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How could foreign language teaching be improved in the UK? watch

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    What would you like to see changed in foreign language teaching?
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    a return to the old methodology of teaching languages, grammar is gold
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    They should start teaching them earlier, maybe year 3.
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    Teach it from age 2yrs old and up, simples...

    No point closing the barn door yadda yadda, who has the patience to learn a language post-11yrs old when you have more important things to do lol
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    A trip to the country the students are learning the language of would be great. When I did French, many people thought it was pointless and that they wouldn't be able to apply it. Take them to the country, they'll be more enthusiastic to learn and communicate. This will help with Listening/Reading/Speaking aspects of learning.
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    (Original post by sunfowers01)
    What would you like to see changed in foreign language teaching?
    I'd like to see foreign language teaching introduced at the start of primary school nationwide. I learned French at primary school but had to start over completely when I started year 7 because I was only one of 4 who had learned French before. (The other 3 were from the same primary school as me). If we introduced language learning earlier than we do, we'd be a lot better at foreign languages and I believe people would show a much greater interest in them. We see people from mainland Europe who can speak multiple languages by the time they leave school, whereas we can't string a few sentences together. It's clearly because they put far more emphasis on languages than we do, which is something I believe needs to change.
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    I agree with starting them off younger. Start them off young and gradually increase the use of the language in lessons. Say, start them off learning it in Year 4. By Year 8, that language can only be used, activities and textbooks and reading is all done in the language. Make it more accessible and useful, give them a reason to use it and to learn it. Give homework to do stuff in that language, for example, 'Make a video where you talk about a topic of your choice in (insert language), 'Write a descriptive short story' - get them involved with penpals, so they can communicate in it and get to know more about the country of the language they are studying.

    I am a very avid language learner, and experience has taught me that in order to learn a language, you need to be either interested or have a damn good reason, something that can act as a motivator. Trips to the country is another good idea. They cannot fall back on English, so it's an excuse for them to practice their language skills. The lessons need to be more engaging and the students need to be told how it is going to benefit them - just learning and remembering it to pass an exam is no way a good way to learn. A lot of Japanese students study English for 10 years+, but it is all to pass an exam. They don't get any chances to use it, and thus can not speak a word of it. If they were more practical with the language and had more chances to use it, they would be better speakers.

    And that is exactly what it is like over here. I took lessons in French and Spanish for 2 years. I had zero interest in French since it was just repeat this, repeat that, answer this question... Spanish, I can still remember some, as I had a great teacher who believed in all I've said above. She gave us a reason to want to learn the language. She would speak to us in just Spanish, give us interesting activites to do. My favourite was to write a biography about a singer we liked in Spanish - she recommended we researched in Spanish to learn new words and phrases. When we watched films, it was in Spanish. The class loved her, and a lot of us would use Spanish outside her lessons.

    Boy I miss that class. I've taught myself Japanese for about 7 years, and honestly think if I took classes, I would be no where near the level I am now. Classes need to be more effective and not just all about hitting certain criteria for an exam.
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    I never received any foreign language lessons until I was in Year 6, and until the start of Year 10, the only language I could learn was French. Once I reached GCSE, I could learn French and/or Spanish, but I had no interest in learning either of those languages. I would loved to have learned German and/or Japanese. I think there needs to be more variety of languages taught in schools and from an earlier age.
    • Study Helper
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    As many others have said, if languages were compulsory to take in primary schools there would be a vast improvement. With the growing importance of languages today, the earlier the better and students will begin to understand how languages work, as well as also developing an interest.

    Another point could be to provide much more immersion in lessons. If students had begun learning earlier, this would be easier to implement in secondary schools where the teachers are capable of running lessons in the language itself. This would improve students' skills even more because it is more like how they would see/hear/use the language in real life.
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    Teach it from they're young alongside English..I think languages such as Cantonese Urdu are probably more useful in todays day and age than Spanish german which we all forget after leaving school
    (Original post by sunfowers01)
    What would you like to see changed in foreign language teaching?
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    I think that a larger variety of languages should be offered rather than just French and Spanish. They should start teaching earlier on. If one foreign language was compulsory at GCSE level it'd also be an improvement. Instead of having Welsh being compulsory as a GCSE in Wales for example, students should be able to choose a language to take that appeals to them the most.
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    As far as I recall, at secondary school (when a few student were learning a foreign language properly for the first time), although we learnt basic things such as greetings, numbers, alphabet etc. The focus for the rest of the course was centred on things such as describing your home town or comparing French and British schools.

    Although I do think this kind of culture learning is important, there was never really learning of practical skills for students going on holiday, such as conversational skills, how to ask for things in shops etc with practice to back up the spoken aspect.

    I also think there is too much of an emphasis on memory tests at GCSE level and not enough on verbal and written comprehension and practical skills.
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    As far as I recall, at secondary school (when a few student were learning a foreign language properly for the first time), although we learnt basic things such as greetings, numbers, alphabet etc, the focus for the rest of the course was centred on things such as describing your home town or comparing French and British schools.

    Although I do think this kind of culture learning is important, there was never really learning of practical skills for students going on holiday, such as conversational skills, how to ask for things in shops etc with practice to back up the spoken aspect.

    I also think there is too much of an emphasis on memory tests at GCSE level and not enough on verbal and written comprehension and practical skills.

    There was also loads on skills for how to write to pen pals but no exchange or pen pal program for the students.
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    I think the gcse needs to be made more relavent, for example no one talks about their home town in real life for 6 minutes solid, using 'complex phrases' etc. it's just not engaging.
    More focus should be put on real world situations and what people actually say. Technology is also key I think, I use it so much to learn french and German. Apps and websites, podcasts, YouTube videos, music in the language. And less worksheets for homework! As others have said make homework tasks more creative.
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    Teach foreign languages from a younger age would be a great start, Also a greater emphasis on grammar would be beneficial, until AS Level French classes there was little to no emphasis on grammar and instead learning words, phrases and sentences was encouraged rather than the grammar which allows one to use language independently.
    Perhaps more engaging topics may revitalise A level language courses which seem to be in decline in terms of students taking the subjects, although I love studying and learning French having to study the environment at A2 was far from interesting and removed from useful French.


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    I think making the language learning a lot more practical would be a lot better. So that people actually learn at GCSE stuff that is useful, rather than just memorising prewritten orals
 
 
 
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