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The new Routes into Languages website is currently in development and will be launching in the new year!


Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

West Midlands

Why study languages? Classroom calendar and website

West Midlands

2011 will be the third year that Routes into Languages produces its popular ‘Why Study Languages?’ calendar.
New for 2011 is the addition of interactive support materials that are designed to generate classroom discussion. These resources will draw on other areas of the curriculum including art and design, music, food technology, creative writing, history and culture and geography.

At just £6 including p&p, it’s fun and ideal for raising awareness of a wide range of languages.

Feedback from teachers:

“The calendar has been a super resource, sparking interest and debate at a number of levels - thank you again”

“The calendar you produce is fantastic and every Language Centre should have one - what a great way to see different languages, scripts and alphabets with excellent images to match”

“As Head of Modern Languages I would like to congratulate you on the 2010 Why study languages calendar. It has been a joy to turn from one month to the next and learn about different countries and language”

Accompanying student website
Also, our new student facing website contains lots of interactive quizzes, videos and practical advice for KS3, KS4 and Post-16:


Russian Essay Competition 2011!

West Midlands

Students learning Russian at Schools, Colleges and Universities in the UK, including heritage learners and adult learners, are invited to participate in the 5th National Russian Essay Competition 2011. The competition is organised by the Russian Committee of the Association for Language Learning and the Russian Teachers’ Group UK (RTG)

For more detailed information on this year’s topics, prizes, categories, judgment criteria and deadlines please see the website

This is a high-profile event which will give your students a chance to win great prizes including cash (1st prize - £100) and see their essays published in Rusistika journal and on-line! It is also a great opportunity for your students to be creative with the language, compete nationwide with their peers and raise the profile of Russian at your institution.
The competition organisers who can help with any queries are: 
Katya Solovyova (Feoktistova) (Oxford High School)
Nadia Griffin (Cator Park School)
Natalia Tronenko (Russian Committee, ALL)

 Please confirm your interest by 3 December 2010 to Katya Solovyova at

 The Competition has been organised with the support of:

Languages are for life, not just for holidays

West Midlands

In the week beginning 20 September 2010 the Association for Language Learning carried out a wide-ranging consultation exercise with its members, inviting their thoughts on the current state of language teaching in the UK, on government policy for languages and its implementation in schools and other educational institutions, and on the public perception of language learning.


A summative report of the main points emerging from this exercise is now available here. It offers an up-to-the-minute snapshot of language learning and teaching in the UK as seen by professionals involved ‘on the ground’ and presents their positive suggestions about the way forward for better languages education in our country.


"We as a body of professionals need to get together and say what we believe are the most effective pedagogical approaches to language learning, reflect on […] our own practice and then tell the exam boards what and how they should be assessing. We are the people we have been waiting for"

(Head of Languages at a secondary school in the North East)


Free language tool available to teachers and learners

West Midlands

Thinking about how to access the all so important high frequency words? How to approach authentic texts and how to investigate key words in texts? Will pupils pick up different meanings of verbs in various contexts? What vocabulary to teach?


Now language teachers and learners of languages in schools in England can have a free access to WordSmith, a tool that helps you to work on these questions. It is useful for teachers in finding appropriate texts, and creating worksheets. Students can use it for simple research on for example the language of poetry or rap, contextualising vocabulary or identifying word or grammatical patterns. It supports independent learners, and is an excellent tool for discovering the KAL strand.


Oxford WordSmith Tools is an integrated suite of programs for looking at how words behave in texts. For example - the Wordlist tool lets you see a list of all the words or word-clusters in a text, set out in alphabetical or frequency order. The concordancer, Concord, gives you a chance to see any word or phrase in context -- so that you can see what sort of company it keeps. With KeyWords you can find the key words in a text.


The tools are used by Oxford University Press for their own lexicographic work in preparing dictionaries, by language teachers and students, and by researchers investigating language patterns in many languages and countries world-wide.


The creator, Mike Scott, currently works as a Reader in corpus linguistics at Aston University. He holds a PhD in Linguistics and Modern English language, and has a long career in teaching.


To find out more about WordSmith, click here or email us to get your free licence!

Big Questions Online ~ Translated into German!

West Midlands

Izzy Mohammed from the archives has posted a Big Question Online ~ Is diversity a threat or an opportunity? We are looking for young people to respond to what he has written.


The first person to respond is a student studying in Berlin! The original piece that Izzy wrote has also been translated into German and can be accessed online.


We are looking for teachers to use this as a stimulus for discussion with young people. It can certainly be used to start discussions around intercultural understanding. Could you make teachers aware of it please?


Go to: to have your say!

West Midlands triumph at 2010 LAFTAs

West Midlands

We are pleased to announce that the West Midlands entry "Olympic Qualifiers" won the LAFTA Award for the London 2012 category. The video clip was produced by students from Bishop Challoner Catholic College in Birmingham and was praised for demonstrating that being able to speak other languages will be crucial in a global sporting event such as the Olympics.


You can view this and all the winning clips here

Make your voice heard with The Wall of Language

West Midlands

The Wall of Language is a website which has been created by linguists trying to find a way of raising the prominence of languages and language learning. On the Wall of Language, you can email your new MPs your questions about languages and language policy, and then post their reply.


Nick Friend and Nick Mair created the website with support from the Association for Language Learning (ALL), CILT, the National Centre for Languages, and two commercial sponsors (Televic and Linguascope). They hope that it will become a focal point for linguists and an opportunity to see what prospective MPs feel about the importance of languages.


To help build the wall, go to:


Free foreign languages newspapers available!

West Midlands

Are you looking for ways to encourage your pupils to read more foreign language materials? Are you trying to find authentic resources without spending a fortune?


The School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University currently subscribes to major foreign language newspapers such as El Pais, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Le Monde which are made available for undergraduate students in the Learning Resource Centre. New editions of the newspapers are received regularly and only the latest editions stay in the Resource Centre with old ones stripped away fairly regularly and placed in recycling.


Many of us use online resources and of course all of the newspapers have websites, but some of you may find having the papers useful and so we can recycle them in a different way! You may wish to have them available for older or G+T students to take away, or read as and when they like, or they might be useful to use in class. Even for your younger students – to use as a prop or show them what really appears on the news stands in foreign countries.


Naturally this has proved very popular so far, so we cannot offer a regular delivery of very recent newspapers but what we can do is offer slightly out of date papers once or twice a term, completely free of charge (and always will be). Once you receive the papers, they are yours to keep and use as you wish.


If you would be interested in receiving newspapers, please contact us at letting us know your name, school address and which languages you teach. These are useful resources which we would rather make use of than get rid of so please sign up if you can see ways you can use them!

Test your language knowledge and donate rice at the same time!!

West Midlands

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme partnered with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

FreeRice has two goals:

1. Provide education to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

The format of the website is a quiz in various different subjects (including languages - French, German, Italian and Spanish) and for each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme thanks to sponsors who advertise discreetly on the website.

You are able to choose which level you want to work at, and automatically increases or decreases based on whether or not your answer4s are correct. If you get an answer wrong, you are asked the same question later on which provides a learning opportunity. Therefore, it could be used as a starter activity with all ages and levels of ability, an extension activity or a quick test in a computer lesson. The possibilities are endless! The students have the opportunity to test and increase their vocabulary whilst counting up how many grains of rice have been donated.

Have a look and recommend to colleagues in other departments too!