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Research grants for Wales

A project designed to improve Welsh pupils' speaking skills in languages is being launched this spring. Selected schools throughout Wales will be given training grants to carry out action research during 1996-97 under the guidance of a field officer.

The initiative follows HMI reports on foreign languages in Wales and is funded mainly by the Welsh Office. It will involve collaboration between the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, the National Comenius Centre of Wales and Her Majesty's Inspectorate in Wales.

Schools or groups of schools will choose one of the following topics to focus on, with the aim of raising standards and improving quality:

* increasing spontaneity and fluency in use of the target language

* motivating low achievers or pupils with special needs

* creative and imaginative use of the target language

* progressing beyond the short response

* pupil confidence and motivation.

Learners' progress throughout the year will be recorded and the results disseminated throughout the principality and beyond via a report, learning materials available to all schools and a conference.

Schools interested in participating in the project should contact Ceri James, Developing Pupils' Speaking Skills in Modern Languages Project, Cardiff CF5 2YX, tel: 01222 265000.

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