DO WE? DON’T WE? MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING IN THE UK
The Open University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Do we teach languages to everyone whilst they are at school or not? This seems to be a question that troubles the British government. We have had periods when only grammar school pupils learnt a foreign language up to the age of 16. We have had periods when all pupils learnt a modern foreign language up to the age of 16. We have been promised that all children would learn a modern foreign language at primary school, then this was withdrawn and it now appears that this will be reinstated. There is a lack of consistency within educational policy regarding modern foreign language teaching.
This paper offers an overview of key developments for modern foreign language education within the school system in the UK. The research draws on a range of sources from published literature, media articles and government papers. Numbers of entrants for exams in modern language are not healthy. Is this a result of the policy or does the policy reflect ambivalence towards modern foreign language learning? This paper questions why there is there so little clarity and consistency regarding modern foreign language teaching. Why is there so little commitment shown to modern foreign language teaching? The UK is by no means a mono-lingual state, yet it often seems to be necessary to convince people of the value of language learning in schools.
Keywords: Modern foreign language education, language policy, educational policy.