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You are here  : HOME > Pedagogy

These pages contain links to word files, pdfs and websites containing articles about important aspects of learning and teaching languages. They are pages that we will develop over time as we continue to debate and discuss.

The Importance of Pedagogy
Teaching and Learning – Pedagogy – have always been at the heart of language education. In recent years they have taken on perhaps greater importance as the stakes have become higher. Some of the reasons for this – and possible implications for policy are set out in this article from 2002 - Improving the Quality of language learning in schools. The thinking behind this also influenced the Languages Review. Although with hindsight we might now want to change some things – for example about the need for learners to understand the learning process, and also the kinds of CPD that are likely to be most effective, the document still stands as a contribution to our current debates.
The Council of Europe and Communicative Language Teaching
The Common European Framework of ReferenceA starting point for discussion is likely to be the work of the Council of Europe, and specifically The Common European Framework of Reference, which is much more than a set of level descriptors. It is a comprehensive description of the processes of teaching, learning and assessing languages. As well as the text itself a summary and background information can be found on the Council of Europe website.

Although the Framework claims to be neutral as far as any particular methodology is concerned and does indeed provide the means to analyse a wide range of approaches to language learning, it is clearly based in the context of the Council of Europe's earlier work on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).
UK Developments


There has been a long tradition of support for pedagogy in the UK. The Association for Language Learning (ALL)  is the UK's major subject association for teachers of foreign languages. In addition to its conference and discussion programmes, ALL produces a number of key journals including the Language Learning Journal. ALL is at present developing a CLIL project called FLAME – Future for Languages as a Medium of Education, aiming to support the integration of language learning with other curriculum subjects.
The Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS), based at the University of Southampton, is a research and enterprise group specialising in educational projects and professional development in the area of languages and related studies. LLAS has been providing professional development, resources and information to the higher education sector since 2000 and also engages in research and projects at the level of government policy and activities which promote greater public engagement with languages and related studies.
Routes into Languages is a consortium of universities working together with schools and colleges, to enthuse and encourage people to study languages. It has established a regional network of consortia to commission research and promote partnerships between schools and HE institutions. Routes into Languages is funded by The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

CILT Cymru, NICILT and SCILT are the national language centres for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, providing resources as well as cross-sector support. All centres also offer events and conferences supporting language learners and teachers.
Links into Languages was a regional support network supporting classroom teaching and learning between 2008 and 11, when its funding came to an end. There is, however, a legacy site which provides access to some materials. Following the end of the Links into Languages programme, Network for Languages was set up as an independent alliance of universities, working regionally with schools and colleges. The network aims to build on the achievements of Links into Languages in championing language teaching and teachers, delivering resources and creating networking opportunities for language professionals.

OFSTED also produce reviews of languages in England. The latest one 'Modern Languages: Achievement and challenges 2007 – 2010; and the previous report 'The Changing Landscape of Languages' as well as 'Subject Professional Development Materials on Target Language Use' set out some of the key issues in relation to teaching languages in schools. All reports and materials can be accessed on the Ofsted modern languages pages.

The Department for Education (DfE) also hosts a page on language teaching and the implications of the new curriculum.


Two Key Issues
Two current issues of great importance are CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning – which is provoking great interest in all phases, and the ongoing discussion about the best use of the Target Language. A National Statement and Guidelines on CLIL were published in October 2009 and Ofsted is raising the issue of target language use in the classroom. We will be discussing these issues and update these pages with more information and current thinking as soon as it becomes available but in the meantime, if you have a particular interest and would like to be involved in any ongoing debate please contact us

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