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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Jonntyboy, Oct 10, 2018.
Macau is a terrible place to learn Mandarin- the locals don't speak it!
French is making a come back. Some say it is the 5th most important language, thanks to a growing young population of African countries.
I agree it is more challenging grammatically and with regards pronunciation but it is an excellent first mfl for this very reason, as long as phonics, speaking and listening are stressed as important to teachers and learners. Any other language of a Latin root (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) will be easily assimilated after a few years of French in my opinion.
French as the first mfl in the UK. It is what it is. We should all be supporting each other whatever we teach as an mfl because all of our languages are under threat. It would be more interesting to discuss how individual schools have managed to buck the trend. I recently spoke to some mfl assistants who were surprised at the few weekly lessons we have in the UK. Has anyone managed to persuade management they need more frequent shorter lessons for example?
Could it be that we teach French because a) it’s what most of us learned at school, and b) historically its one of our native languages, even if it isn’t now?
When looking at the usefulness of a particular language, going by population of native speakers isn’t very meaningful, as many of those will never communicate with someone outside of their own culture anyway. Much more useful to look at the languages spoken most widely in international business.
So how many of our pupils will get jobs in companies which deal with those key economies and use the language they learned at school? Very few. The whole thing is random. You might need some bits of a language for work, or you might fall in love with a country or a person by chance. Look at the pensioners who now live in Bulgaria for example because it's cheap. Did they ever think they'd need that ? No. However if they had been successful language learners at school they might think- ok I could do French at school and I know I need to do X and y to learn a language so I'll have a go at sorting that out in Bulgarian. You can't really predict these things and there's no point agonising about which language to teach instead of French when basically we have no other choice in most cases.
One of the main issues with education in the UK is that it has become far too utilitarian. "How will they use this in a job in the future?" We don't even know what the jobs of the future will really look like. We need to get back to a less utilitarian education for education's sake. What enriches our students' lives, and how is our society enriched? Job training should come later.
I favour the Babel fish, now that Esperanto has died the death and no one can be bothered with sign language.
Or simply get teachers to 'ring the changes' by greeting their charges with a merry 'Bonjour', a guttural 'Guten Morgan' or from the land of restricted vocabulary 'howdy all'. Quand le loup n'est pas la les enfants jouer dans le parc ?
Note: My MFL may be a bit rusty from disuse.