State schools were recently accused of hampering students’ life chances, when CILT (the National Centre for Languages) polled schools about how many teach foreign languages. Out of the 171 schools polled, only 36% of state schools were teaching a foreign language to the majority of pupils aged 14 or 15. However, 94% of private schools were teaching a foreign language to the majority of pupils aged 14 or 15. Many are now teaching Mandarin in fact. French, German and Spanish are still the most widely taught languages across the board. The new English baccalaureate measure will require pupils to achieve at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, humanities and a foreign language.
But will this get more young people learning languages? Some teachers I know say it is an uphill battle. Perhaps the Web will provide more fun ways for students to learn…..by using services like Twitter and Internet cafes to encourage communication and talking about things which really interest kids. Twitter has some nice channels such as LangForCareers and DoubleTranslate.
Internet for Modern Languages, from the Virtual Training Suite, offers all sorts of quality online resources for educators or students, to help them learn languages and have more fun. Check it out. Or see our related tutorials on Linguistics and American Studies.
Want to find good resources on Russia and Soviet Studies? See our recent article on this published by the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies. It’s in the Spring 2011 issue.