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Linking Minds Scholarships – Making Language Accessible

PRESS RELEASE

Linking Minds Scholarships – Making Language Accessible to Everyone

May 2013

Five Welsh teachers will travel to New Zealand to learn how to encourage the use of the Welsh language in all members of the community, as part of the Linking Minds leadership programme.

Following an inspirational trip to Wales in 2012 as part of the British Council Linking Minds Scholarship, New Zealand teachers will welcome the Welsh cluster to examine teaching techniques that focus on - ‘Karawhiua ki te Katoa’ making language accessible to everyone. Through classroom observations, direct practices and discussions, it is intended that our Welsh teachers will adopt these practices and methodologies to encourage the use of the Welsh language in all members of society and beyond the school gates.

“The impending visit heralds the first reciprocal visit from the Welsh side to the NZ one – reciprocity being an important value in Maori culture. The NZ Linking Minds teachers had an inspirational visit to Wales last year which has enriched their teaching practice and confirmed their standing as leaders in the promotion of  bilingual education in NZ,” said British Council Country Director NZ, Ingrid Leary.

“Now they are enormously excited to reciprocate and share the NZ experience of promotion of a first language to teachers who can genuinely empathise with their challenges and successes, and continue to support each other from opposite sides of the globe.”

New Zealand and Wales both share a proud history of indigenous language revival and bilingual education. Unlike Wales, New Zealand does not have legislation that ensures the use of Maori in an official context, yet has ensured that social inequalities are not barriers to the Maori language.

The cluster of teachers form an ‘International Professional Learning Community’ – the goal is to create self-sustaining links between practitioners and schools in Wales and other countries, where teaching methods are shared to address priority issues, in this case to encourage the use of the Welsh language in all social groups.

The NZ-UK Link Foundation has been associated with the Linking Minds programme as a funding partner since 2004, and has supported 8 team visits of New Zealand teachers to the United Kingdom since then. Link is delighted that this reciprocal visit has been arranged under the Linking Minds umbrella.

The reciprocal visit is being funded through the International Professional Learning Community -- part of the International Education Programme, a Welsh Government funded initiative that is implemented by British Council Wales. This programme covers primary, further education and Higher Education in a formal and non-formal capacity to deliver a wide range of international educational opportunities for the benefit of professionals and young people in Wales.

The teachers from Ysgol John Bright, Ysgol Craig Y Don, Ysgol San Sior, Ysgol Eirias, Ysgol Bryn Elian and Canolfan Iaith Dolgarrog will visit New Zealand from the 24th – 30th May; and will engage in educational tours and observations in several schools, both primary and comprehensive institutions, and visit Kura Kaupapa, the first Maori Medium school in New Zealand.


“These teachers will have an amazing opportunity to look at different teaching practices adopted in New Zealand and apply these in a Welsh context. They’ll find out more about language immersion in New Zealand schools and how this extends beyond the classroom,” said British Council Country Director Wales, Simon Dancey.

“British Council prides itself on supporting links between leaders in education from across the world and this collaboration will help teachers from Wales further the development and implementation of the Welsh language.”

ENDS

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