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French popular or not so popular? Students attitudes towards MFL?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by lbloomer695, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Dear Joe,
    My first post on the TES forum. I just want to gauge opinions on whether French is as popular as it once was.
    I live in Northern Ireland and enthusiasm amongst students has waned and also the attitude of students tends to be laissez-faire, ie not taking the subject seriously.
    Any thoughts?
  2. Try this - http://www.channel4.com/learning/microsites/E/extra/french_flash_home.html
  3. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    I think the attitude to most subjects by most students is 'laissez faire' really, not just MFL. There was never a 'golden age' when everyone loved it and there never will be. We are talking about teenagers here....!
    As the above posters have said, I agree that it is the personality of the teacher that makes the biggest difference to engaging the kids or not. An enthusiastic, passionate committed teacher will go out of their way to find interesting content, simplify and clarify, and believes that what they are doing is right. They believe it so much that their conviction overspills into the room. And even then there will be someone who actually, you know, still dislikes it but maybe they'll tolerate it a bit more because they recognise the efforts of this teacher. Maybe...
    Meanwhile there is a lot we can do to improve motivation - find interesting themes, adjust teaching to the kids, care about their opinions, find out what they are into/value and make the link with MFL, show celebrities/sportsmen/women speaking other languages, show the dependence we have on trade with countries in Europe which is far more than most kids realise, remind the careers people that if two people turn up for the same job, no matter what it is, if one has a language they can deliver it to twice as many people and they get the job - no brainer as far as employers are concerned, remind kids of the 'glamour' of working abroad (ski/tour reps, hotel industry, travel industry,sports, even IT jobs such as Nintendo based in Germany etc.), be heavy on the intercultural understanding - art, music, science, sports etc of the countries, make direct links as peer-to-peer is very powerful and go for French-speaking African schools etc. to make the links as unusual/interesting as possible.
    But if you mean is the language popular among Headteachers? In which case Joe gave you the facts. Spanish is gaining because if you misread the statistics it looks like Spanish might get you higher grades at GCSE and there is a trend amongst desperate heads to grasp at such straws at present...

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