Crickhowell pupil reacting to AI language translator. ©

British Council 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

 Crickhowell pupils have taken part in a pioneering new video in a bid to increase international language learning in schools across Wales.

Directed and produced by the British Council, the video demonstrates how teachers can use Artificial Intelligence to motivate students by showing them how they would look and sound speaking other languages.

The project was inspired by new research which found teachers around the world have been using AI tools to improve speaking, writing, and reading skills in English.

Nearly two thirds of secondary schools responding to the British Council Wales’s most recent Language Trends Wales report, said less than 10 per cent of students were taking an international language for GCSE. Meanwhile, the percentage of secondary schools in which learners are unable to take an international language due to timetabling has increased from 31 to 51 percent since 2022.

Keri Bosley, Crickhowell High School’s Director of Learning and Achievement for international languages and Cymraeg, also featured in the video and said teachers are constantly looking at ways to incorporate new technologies into the curriculum.

Reacting to the AI’s translations she said: “Learners can be reluctant to speak, often perceiving language-learning as too challenging and they therefore lack confidence. That is often a reason why our young people don’t go on to take a language to GCSE. They can never imagine what it would look like or what they would feel like speaking a different language.

“I think if you can see the end result you can work backwards and think ‘right, that’s what I want to do!’, it’s giving you a goal.”

Eliza, a year 10 pupil who took part in the video said: “I think [the AI] will be helpful but that doesn’t mean people should stop trying to learn a language, face to face connection will always be more important than using AI.

Gethin in year nine said: “Even though AI copies your voice very well it’s not the same and [learning a language] is definitely an important skill for your confidence.”

Ruth Cocks, Director, British Council Wales said about the video: “It’s been a fantastic exercise to see how the pupils would respond to this new technology and we’ve learned that it can provide a valuable tool for visualisation, inspiration, and ongoing confidence. However, it’s also encouraging to hear pupils say that as impressive as the AI is, it can’t replace actual language learning.

“Learning international languages is like a superpower. Not only can it provide a passport to the world, global connections and valuable cultural insight, it also improves your memory, concentration and creativity. Nowadays, young people in Wales and the UK have so many subject choices and we’re looking for ways to inspire them to keep going with languages. We know from our research that international languages can impact hugely on their future career paths and create truly global citizens.”

Notes to Editor

Follow this link to watch the full video:

Follow this link to read the full Language Trends 2023 report:

For more information – please get in touch:

Anna Christoforou, Senior Media and Campaigns Manager, UK, British Council


Rosalind Gould, Media and Campaigns Manager, UK Nations, British Council


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2022-23 we reached 600 million people.