Chinese and Arabic to be taught in UK schools?
According to British Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, UK schools should have more flexibility in the choice of languages they teach. He believes “it is right to vary the curriculum to add languages which might be economically useful or help community cohesion.” The languages he’s talking about include Arabic, Mandarin and Urdu.
I wonder where they will find enough teachers and how they will fit the extra languages into an already over-stuffed curriculum. Since the foreign languages were made optional in UK schools after the age of 14, the numbers of pupils studying them has fallen dramatically. The government worries about this and keeps on coming up with ways to try to encourage more kids to continue learning languages.
I’ve met numerous people who tell me they studied French, German, Spanish or whatever language at school, but who have since forgotten it completely, or only remember bits and pieces. This seems to suggest that language teaching in schools is not entirely effective.
Learning any language is a good thing, even if it isn’t ‘economically useful’. Learning a language spoken in the area where you live is perhaps better in some ways than learning a language perceived as ‘economically useful’ because you will be able to use it regularly. You will probably also learn something about the culture of those who speak the language and come to understand and appreciate it more, which is what Mr Johnson means by ‘community cohesion’.
Quote of the day: “Happiness comes from wanting what you get, rather than getting what you want.” from the Carpetblogger.