Intrinsic value of other languages

29th July 2005 at 01:00
I agree with Peter Wilby's analysis (TES, July 8) of why young people in the UK might find it difficult to be motivated to learn a foreign language, given the interest of others in learning English.

But for two reasons I disagree with his view that "there is no point in compelling them to do so".

First, pupils are obliged to learn many things that they may not find interesting or relevant at that time in their lives. Second, and more importantly, learning another language offers a chance for pupils to get some insights into another way of thinking about and viewing the world.

In this current climate of misunderstandings between cultures and countries, anything that contributes to young people experiencing greater empathy is surely of intrinsic value.

Barbara Lee Mason

9 St Sevan Way Exmouth, Devon

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