At an Intelligence Squared debate last week, Professor Mary Beard gave some indications of how the teaching of languages has suffered in state education.
- Fewer than 500 state schools now offer any classical languages and much of this teaching is offered in the \’twilight\’ hours after most classes have finished.
- The government is not providing enough training of classics teachers to replace the ones who will retire.
- The numbers taking French GCSE have fallen by 100,000 since 2004.
TEACHERS in one town are struggling to understand their pupils – because they speak 127 languages.
Kids turn up for class talking any lingo from Afrikaans and Armenian to Uzbek and Zulu.
Others chatter away in an incredible variety of tongues including Assamese, Chichewa, Kurdish, Lithuanian, four kinds of Chinese, Nahuati and even English. It means Reading, Berks – population 233,000 – has more languages than almost any town of similar size in the world.
Sorry, can somome remind me what the problem is again? We seem to have an abundance of people who can speak not English….so why does anyone want to train more?