I welcome Amanda Spielman’s comment about progress across the 12 years of learning for our school age children. It seems to me truly ridiculous that in the past in England we waited until children are 11 years old to allow them the opportunty to officially explore other languages.
Very young children love the exploration of sounds,love code breaking, love collecting language!
Even today we have to accelerate language learning toward a GCSE it would not be quite so challenging, in my opinion, if developed progress over time which is appropriate to age and stage of the learners had been planned for. Whether we are linguists with great knowledge of one or several languages or teachers with limited knowledge of a language,we all have to play our part.
Language learning goes beyond being good at one language.
As the learners move from one learning stage to another,surely we need to develop and prepare pupils’ language learning skills for personal futures in which we as teachers will play a very limited part.
How do we embrace what has come before and not ignore or at worst negate this?
How do we embrace what children already can do in other languages and use this to enhance what we want them to achieve as the children from KS2 become the pupils of KS3 and KS4 and have to pass through our examination system?
7. Should progress in becoming a linguist be content bound?
How can we say a child who knows the most words, is the best linguist? Languages are not a memory game.Yes, memory plays a vey important role and speed of recall certainly helps fluency in both passive and active language use, however languages are much more than being able to remember prior learning.
We can not predetermine what progress learners make by just a list of words or being able to spot key structures in a sentence.
Let’s ask Year 6 teachers to be facilitators.To review what has been done before, to celebrate languages spoken by children in their classrooms and apply independent learning skills children have developed to language learning.
Let’s help Year 6 teachers to prepare their learners for the unknown and unfamiliar so that they approach this with confidence and enthusiasm.
Let’s provide time so that KS3 colleagues can experience the wealth of “ready” to learn pupils in Year 6 and inform and excite them about the linguists with fluency in several languages,who are going to help them to explore in detail a specific language from KS3 onwards.
8.Progress in languages is special.
It’s about the whole child and developing their educational right to communicate.
From the child about to start school, excited about everything they are going to learn and explore….