From education to employment

All of Europe Celebrates and Promotes the Benefits of Linguistic Diversity

The European Day of Languages celebrations on September 26 were marked with the presence of long term patron Sir Trevor Mc Donald who presented the European Award for languages.

The Award, also known as the European Label, is a Europe-wide initiative, which has recognised more than 600 innovative projects across Europe since 1999. The initiative is supported by the European Commission and organised in the UK by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, who were delighted to help in this international festival for languages.

The aim of the Award is to draw attention to innovation and effective practice in language learning that has potential for replication. The celebrations were expected to encourage people to start learning a new language, take part in events celebrating learning and speaking other languages and consider the benefits that language learning brings, both socially and in terms of economic benefits.

Ceremonies and Conferences

Activities like businesses organising games and taster sessions for staff, 30 inter-school teams participating in a multilingual debate and local schoolchildren being invited to interview international footballers at Watford FC were planned in schools, colleges and offices across the UK to mark the day. Most of these were linked to this year’s theme of the A to Z of languages and careers.

CILT and its networks have been involved in promoting associated events such as: the European Award for Languages prize-giving ceremony, with photo shoots of the “talking” A to Z of languages, at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), London; the Opening Doors conference ““ highlighting opportunities for young linguists, at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff; Opportunity Europe ““ a week long programme of events promoting languages for work and for leisure, in Belfast; the EDL Conference ““ featuring a Spanish through dance project, in Irvine, Scotland; and a vision for our multilingual capital 2012: Welcome the World, Olympics language on-line pledge.

For further promotion of the Languages Day, CILT joined forces with Asset Languages, which is the assessment scheme to take forward one of the key commitments in the Governments National Languages Strategy for England. It is a useful way to motivate and recognise achievement for learners of all ages at all stages, using a national scale. The assessment fits with existing teaching practice and could complement many EDL activities.

Aakriti Kaushik, International Education Correspondent

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