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Languages - Mates and music

Most modern languages pupils in S2-3 prefer working in a group with classmates of a similar ability, a Glasgow University study claims.

The survey of 241 pupils at one state school also found that the best ways to learn - according to the children - were being able to discuss work and listening to music.

The findings showed that 82 per cent of S3 and 81 per cent of S2 preferred working in a group. Some 63 per cent of S3 preferred a class where everyone was at about the same level, while the figure for S2 was 85 per cent.

Pupils were also asked what helped them learn. Top for both years was "discussing the work": 74 per cent of S2 and 82 per cent of S3. Second was background music: 66 per cent of S2 and 67 per cent of S3.

Despite a sizeable minority stating that they had negative feelings when looking back at their experience of languages in S1, the vast majority thought they had learned a lot of French in secondary school: 87 per cent of S2 and 89 per cent of S3.

The findings were presented by researcher Hazel Crichton to the annual conference of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching in Stirling (SALT) earlier this month.

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