Languages can lead to a whole new world

6th July 2001 at 01:00
I have just read Lynne Field's article "Why pain in Spain is on the wane" (Friday, June 22) in which she describes sitting GCSE Spanish at the age of 50 alongside her French pupils.

Lynne's story reflects my experience, and that of my husband. Both language teachers, we decided to take up Spanish and Italian in our spare time. I sat my Spanish GCSE eight months pregnant in an exam hall with 200 boys. Some years later, I sat my A-level alongside our students.

Apart from the obvious enjoyment we have had from learning new languages, the experience has opened up teaching opportunities. But, perhaps most important, it reminded us how it felt to be learning a new language. When you're fluent, it's easy to forget the commitment and the "pain" involved in learning tenses and vocabulary.

We recommend diversification to all language teachers, young and old - it's a wonderful role model for young pupils.

Clare Park, Carmel sixth form college, St Helens

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