Languages in primary schools
There was some discussion on the radio this morning about a plan to make the teaching of foreign languages compulsory in primary schools in England. A review of languages policy has been undertaken by Lord Dearing and Dr Lid King, National Director for Languages at the Department for Education and Skills. They are recommending that languages become a compulsory part of the curriculum for children between of 7 and 14, that language courses are made ‘more engaging’, and that there is more investment in the training and support of teachers. A summary of recommendations can be found here.
Apparently languages are already taught in 70% of primary schools. In secondary schools, the number taking languages after the age of 14 fell dramatically after they were made optional and the government wants to try to reverse this trend.
Only a few obstacles will stand in the way of this plan: the lack of language teachers, trying to fit language lessons into an already over-stuffed curriculum, and the possible negativity or indifference about languages among the kids and their parents.
At what age are languages introduced in your country?