Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's teach more languages in schools!

I recently came across this post about teaching languages in schools

Let's stop teaching languages in schools.

Since, like Steve, I am also passionate about language teaching I posted the following response/comment:


As a language teacher myself this article makes me very uncomfortable. Even more coming from someone like you, who promotes language learning and makes a profit from it.

I am grateful to be able to work in a private school where I have total control, flexibility and creation of my curriculum and decision over method(s) of instruction. I just need to follow the guiding principles underlying our school (I work in a Waldorf school). But the rest is totally up to me. In this sense I think I am privileged that I am able to "experiment" different ways to reach my students. I understand that most mainstream or public schools do not have that luxury.

Nevertheless I believe that (at least in US, where I live) public schools still don't have the level of support that the teaching of foreign languages deserves. Despite the many years of research and strong evidence of its advantages and benefits foreign language learning is not regarded as a priority or even considered as a core subject. Some progress is being made at a very slow pace, though.
Posts and comments like yours, especially when titled “Let's stop teaching languages in schools” might lead the general public into miss-informed or wrong directions. I would strongly encourage you avoid such language.
I do agree with you that some reform might need to happen for schools to teach languages more effectively. I also sympathize with your proposed methodology. It’s very radical and innovative. Although I could see some challenges in its implementation. May be we can talk about it some day.

Take and give care,


PS: BTW, I believe that you meant to say “He commented that Canadians who go to Japan learn JAPANASE (not English) better than Japanese who come to Canada.” right?

Posted by: paulino brener | August 16, 2007 at 03:53 PM

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