It’ll come as no surprise to learn that we’ve got a serious passion for learning languages here at Atlas Translations. Unfortunately, that passion doesn’t seem to be reflected in the UK’s education system, where a recent report found foreign language learning to be in a ‘state of crisis’!
So, what exactly is going on with language learning in British schools, and what can we do about it?
Language learning is at a low point
Adults in the UK have significantly lower rates of foreign language ability than their European counterparts, and the reasons why can be found in our schools. The report from the British Council found that language teaching in British primary schools was spotty at best, with inconsistency in teaching time and resources.
The report found that rates of language learning at GCSE and A-Level continued to decrease from previous years. The reasons behind this include a lack of consistency between primary and secondary schools, meaning many pupils have to start from scratch with their language learning when they reach Year 7.
Building bridges through language
Learning a brand new language can be tricky, especially when it has to be juggled alongside other important subjects. Many pupils also say that they don’t see the value in learning foreign languages when English is so common anyway.
Here at Atlas, we think there’s plenty to be gained from learning new languages. Language learning can broaden our horizons and build bridges to new experiences and cultures. Communication is one of the most useful and important skills we have, and languages can help us to feel more confident in our abilities.
Learning from other cultures
Language learning in the UK may be in a bit of a rut right now, but it doesn’t need to be that way! Many other countries across the world have highly successful foreign language programs, and there’s plenty we can learn from them.
Many countries benefit from a multilingual culture, with movies and music from all over the globe. There are positive signs of this happening in Britain, too, where Spanish-language songs and Korean TV dramas have had huge success.
As one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, we can celebrate our differences by embracing new languages. Language learning works best when it’s not just confined to the classroom, but encouraged to become a valuable part of our everyday lives.
Do you know a young linguist?
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