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TEachers Learning to Teach languages

What is TELT?

TEachers Learning to Teach languages (TELT) aims to increase and improve language provision in primary schools. Teachers simultaneously learn a new language and the skills to teach that language in the classroom.

TELT seeks to:

  • John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, visits Bannockburn Primary School to see TELT in actionMake language training for teachers available across Scotland and beyond, including in rural and remote areas
  • Help harmonise the standards of language and pedagogical skills in primary language teaching across Scotland and beyond
  • Encourage the introduction of additional languages to primary by offering this course in four languages: French, German, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish
  • Establish a community of practice of primary teachers teaching languages across Scotland and beyond
  • Teach students not only language and language teaching skills but also develop digital literacy.

TELT is inspired by and contributes to delivery of the Scottish Government’s 1+2 language policy, and is delivered in partnership by the OU and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

The pedagogy strand, delivered by SCILT, develops teachers’ primary languages teaching skills. In Scotland, this strand is recognised by the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) as a professional learning programme.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, is pictured above right, on a visit to Bannockburn Primary School to see TELT in action.

Who is it for?

TELT is open to all primary teachers, and secondary teachers with a secondment in primary, across Scotland. It is also possible to take part in TELT across the UK. Participants can be employer-sponsored or independently-funded students.

How does it work?

TELT is a distance learning programme. There are two strands:

  • The language strand is available in four languages at Beginners or Post-beginners level. Students can study the language of their choice, at the appropriate level, and can gain 15 OU credits contributing towards an Open Degree. The options are Beginners French, German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, or, Post-beginners French, German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.
  • The pedagogy strand is taught at postgraduate level and teachers will receive a certificate upon its successful completion. In Scotland, teachers can additionally opt into a professional recognition programme for their pedagogy study.

TELT requires nine months’ study in total, with around five hours of study each week. Most of this is done online at a time and place to suit the student, although optional face to face and online tutorials are available.

Participants also collaborate and share ideas and practice through course forums and social media. 

What past students say

I have never taken part in CPD (Continuing Professional Development) which was this long-running before. It forces (or encourages!) you to keep your own learning relevant and in the forefront of your mind and, more importantly, to make it part of everyday practice.

The course is having a huge impact on my confidence to teach another language. Starting from scratch and learning alongside the pupils has been very humbling.

I have become the 1+2 (Languages) champion of my school because I am studying this course.

I have begun to make home school links for language inspired by fellow practitioners on the course. The parents are extremely positive about their children now learning French and want to support them at home.

I have really enjoyed the online course and it has enabled me to get a job in the EAL (English as an Additional Language) department in Aberdeenshire, where I start on Monday! Super happy!

Recognition for TELT

TELT has been recognised with an OU teaching excellence award 2018 and was shortlisted for the partnership category at the 2018 Herald Higher Education Awards.

Language learning builds confidence, tolerance and respect for other cultures as well as supporting literacy and widening opportunities. Projects like this can empower our teachers with appropriate training so they can deliver an engaging language learning experience in schools.

Initiatives like TELT, developed through The Open University’s Partnership with SCILT, help teachers bring languages to life by teaching pupils subjects in another language – helping support our 1+2 Languages policy and making Scotland a more welcoming country.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education

For more information or to register

Visit our TELT: Frequently Asked Questions page and Study materials and Computing requirements page for further details about TELT studies.

Students can select the language of their choice, at the appropriate level: 

Our How to register for TELT page includes contact details.

Teachers at Newtonhill Primary School in Aberdeenshire share their experiences of TELT in a blog.