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Languages in schools petition

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    Proposed for a bill which would mean:

    Primary and secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (those stated in page 4 of this thread)to:
    Year 2: 1-2 hours per week
    Years 3-4 for 2-3 hours per week
    Years 5-6 for 2-4 hours per week in preparation for secondary school
    Years 7-9 for 3+ hours per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory subject for 4 hours minimum per week

    Primary schools can select a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 languages to teach as part of the bill, and primary school learning would be based around basics (which are unfortunately taught as GCSE standard at the moment) such as colours and animals. When progression to secondary school occurs, students can choose to either continue with 2 (max.) languages, or just do 1. This would be made way for by removing lessons such as PSHE and citizenship after 1/2 years. The secondary school stage should involve more focus on every day life. The language would then be learnt continuously until year 11. Students would be used to learning languages as this would be done since year 2, and so would become more of a routine than a chore.

    Any education institution of students within the ages of the above year groups must comply. This excludes institutions with students with severe learning difficulties, for whom it will be the choice to comply.

    The Secretary of State's office will moderate that it is being carried out, checks will be done within the routine OfStEd inspection. Breaches should be reported back to the SoS, and the following charge will be decided on:
    A fine of a maximum of £2500 applies and should be paid by the board of governors and headteacher, for whom the school is under the control of.

    This should apply throughout the United Kingdom with immediate effect.



    This Bill is necessary as schools are taking the opportunity to teach languages less and less, however as we live firstly in a growing multi cultural society, but secondly because we the job market is now looking more for people with language skills.
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    (Original post by hines)
    Proposed for a bill which would mean:

    Secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (any except tribal dialects)to:
    Years 7-9 for 1 hour minimum per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory option for 2 hours minimum per week

    Any education institution of students within the ages of the above year groups must comply. This excludes institutions with students with severe learning difficulties, for whom it will be the choice to comply.

    The Secretary of State's office will moderate that it is being carried out, checks will be done within the routine OfStEd inspection. Breaches should be reported back to the SoS, who will pass on dealings to the police
    A fine of a maximum of £2500 applies and should be paid by the board of governors and headyteacher, for whom the school is under the control of.

    This should apply throughout the United Kingdom with immediate effect.



    This Bill is necessary as schools are taking the opportunity to teach languages less and less, however as we live firstly in a multi cultural society, but secondly because we the job market is now looking more for people with language skills.
    What is the point nobody will ever learn a language that way. I did 3 hours of French lessons per week from year 7 to year 11 and got a D overall. Got an F in the speaking exam. I cannot speak French at all if you want to teach languages it must be started at the beginning of primary school.
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    Not certain about some of the specifics of this petition; for example, "a modern foreign language" seems a bit too open. If we're going to teach languages because of their economic benefits, it should be economically important languages only.

    I'm broadly supportive of the petition and congratulate the writer.

    To internetguru: there has been plenty of evidence of the benefits of teaching languages at school. I'll quickly find a report on it and come back to you.

    Edit: found one
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    What is a "compulsory option"? Also, languages need to be started from an earlier age; you'd be better focusing your attentions on primary schools.
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    (Original post by stanlas)
    Not certain about some of the specifics of this petition; for example, "a modern foreign language" seems a bit too open. If we're going to teach languages because of their economic benefits, it should be economically important languages only.

    I'm broadly supportive of the petition and congratulate the writer.

    To internetguru: there has been plenty of evidence of the benefits of teaching languages at school. I'll quickly find a report on it and come back to you
    My problem with it is that it starts too late. It has been proven that you learn languages better at a younger age. Look at the Europeans they are all fluent in multiple languages because they start much earlier (they probably have better teachers too).
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    (Original post by internetguru)
    My problem with it is that it starts too late. It has been proven that you learn languages better at a younger age. Look at the Europeans they are all fluent in multiple languages because they start much earlier (they probably have better teachers too).
    Indeed. Not sure about the teachers comment but teaching languages is definately more beneficial if you start earlier
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    Teaching languages is good. I also think that British Sign Language should be more widely taught (this forms the basis of a bill that I will be working on at some point soon).
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    Really.. what IS the point. Realistically English is enough for most in this country, however much particular individuals want the UK to be more like fellow european countries. As a Dyslexic person at school languages were the bane of my life and ruined my otherwise good set of GCSEs. I hate that individuals who have an interest in languages want to force kids who were like me to do something they ultimately have no interest in doing, just because THEY enjoyed it and later used it. This hardly should be a priority when we still havn't even got our act together with Maths and English in most schools.

    I'm not disputing languages are good to have, but theyre by no means essential to a sucessful career unless you want to be a lingist or do something international.

    (Original post by hines)
    Proposed for a bill which would mean:

    Secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (any except tribal dialects)to:
    Years 7-9 for 1 hour minimum per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory option for 2 hours minimum per week

    Any education institution of students within the ages of the above year groups must comply. This excludes institutions with students with severe learning difficulties, for whom it will be the choice to comply.

    The Secretary of State's office will moderate that it is being carried out, checks will be done within the routine OfStEd inspection. Breaches should be reported back to the SoS, who will pass on dealings to the police
    A fine of a maximum of £2500 applies and should be paid by the board of governors and headyteacher, for whom the school is under the control of.

    This should apply throughout the United Kingdom with immediate effect.



    This Bill is necessary as schools are taking the opportunity to teach languages less and less, however as we live firstly in a multi cultural society, but secondly because we the job market is now looking more for people with language skills.
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    Definitely needs to be taught from Primary School, at that age, you just comply to everything and see it as acceptable (until you start High School).

    Teachers should expand on the curriculum instead of just telling you how to pass an exam (which all language teachers in my school do, which is a LANGUAGE COLLEGE. Which you would think would have a wide range of languages to learn...FRENCH AND SPANISH! I'm not joking, a language college only gives you these two options to do at GCSE, oh, but they have a fast-track which means you do French in year 9, which I did. Also, they complain that they don't get enough money for supplies...)
    Rant over

    Also, if it was compulsory at ALL primary schools, it would reduce the amount of confusion when studying it at high school (we did 'dans ma trouve' in year 5/6...we had to do it again in year 7...thankfully I got into fast-track)

    I agree that economically beneficial languages should be taught as a compulsory option, but maybe people should have the option to study another language for their GCSEs that isn't an economically beneficial language. I wish I could have these options :rolleyes: (I enjoy French and Spanish, but I would have really enjoyed studying German or Mandarin Chinese over Spanish).

    Edit: I also agree with the BSL idea, that would be brilliant! Again, it should be implicated at a young age, in order to make it easier for people to learn it.
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    (Original post by RoryS)
    Teaching languages is good. I also think that British Sign Language should be more widely taught (this forms the basis of a bill that I will be working on at some point soon).
    I agree with the BSL idea, and I've been thinking about it for a while. Drop me a line if you want to discuss it.

    As for the teaching of languages, I agree that they should be a major part of the education of children, but it does need to be started earlier, and perhaps the system of teaching it should be looked at.
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    I have to agree with the general consensus here that languages should be targeted at younger ages.

    (Original post by RoryS)
    Teaching languages is good. I also think that British Sign Language should be more widely taught (this forms the basis of a bill that I will be working on at some point soon).
    Couldn't agree more with BSL. It is far more important than many realise.
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    My secondary school made taking one foreign language compulsory, and a second if you were in the top band (although the second one could include Latin - which isn't exactly a modern foreign language - I found it quite interesting though!). Personnaly, I think it was a good idea, looking back, although I was annoyed at the time! Not I do AS French, which I certainly wouldn't have done if it wasn't for doning French GCSE
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    (Original post by hines)
    Proposed for a bill which would mean:

    Secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (any except tribal dialects)to:
    Years 7-9 for 1 hour minimum per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory option for 2 hours minimum per week

    Any education institution of students within the ages of the above year groups must comply. This excludes institutions with students with severe learning difficulties, for whom it will be the choice to comply.

    The Secretary of State's office will moderate that it is being carried out, checks will be done within the routine OfStEd inspection. Breaches should be reported back to the SoS, who will pass on dealings to the police
    A fine of a maximum of £2500 applies and should be paid by the board of governors and headyteacher, for whom the school is under the control of.

    This should apply throughout the United Kingdom with immediate effect.



    This Bill is necessary as schools are taking the opportunity to teach languages less and less, however as we live firstly in a multi cultural society, but secondly because we the job market is now looking more for people with language skills.
    This is something I feel quite strongly about, because I hope to become a MFL teacher in the future. I was already working on a bill to do with languages from primary onwards. Would welcome some input from you if you want to work with me on it, because this is a pretty good petition
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    (Original post by hines)
    Secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (any except tribal dialects)to:
    Years 7-9 for 1 hour minimum per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory option for 2 hours minimum per week
    Yeah this is a waste of time, 1-2 hour min per week? you can't learn a language in that time frame at all. At least make it 6 hours, 10 hours for 10-11.
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    (Original post by jjackson18624)
    Really.. what IS the point. Realistically English is enough for most in this country, however much particular individuals want the UK to be more like fellow european countries. As a Dyslexic person at school languages were the bane of my life and ruined my otherwise good set of GCSEs. I hate that individuals who have an interest in languages want to force kids who were like me to do something they ultimately have no interest in doing, just because THEY enjoyed it and later used it. This hardly should be a priority when we still havn't even got our act together with Maths and English in most schools.

    I'm not disputing languages are good to have, but theyre by no means essential to a sucessful career unless you want to be a lingist or do something international.
    I personally felt the same as Maths, doesn't mean I shouldn't have had to study it. I mean I can count, what more do I need? That C in GCSE Maths ruined my set of A*s. Why did others have to force me to do Maths just because they think it's important? :mad:
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    I'll maybe start seeing the point in this more when 'MFL' stops being short for French and/or German.
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    (Original post by cambo211)
    I'll maybe start seeing the point in this more when 'MFL' stops being short for French and/or German.
    Why not? Both are useful languages...
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    Not compulsory at GCSE, if you are going to learn something properly you need to do it from an early age, so something like from Year 3 - 9 2-3 hours per week in a Foreign Language, probably German, Spanish, French or Italian. Or maybe for devolved nations English, Welsh, Irish or Scottish Gaelic.

    But I do definately think more needs to be done to better our language skills.

    I would also propose more time for Mathematics as we are slipping behind other countries in our Maths skills. So more time should be taken out of creative subjects IMO such as Drama, Dance and Music, however, we still need them as they are still important.
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    Would it be possible to amend the proposed bill, such that learning an economically advantageous modern foreign language, e.g. German, should be made compulsory for primary school pupils from the age of 5, due to the fact that studies have shown that younger people are able to learn new languages more quickly.
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    (Original post by hines)
    Proposed for a bill which would mean:

    Secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language (any except tribal dialects)to:
    Years 7-9 for 1 hour minimum per week
    Years 10-11 as a compulsory option for 2 hours minimum per week

    Any education institution of students within the ages of the above year groups must comply. This excludes institutions with students with severe learning difficulties, for whom it will be the choice to comply.

    The Secretary of State's office will moderate that it is being carried out, checks will be done within the routine OfStEd inspection. Breaches should be reported back to the SoS, who will pass on dealings to the police
    A fine of a maximum of £2500 applies and should be paid by the board of governors and headyteacher, for whom the school is under the control of.

    This should apply throughout the United Kingdom with immediate effect.



    This Bill is necessary as schools are taking the opportunity to teach languages less and less, however as we live firstly in a multi cultural society, but secondly because we the job market is now looking more for people with language skills.
    You really need kids to be taught from day one of school, thats what many foreign countries do and it allows the kids to start thinking in english, and not translating into english
Updated: June 1, 2012
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