Languages in Primary Schools – German an essential skill

Started reading lots and lots about bi- and multingualism, community and classroom languages in preparation of my course essay (will look at how language and power influences the construction of a learner’s identity). Although I teach mostly adults I’ll focus on language use in primary schools, comparing what’s happening in Austria with the UK .

Anyway, whilst googling like a madwoman  if you ever were in the same boat as I, that is having the feeling that despite having stacks and stacks of carefully selected books (many of which were recommended by your tutor ESPECIALLY for your particular essay) piled up on the desk or like in my case on the dining table…ahm…and another pile next to your bed (as if you could read them all, really) you still think that there is that one article or book out there, the one that is perfect for your essay, you might understand or even feel sympathy for my 2 hours mad-googling-action  I came across the following article (The Independent, June 2012)  about language teaching in UK’s primary schools.

The reports finding, that of German being rated as a real  important language skill to have (after French, Spanish and Mandarin) REALLY surprised me. Hence the reason for this post.  

‘Ministers have suggested a range of languages that should be taught, including Mandarin, Latin and Greek as well as French, German and Spanish.

The plans, to be unveiled by the Education Secretary Michael Gove, coincide with a report from Britain’s bosses published today which warns that the UK has “the worst language proficiency in Europe”.

The report, based on a survey of more than 500 companies by the CBI and Pearson, says one in four employers rate Mandarin as an essential skill for today’s youngsters – placing it fourth behind German (50 per cent), French (49 per cent) and Spanish (37 per cent).’

If you like, you can read the full article here.

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