British Council urges Britons to try Portuguese for the Olympics

British Council

The British Council has published an article urging Britons to “give Portuguese a go” for the Olympics Games. According to the article, British Council research has shown that Portuguese is “the sixth most important language for the UK’s future”. The British Council has also designed bilingual visitor handbooks to help visitors and athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

To read the article in full, visit the British Council website. You can also find out more on the BBC website.

Modern Languages PhD student receives British Council Assessment Research Award

British Council award

Modern Languages PhD student, Maria Georgina Fernandez Sesma, has been successful in obtaining this year’s British Council Assessment Research Award.

Maria is currently in the second year of her PhD and is researching the topic: ‘Blended Learning: Assessing EFL Teachers and Students’ Use of and Perceptions toward Learning Technology’, under the supervision of Dr Ying Zheng.

Our congratulations go to Maria on her achievement! For further details about this award, visit the British Council website.

British Council urges people to learn a new language in 2016

The BBC has reported on a new campaign launched by the British Council to encourage people in the UK to make learning a new language a resolution for 2016. According to the British Council, learning “just a phrase a day” could make a significant difference to people’s language skills.

To read the article in full, visit the BBC website.

British Council launches MOOC for EFL teachers

On 31st July a new MOOC will be launched by the British Council. This free online course will last for 6 weeks and is aimed at people who are teaching English as a foreign language to help them develop the skills and practices needed for continuing professional development (CPD). For more information and to sign up for this MOOC, visit the course page on the FutureLearn website.

MOOC ‘Understanding Language’ hits the 100,000 learner mark

The free online course ‘Understanding Language: learning and teaching’, coordinated jointly by Modern Languages and the British Council, closed its second, successful run last week. This run of the course recruited 41,271 learners and this takes the total learners over both courses to 100,090. This recent course featured extra live sessions from staff in Modern Languages, and achieved a high level of learner-engagement with course tasks and activities.

The course offers a taster of the University’s Online MA in English Language Teaching. For further information about the Online MA in English Language Teaching, visit the Humanities website and for details of future runs of the MOOC, keep an eye on the course FutureLearn page.

Modern Languages Mexican PhD student receives British Council Assessment Research Award


Modern Languages PhD student Elsa Fernanda Gonzalez has recently received a British Council Assessment Research Award, under the British Council’s 2015 Assessment Research Awards and Grants Scheme.

Fernanda’s dissertation topic is: “Exploring inter-rater and intra-rater reliability and validity of Mexican EFL raters´ assessment in Mexican Public Universities.”

Our congratulations go to Fernanda on this excellent achievement!

Report on current climate for language teaching

The BBC has reported on findings from a report by the CfBT Education Trust and the British Council, which highlights the current “difficult climate” in England’s schools for language teaching. In particular, the report notes the low uptake of language GCSEs and A-levels as areas for concern. In terms of more positive developments, the report also found continued growth in language teaching in primary schools, with around half of primary schools now allowing pupils to study languages at Key Stage 1.

To read the article in full, visit the BBC website. The full report can be downloaded from the CfBT 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.

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.