Back to basics of grammar

25th June 2004 at 01:00
You rightly point out that there is far more incentive for others to learn English than for English speakers to learn foreign languages.

Bearing this in mind, I decided to look at the teaching of French in Sweden and Finland. I found that the lessons were no more "fun" than in the UK, but that a great deal more was achieved because the pupils had at least three hours of French a week plus regular homework, with a firm focus in the first two years on grammar and structure.

Thanks to this thorough grounding, they soon felt confident in expressing themselves in speech and writing, and were quickly able to move on to more interesting topics.

Our pupils don't need more "fun", they need time to be able to make faster progress towards genuine communication, which brings its own rewards.

Sheila Rowell 1 Old Rectory Gardens Godalming, Surrey

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