Heads warn languages will become ‘extinct’ in state schools Watch

Asolare
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https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/...state-schools/

Headteachers have warned that German teaching will soon be “extinct” in state schools as the decline in modern languages at GCSE continued.

Student entries for all modern foreign languages were down by 7.3 per cent, sparking fears of a crisis in the curriculum in secondary schools. The worst affected was German, which saw a further 13.2 per cent decline in entrants, while French fell by 9.9 per cent.

The numbers taking the language have fallen by more than a third (down 38 per cent), since 2010. The falls come despite foreign languages being a key part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). The EBacc is a measure used in school performance tables which recognises youngsters who score a C or higher in English, maths, science, history or geography and a language.

Suzanne O’Farrell, curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said schools are reluctant to enter pupils for language GCSEs due to “severe grading” in the subject.
For a better comparison, here are the French & German GCSE + A-Level entry numbers for 2001:

2001:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 347,007
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 15,866
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 135,133
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 7,864

And 2017:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 130,509 (62% drop)
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 9,468 (40% drop)
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 43,649 (68% drop)
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 3,663 (53% drop)

I mean it's not surprising when you have a subject notorious for being difficult, being plagued with native speakers, teaching incredibly boring topics, and add that to a misconception that everyone can just use Google Translate or that everyone speaks English fluently. But it is, however, disappointing.
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Kevin De Bruyne
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(Original post by Asolare)
https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/...state-schools/



For a better comparison, here are the French & German GCSE + A-Level entry numbers for 2001:

2001:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 347,007
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 15,866
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 135,133
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 7,864

And 2017:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 130,509 (62% drop)
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 9,468 (40% drop)
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 43,649 (68% drop)
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 3,663 (53% drop)

I mean it's not surprising when you have a subject notorious for being difficult, being plagued with native speakers, teaching incredibly boring topics, and add that to a misconception that everyone can just use Google Translate or that everyone speaks English fluently. But it is, however, disappointing.
Yes, definitely disappointing but I must admit, I'm struggling to think of how the topics could be less boring without being less useful.
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Asolare
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(Original post by Kevin De Bruyne)
Yes, definitely disappointing but I must admit, I'm struggling to think of how the topics could be less boring without being less useful.
I think the main problem is that it's taught in a way that a typical school subject is taught, when it shouldn't be. Only the writing part needs to be focused on essay-style topics. For topics like speaking, it should be geared to what each individual wants to discuss and what their hobbies are. There's not much point in teaching a child to talk about benefits of recycling if that child's main interests are football and playing a musical instrument - they should instead have to learn vocab for their area of interest and then speak about that.

I know it makes it harder as then every child has to be accommodated for, but that's realistically how it should work. I wouldn't sit down and start learning medical terminology in German or advanced art-related vocabulary, because I never speak about those topics in English at all.

There should of course be some compulsory topics covered to give everyone a broad level ground, but I think children simply don't want to talk about the environment, or immigration, or holidays etc.

The examination styles should also be changed to correspond closer to real-world actions. Like for example, a student being able to demonstrate booking a doctor's appointment and explaining basic symptoms, or ordering a ticket for an event and getting details about the event, or being able to put something together using instructions etc.
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Dougieowner
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As a languages student at university, this is really sad news Throughout my time in high school the number of people studying languages was constantly declining, and my sixth form hasn't run any languages A-Levels since I left in 2015 because there wasn't enough demand.

I agree with the post above about tailoring the GCSE languages course to real-world actions and topics that interest teenagers. At GCSE I felt like I was just memorising endless lists of vocab that I wouldn't really need/want to use again after my exams. Maybe if the focus was placed on practical language use, people doing languages at GCSE would actually feel confident enough to try and use the language they're learning in real-life situations if they visit a country where that language is spoken.

Ultimately, I think there needs to be more focus on spontaneity, rather than memorising a set conversation, going into a speaking exam, aware of the questions and just repeating what you've learnt from heart like a robot. Apparently things have changed a bit since I did GCSE and the speaking exams are slightly more challenging, but from my experience, by the time I got to A-Level and actually had to hold spontaneous conversations for long periods of time, initially I struggled because the GCSE course hadn't prepared me for that kind of thing.
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That'sGreat
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Good, hopefully they replace the compulsory language with computer science now - that's the language they need
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username3482522
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
Good, hopefully they replace the compulsory language with computer science now - that's the language they need
What's taking so long?
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Asolare
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
Good, hopefully they replace the compulsory language with computer science now - that's the language they need
I will never understand why people think that modern foreign languages need to be replaced by computer science just because the word "LANGUAGE" exists in programming language. They are absolutely not the same thing and it's laughable people believe this.

But sure I mean if you want to ignore the fact linguistic skills are more desireable for trading with foreign companies then programming languages then sure, you think that.
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username3482522
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(Original post by Asolare)
I mean it's not surprising when you have a subject notorious for being difficult, being plagued with native speakers, teaching incredibly boring topics, and add that to a misconception that everyone can just use Google Translate or that everyone speaks English fluently. But it is, however, disappointing.
You forgot to mention that it's taught terribly. In lessons, it's not about learning a language but about passing the exam.

Believe me I would love to learn another languag but school is not the place for it. At one point, I was learning German with a native speaker at my martial arts class for a single month and I learnt far more there than in the two years doing GCSE German in my school. All we did was try to talk purely in German (no matter how bad mine was), whilst writing a few notes there and having fun.

Why is the EBacc mentioned in the article? Students and employers don't even care about it or even realise that it even exists.
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username1333513
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they need to change the way they teach us languages because right now it's not interesting, it would be cool if this country raised people to be multilingual like many other countries do.
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unikw
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They need to take advice from other countries. Our German courses, for example, are nothing compared to the Germans' English courses.
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AlwaysBroke.
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Ahahah i'm absolutely **** at AQA GCSE Spanish, so go ahead i don't mind, nor do any (or at least most) of my classmates I hope it applies to my grammar school
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thotproduct
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did 2 native language GCSEs for the meme



what? Do you honestly think anyone would take GCSE Farsi except for native speakers?

GCSE Russian was a joke too.

But all jokes aside, aside my native Russian and Farsi , I did do French, I think the reason people don't like to do it is because in that spec they're just taught to pass a test as opposed to learning meaningful language.

Also I did my natives for the meme lol, they're of no value and frankly looking back on it now, they just need to see I'm a dual Iranian-Russian national to know i speak both, they don't need a GCSE. Natives doing GCSE for VALUE baffles me, I get if they're new to the country though.
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Pastelx
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That's a real shame! I personally struggled with French the most, besides Classical Greek (another language, even though I know it's obviously taught different to a modern language), and could not believe that I got an A* in it.

Post-GCSEs, I got myself a PenPal to correspond with via email, and I honestly think my French has improved quite a lot (although it's mediocre compared to how amazing my penpal's English is!) just by talking to people, even if I do use Google Translate for the odd word! I honestly believe that without practice, all GCSE students just forget their languages within a year or two (I dropped Spanish in Y9 and have pretty much forgot it now, as I go into Sixth Form next year) and that's a real waste of a great skill. I don't want to forget 6 years-worth of French just like that
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Asolare
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(Original post by num.7)
You forgot to mention that it's taught terribly. In lessons, it's not about learning a language but about passing the exam.

Believe me I would love to learn another language but school is not the place for it. At one point, I was learning German with a native speaker at my martial arts class for a single month and I learnt far more there than in the two years doing GCSE German in my school. All we did was try to talk purely in German (no matter how bad mine was), whilst writing a few notes there and having fun.

Why is the EBacc mentioned in the article? Students and employers don't even care about it or even realise that it even exists.
I did mention in the third post how it needs to be overhauled at schools in terms of what students learn and how they're taught. The real world scenario you just mentioned is akin to the point I made about how students should learn about their own interests and things they'll actually speak about, not random crap like the environment.

It is very easy for people to pass GCSE languages off as useless no matter how they're taught, but when GCSE entries go down, entries for uni courses in said language also go down (uni entries for languages are down by about 50% compared to 2001), and whilst people can absolutely 100% learn a language to a proficient standard outside of educational institutions, a degree is vital for careers like interpreting/translation, as well as specific positions in businesses.

I don't think anyone learns a language in the classroom (and I do agree that immersion is almost always preferable), but a teacher + commitment to a qualification gives people the resources + motivation they need to learn it themselves. It's a very easy way to get your mistakes corrected, to spend time speaking with someone proficient in that language, and (ideally under how it should be done re: post 3) a class where you can actually discuss your own interests. Unless you are very lucky to have a French/German neighbour/friend, then all of those will cost you online (oh yes, as above, penpals are also an option, the downside though is that you need one knowledgeable in grammar for them to explain how tenses are formed, or how aspect works, or why there are 2 subjunctives in German etc. etc. i don't want to go on or I fear I'll start a massive debate over how one should learn grammar).

I imagine the Ebacc is mentioned because when it was introduced it stopped the foreign language GCSE entry numbers from dropping... for a whole year............. x.x
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by Asolare)
I will never understand why people think that modern foreign languages need to be replaced by computer science just because the word "LANGUAGE" exists in programming language. They are absolutely not the same thing and it's laughable people believe this.

But sure I mean if you want to ignore the fact linguistic skills are more desireable for trading with foreign companies then programming languages then sure, you think that.
But that's not why. Computing will be much more useful is the future, especially considering English is already spoken by so many countries AND there are already technological devices in advanced development that can translate a language to another language as they pick up the words spoken.

Nobody thinks they are the same thing, but computer science is more important for future generations. And foreign languages at GCSE are effectively obsolete anyway... "Can I have a glue stick"in german won't get you much closer than someone who can't say that in French or German
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Anaka
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This is incredibly sad
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shadowdweller
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It is a shame that it's being focused on less in school, but that certainly isn't the only avenue of learning; people may be choosing to pick them up at a later stage instead.
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Ambitious1999
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(Original post by Asolare)
https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/...state-schools/



For a better comparison, here are the French & German GCSE + A-Level entry numbers for 2001:

2001:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 347,007
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 15,866
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 135,133
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 7,864

And 2017:
Number of students who did full course French GCSE: 130,509 (62% drop)
Number of students who did full course French A-Level: 9,468 (40% drop)
Number of students who did full course German GCSE: 43,649 (68% drop)
Number of students who did full course German A-Level: 3,663 (53% drop)

I mean it's not surprising when you have a subject notorious for being difficult, being plagued with native speakers, teaching incredibly boring topics, and add that to a misconception that everyone can just use Google Translate or that everyone speaks English fluently. But it is, however, disappointing.

The biggest threat to language teaching in secondary schools is Brexit. As Britain detaches from Europe there will be less point in learning French, German Spanish etc. Ok back in the 1980s and 90s language tuition in schools was popular, we had an Anglo-European jobs market. Teaching kids French meant they could effectively apply for jobs in France etc, but now that market will cease to exist when we leave the EU there is little if any point teaching kids languages. It's likely the government will want to replace langauges with more emphasis on Maths and English and ensuring nearly all pupils leave with a GCSE grade C or above in those subjects.

Already several local schools including my former academy school are encouraging language teachers to retrain in maths and science free of charge as they intend to axe language tuition. My German teacher is specialising in science teaching.
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Arran90
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When will the teaching community get it through their thick skulls that a large, and increasing number, of school age children already know another language and use it at home and in their communities.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4482322

It really angers me how the teaching community only considers a European language as a foreign language. If a child is bi-lingual in English and French then it's a blessing for them. If a child is bi-lingual in English and Urdu then it's a curse for them.
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username1495504
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I am not surprised.
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