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Look to Europe for the best way to teach languages

I refer to your article about the teaching of modern languages in Scottish schools ("Languages class target unachievable", The Herald, February 21).

The debate has gone on for some time now as to what is the best method to teach children modern languages and at what age to start.

Why is it that the relevant people do not look at other European countries and see how they do it? The problem with the teaching of modern languages in primary schools is that the teachers are not qualified language teachers with a background of university education and also, most importantly, experience of living in a foreign country for some time and knowing about the culture.

The question of teaching modern languages in schools does not seem to have been thought through – it is just a mish-mash of ideas. Pupils must learn the basics of the English language first before embarking on learning a foreign language.

I have experience working in central Europe and am a fluent German speaker, having studied it at university and taught German and French in secondary schools.

Elizabeth Anderson,

55 Kingston Road,

Bishopton, Renfrewshire.

The decline in the number of pupils studying foreign languages is very worrying and any measure that will help to halt this is to be applauded.

For the past two years the Rotary Club of Barrhead has presented Young Linguist of the Year awards in the two secondary schools in the area.

The competition is open to pupils in their fourth year and they have to present a job application in a foreign language which they are studying. The winners attend a meeting of the club where they read their work in the presence of the members.

This competition has been warmly welcomed by staff and pupils and has helped to increase interest in the subject.

In its small way it helps to promote the relevance of languages in social and commercial contexts and is in keeping with the international aspect of Rotary.

Rev Alexander Macdonald,

35 Lochore Avenue,

Paisley.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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