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2 languages at primary

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by misslingo, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. misslingo

    misslingo New commenter

    Hello, does anyone teach more than one language at primary/ prep school? I just wondered what ideas people have for having 2 languages as in do you do half a term each, or do you just useit with one year group etc.? Thanks.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Please, as a linguist just don't even consider it.

    Years ago when applying in Primary for a language post I did toy with the idea of alternating languages and read up specifically to see if there was any research.

    Conclusion was, it's far better to teach one specific language ,so children get a good grasp of how one language works, which provides the basis for studying later languages at Sec level.
  3. ChocolateChunk

    ChocolateChunk New commenter

    I agree. It will be overwhelming for primary students as there is a lot to grasp: new words, new sounds, introduction of grammar (as it is not taught as rigorously compared to France, Germany and Spain) on top of their other subjects.
    Year 7 is usually best to start introducing another language if they have a good foundation in a foreign language studied at primary.

    If your school insists on having two languages taught, you could perhaps introduce one language a Module for each class.
  4. misslingo

    misslingo New commenter

    Thanks, I guess it really depends on what your reasons for teaching primary languages is. If it is to enrich small children and teach them about other countries and cultures from a young age then it is ok, but if you are trying to make them fluent in a language they are going to start from scratch with at secondary then yes one is enough....
  5. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    A dissenting voice: in my school (Spanish children taught in 'immersion' English), the year 5 and 6 children start monthly blocks of French, German, then Chinese. In year 7 they choose one of the three (to learn alongside their English, Spanish and Valenciano), in year 8 they add another. Success rates at iGCSE and A-Level are very high.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    But don't those Spanish children start the 'immersion English' lessons early on , so they will have had 4-5 years to get a 'hold' on one foreign language before trying out another. Although Primaries may start in Yr3 or earlier, the quality of those lessons is nothing like 'immersion'.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. misslingo

    misslingo New commenter

    Why do primary languages have to have the pressure of immersion or fluency, why can't they be about the fun of learning and leave the exams and grammar to secondary..
  8. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    The programme of study for KS2 Languages requires "substantial progress in one language". I have my KS2s for an hour a week in all 4 years and I can just about manage substantial progress with them in that time - it's a big ask. Using the grammar mentioned in the programme of study, I worked out what this actually means we should teach - https://changing-phase.blogspot.com/2018/04/grammar-in-key-stage-2.html - a lot! I wouldn't have time to do this and another language as well. If you split the time between 2 languages you run the risk of them learning neither well. Ofsted have also said that they would want to see a very strong rationale for doing two languages, and would want to see evidence in documentation that children will make "substantial progress in one language". BTW Academies - if you don't follow the national curriculum, Ofsted will be expecting to see something of "equal linguistic stretch". "Academies do have freedoms, but need a really strong reason for not teaching a language" Dr M Wardle HMI, Ofsted Languages lead
    agathamorse, MsaraNG and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. MsaraNG

    MsaraNG New commenter

    It may be a little bit offtopic, but still. My sister lives in Russia and her son goes to the Russian local school. Russian government added second foreign language in primary school program some time ago. And the results is...terrible.Kids often don't know both languages instead of speaking both. It's always better to focus on 1 language at a time and get know how this language works.
  10. misslingo

    misslingo New commenter

    That would all be ok if children went to secondary school continuing with their knowledge but there is no continuity in UK schools so they will start from scratch in secondary school meaning almost that the years in primary school with 1 language is almost a waste.
    MsaraNG likes this.
  11. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Transition from KS2 to KS3 is a focus of the new Ofsted framework and is something that is also a priority in the recent Primary Languages White Paper and the new proposed Languages strategy. Don't assume that things are going to continue as they are.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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