Languages and beyond

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Yolanda Brooks reviews the pick of the latest school resources on display in Cardiff

uw Edwards' position as the mature woman's totty of choice and his talents as a newsreader are well known. But his linguistic abilities are more obscure. The BBC's man at 10 won't be at the exhibition in person, but the French graduate and Welsh speaker will be starring in a new CILT Cymru video extolling the virtues of language learning. Languages Work has been produced by the language teaching organisation to encourage more Welsh students to study a foreign language. Only 37 per cent study a language at GCSE, a drop of 18 per cent since 1995.

Aimed at key stage 3, the video explains how the study of a language is not just useful for those wanting to teach or translate. Other featured celebrities include Heledd Cynwal from Wedi 7 and Ben Thomas from Wales Today. It costs pound;15 and is available on stand number 28. Tel: 02920 480 137;

The promotion of language learning will be continued by Consejeria de education, which encourages the learning of Spanish. The organisation, which is funded by the Spanish Embassy, has offices in Cardiff and provides a range of training opportunities for teachers both here and in Spain.

Training grants are available for some courses and staff from the organisation will be on stand number 56 to explain exactly what Consejeria de education has to offer teachers in Wales.

Talking of a different kind is the speciality of Dialogue Works, a creativity and critical thinking consultancy based in Newport. It offers courses for teachers in the practice of dialogue and thinking days for pupils covering subjects such as philosophy, citizenship, PSHE, history and critical thinking skills for older students. As well as exhibiting on stand number 246, Dr Karin Murris from the organisation will be running a seminar on "Raising achievement and promoting inclusion through philosophy with children" on Friday May 23 at 2pm at

Thinking skills are also an area of expertise for the Accelerated Learning Centre. The centre provides publications that will help teachers to motivate students and develop their all-round abilities. Issues such as multiple intelligences, memory enhancement, goal-setting and self-esteem are a feature of many of the books offered for teachers and learners by the Camarthen-based company. One of the resources of most interest to teachers will be The Teachers' Toolkit. The book is aimed at the secondary sector and provides physical and mental activities to help raise achievement in the classroom. The paperback costs pound;24.99 and is available at stand number 230. Visit:

Wildgoose, a geographical resource company, will be unveiling the Welsh-language version of its deskmat set, Wales from the Air. There are 15 A3 deskmats, each one featuring an aerial photograph and a matching OS map of the location, scale bar and compass. Local information is printed on the reverse. They can be bought as a set of 15 for pound;44.95 (look out for show offers) or individually for pound;3 each. Wildgoose will be on stand number 62.

Find out more about Wales from the ground by paying a visit to stand number 138, the conference home of the Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. You can learn more about the wealth of written materials and pictorial resources on archaeological and architectural sites which the organisation has to offer. Visitors to the stand can also meet Angharad Williams, the organisation's first education officer.

Becta, the agency that offers advice, information and resources for the use of ICT in schools, will have details of its Internet Proficiency Scheme at stand number 160. Its aim is to encourage key stage 2 pupils to develop safe surfing habits when online. A free teaching pack with lesson plans, worksheets, explanatory notes and certificates is available to teachers and the GridClub, the Department for Education and Skills website for 7 to 11-year-olds, has a dedicated section for pupils taking part in the scheme at www.gridclub.comcybercafe. GridClub offers educational games and puzzles for students to use at home and school. You can find out more about the scheme at stand 86.

Online information of a different kind is available to students who want to know more about their rights as consumers. While the average teenager will have little interest in faulty washing machines and dodgy timeshare deals, spotting fake designer goods, choosing a modelling agency, or picking a tattooist are issues that might get their attention. Such topics are featured on the Welsh Consumer Council website at Staff will be on stand number 72 with information on the teaching resources available.

Conference connection: For details of other stands, visit

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