These last few months have certainly been like no other. Our most used phrases seem to be “add me to the Team” or “put that in the chat box” as we all learn to embrace digital culture. As the pandemic started to evolve and its repercussions for education became clear, one of our concerns at SCILT was that the gains we had made thanks to the 1+2 policy would be lost. We were worried that schools would lose momentum in terms of the implementation of 1+2 languages and that we would be unable to support our stakeholders when they needed us most.
What has become clear, however, is that the languages community is resilient. We have adapted our professional learning offer to offer a variety of online opportunities for teachers and we are hugely encouraged by both the uptake and the feedback from the profession. Between August to December more than seven times as many teachers have attended our sessions than over the same period last year. In addition, we have seen a huge increase in engagement from local authorities across the country. Our online platforms have enabled us to reach colleagues in some of the most remote parts of our country so we can support teachers’ learning equitably regardless of where they live and work. We should all take pride in the fact that, despite the stress and the challenges caused by Covid-19, Scotland’s teachers are continuing their commitment to career-long professional learning and to ensuring the best possible learning experience for our youngsters.
Despite everything, language learning is continuing in our schools and together we are still able to make a difference. The LANGS network has been able to do much to ensure that there is a forum for communication and collaboration across our local authorities and we have seen RIC-wide approaches to supporting professional dialogue and learning. The recent SALT conference welcomed over 300 participants from across Scotland, the UK and beyond.
With a vaccine on the horizon, the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel now appears to be brighter. As we look back on this period, I am confident we will be able to take pride in how much we have learned and how adversity has accelerated our practice. As a community, we have not only looked for the art of the possible, but have actively sought and achieved improvement as a result of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
We may not be able to change the wind, but we can direct the sails. We are still able to make changes, effect progress and keep the vision for 1+2 languages in our sights.
Fhiona Mackay, Director
Download the SCILT 1+2 Newsletter: December 2020 as PDF