IoT Languages Strategy Network

Author(s): Kristin Brogan, Riana Walsh
Institution/Organisation: Institute of Technology Tralee (IE)


1.1 Scope of the initiative

The IoT Language Network is an initiative by the IoT lecturers and annual meetings are organised by Dr. Riana Walsh and Kristin Brogan, who were the co-founders. It aims to support the teaching and learning of modern languages in third level in Ireland. Presently there are 12 out of 14 IoT represented and involved in the network. All activities/presentations within the network are on a voluntary basis.


1.2 Range of languages learned

The IoT Language network fosters collaboration among different Institutes of Technology and among different languages.

Participants in the IoT network: Lecturers of English, French, German, Italian, Irish and Spanish.


1.3 Learning outcomes

Please see sections 2.2 on Strategic Goals.


1.4 Practical realisation

Design of a guideline document which was distributed to all network participants and which can be used as a reference guide when formulating an individual college internal language policy.

Organisation of two annual network meetings/workshops in different IoTs

Work Placement & Study Abroad Programmes

Invitation to guest speakers to present ideas re language policy (National & International)

The two coordinators presented the language network to the Heads of School of Business & Humanities of the IoTs

Organization of two panel discussions on the Future of languages in the IoT sector and further perspectives on the future of languages in the IoTs. Various national organisations were invited which presented both language and non-language related interests, i.e. Business, Engineering, Science and Education

Presentations on Best Practice models in language teaching

Dissemination of various questionnaires to the participants re current language status and pro-active approaches to adopt

Creation of Action Research Groups : These were established to research a variety of topics deemed relevant to language Policy & Planning:



2.1 Context

In February 2006 the Royal Irish Academy “Language Policy and Language Planning Conference” was held in Dublin Castle. As a result of debate at this conference, the idea of a Language Policy Workshop for the Institutes of Technology (IoT) sector was generated. Given the decline in student uptake of Modern Languages within the IoTs, this topic presented a viable opportunity for inter-institutional collaboration amongst IoT language lecturers and other stakeholders in the area of Language Policy and Planning.

The Network is meets twice a year in various participating institutes and to reflect the current focus decided recently to change the name to IoT Languages Strategy Network. The idea of a National Language Policy is progressing nationally in a European context. A Country Profile Report by the Council of Europe and a report by the Department of Education and Science were recently issued.


2.2 Strategic goals of the initiative






5.1 Lessons to be learned at institutional level


5.2 Broader implications

Inter-institutional collaboration amongst language lecturers and other stakeholders can support and motivate students to learn languages. Despite the absence of a National Language Policy it could assist in creating a positive language culture and reverse the trend of decreasing numbers of students who are choosing to study a modern language, apart from the mandatory study of Irish in Secondary Schools.

Both IBEC [Irish Business and Employers Confederation] and Enterprise Ireland stated recently that Irish graduates with language skills have a greater employability.

Inter-institutional collaboration within the Network provides language lecturers with supportive environment to investigate new modes, e.g. teaching and learning in order to keep language learning up to date, interesting and relevant.