL (British Sign Language) also covered. Work locally should ensure continuity of the L2 from P1 to S3 (ages 13-14), but there are no such expectations for the L3. A positive environment towards learning another language is nonetheless still created. Despite policy provisions for language learning thorough broad general education (BGE), the lack of strategic leaders shows that the policy is an exclusively primary curricular development, rather than a holistic strategy to ensure continuation towards secondary qualifications and Higher Education (HE). The 1+2 policy has fuelled an increase in the numbers of foreign-trained Modern Language Assistants, Language Ambassadors, Erasmus+ applications for intensive courses abroad and Language Development Officers (DOs). Each LA offers different training options and models of implementation, so the level of engagement varies dramatically across Scotland. As the policy demands innovative pedagogies, methodologies and resources, all created ad hoc, the different level of support from area to area translates into a lack of harmony in delivery. There have been isolated examples of leadership teams not considering the policy a priority. According to one teacher, "children who can't read and write well in English are never going to manage to learn another language. It's a very difficult attitude to go up against when it's coming from above." Achieving consistency and continuity is not only problematic between LAs and local clusters, but also in the transition from primary to secondary. Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is key to this, and including language training in ITE would provide newly qualified teachers with a solid understanding of the policy, who could help to train more senior colleagues. Although, the Scottish Government acknowledges the importance of HE to the successful implementation of the 1+2 An education revolution

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