Modern Languages

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Modern Languages

This area gives young people opportunities to develop effective communication skills, through listening, speaking, reading and writing. It also provides some understanding of the richness of language and literature in any culture as a means of communication and creative expression.

Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages improves the cognitive process. Bilingual people’s brains operate in a different way to the brains of single language speakers, offering benefits such as improved memory and cognitive function.

For further details see Statutory Requirements for Modern Languages and Non Statutory Guidance for Modern Languages.

Key Elements

The Key Elements provide a way to connect learning in Modern Languages to Learning for Life and Work.

Modern Languages is a natural fit for the Key Elements of:

  • Personal Understanding; 
  • Mutual Understanding;
  • Citizenship;
  • Cultural Understanding;
  • Employability; and
  • Education for Sustainable Development.


For more information on Modern Languages contact:

Roisin Radcliffe
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2195


Click on the links below for lesson ideas and resources showing you how you can integrate the Key Elements and Skills and Capabilities naturally into your Key Stage 3 Modern Language teaching and learning activities.

Who am I? 649 KB - uploaded 26-07-2018

This document has three suggested teaching activities suitable for Year 8 pupils, to support the Key Element of Personal Understanding through a Target Language.

Back to School 649 KB - uploaded 26-07-2018

This is a series of activities suitable for Year 9 pupils, to support the Key Element of Mutual Understanding through a Target Language.

Life in the Target Language Country 634 KB - uploaded 26-07-2018

This is a research activity suitable for Year 10 pupils, to support the Key Element of Cultural Understanding through a Target Language.


A Case Study from Belfast High School 325.34 KB - uploaded 06-02-2014

Languages: Where Next?

Why study a language?

In today’s multicultural society, being able to speak one or more languages provides students with a wealth of opportunities and benefits.

Learning languages opens up new worlds. Whether it is to get the most out of foreign travel, hobbies, interests or career development, immersion in the culture and language of another country or region helps our understanding of the world around us.

GCSE Modern Languages

CCEA Modern Language qualifications are an ideal passport to this incredible and rewarding journey.

GCSE French

GCSE Gaeilge

GCSE German

GCSE Irish

GCSE Spanish

Other languages to consider

Online Language Assessment (OLA)

Vocational Qualifications, Level 1 and 2 Understanding Business Enterprise with Languages and Tourism

Ten Reasons Why to Learn a Second Language

  • English is not enough! Not everyone speaks or wants to speak English.
  • A language will always be useful – no matter what you do.
  • You will continue to learn more about other cultures.
  • You will have access to a wider choice of music, literature and fashion.
  • Languages mean business – you will be more employable.
  • You will be able to impress family, friends and employers.
  • You will get more out of your holiday in the target language country because you will understand and be able to say more.
  • You will be able to access a higher salary.
  • Speaking more than one language increases your brain capacity.
  • It improves your communication skills.

Find more reasons to learn a language at

Enhance Teaching and Learning

Opportunities to Enhance Language Teaching and Learning

Here are some links to institutions that will help you to:

  • widen the appeal of languages in your school;
  • provide enriching opportunities for you and your pupils;
  • link with partner schools; and
  • access training opportunities.

Gael Linn If you want to teach Irish, visit the Gael Linn website. Gael Linn is an organisation that aims to foster and promote the Irish language and its heritage throughout Ireland as a living language and as an expression of identity. The website has three sections: Language Courses, Activities and Publications.

UK German Connection This website aims to promote Teaching and Learning German in the UK. It has resources for teaching German and links to projects and exchange opportunities with schools in Germany.

All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad The All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) is a national contest in which secondary school pupils develop their own strategies for solving complex problems. These problems are based on different languages. AILO is run by the ADAPT Centre.

British Council The British Council is a registered charity that gives teachers the opportunity to work with schools across the world to enrich their pupils’ learning. It offers a range of curriculum resources and projects to support teachers in all international dimensions of their schools' work.

Chinese Welfare Association in Northern Ireland The Chinese Welfare Association in Northern Ireland runs Chinese cultural events and workshops throughout the year, as well as language classes.

Polish Educational and Cultural Association The Polish Educational and Cultural Association in Northern Ireland provides links to Polish language schools in your area. 

Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) NICILT supports all sectors and stages of education in Northern Ireland, the implementation of national objectives in language learning and teaching, statutory language learning (11–14), early language learning, the post-16 sector and adult education and the objective of Languages for All. It provides resources and training courses for languages teachers.

Useful Links

Here a few websites that might inspire you and your teaching. They are all related to using ICT in the languages class.


Royds Languages Teachers This blog aims to provide exciting, fun and relevant resources for language teachers. It’s up-to-date with the latest methodology and embraces web-based technology as a way to motivate and inspire learners. It includes grammar games in French and German, mysteries in French, German and Spanish and fun PowerPoint games.

Isabelle Jones blog This blog includes ideas on how to use apps and more in your languages class.

Teaching Resources

Languages Online This is an online resource designed by practising teachers, with an emphasis on interactive resources. It aims to provide an interactive format through which pupils can practise their language skills in a variety of exercise styles.

Sheffield University Library Useful Websites for Modern Languages This provides links to language and literature websites as well as on-line newspapers in the target language. 

Oxford University Press Modern Languages Teachers Key Stage 3 This website is for teachers searching for classroom resources. It contains textbooks and resources from Oxford University Press.

Teachit This website is a growing collection of tried and tested resources for French, German and Spanish, created and shared by teachers. The materials are language checked and edited by native speakers, with clear teaching notes and answers provided. It is especially useful for providing inspiration.

FluentU This site includes seven MFL resource websites that will help teachers to make their lessons stimulating and up to date.

MFL online This website gives languages pupils a wide variety of Modern Foreign Language learning resources. 

Light Bulb Languages This site has over 6000 language resources for all key stages, including sound files and YouTube excerpts in French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Espanol eXtra This is a website dedicated to Spanish. It contains printable vocabulary booklets for events such as the Oscars, Olympics or football. It includes games that you can play on the interactive whiteboard.

Free MFL KS3 Teaching Resources for Secondary Teachers This page highlights six Key Free Teaching resources that you can incorporate into Key Stage 3 schemes of work, including:
- Alien Language - takes a fun approach to teaching the parts of the body in the target language;
- Espanol Extra - dedicated to teaching Spanish;
- Curriculum bits for MFL - resources in French and German;
- Penpals of the World - gives pupils opportunities to communicate with pupils from all over the world by email; and
- Get Set - resources dedicated to the Olympics and MFL resources for Key Stages 3 and 4.

Neil Jones This is a resources and ideas website for teachers of Modern Languages, including resources in French, Spanish, Icelandic and Mandarin Chinese. There is a section dedicated to Music in MFL. It also explains how to introduce the international dimension to your classroom.

Fun witih Languages This website contains a variety of topic areas in French with a range of games to practise vocabulary and structures, including matching up, Quia, word points, multiple choice, noughts and crosses, anagrams, gap fill and jumbled letters. Use a memes generator to inspire your classes and teach tricky Grammar in a fun way.

ICT in Languages

Language Resources on Word Press This website explains how language teachers can use QR codes to enhance their pupils’ languages experiences. Sharing our classroom practice This is a report on the ICT and Languages Conference 2016, which outlines how teachers can use apps and more to make language learning more relevant and fun.

Guardian Teacher Network: Bringing Languages to Life This article investigates how teachers are bringing languages to life. It includes teaching tips, tech and ideas. From QR codes to music videos, it demonstrates how teachers can use the latest technology to ignite a lingering passion for languages.

ICT4LT This is a collection of training modules in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for Language Teachers. It was initiated with funding provided in 1999–2000 by the European Commission and has been regularly updated ever since.

Skills Development

SchoolsOnline Connecting Classrooms provides this resource to support pupils to develop core skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and collaboration. This learning unit explores the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number two: Zero Hunger, which focuses on the causes and potential solutions to hunger across the world. Teachers can use the materials with a partner school in a shared education context. It provides instructions on how best to use the resources. It also has a planning template that supports and helps teachers to design the learning unit, allowing them to adapt the materials to suit local contexts. This template also enables teachers to evaluate the collaborative project, in terms of both learning and reconciliation outcomes, if two partner schools work together on this unit.

Storybirds This website showcases stories written in French by Key Stage 2 pupils. You can use the stories as a tool to encourage writing in the target language.


Rachel Hawkes This website demonstrates how to raise the profile of languages through sports days and spelling bees. It has a resources page for each key stage (French and Spanish) and a presentations and training page that includes Assessment for Learning and Intercultural Learning.

Duolingo This is a free language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a language proficiency assessment exam. Duolingo offers all its language courses free of charge. As of November 2016, the language-learning website and app offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 additional courses in development. The app is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 and 10.