Good news for Languages - January 2019

This page exists to cheer up Language teachers who give so much to their work, institutions and students. Thanks for everything!

Seen on Twitter:

From Mme chatty

Whilst preparing a lesson, one of my language leaders in training declared yesterday "Preparing a lesson is so exciting. It's like when you buy a present for someone and you can't wait for them to open it" That's why I am still a teacher. Love it.
Student confidence

Nationally, spring is the time for language debates organised by ALL's friends and partners at the cultural institutes: students (mostly in their Sixth Form years) meet up to debate issues presented to them. To do well in a debate the teams need to be able, not only, to speak well, accurately and at a good pace in their chosen language, but also to listen to the arguments of the opposing team, counter them, work well as a team and inject personality and style into the whole thing - not a mean feat.

Steven Fawkes, from ALL North East Branch, was delighted to be a Judge for the German debates, Jugend debattiert, organised in the UK for the first time this year by the Goethe-Institut and he was hugely impressed by the students' work and their teachers' efforts to help them reach the standard they displayed.

Steven says

The main thing that came across was the pleasure they were having in using their German to talk about serious things; it was such an enjoyable spectacle for all of the Language teachers present!

The Spanish debates were held a little earlier in the year, organised by the Consejeria , while the final of the French Joutes Oratoires was held at the Institut Fran├žais in London on the Jour de la Francophonie, a very fitting day for the occasion!

Steven concludes

I would encourage teachers of lively Sixth Formers around the country to think about getting involved in debates in future years; the students reported to me how much the competitions boosted their confidence in speaking and contributed to their exam preparation, so it's all positive!

More on this from:

Also on Speaking - St Mary's University Twickenham recently hosted a Poetry Live event for Year 8 pupils in Surrey.

There were two rounds to the competition

  1. Pupils learned by heart a short poem in their chosen language (from an anthologmy) and performed it before crowds of proud families, teachers and peers
  2. Pupils received an unseen poem (in the same language) and had a short rehearsal time with mentors (trainee teachers, FLAs, Sixth Formers) to get their performance sharp; they performed to judges only.
Some pupils (especially boys) relished the Performing aspect and wet way over the top for body language and intonation. But they certainly remembered their words and now have a lifelong party piece!

Poetry Live was based loosely on Strictly Speaking, a competition devised by ALL and Routes into Languages. The Teacher's Pack is available here; it can be adapted according to local need for a School event, a local, regional or national event.

Seaham Christmas Fair

The first Seaham School Christmas Fair took place on 2nd. December 2017 with great support from the local community and in the presence of the Mayor, and of Rene Koglbauer (and family) from ALLNE and nflne. As well as being a great day it was a celebration of language learning, with a particular emphasis on activity in German, in the spirit of the Christmas Fairs. Congratulations to Language teachers at Seaham! Due to maternity leave there is no plan for this year, but watch this space!

NWGN Plätzchen Backen Competition 2017
Plätzchen Backen Christmas baking

The North West German Network held its first ever "Plätzchen Backen competition"

The NWGN Plätzchen Backen competition is a great way of getting your pupils in the Christmas spirit and introducing them to some German traditions at the same time. The German-speaking countries take Christmas baking very seriously and have a wide variety of Christmas cookies, special breads and cakes, for example the famous Stollen and Lebkuchen.
The NWGN Plätzchen Backen competition encouraged German classes across the North West to have a go at baking Plätzchen from German recipes and organise their own "Great German Bake Off".

Working in another language can be awkward and challenging, but it has a surprising number of positive side effects.

This article describes research showing that people who can speak a foreign language are likely to be more analytical. Other studies have suggested that people who are bilingual make decisions in different ways from those with one language.
It suggests that as well as giving you an extra string to your bow in terms of where you can work and who you can work with, a foreign language also makes you a different kind of worker. But the real question is - does it make you a better worker?

The Independent has reported:

German is top language for employment / earnings
1. German - £34,534. Germany is one of Britain's biggest trade partners and has strong financial services and business ties with the UK. Speaking German will not only get you, in general, the highest-paid job, it is also the language that is in highest demand across job postings.

Teacher motivation!


With a nice line about Auditory Memory

This webpage will be updated occasionally. If you are on the Network / ALLNE distribution list you will see details of updates in the emails. If you have a good story, link or other item to share please send it to

NFL logoThe School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences has over the years played an important role in continuous professional development for language teachers in the region. It has been in the forefront of the Links into Languages programme in the region and is now home to Network for Languages North East.
Network for Languages North East represents the North East on the DfE/NCTL Modern Languages Reference Group.

Network for Languages North East hosts regularly CPD events for language teachers in cooperation with the North East branch of the Association for Language Learning and Routes into Languagast.

PLFA logoNewcastle University and Network for Languages North East have been certified as one of the "ALL Primary Languages Hubs" in the region. As an ALL Primary Languages Hub, it is our aim to support a wide network of primary school leaders and teachers developing a language curriculum and language learning in their region.

North Leadership Centre, School of Education, Communication and Languages Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, NE1 7RU