The Creative Multilingualism team have created a toolkit for Modern Languages researchers with advice and ideas on how to run public engagement events. This toolkit will offer solutions to challenges you may come across, and will hopefully inspire you to find new, creative ways to share your Modern Languages research.
Creative Multilingualism Goes Digital takes stock at the end of the momentous year 2020. It offers insights into the transformation processes and reflections on why the Creative Multilingualism team was well-positioned to undertake them.
The Slanguages in the Creative Economy research project – undertaken by Beatfreeks and Slanguages – spoke to 10 artists from the West Midlands who use other languages as part of their work. The ensuing report sees the beauty and power in using different languages, slang and dialect across a range of artistic disciplines. It shows how, in spite of preconceptions, xenophobia and tokenism, multilingualism – and the multiculturalism that it engenders – can be a force for good to change our creative industries and their related economy. In the report you will read about languages from around the world, creative forms which span across genres and styles, and from people with a variety of backgrounds. What unifies them here is the impact that using languages has on their creativity.
The Creativity with Languages in Schools report documents the impacts of Creative Multilingualism’s work in and with schools from 2016 to 2020. Most of the programme’s work took place in England and Wales, but the report also shows the international influence it has had. Evidence for five main impacts – Professional Development, Creativity, Perceptions, Networks and Connections, and Motivation – is presented from across the seven CML research strands and from the Multilingual Performance Project which ran from January 2018 to June 2020.
The (Re)creating Modern Languages: Conversations about the Curriculum in UK Higher Education Toolkit is designed to support colleagues who are planning to review the teaching in their institution. It offers frameworks for thinking through and planning comprehensive curriculum change, drawing on the experience of colleagues who have recently undertaken these changes or are working through them at the time of writing. It also showcases examples of excellent and innovative practice at module level, providing ideas for (re)thinking how language departments can work with external partners to enhance student experience.
Modern Foreign Languages has long been subject to falling numbers at both GCSE and A level, with low motivation widely being perceived as a key factor. Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Reading have conducted a survey with over 600 teachers from some 470 schools across England to find out what they believe the curriculum and exam content should focus on.
The OWRI Student Language Ambassador Programme was designed to increase the number of students progressing in the study of a language from GCSE to A level in four regions across the UK. The evaluation report found that the programme led to a noticeable uptake in the number of pupils continuing a language at A level.
Consolidating the evidence base for MFL curriculum, pedagogy and assessment reform at GCSE: an investigation of teachers’ views
Robert Woore, Suzanne Graham et al.
Low motivation for studying Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and falling uptake of the subject at both GCSE and A Level are long-standing challenges in English secondary schools. Much work has been done, and is underway, to address these issues at a policy level, including: Ofqual’s decision in November 2019 to adjust grading standards in French and German; the government’s announcement of an ambition for 75% of pupils to take EBacc examinations (which includes an MFL) by 2024, rising to 90% by 2027; the introduction of MFL as a compulsory part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum from 2014; and current reviews of GCSE syllabuses and examinations by Ofqual and the DfE. Against this backdrop, to feed into the review process, we sought evidence from those most directly affected by the MFL curriculum and examinations: the teachers themselves.
The study was carried out in March 2020. Owing to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it had to be confined to a questionnaire. Over 614 teachers from 473 schools took part in the study. It invited teachers to share their views on (a) the MFL curriculum and (b) the GCSE examination in MFL, and what these would contain ‘in an ideal world’.
A dominant theme in the teachers’ responses was the importance they attached to developing students’ knowledge of other cultures and a positive, tolerant attitude towards these – what might be termed ‘Intercultural Understanding’ (ICU). This emerged both as a key aspiration in terms of respondents’ motivation for teaching MFL, and as something which they feel should be assessed at GCSE. Also important to the respondents were: language skills and the ability to use these in simple conversations and for practical, real world purposes; and the development of knowledge, particularly a broad vocabulary.