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At least two foreign languages at Primary school?

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by MrsRucksack, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. So the Minister for Learning & Skills was on Radio Scotland this morning saying the Government is planning for all Scottish primary pupils to learn at least two foreign languages at Primary school. Meaningful learning, mind, not tokenistic.

    I reached my destination before he (presumably) got on to the part where he explained what we are to stop teaching, or teach less of, to bring in this very important strategy.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. So the Minister for Learning & Skills was on Radio Scotland this morning saying the Government is planning for all Scottish primary pupils to learn at least two foreign languages at Primary school. Meaningful learning, mind, not tokenistic.

    I reached my destination before he (presumably) got on to the part where he explained what we are to stop teaching, or teach less of, to bring in this very important strategy.

    Thoughts?
     
  3. ... and who's going to pay for all the specialist training? There are very few courses that allow primary teachers to be fully competent in teaching one modern language, never mind two.
    There are also very few teachers willing to volunteer for teaching languages in my experience, whenever I've done French on supply everyone thinks I'm 'brave'. A bit silly in my opinion since we all did a language at high school and should know at least the basics. I do think however that anyone teaching it on a regular basis should be trained.
    I'd like to hear where they're getting the money to roll this out in schools, somehow it reaks of 'well we just saved millions by screwing over supply and chartered teachers, we might as well make something up to spend it on' [​IMG]
     
  4. Hang on, this will be England will it not if it's the minister for skills and learning?
     
  5. Interesting indeed! I am a modern languages graduate with a PGDE (Primary) following the flexible route to probation and am struggling to get on any supply lists.
     
  6. No, Scotland. The Minister's correct title is Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning.
     
  7. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Would that, by any chance, be Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for Skills and Learning?
    The last initiative for foreign language teaching in primary schools was introduced in the early to mid 1990s.
    The minimum qualification required for training was an 'O Level' / Standard Grade in the required language and it was undertaken during the school week or on Saturdays.
    Previous 'pilots' where secondary MFL teachers went into their associated primary schools to teach were abandoned as being too expensive.
    The result was a hotchpotch of provision for foreign language teaching in primary schools which ranged from excellent to unpredictable.
    What happens if a primary school has two class teachers trained to teach French and one of them goes off on maternity leave and the other is promoted or moves school?
    The primary foreign language training programme was also very expensive to run because staff had to, for example, travel to Glasgow for the training in Spanish and a substantial number of supply staff had to be used for class cover.
    So, provided the SG is prepared to fund specialist foreign language teachers in primary schools, preferably trained to university degree level, who do not also have a full time primary class teaching commitment, the idea might just work - well, at least for one foreign language.
    By all means let's have high quality, consistent and sustainable modern foreign language teaching in primary schools, but let it be done by visiting specialist teachers so that the rest of the primary curriculum is not compromised.
    Oh yes, and let's not forget that Dr Allan also has a remit to promote learning in the Gaelic medium.
     
  8. lescargot

    lescargot Occasional commenter

    I teach full time MFL in secondary. We used to go out to our feeder primaries and teach P6/P7 however this dwindled to half an hour per class every fortnight and has finally this year been cut altogether for financial reasons. In my experience most classes were getting very little or no MFL in the interim, suggesting to me that primary teachers are either not capable/confident enough of delivering my subject.
    MFL is a 'soft' target for cuts due to CfE as we don't really fit 'neatly' into any of the priority areas. CfE is being used as an excuse for cuts in MFL by the back door.
    If the Minister is serious about this (doubtful) then I would be very interested to hear HOW he is going to make it happen in the current climate.
     
  9. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    As long as Primary Education is delivered in the way it is and by the people qualified as they are then we will continue to have these problems with delivering ML, Science and even Math's and other subjects.

    Primary colleagues are generalists not specialists and some of the older ones are diploma holders and not even graduates. The SG really needs to grasp the nettle and say that the old generalist primary BEd is no longer fit for purpose. (Actually the recent review of teacher education came pretty close to saying that!)

    We need to recruit graduates in all disciplines who are capable of teaching a subject in primary and deliver a general education in literacy and numeracy.

    Here endeth the lesson!
     

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