no foreign languages

British Teens just don’t like to Learn Foreign Languages

no foreign languages

The fact that Britains have been shying away to learn foreign languages for years might be sad but is nothing new in itself. However, when we take a look at the latest data the Guardian brings us, we can clearly see that numbers dropped further this year.

Particularly the number of students taking their A levels in German and French fell, although French is still more than twice as popular as German with 12,500 students this year compared to less than 5000.

Other modern languages among those Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Polish and russian are slightly more popular but the numbers still make experts worried.

They claim Britain needed a new strategy for foreign language adoption similar to how STEM subjects are being advocated. If career options were more clear this might have a stimulating effect on students.

On the one hand, it’s not that complicated to understand that if mainly STEM subjects are recommended, languages are likely to go to the dogs.

On the other hand, there seems to be the notion of languages being referred to as ‘soft subjects’, possibly with the exception of English, thus something you can learn at a later point in life, something to round your profile but not more than that.

via The Guardian

Picture by joelvilla

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  • Well, that doesn’t surprise me !!! I’ ve conversed with this burning issue in the past with my adult learners only to find out that the Brits have always been brough up to believe that the entire world would speak English to them!!! So, why bother learning a foreign language???
    Perhaps, if the government “connected the British market with a foreign language certificate “, -making it compulsory for the students to obtain in order to find a decent job-, then ,that might change the course of hostory….I should think so, humbly…

    • On the other hand the willingness of non English speakers to learn English helps to cement this status. Maybe this will change a bit when new economic powers arise which then prefer to do business in their own language, as well. There might be a revival of Spanish, for example.

      On the other hand English is quite easy to learn. So why bother with more complicated languages? 🙂

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  • British

    The word “Britains” in the first line, should be Britons.

    What are “STEM subjects”?

    It is not so much a case of Britons “shying away” from learning languages as it is a case of the standard of language teaching in British schools being appalling. In many schools, it is no more than just copying random sentences from text books or white boards, with not a single word translated into English. This means that for a lot of British people, if they want to learn a foreign language, they have to do it on their own, in their own time and at their own expense.