A common difficulty in introducing languages at primary level is the lack of language knowledge or teaching experience among generalist teachers.The problem is particularly acute in languages other than French, which barely feature in primary language classes. This is believed to be the first time a course in a competence in German has been offered to primary teachers.
The project, launched last week, involves students on the teacher education degree programme at the University College of Ripon and York St John and is funded by the Goethe Institut and the college. Most of the students are specialising in theology on the teacher education degree programme.
Ann Gregory, senior lecturer responsible for the project, says: "The aim is to increase the amount of German teaching in primary schools by equipping generalist teachers with the language and skills needed to introduce German.
"They will also benefit from exchange opportunities with German and Austrian higher education institutions during their degree programme and in 1998 will enter their teaching careers with these additional, valuable skills."