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The Language Revolution

location_on Cheltenham, United Kingdom

Changing UK attitudes to languages

It's high-time for a language revolution, n'est-ce pas? The language revolution seeks to address the UK languages 'crisis' by getting people to look at languages differently through our blog and podcast where people talk about talking.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
February 2020
Let's talk about talking.

About the innovation

Join the language revolution!

What we do?

We are a group of teachers and linguists who believe that language education needs to be innovated and that the current linguistic apathy in the UK is based on a prevailing monoglot attitude. In order to help shift that attitude towards a more positive celebration of diversity and multilingualism, we are interviewing neuroscientists, psychologists, linguists, educators, activists, writers and actors on The Language Revolution Podcast and blog, where we talk about talking. We are looking for new ways to engage a younger audience in learning languages, but also working on educating an older audience about the health benefits of learning languages, such as doubling stroke cognitive recovery rates and delaying dementia symptoms. We organise the International Day of Multilingualism in collaboration with colleagues across disciplines because language is the thread through all human experience, not just something we do in a classroom away from 'real life'.

Why we do it?

With an almost 50% decrease in uptake of foreign languages at GCSE, and the closure of 20 university modern languages departments in the last decade, there is a language-learning crisis in the UK. Simultaneously, we have an increase in the number of children who already speak a language other than English (22%, so one in five pupils, is an English as an Additional Language, or EAL pupil). There is a mismatch between the monolingualism of policy and society at large, and the multilingualism of our country's history and population. There are huge social and health benefits to learning languages, and languages can connect our society in a post-Brexit Britain. We just have to get people talking about talking. It's just what humans do.


Series 7: Eowyn Crisfield and Weronika Ozpolat
How do we support our multilingual learners? In the UK, EAL is a broad and misleading label for English language learners. How can parents advocate for their bilingual children once they start school? What are the stages of speech development, and what should we do when talking goes wrong?
Series 6: MFL Transform, Sascha Stollhans, Yin Yin Lu
How can we innovate the modern languages curriculum and teach in a way that fits in with the 21st century? Communication is changing rapidly, but the UK languages curriculum hasn't changed in 30 years. Cate talks to activists, lecturers, teachers, and data communication experts to find out what we need to talk about in the new age!
Series 5: Mathilda della Torre, Kate Clanchy, Charlotte Ryland
Across several episodes with activists, teachers of poetry, and translation experts, Cate explores how we could teach languages through poetry translation and help refugees amplify their voices too.
Series 4: Michael Rosen
Celebrated children's writer Michael Rosen talks about talking and writing, oral poetry, language hierarchies, why Literacy is killing creativity in primary schools and how to bring creativity back into the curriculum. Listen here or on your usual podcast provider.
Series 1: Thomas Bak
Dr Thomas Bak talks about the neuroscience of languages, how our brains store and process multiple languages and have evolved to do so easily, and how monolingualism actually deprives the brain of useful mental exercise that staves off dementia symptoms and help speed up cognitive recovery after stroke. We discuss the UK languages crisis, and the inaugural International Day of Multilingualism on 27th March 2019, and how changing the UK census question about languages would help change UK attitudes to languages. Listen here or on your usual podcast provider. 
Series 2: Kat Draper
Psychology lecturer Dr Kat Draper talks about the psychology of language acquisition and how parents can support the language acquisition process, how bilingualism works  in practice and why children are not confused by multiple languages! Listen here or on your usual podcast provider. 
Series 3: Ben and David Crystal
Actor and author Ben Crystal and his father, the celebrated linguist Professor David Crystal, talk about accents, the history of the English language, and why linguistics and oracy are important subjects that could help children learn to love languages from an early age and feel confident speaking their thoughts and emotions. Listen here or on your usual podcast provider.

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