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Teaching a language isn't just about words,
it's about the five Cs: communication, comparison, communities, cultures and connections.
Elizabeth Chung, teacher.

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Languages plus: making links

Linking with the wider world

In-school links

Workshop 15 - Planning links



The concepts of 'language' and 'nationality' and 'other countries' are sometimes very difficult to grasp for children whose experience is limited to their immediate surroundings. The notion that life can be different from the way they experience it may grow almost imperceptibly as they begin to learn about other people and to experience new ways of expressing familiar ideas. Language learning, regardless of the level of skill the learner is capable of reaching, is the gateway not only to a new and wider world but also to a new understanding of one's own identity and of the possibility of growth and change. The resource and links on this page explore these issues in greater depth, examine their implications for language learning, and provide some support for educational programmes which attempt to provide a relevant cultural context for all learners.

The diagram below shows how traditional links with the foreign country can be reflected in the local community, so that , by using the local community as a resource, teachers can provide opportunities for those learners whose circumstances constrained to enjoy a wider range of experiences than might otherwise have been the case.


The Languages Plus model has long been used in most special schools where languages are taught. Indeed, special schools' notable success in inspiring interest in languages amongst learners for whom a foreign language is not an obvious subject for study, has been a catalyst for change in mainstream schools. Some examples of curriculum design based on this model can be found below.

Please see note on copyright

A pdf copy of the above diagram.
Linking communities

Some ideas on how learners with complex needs might be introduced to the concept of communication and encouraged to look beyond their personal needs.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Park School, Kilmarnock, designed the curriculum for its senior students around this model:
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 is used as a resource for investigation, and how the language work provides a focus for other studies. A Support pack was produced in connection with this. Find the weblink below.
Download example 2

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

A look at the aims, expectations and benefits of foreign language learning for learners with significant disabilities, and how the local environment can help teachers to meet some of these.
Download ECML speech 2004


[Links were last checked on 25.2.11 unless otherwise indicated]

Life in Another Country
Support for teachers and students using the Access 1 and 2 units 'Life in Another Country'

Life in another Country: Life in Greece
Exemplar material showing how one school used this unit to underpin curriculum linking.
Archive material, for reference only.

A case study describing a unit of work which incorporated a whole range of skills
by UNESCO as an example of good practice.

Community languages: Arabic online
An online language course designed for Europeans who want to learn Arabic. It allows you to reach a beginners' level at your own pace and learn more about the culture of the Arab world. Arabic Online aims to create a pedagogically innovative web-based course of modern standard Arabic for complete beginners.

[16.4.12] Languages all around you
A booklet aiming at an increased awareness of the multilingual world surrounding young learners. A collection of activities which leads pupils to discover the important role modern languages play in everyday life. For more information, and to download:


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