A built-in boredom factor in languages

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
So fewer pupils are taking foreign languages at A-level ("Language crisis mars A-level triumph," TES, August 20 )?

It is perhaps no coincidence that 1992 - just after the national curriculum was introduced - is taken as a benchmark.

Pupils now have a full five years (key stages 34) of a syllabus of communicative language, the content of which can be found at the back of most tourist guides.

It is boring to both learn and teach, and it is surprising that so many pupils find their way through this to pick up a language at A-level, where the specification becomes really interesting, dealing with current politics, social trends and cultural knowledge, including literature.

The national curriculum missed a great opportunity to capture pupils'

interest and the results of this are being felt through the whole educational system up to university degree level.

Victoria Paleit

Sunnylawn Cottage

Faringdon Road



Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today