I read with interest and concern the recent reports about language learning in Scottish schools and your own leader of July 4. At the University of Paisley we are often disappointed to discover that students who have been taught by the communicative method are quite disconcerted to be spoken to in the foreign language by their lecturer. Nevertheless the opportunity to start anew seems to motivate students, and a number of students have been remarkably successful.
One of our students arrived at Paisley having failed Standard grade French (a remarkable achievement in itself). Because of our flexible system he was able to join a beginner's class. He graduates this year with a BA in business economics with European economy and languages and has been offered a well paid post within a multinational company. Other candidates for this post were native speakers of French.
Another student who had done a Standard grade in French six years before beginning his marketing course at Paisley, spent his third year of study at a partner institution in France. He completed a year obtaining a French qualification in addition to his Paisley degree.
Although it is a pity so few pupils take a language to Higher grade the picture is not entirely gloomy. Many recover motivation when they become aware of the realities of the employment market place, and institutions like ours offer the opportunity for a fresh start.
Language co-ordinator, department of, accounting, economics and languages Paisley University