Language experts from across Europe will gather in Wales next month to discuss the benefits of multilingualism.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Yr Athrofa – Institute of Education – will host a special Languages, Literacy and Communication Conference at its Carmarthen Campus on April 6-7.

Focusing on one of Professor Graham Donaldson’s six Areas of Learning and Experience, the conference will examine methods of teaching, learning and acquiring language against the backdrop of Successful Futures and radical plans for a new national curriculum.

Among a range of impressive guest speakers, Inma Muñoa, from the Basque Country, will explain how adopting the CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) approach has developed a new generation of trilingual pupils; and Professor Piet Van De Craen, from Vrije University, Brussels, will discuss the cognitive benefits of bilingualism.

Contributors from Wales will discuss ways of developing literacy across the new curriculum; the benefits of strengthening the links between Welsh, English and MFL in schools; and discuss how progression models of assessment can encourage a ‘can-do’ attitude towards language learning.

Celebrated journalist Ashok Ahir, of bilingual creative communications agency Mela Media, will provide the keynote address at the mid-conference dinner on April 6.

Professor Mererid Hopwood, of Yr Athrofa, said: “By placing ‘languages’ in the plural, alongside ‘literacy’ and ‘communication’, the Donaldson report offers us a welcome invitation to consider the field through a wide-angle lens.

“In its variety, this conference recognises that language is far more than a ‘skill’ or a ‘vocabulary set’, and will, I hope, draw attention to how language learning can be the catalyst to ensure that our pupils become confident and caring citizens of Wales and the world.”

The conference is aimed at linguists, educationists, teachers, examiners, policymakers and students and is sponsored by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

It is being hosted in collaboration with Cymdeithas Addysg Ewrop Y Rhanbarthau (CAER) – the Education Society of the European Regions – of which UWTSD’s Dr Hywel Gyn Lewis is the chairman.

Rhian Jones, Arts and Humanities Development Officer at Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said: “The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol is very proud to support this conference, which will celebrate the important contribution of Welsh-medium education practitioners in the field of teaching and learning languages.

“Since its establishment in 2011, the Coleg has supported a large number of conferences and events, bringing together students, academics and specialists in a broad range of subjects, in order to share ideas and enhance experiences.

“These activities support the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s vision that every student has the right to first-rate Welsh-medium higher education.”

Admission to the conference costs £20 per day; £25 for the conference dinner; or £60 for both days and the dinner. There is a reduced rate for students.

  • To register, please contact Christine Rees at:; 01267 676914 or 01267 676694.

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