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Do students prefer Spanish over German if given a choice

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by slick, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. landaise

    landaise Occasional commenter

    Now in France all pupils have to take two languages up to Bac, usually English then either Spanish or German but others can be offered. My daughter has done Spanish and Italian as well as English but unfortunately couldn't keep up the Italian (which she loved) due to a clash with another option. Britain is in grave danger of falling seriously behind the rest of Europe with regards to the ability of its population to commnuicate in other languages.
    Remember, too, that all primary schoolchildren start learning a second language from CP. My children in collège have to do Spanish as their LV2 as we live close to Spain, I imagine those living NE are more likely to do German.
     
  2. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Holidays: So tell your kids that in Majorca and in parts of the CdS, everybody speaks Geman....
     
  3. In my experience Spanish is great for holidays but commercially German is more useful. Of course this means reaching a very high level, not just GCSE.
    As other posters have suggested, German still attracts a disproportionate amount of boys. The influx of quality Spanish and French footballers has still not attracted lads to romance MFL.
    As for retraining to ensure employment...I would recommend learning a bit Maths, ICT, RE, Geography or Travel and Tourism
     
  4. I realise that this isn't going to help the original poster out, but if I had the choice, I would teach Spanish and French in my school. Learning one Romance and one Germanic language at school, where you get lots of structured input and repeated practice, allows you to pick up most other European languages in later life without agonising too much over grammar and vocabulary, and Spanish is easier and less embarrassing for teenagers than French, with its complicated spelling and difficult pronunciation. It can also be sold to pupils as a holiday and an international language.

    But then, people in the UK speaking more than 3 foreign languages?? I must be living in cloud cuckoo land!
     
  5. We offer boys a 'choice' of German or Spanish in Year 8. More pupils want to do Spanish than German and we have lots of angry parents to deal with some years. However, consistently very few then opt for Spanish at KS4 (prefering French). Of the 60+ boys who started Spanish in Year 8, only 16 opted for it this year and 20 last year. However, those who started German in Year 8 often seem to opt for this over French for GCSE.
     
  6. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    The original question was, is Spanish a threat to German? The answer is yes. It took one year of open choice for our students between Spanish, Italian and German for German to be wiped out, and the next year it was Italian, so we went from offering three second languages to just one. [​IMG]
     
  7. As a Spanish native speaker and a Spanish teacher I always find there is a lot of hostility coming from the teachers that do German and French.
    The main reason must be that they feel Spanish to be a threat. Many other bloggers have said that when presented with the option Spanish is more likely to win. The world is changing, shouldn't we adapt to the changes? [​IMG]
     
  8. Well, I am speaking as a teacher of Spanish as a foreign language myself and I do understand offering Spanish and French. What I do not get is this silly association of Spanish with Latino Music (what's behind this blurry and fuzzy concept such as "Latino", anyway? Latin America goes all the way from México to Argentina), least of all with fiesta! It is really irritating to see a beautiful, complex (What about the subjunctive mode?) and widely-spoken language such as Spanish in this derisive terms. Do I have to remind everyone that it might be the third-most spoken language in the world, among other facts? Spanish has also a strong literary tradition attached to it. Why are you denying Spanish a place in your schools? There is much more than paella, "Latino" songs and fun.
    As for the rest of the world (I'm currently teaching at a university in Northeast China) I have to say that the demand for Spanish is growing everywhere.At my current institution Spanish studies were stablished in 2006. No German offered. Russian, French and English (of course) are the other studies offered to language students. In Eastern Europe Spanish is also becoming the second most popular language to learn.
    As you may guess from my English, I'm a native Spanish speaker as well.
     
  9. Hi everyone, I am a language teacher in New Zealand and can teach French, German and Spanish. At my school we teach French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Maori. So I have a love for all of these subjects and can really understand your concern. This year we introduced Spanish and this was very popular with the year 9 classes but as a result the numbers have dwindled in German meaning we have to phase it out with me having the last year 10 class this year. Spanish does seem to be popular being a new subject but interestingly looking at the subject option choices this year French is level-pegging with Spanish if not more popular.In other Auckland schools, German is being phased out and replaced with Spanish. Some refuse to introduce Spanish as aresult of this.
     
  10. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    That's the link that kids make, because that's their perception, not ours.
    Again, Spanish teachers obviously (and I do speak Spanish myself) will know that it's not that easy. Kids will not have the same perception. I do argue that in terms of learning enough to hold a basic conversation, English is the easiest language (hardly any conjugation, no gender), followed by Spanish and Italian (easy, predictable pronunciation), French (difficult pronunciation but structuring sentences is similar to English) and then finally German (four cases, verb at the end, etc). You can avoid the subjunctive mode in Spanish or Italian quite easily at GCSE level, you can't avoid the splitting of the verb in German at GCSE.
    We're not trying to deny it, we're just saying that its popularity kills the diversity of languages if offered against other languages rather than in addition. Of course kids are going to choose it, precisely because it's the most widely spoken, the one the most associated with fun, teenage activities (Ugly Betty, Jennifer Lopez, Spanish holidays), and because it's easier than the others initially. Kids aren't fools. In France, if English was offered against German, German wouldn't stand a chance either. To give German or French a chance in our schools, Spanish has to be offered in addition to, not instead of, the other two.
     
  11. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    Don't usually come to this forum, but this was a top 3 topic! I think Spanish would be a much more sensible choice as a first language. Whatever the reasons for French traditionally being the "first" second language in this country, they have long become irrelevant. If package holidays, JoLo and Enrique make kids see a point in leaning, then that's a great head start. What you also need to think about is that kids come into Foundation Stage knowing some Spanish because they watch Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go. Schools are missing a trick not to pick up on this. When I taught FS, the children we very keen to talk some Spanish.
     
  12. in my school German is far more popular than Spanish, always has! We always get great results whereas the Spanish results are mediocre.
    I don't like German, never have but I can see why British students prefer it and find it easier.

     
  13. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    I don't teach languages, but have been in the position of learning them.

    My first exposure to MFL was at the age of 5, we lived in Malta, Maltese being basically a dialect of Arabic with a mix of English, French and Italian thrown in.

    Aged 10 we lived in Gibraltar and I had Spanish lessons at school as well as having to speak it in the market and when we went to La Linea. I found French extremely difficult at school and took up Spanish for O level.

    Since then I have learnt Arabic, lived in Germany for a year so picked up basic German, picked up lots of French with day trips to Dieppe and Spanish through trips there. Have also picked up a little Japanese, Farsi, Russian, Amharic and Chinese.

    I think the main problem is the teaching of any language in isolation, I have found I learn better when the language is all around me. I teach EFL as well and whole-heartedly go along with the idea of total immersion in the language, so the student has to speak the language. This may be why Spanish is more popular, and I think the pronunciation is easier for pupils.
     
  14. I work in a Comprehensive where traditionally French and German have been main languages and Spanish a second language. However, we have recently really struggled to recruit German teachers and have had a high turnover of German staff, whilst we have easily recruited teachers who can teach French and Spanish. Because Spanish results have always been so much better than French or German, we have now gone down the route of making Spanish our main language and French and German will now become second languages. I teach French and Spanish and I am finding Spanish to be more popular and am definitely noticing improved attainment, especially with SEN groups who cope much better with learning a phonetic language which is relatively easy to spell. My main aim as HOD is maintaining interest in MFL. Whilst I am sad at the demise of French and German I am looking to maintain the position of MFL in my school as the majority of pupils still have to do it.

     
  15. German, regrettably, appears to be on the way out. It's the No.1 mother tongue language in Europe and the No. 2 (after English) foreign language, but this does not appear to be a convincing argument for studying German. It's not an easy language to master, but that's the reason why I chose to study it many years ago at the tender age of 13 - I like challenges. I just heard this week that two more university German departments are closing down.
    Graham
     
  16. I teach French - my first foreign language, to A level and Spanish - my 3rd foreign language after German, to KS3.

    My experience is that whichever language the pupils are learning they want to learn a different one -"oh Miss why can't I do Spanish, it's easier than French"
    Personally I absolutely HATE teaching Spanish (I learnt it at Uni to enhance my CV), the grammar is more difficult than French, verbs are irregular all over the place for example. Children certainly don't find pronunciation any esier - they still contrive to get it wrong.
    I loved learning German at school and feel that pupils should be advised of its usefulness in both business and engineering terms. For me French is a passion, it is the most beautiful out of the 3 languages and again I agree with the stats given above, at our school nearly 3 times as many students opt for French at GCSE - and Spanish is not offered as a 2nd language, the year groups are divided in half from year 7 with one half learning Spanish the other learning French. Seems to me French is either taught better or is just perceived as more useful or looks better on a CV who knows...
     
  17. lisapa

    lisapa New commenter

    Hi - I work in a school that had always offered French and German. However, at every open evening, we were always asked why we didn't offer Spanish, the main reason being that pupils were learning Spanish and French at Primary School. So I decided to send a letter to all our feeder primaries, to find out which languages were being taught. The majority were French or Spanish, with only 2 schools out of the 25 that responded saying they did German. KS2-3 transition is now an important issue for language teachers to take on board, so in Sept 2008 we started teaching Spanish instead of German to years 7 and 8 at KS3. German has been phased out - only yr 10 and 11 German exist now. The pupils seem to prefer Spanish - and personally, I think it is a more fun language to learn from a cultural point of view. It is also a new challenge for me as I only have a working knowledge of Spanish - as my degree is in French and German.
     
  18. Germany is Britain's biggest trading partner - about five times more import and export than with Spain (DTI figures). It's the most powerful country in Europe.
    What I don't understand is why we persist in teaching French - the pronunciation and spellings are so hard - why not German and Spanish?
     
  19. I don't think the argument of why this language/why not this one is particuarly useful, however I'd suggest the reason French is still the most widely taught language is, because it always has been, more people graduate in it and therefore there are more French teachers available. I've also known parents to think that it's academically "better" than Spanish, which is seen a a "Fun" language......
    However and I'll say it again, children find the pronunciation of any new language difficult, even though Spanish is phonetic you wouldn't believe some of the things I've had to try and make sense of - and it's the same in French & German.

    What we're getting away from is the fact that children need to LEARN certain things eg the phoneme/graphemes in French, word order in German, the fact there is no need for a subject pronoun in Spanish.
     

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