Join TSR now and chat with students like youSign up now

Were you taught Welsh badly? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I'm Welsh but don't speak the language and now find myself wishing I'd learned it. I wasn't fortunate enough to go to a Welsh-speaking school or grow up in a Welsh-speaking environment, so for me school Welsh lessons were all I had.

    The reason I don't speak any Welsh is because, in my opinion, it's not taught properly.

    Basically we weren't taught grammar. We would be given set phrases which we could insert other words into ("I like ... because ..." being a very basic example) but nobody ever explained grammar. At GCSE level we were only taught what was needed to get us through the exams. I got an A at GCSE but really gained nothing from all those years of learning.

    Meanwhile in French we were learning how to form tenses, how genders are employed and other such useful grammar stuff, as well as thematic vocabulary. By GCSE level I was far better at French than Welsh even though I'd been learning the latter for at least 6 more years.

    Obviously GCSE Welsh isn't going to make you fluent in the language but you'd expect to retain at least a basic comprehension, which I haven't. And it's not down to laziness or a failure to understand what we were taught, just that we were taught the wrong stuff.

    Any comments or opinions on the way Welsh is taught in primary and secondary education?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I completely agree actually! Even though I did well in Welsh GCSE i could barely hold a conversation in it. I remember for my oral exam, I just had to learn it off by heart, whereas with French I was able to have a fluid conversation and actually hold a discussion.

    Of course they're both completely gone from my mind now. I'd love to be able to speak Welsh properly though, I'm definitely considering learning it in the future.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I think the prevailing attitude towards Welsh lessons when I was in school was that they were pointless and boring. People (myself included) didn't understand the cultural importance of Welsh and it was seen as a waste of time really, a lot of people would just muck about in Welsh lessons. In my opinion, as well as actually teaching the language, Welsh lessons should also teach about Wales itself. There is a surprising level of ignorance among many Welsh people (at least in my area around Port Talbot) towards their own country and its culture and history, especially the latter. Without any context to place the language in, it's no wonder that Welsh lessons are seen as a waste of effort.

    My history lessons throughout primary and comprehensive school barely skimmed the surface of Welsh history. All we ever did was study the coal mines and touch on the ways that Henry VIII governed Wales. Apart from the obvious necessities such as WWII, we studied English history, English kings. We never even heard the name Owain Glyndwr. It was only after Sixth Form that I began to realise Wales has such a rich history of its own and started to take an interest in my country, and regret those hours that I spent drawing on my book in Welsh lessons.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I ****ing hated having to learn Irish at school. I imagine a lot of Welsh folk feel the same way about Welsh. I'm all for those who have a passion for learning those languages to have the opportunity to do so at school, but why make them compulsory for everyone?

    I suppose it didn't help that my teacher was a hateful old knacker.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    We were taught Welsh very well. Fully immersed in it from Cylch Meithrin (nursery) onwards. Until the age of 7, everything was in Welsh. From age 7-11, everything totally bilingual. From 11-16 we learned all the grammar and everything and how to properly write in Welsh, because we were already speaking it bilingually. I moved to Wales at the age of 2 and although my parents can't speak more than a few phrases of Welsh, I was as fluent as any Welsh-raised child by the age of four, I even won a Welsh speaking contest at 5 - up against people who spoke Welsh at home.

    I guess it maybe depends on the area? Where I'm from, pretty much everyone speaks Welsh.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by madders94)
    I guess it maybe depends on the area? Where I'm from, pretty much everyone speaks Welsh.
    Yeah I'd say so. I'm right on the north coast which is like Little England thanks to those bloody Victorians and their seaside getaways. The proximity to Liverpool doesn't help either. So while a fair few people speak Welsh around here, very few seriously use it as their first language outside the home.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by madders94)
    We were taught Welsh very well. Fully immersed in it from Cylch Meithrin (nursery) onwards. Until the age of 7, everything was in Welsh. From age 7-11, everything totally bilingual. From 11-16 we learned all the grammar and everything and how to properly write in Welsh, because we were already speaking it bilingually. I moved to Wales at the age of 2 and although my parents can't speak more than a few phrases of Welsh, I was as fluent as any Welsh-raised child by the age of four, I even won a Welsh speaking contest at 5 - up against people who spoke Welsh at home.

    I guess it maybe depends on the area? Where I'm from, pretty much everyone speaks Welsh.
    We've spoken about this before but yeh, definitely depends on the area

    The only English speaking children I see in my uni town (North Wales) are pretty much either tourists or new to the area. There is only one English language dominant school in the area AFAIK and it's undersubscribed because they don't get very much funding compared to the Welsh language ones.

    It's definitely the better way to teach a language; I don't know why we don't adopt it for languages in English schools.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    My Welsh education wasn't great either. Not a great surprise since I went to school in Cardiff.. not many schools here seem to have gotten it right, at least not when I was in school.

    Curzon makes a good point.. maybe if Welsh history and culture was taught, we might have been more open to it. Have to say though, I never actually met anybody my age who spoke Welsh until I was at university (In Swansea), so it didn't seem like a good use of my time. Add in a good dose of undiagnosed dyslexia and it's no wonder it was my only GCSE subject I completely failed.

    Funny, because I quite liked German, despite being atrocious at it :rolleyes:

    We also had the kind of really s****y teachers who would gossip in Welsh so that the kids wouldn't overhear them.. that's pretty low, it really made us resent the language.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AvocatDuDiable)
    Yeah I'd say so. I'm right on the north coast which is like Little England thanks to those bloody Victorians and their seaside getaways. The proximity to Liverpool doesn't help either. So while a fair few people speak Welsh around here, very few seriously use it as their first language outside the home.
    I'm from Gwynedd, which is very Welsh, but I live in Wrexham at the moment for uni and I was so surprised that there only seems to be one Welsh-medium primary school! I think the proximity to England in general doesn't help.

    Let me guess, Rhyl, Llandudno or Prestatyn?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AvocatDuDiable)
    I'm Welsh but don't speak the language and now find myself wishing I'd learned it. I wasn't fortunate enough to go to a Welsh-speaking school or grow up in a Welsh-speaking environment, so for me school Welsh lessons were all I had.

    The reason I don't speak any Welsh is because, in my opinion, it's not taught properly.

    Basically we weren't taught grammar. We would be given set phrases which we could insert other words into ("I like ... because ..." being a very basic example) but nobody ever explained grammar. At GCSE level we were only taught what was needed to get us through the exams. I got an A at GCSE but really gained nothing from all those years of learning.

    Meanwhile in French we were learning how to form tenses, how genders are employed and other such useful grammar stuff, as well as thematic vocabulary. By GCSE level I was far better at French than Welsh even though I'd been learning the latter for at least 6 more years.

    Obviously GCSE Welsh isn't going to make you fluent in the language but you'd expect to retain at least a basic comprehension, which I haven't. And it's not down to laziness or a failure to understand what we were taught, just that we were taught the wrong stuff.

    Any comments or opinions on the way Welsh is taught in primary and secondary education?
    The GCSE Welsh Second Language course is terrible. As you say; you learn more in GCSE French - I definitely think it should be improved... particularly because wherever you are in Wales you will at least see some Welsh language around.

    The best way for Welsh to be taught is at primary where it should be bilingual. The language then grows naturally. But one problem I have seen is that people leave primary being fluent in Welsh- but then go to a English-med school... and lose it all again.

    The way Welsh is taught in some areas is really great, but overall I think we need to review it. And I definitely hope the GCSE second language course is changed ASAP!

    Schools also need to highlight some of the "cool" things you can do with the Welsh Language. The one thing I have found is that there is a wealth of QUALITY in the Welsh language music scene (no it isn't just folk music!). I find it amazing that I can pay less than a £10er to go to a gig and listen to some fantastic music.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by madders94)
    I'm from Gwynedd, which is very Welsh, but I live in Wrexham at the moment for uni and I was so surprised that there only seems to be one Welsh-medium primary school! I think the proximity to England in general doesn't help.

    Let me guess, Rhyl, Llandudno or Prestatyn?
    Haha, great guess! Don't want to give my location on this account but let's just say I'm somewhere between Rhyl and 'Dudno.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    It's taught TERRIBLY in my opinion. I genuinely couldn't string a sentence together, not one, no exaggeration, and I answered three questions out of 10 in my short course GCSE exam and got a C :|
    Really not bothered though, I hate the language and will be out of here soon
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AvocatDuDiable)
    Haha, great guess! Don't want to give my location on this account but let's just say I'm somewhere between Rhyl and 'Dudno.
    Fair does, could tell it was in that general area
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I was taught it terribly, stopped going to the lessons. In the exam I used the sentence 'rydw I'n hoffi coffi' six times, then fell asleep and still managed a C
 
 
 
Poll
Should MenACWY vaccination be compulsory at uni?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.