Languages to be taught to younger pupils ?

A report by Sir Ron Dearing is expected to advise the government that languages should be taight from a much earlier age. Read the report HERE.

I used to be one of those who used to say "Well everyone speaks English anyway", but I now teach French at school and the kids really enjoy it. The problem is, however, that languages are only taught from year seven, age eleven, which is ironically exactly the age at which a child starts to find it harder to pick up a new language. Children up to the age of ten are much more likely to be able to learn a language quickly.

So I would applaud the this report and hope it will be acted on and not swept away as previous reports from Ron Dearing have been in the past.


Jonny Wright said...

If people think that everyone speaks English, they're kidding themselves. I'm spending a year in Germany, as part of a languages degree, and there's no way I'd survive day-to-day life here without speaking German - let alone try negotiating a major business deal or coordinating an international company. Lack of language skills really hurts British business, and the continentals stereotype us something awful for being linguistically lazy.

I wonder if this report will persuade Labour to reverse their decision to stop making a languages subject compulsory up to 16. Given that a compulsory language makes it harder for schools to hit their league-table target of 5 A*-C for each pupil (when compared with easier subjects), I suspect not.

Andrew Allison. A Conservative View said...

It is refreshing to hear at a time when pupils are not taking languages as much as they did in the past, a report is suggesting children learn languages much earlier. I often say to some of my German friends that it is a lot easier for them to learn English because English is around them all the time in music, advertising, etc. If other languages can be around our children at an early age, hopefully we will have a much better record than we do at the moment.

Ryan Morrison said...

I studied French at school from 11 - 16 and at best I could just about hold a broken conversation in France today.

My wife however, who is from Jersey where they learn French from aged 7 is near fluent (she only studied until 16 as well).

So there is something to say for learning younger.

The problem I have is with the usefulness of French.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I have a problem with the usefulness of quadratic equations or simultaneous equations, but they are still taught.

Ryan Morrison said...

Good point, I can't say I've used either of those either - in fact my only memory of maths is making the really crap joke about pie being round not squared.

However I still stand by the fact that learning French is a bit of a waste of time - even the French have launched an English language channel.

Latin would be just as useful - at least there are games you could play in Latin, then theres the Harry Potter books and not to mention Stargate.