Have your say: Students should have to study a foreign language at school

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tam13
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Sryzr
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(Original post by tam13)
Here's where you can post a comment about our Students should have to study a foreign language at school article.

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Yes, they should. England's education system is embarrassingly self-centred and the language education is shameful.
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JosephCiderBwoy
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Languages should be made compulsory in schools. From what I've observed, even English schoolkids have grammatical issues, despite being fluent in the language, and a lot of mistakes are normalised, e.g. 'should of', 'to which I sent it to', 'there is people' etc. and this really impedes the learning of a language. In order for them to take to a language, they need to learn the grammar and be aware of their own language's grammar. I've been in French classes where people cannot form a sentence properly, e.g. 'hier, je suis aller à le magasin' --> 'hier je suis allé au magasin', where they cannot grasp the rules of a language.
If I was to teach a class of Year 7 students with fresh brains, I would not introduce them to the language straight away. I would give them an overview of the structure of the language and its distinct features, such as gender, agreement, language family origins etc. so they at least know what to expect.
It would be unfair to lump 40 students, 10 of whom actually enjoy languages, into a room, where the other 30 don't wish to be there or even engage with the language. The progress of the 10 would be greatly impeded and it wouldn't allow their knowledge to progress as fast as it could.
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yeetouttawindow
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I think I would have been better off if they scrapped the GCSE French syllabus and replaced it with content you might study in an ordinary language course. I got an A but couldn't hold down a normal conversation. Whereas another person might have studied for 5 years into learning French via a language school and be fluent by then.
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Justice24
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(Original post by steamed-hams)
I think I would have been better off if they scrapped the GCSE French syllabus and replaced it with content you might study in an ordinary language course. I got an A but couldn't hold down a normal conversation. Whereas another person might have studied for 5 years into learning French via a language school and be fluent by then.
I agree. I got an 8 in GCSE French by one mark! Despite getting this grade, I doubt I could have held a conversation with any native french speakers at all. I found the listening part to be the hardest and the writing to be the easiest but listening is more important for a conversation. I was excellent at grammar yet I could not keep up with the French accent or when they start speaking extremely fast! I think some of the syllabus should remain but I do agree that a large amount of it was filled with quite useless vocabulary.
Although I didn't really like French at the time, I am grateful for having picked it as a GCSE as I gained new perspectives on culture and different ways of thinking. Languages should be made compulsory, even if you don't like the language at the time. Having some vocab and basic understanding is great in random situations (e.g many English words have french basis so you can get an understanding of unknown words in English). Other than learning etymology of words, it's great to be able to say you (at least) tried to learn a new language.
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Mehru1214
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I feel that whilst it is a good skill to have, some people may not be as invested in the language as others, or stress about learning the language too much, which could lead them to perform worse in arguably more important subjects such as Maths and English. So I don't think it should be compulsory, but making it strongly encouraged is a good thing, as foreign languages do add to the skillset of an individual.
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remussjhj01
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(Original post by steamed-hams)
I think I would have been better off if they scrapped the GCSE French syllabus and replaced it with content you might study in an ordinary language course. I got an A but couldn't hold down a normal conversation. Whereas another person might have studied for 5 years into learning French via a language school and be fluent by then.
I think this is a really good idea!
I think a good course of action would be to teach everyone what they would need to potentially have a fairly fluent, normal conversation, and then the ones who want to can take exams and gain a qualification. The qualification could be closer to the a-level (at least from what I've heard), where you also study the culture and literature to give a better understanding of the language.
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londonmyst
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I don't think foreign languages should be compulsory at school.
So many students have no basic aptitude, interest or willingness to learn.
When this happens, the teachers have to handle plenty of bored students who don't want to be there and the classroom atmosphere is often very disruptive.
Only outcomes are unnecessary stress, resentment, wasted time and those who do want to study languages are disrupted.

At least two compulsory language subjects was the policy at my last school, usually latin and one other.
I was the only one in my year to be issued with an exemption.
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CoolCavy
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This is how it worked at my school, we had to take a language for GCSE.
I strongly disagree it should be compulsory.
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Snufkin
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>Likes languages, thinks they should be compulsory.
>Is rubbish at languages, thinks they shouldn't be compulsory.

Sums it up.
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CoolCavy
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There's already too much restriction in the curriculum, at my school we had about 2 choices left over that we could actually choose from things the school wanted us to take.
I got an A in spanish and wasn't especially bad at it however it's served no use whatsoever to me and the way it was taught was not something you could even apply to real life. We were taught phrases and individual nouns, instead of how to actually construct a sentence from scratch.
Languages are useful but so is product design, food technology, history etc, why aren't they compulsory as well?
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Mehru1214
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I mean to be fair English is the most commonly spoken language in the world
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CoolCavy
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It could potentially work but as we agree it would need a massive overhaul in the way it's taught, what always confused me is that the teacher would word vomit a load of vocab at us then tell us to make a sentence with it despite us never being taught how to structure a sentence in the different tenses. Obviously everyone just ended up using spanish dict.com or google translate, which is incredibly pointless.
Tbh am against most things being compulsory, aside from english and maths. Forcing a group of students that absolutely hate the subject is no use to anyone, all you get is people messing around who dont want to be there and disrupting the education of the people that do. I felt this in my KS3 art class, you had a load of people who couldnt draw to save their life just messing about at the back, it was a relief when we moved to GCSE as you got people who had chosen it who actually wanted to be there.
As i say there are loads of useful subjects that could be made compulsory, i dont see why languages are any more special than any other useful subject. If we made everything compulsory that is useful what is the point of having GCSE options at all.
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MichaMicha
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Most of the problem in the UK is the way it’s taught - it’s boring as hell. I did up to the age of 13 in the UK and then came to an EU country to finish my education and it was much more interesting as it wasn’t patronising (learning about time for 6 weeks seriously?) but we were also actively engaged in the culture, we went on trips there (easier though in the EU to be fair) and did lots of events with native speakers.

But here in the UK it looks like there’s no money, and the old ‘teacher stands up and makes you repeat grammar for an hour’ seems to still be the status quo.

Compulsory - maybe not. But it needs to be encouraged. Trust me you have so many more advantages and opportunities open to you if you speak a foreign language even just a little.
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