Over the last year I have shared with you, in this column, my thoughts on various developments in the world of languages, including Lord Dearings review, the introduction of the Diplomas and progress made at the European high-level group. Ive also talked about research showing how important languages are and the numbers of young people opting to study them. Perhaps what I have not done often enough is to celebrate the large amount of fantastic work which is being done across the country to engage and motivate language learners and help them succeed.
Just before Christmas, as I mentioned here, we honoured the most outstanding Business Language Champions Partnerships - employers working with educational institutions to reinforce the message to young people that languages really can make a difference in their careers. Prior to that in November I had the pleasure of presenting the European Award for Languages 2007 at Cardiffs Millennium Stadium (I was a stand-in on that day for our patron Sir Trevor McDonald -- a career first!).
The event brought together those involved in fifteen outstanding language learning projects from across the UK and involving learners of all ages. We were treated to a performance of a traditional story in Tamil by young learners from Bromley, heard a clip from a Polish CD designed specifically for UK truck drivers and enjoyed a scene in French from members of Questors youth theatre.
The Award showcases innovative language learning projects, marks them out as amongst the best in Europe and raises their profile both locally and nationally. It would be wonderful if the 2008 winning projects included some shining examples from further education. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2008, which may sound a little tight but luckily the online form is straightforward and reasonably short (see www.cilt.org.uk/eal). As well as the prestige of the Award itself there are a range of prizes offered by sponsors, including resources from the BBC, Collins, Heinemann, and Oxford University Press which go to all the winners. There are also a number of special prizes and £5,000 available in prize money, so if youre quietly proud of the work that youre doing then why not shout about it?
Isabella Moore, Director, CILT"