• Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

National push to get students learning in a foreign language

Aeolienne

Well-Known Member
Check out this new initiative from Aston University (in Birmingham)...

• National centre set up to promote learning all kinds of subjects in a foreign language
• Year 10s at one school make a grade-and-a-half more progress after learning their usual school subjects in French

A national centre dedicated to the teaching of school subjects in a foreign language has been launched.

The scheme, led by Aston University and Bordesley Green Girls’ School with input from Birmingham City Council, forms part of efforts to increase uptake of students deciding to continue studying modern languages, and to raise achievement levels across all subjects.

Learning Through Languages UK will connect the existing community of teachers and lecturers that deliver lessons in a foreign language, known as CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning).

The ultimate aim is to develop a ‘golden thread’ of language learning from primary school through to university.

Dr Emmanuelle Labeau, Co-Director of the Centre for Language Research (CLaRA) at Aston University and one of the lead academics, said: “Across the country there are pockets of activity in CLIL, but these remain fragmented and lack sustainability. Evidence of CLIL’s application in other countries has shown how a national centre can spread the word and use of CLIL and consequently the improvement in both language acquisition and achievement. We believe that language is a skill that can be accessed by all, and given the right approach, children from any context and at any level can achieve success.”

Bordesley Green Girls’ School has seen a rise in all key stage three subjects thanks to the adoption of CLIL.

89% of students at the school study languages at GCSE and 81% of those girls said that they enjoy the subject.

Judith Woodfield Head Teacher said: “Year 10 students who have studied geography, business and science in French in years 7 and 8 are making over a grade-and-a-half more progress in humanities subjects, a grade higher in French and two-thirds of a grade higher in other Ebacc subjects.

“We believe that our international curriculum is developing the problem solving skills needed to access the more challenging GCSEs. Nationally modern foreign languages are not being taken up by all students as they are perceived as being harder. Our students enter the school well below the national average, but their tremendous motivation towards languages and learning subjects through languages is ensuring that that they have the best possible chance of reaching higher levels of attainment.”

The centre was launched at the school on Friday April 27th, with representatives from the Department for Education, teachers’ associations and distinguished scholars due to attend.

Original article
 
Interesting they refer to year 10 students. In high school I recall that as a point in time where foreign language teachers determined whether a student had sufficient aptitude to continue pursuing learning any foreign language. Where if it wasn't the case, the noted "NFL" on their grade card. - "No Foreign Language".

Though I also doubt it precluded a student from trying in the future relative to higher education.
 
Last edited:
Year 10 in the UK is ages 14-15 which is nineth grade in the US (if my memory of Judy Blume novels serves me correctly).
 
Up to Grade 9 French was a mandatory course for us, after Grade 10 it was compulsory, I never took it again and it's a big regret of mine.
 
I kind of chuckle when I think of my brother's experience with foreign languages.

He flunked Spanish in high school, so he ended up taking Russian at a university. Oops. :eek:
 
To be honest I don't really see the point in today's kids taking French at school, most people on the Continent speak decent enough English these days.

Not like 30 years ago when I did French, it was a required subject, I did Spanish as well, but I hated it, if you think I'm grumpy you ain't met my old Spanish teacher, he was s complete git.
 
To be honest I don't really see the point in today's kids taking French at school, most people on the Continent speak decent enough English these days.
Most but not all. Speaking a foreign language is definitely an asset if you want to live and work in a non-English-speaking country.
 
I wonder something: is it harder for a student to learn a second language if it was harder for them to learn the first one?
 
Year 10 in the UK is ages 14-15 which is nineth grade in the US (if my memory of Judy Blume novels serves me correctly).
PS: no disrespect to the distinguished American literary canon intended! Of course other authors are available.
 
I’m really happy foreign languages were mandatory in my high school curriculum. Apart from my own native language I learned French, German and English, plus classical languages, Latin and Greek. Sure, my skills with some are a little rusty now, but (having self-taught basic Spanish and Italian) I can manage in most European countries without having to resort to the stereotypical tourist role, blaring in English until someone gets me what I want.
 
I wonder something: is it harder for a student to learn a second language if it was harder for them to learn the first one?
Possibly. If learning languages is hard for you, it will be a struggle.
 
Possibly. If learning languages is hard for you, it will be a struggle.
I think it depends a lot on how early on in life you learn a foreign language. In the UK we regard foreign languages as a rarefied intellectual skill and leave learning them to the teenage years whereas in other European countries like The Netherlands they're seen as a life skill for everyone to learn so everyone learns them at primary school. Some will say, "Oh well, it's obvious isn't it? The Dutch have far more motivation to learn English because so few other countries use their language". But does your average primary school child think that way?

Even if you don't become a fluent in a foreign language, I think it can still improve your communication skills. Just learning another language makes you aware of the difficulties foreigners have learning English and that makes you more sensitive of the need to adapt your communication style. Also it's a good exercise to be able to express yourself with a limited vocabulary.

I rather assumed that I would have forgotten most of my Swedish given the traumatic circumstances in which I learnt it (see earlier thread). However when I did revisit Sweden in the early 00s I found that I was able to understand all the announcements at railway stations - very useful when the train you need to catch is departing in less than five minutes. And when I visited Denmark I found my knowledge of Swedish (and German) enabled me to understand the labels in museums. And before you say, "But they all speak English in Denmark, don't they?" - I came across exhibitions outside of the usual tourist hotspots (or at least places which attracted more German- than English-speaking tourists) which had information in Danish and German only. Namely, a temporary exhibition of Greenlandic photography at Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen and Flaske Peters Sammlung (a museum of ships in bottles) in Ærøskøbing.
 
Most but not all. Speaking a foreign language is definitely an asset if you want to live and work in a non-English-speaking country.
"A report by the British Chambers of Commerce said that an inability to trade in languages other than English was damaging the UK’s export performance. The report found that 96 per cent of people in their survey had no foreign language ability for the markets they served, while a YouGov poll for the British Council found that 75 per cent of the UK’s adult population was unable to hold a conversation in any of the top 10 languages."
Languages should not be an aspiration - they're critical to our children's future
 
"A report by the British Chambers of Commerce said that an inability to trade in languages other than English was damaging the UK’s export performance. The report found that 96 per cent of people in their survey had no foreign language ability for the markets they served, while a YouGov poll for the British Council found that 75 per cent of the UK’s adult population was unable to hold a conversation in any of the top 10 languages."
Languages should not be an aspiration - they're critical to our children's future
There is another side to this - the dismissive attitude of non native speakers of English towards English speakers learning and communicating in their language. I'm a person who has always been keen and willing to learn foreign languages, but when I attempt to communicate in the languages I have learned, I am often met with a brick wall: the other person insisting on English and totally ignoring the fact that I'm communicating in their langauge, not even acknowledging it, and I get this time and time again. Even when I speak or write first in their langauge, they reply in English. They don't encourage and even look down on my attempts to communicate in their language, or they think it's cute and are patronising. This attitude does not help or encourage native English speakers to learn a foreign language, and in the realm of business, just about all people speak English, ironically I also play a role in this as I teach English for a living.
 
There is another side to this - the dismissive attitude of non native speakers of English towards English speakers learning and communicating in their language. I'm a person who has always been keen and willing to learn foreign languages, but when I attempt to communicate in the languages I have learned, I am often met with a brick wall: the other person insisting on English and totally ignoring the fact that I'm communicating in their language, not even acknowledging it, and I get this time and time again. Even when I speak or write first in their language, they reply in English.
You just have to keep at it. Tell them (politely) that you are trying to learn their language and would they mind not speaking to you in English.
Bitte sprechen Sie mir nicht auf Englisch. Ich versuche, mein Deutsch zu verbessern.
Ne parlez-moi pas en anglais, s'il vous plaît. J'essaie d'améliorer mon français.
The irony is that when people say "Oh wow, your German/French/whatever is so good" they mean the opposite - if it were that good you wouldn't be instantly recognised as a non-native speaker.
 
Last edited:
It was and still is a requirement here in US schools, but fluency is not mandatory. Those coming into the US from other countries do need to be somewhat fluent in English and the same would apply to those from the US planning to take up lengthy residence in another country I imagine.

If I was supposed to have learned a second language, it should have been done when I was younger for best results, but at the moment I have no pressing need to learn another tongue. Not saying I don't know bits and pieces of other languages, but English is my primary tongue and all I mostly know.
 

New Threads

Top Bottom