Be positive about languages

30th October 1998 at 00:00
IN WHATEVER terms the HMI report defines the failure of the current modern languages in primary schools initiative, we find it irresponsible of the press to use a soundbite like "flopped for the second time in 30 years" as a main focus of its coverage.

The highlighting of the negative comment may do much to harm the initiative which, with all its attendant supposed failings, has begun to encourage positive attitudes to foreign language learning in a nation of complacent monoglots.

We speak from an uninterrupted experience of modern languages in the primary schools in Dumfries and Galloway dating back to the time of the pilot and can report an enthusiastic welcome from pupils and parents alike for early foreign language learning.

The enthusiasm will be damaged if this kind of negative reporting is allowed to go unchallenged.

Primary teachers, too, are enthusiastic about the benefits of this addition to the curriculum and have made a considerable personal and professional commitment to training. To highlight that their work has flopped can only do damage.

The Scottish Office and the local education authorities have likewise invested time, money and talent. We need reporting which will, while admitting shortcomings, and addressing problematic issues, encourage the brave and costly attempt to save this country from its monoglot state by building on its successes.

Annelise Swanston

David Phin

Members of tutor team for modern languages in the primary school, Dumfries and Galloway

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now