This paper will focus on innovations in the Welsh education system in light of the introduction of a new curriculum in 2022, (Welsh Government, 2020). Language learning is one of the areas facing changes, with international languages, Welsh and English being placed in the Area of Learning and Experience known as Languages, Literacy and Communication. Pupils will have the opportunity to learn an international language from year 5 in primary school. This development should be seen in the context of the Welsh government’s target of creating one million Welsh / English bilingual speakers by 2050, (Welsh Government, 2017). This target has raised concerns regarding the availability of teachers able to teach through the medium of Welsh and the role of initial teacher training to address this. Comparisons will be drawn with other UK nations teaching a foreign language in primary schools and the challenges that they have faced (Myles, 2020, Giraud-Johnstone, 2017). The context of the Welsh language, as a minority language within Wales, raises questions regarding the linguistic / cultural competence of teachers able to teach in minority, immersion settings, (cf. Canadian francophone minority context, Gilbert et al, 2004). The experiences of other trilingual models in Europe will be considered, (Mercator, 2011). Further implications for pre-service training with the introduction of an international language within the existing varied bilingual settings of primary schools of Wales will be discussed.
Delyth Jones, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom
Stream: Professional development
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