Modern Languages staff participate in successful LangOER webinar

Kate Borthwick from Modern Languages was amongst a panel of speakers in a webinar earlier this month entitled ‘Open Educational Resources for less used languages in an increasingly digital everyday culture: What are the challenges and how will we tackle them?’ Around 70 participants were involved in the live event, in which Sylvi Vigmo from the University of Gothenburg and Anna-Comas Quinn from the Open University also presented.

For further information about this event, and for access to the webinar recording visit this blog site.

Free language courses for new Southampton students

This academic year, the University is offering all new students the chance to study a language for free through a new scheme called the Southampton Language Opportunity. This scheme will enable students interested in language study to choose from a range of languages and types of course to undertake alongside their degree programme.

Further information about the Southampton Language Opportunity can be found on the Modern Languages website, or by emailing You can also register your interest at the Modern Languages stand at Freshers’ Fayre on Friday 26th September.

New Lifelong Learning Programme for languages

'Welcome' in different languagesThe University of Southampton’s Lifelong Learning section have launched their programme for the coming semester, which features lots of opportunities for language learning. A wide range of languages are available to choose from: Arabic, EFL, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Spanish. Many are available as evening courses and to suit all abilities – from complete beginner to advanced conversationalists. For more information and to sign up for a place on a language course, visit the Lifelong Learning website.

British Council event for the European Day of Languages

The British Council is organising an evening event on 26 September on the European Day of Languages to celebrate language diversity and language learning in UK schools.

‘Every learner a language learner, every teacher a language teacher’ will be an occasion for a primary school and a secondary school with outstanding practice in EAL, MFL, CLIL and community languages to share with us their approach and work in these areas and to demonstrate how it greatly benefits their learners.

The presentations will be followed by group discussions as well as by a plenary discussion and an opportunity for networking.

Speakers will include Judith Woodfield from Bordesley Green Girls’ School in Birmingham, Noel O’Neill and John Carney from St Austin’s Primary School in Liverpool, Jim Anderson from Goldsmiths University, Bernadette Holmes from Speak to the Future and Amy Thompson from NALDIC.

You can register to attend virtually here.

Modern Languages welcomes visitors from Tomsk Polytechnic University

Tomsk Polytechnic UniversityFollowing two previous visits from groups of researchers and academics from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Siberia, Modern Languages is pleased to welcome a further group who are participating in a professional development course in Blended Learning, from Monday 15th September to Friday 26th September 2014.

We welcome the group to the University and wish them an enjoyable time with us!

The group will be in the Avenue café from 10:45 to 11:15 each morning and visitors are welcome to join them for an informal chat.

New Modern Languages MOOC nearing launch

Staff from Modern Languages at Southampton are preparing to launch a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled ‘Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching’, which will run over four weeks from 17th November to 12th December 2014. The course, which already has 8,000 subscribers, will introduce participants to the field of second language learning, consider language classrooms and the role of teaching in language learning, and explore the uses of technology in teaching. The MOOC will also provide a taster of the online MA in English Language Teaching, a joint course from the University of Southampton and the British Council.

For further details about the MOOC, including how to sign up, visit the course page on the FutureLearn website.

Learning a language can increase the size of your brain

The Guardian has published an article discussing recent research undertaken by scientists at Lund University in Sweden, which has shown that learning a language can increase the size of your brain. The researchers used brain scans on adult military recruits learning Arabic, Russian or Dari intensively to monitor changes in the brain during the language learning process.

To read more about the research, visit the Guardian website.

New initiative to help boost the language skills of teachers

The BBC has reported that a network of language teaching hubs is to be set up across England, aimed at boosting the language skills of teachers. The £1.8 million programme will provide support in the languages of the curriculum, including speaking, writing, grammar and translation skills, to approximately 2,000 primary and secondary school teachers over a period of two years.

To read the article, visit the BBC website.