PPLI Annual Report 2018 - Flipbook - Page 6
The year began with great excitement around the new Languages Connect Ireland’s
Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. This provided a new mandate for
the work being done by PPLI and an expanded brief, so that there was a need to recruit
additional staff. Significant time investment has been required to get a team in place.
We are still in the early days of this new journey, looking at roadmaps, getting directions, and
navigating the route however a significant body of work was accomplished in 2018.
The first project to be completed was an audit of foreign languages provision in schools. The audit sought to
identify the range of languages schools offer, the languages schools wish to offer, and the range of language
teachers employed in schools. It was also intended to identify teachers who are qualified to teach a foreign
language but who may not currently have the opportunity to teach that language in their schools, with a view
to providing opportunities and incentives for these teachers to upskill by means of CPD or post-graduate
courses. Finally, it sought to identify locations where there is a level of interest and demand for mother tongue
support to inform further provision.
In September, PPLI launched an awareness raising campaign Languages Connect, aimed at the student cohort,
their parents, school leaders, and teachers with the objective of building interest and enthusiasm around
learning foreign languages. This campaign has been supported through events, for example, Higher Options,
Zeminar, #ThinkLanguages and various schools’ career fairs as well as through videos disseminated via social
media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat). A dedicated website was also developed and this provides
relevant information and a series of videos in which a variety of individuals and industry experts from the Irish
context showcase the value of having competence in a foreign language for work. Resources were provided to
guidance counsellors to support them in facilitating access to the videos by students. PPLI also became
partners with Careers Portal, providing input relevant to the value of foreign languages and video integration
in every career sector on their website.
For the first time, funding was provided for schools to increase the numbers of students going on school
language exchanges. Resources to help teachers plan exchanges, and video exemplars of successful school
exchanges were also produced.
Support for the teaching of heritage languages at post-primary level is another new area of work for PPLI and
in 2018 a pilot for provision of Lithuanian as a Junior Cycle short course commenced, in addition to the one
already being piloted in Polish. CPD for these teachers, classroom observations, and planning and collaboration
with schools has been ongoing.
Development of relevant materials, resources, and support for MFL teachers has also been a key area. New TY
units for teaching the main curricular languages ab initio in TY, TY units for new languages including Polish
and Korean, modules for TY which focus on supporting important aspects of teaching and learning in the