One of the Million: Developing Welsh Language Skills Amongst ITE Students

Cole Jones, Nia (2022). One of the Million: Developing Welsh Language Skills Amongst ITE Students. The Open University.

URL: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/erc/index.php/2022/02/

Abstract

It’s now over a year since we launched our fully bilingual PGCE in Wales. The challenges and rewards of offering a pan-Wales programme that offers future teachers the opportunity to study and work through the medium of Welsh, English or both have been numerous. The government requirement for all Initial Teacher Education Students across Wales to engage with Welsh language development and to map themselves on a linguistic skills framework, similar to the Common European Framework for Reference, is an essential component of our ITE provision. This is also a key component of the government’s Welsh 2050 strategy to develop a million Welsh-speakers by 2050 and its more recent action plan for 2021- 2016 where there is a clear focus on the lifelong learning of Welsh from Early Years, strengthening Welsh medium education, addressing the deficit of teachers who are able to teach through the medium of Welsh and Welsh as a subject, and improving the linguistic skills of the education workforce to meet the needs of their regions.

Therefore, there are increased expectations on ITE students to improve and teach Welsh language skills but there is limited research into students’ readiness to meet these requirements e.g., their knowledge, understanding, perceptions and attitudes. An interesting challenge is how to encourage all student teachers, regardless of their skills, to have a positive attitude towards improving their Welsh skills and that they foster a love for the language in their pupils. How can we ensure that students approach this aspect of their training with a positive attitude and as a way of deepening their connection with the language and land, to be able to offer their pupils a richer experience of education?

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