Teaching modern languages in a post-COVID world

Language learning is increasingly important for young people, both as an employability asset and as the path to developing intercultural skills and empathy.

With the demand for language learning growing, it is essential that language teachers can share knowledge and work together to find the most effective ways to develop language proficiency. The School of Cultures and Languages is at the field’s cutting edge, and has always encouraged the use and advancement of new techniques, perspectives and approaches to language learning.

The School hosts a Modern Languages Teaching Forum twice a year to bring together both language teachers and researchers to present their work on language teaching and sharing good practice in the classroom. The most recent session, which brought together 35 researchers from around the world, was titled Moving on, and focused on language teaching in a the post-COVID landscape, and how we can use the lessons learned from teaching languages digitally to inform our future practice.

‘The papers were nothing short of inspirational’ said the Forum’s co-convener Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia. ‘They showed how the COVID emergency met strong and resilient language teachers, who adapted swiftly and effectively and were ready to use this as an opportunity to learn and enhance our practice.’

Talks were delivered by researchers from around the UK and followed two main themes: the use of technology in the language classroom and the integration of culture and language in language teaching. Each talk offered valuable perspectives of the changing modern languages landscape, incorporating data and personal reflections on their teaching experiences over the last 18 months. Each presentation was followed by a period of reflection and discussion, giving participants the opportunity to ask questions and engage with new ideas.

 Looking to the future, Alvise said: ‘the Forum made us confident that we are ready for the post-COVID world and that language learning and teaching will be even more important and effective than it was before.’

 The session was recorded and is freely available on the Modern Languages Teaching Forum website.

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