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Interdisciplinary learning enables teachers and learners to make connections in their learning through exploring clear and relevant links across the curriculum.
(LTScotland: Curriculum for Excellence)

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Languages plus: making links

Linking locally

Linking with the wider world

Workshop 15 - Planning links


Linking Modern Languages to other areas of school life can take any number of forms, some simple, some more complex. Here are some of them:

Whole school

– Managing or contributing to whole school priorities, such as literacy, numeracy, citizenship, personal development, health and wellbeing, enterprise, etc.

– Managing or contributing to school links with the local community or communities overseas.

– Contributing to school events, such as open days, fund-raising, etc.

In the foreign language class

– Explicitly linking foreign language topics to other subject area in the minds of learners. E.g. referring to Mathematics when learning and practising numbers, currency, weight, distance, etc. or to Home Economics when learning vocabulary for food, meals, healthy eating, etc.

– Taking steps to find out what overlapping topics are taught in other subjects, and when, and then aligning foreign language teaching to coincide with teaching in overlapping areas.

– Selecting texts and topics for language study which focus on real issues; texts that may relate to other subject areas, school life generally, learners' interests, culturally interesting topics, etc.

– Designing tasks which have a focus or a purpose that transcends the walls of the classroom, involving the local community, national life or international contacts.

– Exposing learners to the full range of languages taught in the department/spoken in the school / used in the local community.

– Ensuring that, as far as possible, common terminology is used for English, classical, community and foreign languages.


– Collaborating with a colleague from another subject area so that some parts of the syllabus are taught by colleagues in other disciplines, (e.g. European Geography in the Social Subjects department.)

– Collaborating with a colleague from another subject area so that an aspect of their subject is taught in the foreign language.

– Teaching the whole of another subject in the foreign language (sometimes referred to as Content and Language Integrated Learning – CLIL).


CLIL = Content and Language Integrated Learning

Text book examples

Existing language text books do sometimes make an effort to reach out to other subject areas, so it's worth checking any copies you have lurking in your cupboard.

As an example, here are some of the personal and social issues covered in the foreign language by MLG Publishing:

healthy eating; monitoring likes and dislikes in the school canteen; the effect of drink on the body and on behaviour; modifying drinking behaviour; personal relationships and problems; crime and punishment; caring for pets; making booklets, finger puppets, christmas cards.

Please see note on copyright

Some examples of cross curricular planning

Park School, Kilmarnock, designed an integrated curriculum for its senior students around a forthcoming trip to France.
Download example 1

Drummond School, Inverness, used a suite of National Qualifications units to build a
coherent programme around the core unit: Life in Greece. Note how the local community provides a starting point for investigation.
Download example 2

This proposal links language learning to a community language and culture.
Download Example 3

Some examples of tasks involving interdisciplinary working

A whole school activity to mark the European Day of Languages, or similar
Creating a mini International School of Languages

Virtual Christmas presents: taking in Languages, Citizenship and Enterprise
Offrir des cadeaux virtuels

A possible link with Geography?
Comment sont attribués les noms des tempêtes de l'Océan Atlantique?


[Links last checked 26.2.11 unless otherwise indicated]

Learning across the curriculum
A learning and Teaching Scotland website that allows practitioners to make links between subjects, drawing on a range of themes and topics.

Science across the world
Advice for teachers who are teaching Science topics in a language in which students may not be wholly fluent. It shows how the teacher may provide support to these students. The examples refer to English, but may be taken to apply to any language in which students are not yet fluent.

This ALL website looks at how languages can work more closely with other subjects, exploring three aspects:
• Skills development • A multidisciplinary approach: slavery • Links to individual subjects

Developing the four capacities through modern languages: focusing on successful learners in primary schools.
This report is based on sample HMIE inspections May 2006-June2007

Goethe Institute
CLIL for teachers of German

The European Centre for Modern Languages
Content and language education

The place of 'culture' in the foreign language classroom
A reflection by Ramona Tang of the University of Singapore

The General Teaching Council Scotland
Advice on the question of staff teaching outwith their subject specialism: Registration, Subject teaching and Curriculum for Excellence:
Our experience suggests that where cross-curricular or integrated developments have been successful, there has been a realisation that for teachers to work in conjunction with colleagues on common course elements or interdisciplinary areas there has to be time for joint CPD, joint development of teaching materials, joint discussion of pedagogy, joint teaching, joint assessment and joint evaluation. Equally, in those cases where reluctant teachers have been coerced into teaching outside their subject area without appropriate support, these developments have been less successful and course delivery has lacked appropriate quality with negative effects on learning.
To read the whole argument go to:

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO resource for modern languages
Citoyens Du Monde: La Vie en RDC is an innovative global citizenship resource specially designed for Curriculum for Excellence. The resource, aimed at S2-6 level, has been built around fascinating video interviews. It is aimed at teachers of French but can be readily used in other subject areas.
Aims of this resource:
• to help modern language teachers embed global citizenship themes into the classroom
• to help young people understand the importance of language and communication in our globalised world and to encourage them to learn French
• to raise awareness about life in the DRC and help pupils understand the reasons for the arrival to the UK of Congolese refugees and asylum families
• to support the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence guidelines for modern languages in Scotland.
Ideal for those schools wishing to develop interdisciplinary tasks or promote cross-curricular collaboration. Links to subjects including Modern Studies, Maths, Geography, Religious Education and English. ICT has also been integrated into the resource through the DVD-ROM, online video wall and interactive blog. The resource is available from the SCIAF website, or by calling 0141 354 5555 or emailing You can also view the resource online on the SCIAF Youth website Citoyens Du Monde page.

BBC Schools
Check out current programmes listed for Primary and Secondary Schools. Some Geography and PSE/Citizenship programmes
may carry cultural and social content, as well as Modern Language programmes.

Scientix: the community for science education in Europe
Ideas and resources in six languages for teaching science topics.

Highlights: Pan EU Youth: a place for expression for young European Citizens
In English, French and German

Human rights in the curriculum: French
From Amnesty International. An aid for those trying to teach human rights and Citizenship in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom. It provides lesson ideas and classroom activities on a wide range of topics, including studies of world trade, homelessness, and the rights of young workers.

[3.3.11] Science Education
On the occasion of the International Year of Chemistry 2011 - a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry - a wide range of interactive, entertaining and educational activities for all ages are being organised across Europe. European Schoolnet is also running a number of European initiatives in this area, focusing mainly on stimulating young people’s interest in studies in maths and sciences. Sign up for the Xplora Nesletter here:

[18.3.11] Letters from the front line
A school in Aberdeenshire has discovered that modern languages can inspire history, and vice versa.

[29.6.11] Ideas and resources for language work across the curriculum (CLIL)

[15.6.11] Literacy across learning
Case study – Beeslack Community High School
See Section 5 on sentence starters and how this idea was developed for use in French classes.

[14.7.11] Fabriquons un orchestre!
Anaccount of a project in which French wass used to deliver a Year 5 Unit of Design & Technology (Musical instruments) with cross-curricular links to Science and Music. Notes and resources to download.

[14.7.11] Links to Rachel Hawkes' pages on CLIL

[4.8.11] An experience of Citizenship in Modern Languages
An article by Gillian Campbell-Throw in the Scottish Languages Review, Issue 20, Autumrn 2009.

[15.9.11] Global handwashing day: October 15th
Planning help available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. A combination of these may provide a useful resource for planning a global approach to this vital health topic.

[29.9.11] Towards an integrated curriculum – CLIL National Statement and Guidelines
by Do Coyle, Bernadette Holmes and Lid King. October 2009.
'...why is there so much current interest in this link between language and meaning, between language and ‘real’ content? Why is Content and Language Integration (CLIL) on so many agendas?'

[12.12.11] Water cycle lesson in Spanish
See TES report of this cross curricular resource, and get access to ideas about other topics.

[27.3.12] Links with Music: European Music Portfolio (EMP): A Creative Way into Languages
Comenius Courses in Barcelona and Athens 2012.
The course links music and language pedagogy and highlights the benefits of teaching the connections between these two subjects. It is aimed at teachers of Primary music / languages from across Europe. Training grants are available from the Comenius programme to fund travel, subsistence and course fees. A list of national agencies and their contact details can be found at:

[29.6.12] Citizenship Education in Europe
The report provides an overview of the state of play on five main topics:
1) Curriculum aims and organisation;
2) student and parent participation in schools;
3) school culture and student participation in society;
4) assessment and evaluation; 5) and support for teachers and school heads.

[21.10.12] E-CLIL The European Resource Centre
Links, information and resources from across Europe




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