[EDLING:1049] Language Teachers 'need training'

Francis M Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Sat Oct 29 17:31:09 UTC 2005

By way of lg-policy...

> >From the BBC,  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4378072.stm
> Language teachers 'need training'
> Many teachers lack the confidence and skills to implement government plans
> to extend language learning to all primary schools, research suggests.  A
> scheme enabling all children to learn a foreign language is to be extended
> to all primary schools in England. Ministers are publishing funding plans
> and guidance for teachers, with the aim of making language lessons
> available to all seven to 11-year-olds by 2010. A pilot scheme in 1,400
> schools was judged a success in July by inspectors.
> Quelling concerns
> "Class teachers' confidence in teaching languages remained fairly low,"
> the report said, "despite the majority having obtained some form of
> qualification." "Training addressing linguistic competence as well as
> methodology was found to be vital in addressing this aspect." Adequate
> resources were crucial for all teachers to ensure the success of language
> teaching, the report continued. The report, carried out by academics at
> the University of Warwick and commissioned by the government, emphasised
> the importance of teacher subject knowledge and confidence.
> In the pilot schools, languages were most often taught by non-specialist
> teachers. But the report said where there was adequate staffing for
> teachers to be supported by a native speaker or specialist from a
> secondary school, this can work well. By trying to raise interest in
> language learning at an earlier age, ministers are hoping to quell
> concerns that students leave school with inadequate language skills.
> Language learning beyond the age of 14 ceased to be compulsory in
> September.
> The funding includes 49.5m for schools and local authorities to spend on
> resources and training for teachers between 2006 and 2008. The guidance is
> a framework for teachers of learning objectives and teaching activities,
> focusing on key skills such as speaking, reading and writing. This was
> tested in more than 1,400 schools in 19 local authorities. Business
> leaders have raised concerns about the lack of language skills in the
> United Kingdom, claiming it is seriously damaging business.
> The Minister for Schools, Andrew Adonis, said: "In common with our
> partners and competitors in other countries, we must shift the emphasis in
> language learning to give young children a firm foundation for later
> learning. "I am confident that pupils who learn languages from a younger
> age will be more likely to develop a range of language skills in later
> life."
> No inhibitions
> Griffydam Primary School in Coalville, Leicestershire, uses French across
> year groups in the school. The register is taken every day in French, with
> pupils ordering their lunch in French also. Signs around the school are
> written in French and, when learning to count, children learn to do so in
> French too. Head teacher Ursula Smith said the key was getting children
> interested in languages at a young age.
> "Young children will stand up and have a go and not be embarrassed, while
> older children do feel self-conscious." She believes the children at her
> school have benefited from the learning experience. "They love it - we
> have a French club and it's always over-subscribed and there's a waiting
> list for it."
> In July, a report from the CILT national language centre attacked
> "complacency" over the inability to speak other languages. The group has
> welcomed the government's new framework, saying it provided a reassurance
> of its commitment to primary languages. "Research on the use of languages
> in business contexts shows that the earlier languages are learned, the
> more confidence people have in using them," said Isabella Moore, director
> of CILT.
> Story from BBC NEWS:
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/education/4378072.stm

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