Awkward facts about languages

20th April 2001 at 01:00
ALAN Moys defends the foreign-languages orthodoxy of his Nuffield inquiry report against my criticisms ("Critic who steals our language", TES, April 6) Nowhere does the Nuffield report state that the value of learning a modern language is contingent - it all depends who you are. The last thing the Luton car worker or the Cumbrian farmer needs to do now is to learn German. There are costs, too, to businesses that pursue language training.

Mr Moys is disingenuous when he states that I have borrowed arguments from he Nuffield report. I put those arguments in a very different context.

For example, in calling for bettter careers information I would invite learners to ask questions about the value of languages to them. The value of a foreign language can go down as well as up.

The blind spot on the Nuffield retina is its determination to produce a display cabinet for foreign languages. It suffers from its unwillingness to engage with awkward facts and contrary views.

Helen Vandevelde Oakley Bedfordshire

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