The death of language learning in UK primary schools?
Not everyone LOVES Speekee, I as was rightly reminded today by a homeschooling mom who had seen our plug that “98% of homeschool moms LOVE (not just like) Speekee”, but I am sure its many language learning components are a major factor in its enduring appeal.
So many components would surely not have been put into place without the news which came our way – during our first product brainstorms in 2007 – that the UK government was planning to make language learning mandatory in primary schools by 2010. We found ourselves with a lot of boxes to tick if we were going to be able to make Speekee a perfect fit for the primary sector, what with all the strict stipulations laid down by government language advisors for ‘good practice’. (It was well worth the effort we put in though; those advisors really knew their subject!)
Yet how times have changed.
It seems the government’s plan is in doubt, at best, in tatters at worst. Many – I don’t know how many – of the MFL coordinators across the UK have now lost their jobs due to recent cuts. So at a stroke coordination of language learning in primary schools has taken a big hit. And where does that leave the children? Without any language learning options at all? Well, not quite. If language learning at primary level is dying it is not quite dead yet…
… thanks to people like Suzi Bewell – visit http://petitepipelette.posterous.com/
As Suzi explained to me last night, some schools really took to languages when the opportunity came along. Those trailblazers are still blazing their trails, and they are fortunate to count on the likes of Suzi – enthusiastic, pioneering linguists who are working with schools, teachers and trainee teachers to keep alive language learning for those that probably need it most.
And we all know – don’t we?! – that young children are BRILLIANT language learners. Let them have the opportunity to show it!