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Language Learning in Scotland : A 1+2 Approach

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PART 6: TEACHERS - EDUCATION, DEVELOPMENT AND RECRUITMENT

1+2 and Teaching Scotland's Future

1. The report Teaching Scotland's Future (Donaldson Review) acknowledged that teachers increasingly require specialist knowledge in a number of areas, including modern languages, in order to teach in the primary school. It recommended that teachers should have access to high quality CPD for their subject and other specialist areas. The report's recommendations are being considered by a National Partnership Group (NPG) and the Working Group has asked that the NPG recognise the importance of the Government's 1+2 policy to the future of language learning in schools. In particular, delivery of the 1+2 policy will require teacher education providers to review current provision, while schools and local authorities will need to review and build on the strengths of their current CPD programmes.

Primary Teacher Education: Language Qualifications

2. The Working Group believes that the experience of teachers through Initial Teacher Education is of paramount importance for the delivery of a 1+2 strategy. Languages and an understanding of language can no longer be the preserve of modern languages teachers in the secondary school and a minority of teachers in the primary school. Although the Working Group has not set a benchmark in respect of qualifications in another language for all students embarking on a course of higher education, the Group believes that there should be such a benchmark for every primary school student teacher embarking on a course of teacher education which should be set at Higher level or equivalent (SCQF level 6) for aspiring primary teachers, either on entering Initial Teacher Education or on leaving with their teacher qualification.

Recommendation 20: The Working Group recommends that students undertaking a course of primary school teacher education have attained a languages qualification at Higher level or equivalent (SCQF level 6) either on entering the course of initial teacher education or on its completion.

Initial Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development

1 + 2 and the primary teacher

3. As language informs all areas of the curriculum in primary schools, all primary teachers must have a deep understanding of language, including additional languages. The Working Group recommends that students seeking to become teachers in primary schools should undertake some study of the pedagogy associated with additional languages as part of Initial Teacher Education. They should seek to maintain their skills in relation to language work throughout their teaching career. In particular, all primary teachers should develop skills through ITE and CPD in interdisciplinary work using additional languages.

Recommendation 21: The Working Group recommends that students seeking to become teachers in primary schools should undertake some study of the pedagogy associated with additional languages as part of Initial Teacher Education.

1 + 2 and the secondary teacher

4. For secondary teachers already qualified in one additional language, there should be encouragement and support in developing skills in a second (or third) language. CPD opportunities should be made available by the school and local authority for any teacher considering this option. The means whereby teachers can gain accreditation in a second (or third) additional language is considered in paragraph 10 below. In addition, effective delivery of a 1+2 policy will require enhanced cooperation between primary and secondary schools and better understanding of teaching approaches to languages in both sectors. Joint opportunities should be developed to enable primary and secondary languages staff to work together and to undertake shared CPD opportunities.

Recommendation 22: The Working Group recommends that local authorities should provide regular opportunities for primary and secondary languages staff to work together and to undertake shared CPD opportunities.

Universities and support for 1 + 2

5. To achieve successful delivery of a 1+2 policy, there must be close links between schools and universities (especially universities which provide teacher education) on the whole development of the policy. The needs of schools will evolve in the context of 1+2 roll-out and this should be reflected in a continuing evolution in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and CPD delivery. Teaching Scotland's Future recommended that "new and strengthened models of partnership among universities, local authorities, schools and individual teachers need to be developed. These partnerships should be based on jointly agreed principles and involve share responsibility for key areas of teacher education".

6. The delivery of ITE in relation to 1+2 will have profound implications for the way in which universities and local authorities work. To aid the provision of 1+2, changes in this relationship should be explored through the work of the National Partnership Group who are considering how meaningful partnerships can be developed between universities and local authorities that will lead to joint development and delivery of the early phase of teacher education. 1+2 is a national policy and will require close collaborative working among universities in the associated ITE. The roll-out of 1+2 will also impact on the role of university involvement in CPD to support language teaching.

7. Within this context, universities should look to develop a consortium of university providers that link with partnership arrangements being developed through the National Partnership Group. Such a consortium should work closely with Scotland's National Centre for Languages as a key provider of CPD for primary and secondary modern languages teachers. What is important is that the support of 1+2 policy delivery by universities is not provided merely by schools and faculties of education within universities, but by the university as a whole. In particular, languages departments within universities will have their own very important role to play in working with schools of education within the university and indeed with primary and secondary schools.

8. As part of development of 1+2 policy the Working Group is of the view that language departments in all universities could be asked to play a greater role in working with schools. Where the university has a faculty or school of education, the links between the languages departments and the faculty/school is of great importance in taking forward a 1+2 agenda and in reviewing and developing programmes of ITE and CPD in support of the policy. There is also a role, however, for universities which do not have a faculty or school of education in supporting schools and providing links between the university and language teaching in schools. There are very significant areas of work to be developed here and the Working Group recommends that the universities themselves take forward these areas in close co-ordination with Scottish Government, GTCS, local authorities, Scotland's National Centre for Languages and any implementation group set up to take forward the recommendations of the Working Group. The Working Group recognises that there will be resource implications for how universities can support the delivery of the 1+2 policy. Its recommendations should, therefore, be considered within the context of the annual funding discussions of the Scottish Funding Council and the university sector.

Recommendation 23: The Working Group recommends that universities work together as a consortium of university providers to support delivery of the 1+2 policy and that languages departments in universities play a greater role in working with schools, subject to appropriate funding.

Teacher recruitment and planning

9. The successful implementation of a 1+2 policy could mean a need to expand the supply of suitably qualified language teachers. A starting point should be the collation of data about the number of teachers currently qualified to teach languages in secondary schools along with the languages in which they are qualified. The Working Group is of the view that an audit of the number of primary teachers who have undergone training in teaching modern languages in the primary school and an assessment of how many are actually currently engaged in such teaching is essential. There is evidence that the number of teachers with MLPS training greatly exceeds the numbers who are actually engaged in such teaching. Implementation of a 1+2 policy may also mean an increase in the number of languages which primary and secondary teachers are able to teach. The Working Group considers that teachers who have already indicated an interest in and an aptitude for teaching languages, and have gained a qualification in so doing, should be encouraged and supported in developing further the range of languages in which they are qualified or trained to teach.

10. High quality teachers engaging with language, including additional languages, lie at the heart of implementation of any 1+2 policy. From the very early stages of implementation of such a policy therefore, the Working Group recommends that there be a recruitment strategy and campaign aimed at encouraging the ablest of young people with requisite qualifications and an interest in languages to embark on ITE in language teaching in secondary schools, and teaching which will involve language teaching in primary schools. The Working Group is well aware of the fact that as international links and global markets develop there will be increasing competition to recruit the ablest linguists from our schools and our universities. It is therefore imperative that the teaching profession and the teaching of languages in schools should be an attractive career option for our young graduates.

11. Local Authorities should plan to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of teachers in primary and secondary schools qualified and equipped to teach languages. There must also be the means put in place to ensure that teachers already qualified in languages are able to achieve qualifications in additional languages. The training and development of teachers may mean the development of skills and qualifications in languages which are not currently taught in schools, and in which teachers have not traditionally gained skills and qualifications. There needs, therefore, to be a detailed planning process for schools, local authorities, Scottish Government and Universities so that there is the necessary supply of teachers coming into schools throughout the 1+2 implementation process. It is a process which must also be closely monitored by any implementation group set up by the Government as part of the roll-out of the 1+2 policy. The planning process must also be part of the extant national teacher workforce planning process.

Recommendation 24: The Working Group, with a view to informing planning and resourcing, as well as CPD needs, recommends that an audit of the number of primary school teachers who are MLPS or GLPS trained be undertaken along with collection of information on how many of those trained are currently engaged in teaching languages.

Recommendation 25: The Working Group recommends that teachers with an interest and aptitude for languages teaching be supported in developing the range of languages in which they are qualified or trained to teach.

Recommendation 26: The Working Group recommends that there be a national recruitment strategy and campaign aimed at encouraging the ablest of young people with requisite qualifications and an interest in languages to embark on ITE in language teaching in secondary schools and teaching which will involve language teaching in primary schools.

Recommendation 27: The Working Group recommends that Scottish Government and Universities work with Local Authorities, drawing on the work of the Teacher Workforce Planning Group, to adopt a detailed planning process for identifying the need for future numbers of language teachers.

Improving professional standards

12. All teachers involved in teaching languages must have achieved the highest level of proficiency in their ability to speak an additional language as well as associated pedagogy. There is no greater disincentive to pupils in learning a language than exposure to less than competent, or less than confident, language skills in a teacher. There is a significant onus on all bodies associated with implementation of a 1+2 policy to ensure the highest levels of professionalism among teachers throughout the implementation of the policy. GTCS have a key role, in partnership with university faculties of education, in seeking to ensure ITE of the highest quality for current and future teachers. Education Scotland and Government, national and local, along with GTCS, Scotland's National Languages Centre, also have a role in seeking to ensure the highest quality of career-long CPD opportunities for language teachers. The GTCS also has a role in raising awareness of national professional recognition and registration processes and encouraging an increased number of teachers to seek accreditation through such processes. It means helping to bring about an increase in the number of languages which teachers are qualified to teach and thus which are available to pupils in schools. Ensuring that teachers, including teachers involved in teaching languages, achieve and maintain the highest level of proficiency throughout their career will also form part of the work of an independent GTCS in relation to the development of professional update.

Recommendation 28: The Working Group recommends that GTCS promote improved professional standards in language teaching and encourage teachers to gain qualifications and accreditation in languages, for example through raising awareness of professional recognition and registration processes available to teachers.

Continuing to engage with additional languages throughout a teacher's career

13. Teachers must maintain their skills, both linguistic and pedagogical, throughout their careers. As part of teacher CPD there must be an expectation that teachers continue to engage with the languages which they are teaching, both spoken and written, through study, use of media and IT as well as through professional and personal engagement with native speakers of modern languages. Much good practice currently exists within the profession but such good professional practice is far from universal. Without high levels of professional practice the 1+2 policy and its delivery will not succeed.

Recommendation 29: The Working Group recommends that teachers continue to engage with the languages they are teaching through CPD, study, use of media and IT as well as through personal and professional engagement with native speakers of the languages they teach.