Sounds like a success in any language

11th January 2013 at 00:00

Had I read "Buenos dias, bilingualism" (4 January) six years ago, I might have thought: "Here comes a crackpot idea that will cause chaos for 18 months, then be reformed or rethought for a further year, before being forgotten without fanfare." Now I think: "About time too. Why has this taken so long?" It's not as if reforms have been thin on the ground recently.

Why my change of heart? Six years ago, I moved to Spain to work in an immersion (rather than bilingual) school, and I've never been so enthused in 30 years of teaching. My six- and seven-year-old pupils are native Spanish speakers and I teach everything in English.

A few years ago, I wrote some articles for TES and described my initial difficulties, but I soon became more skilled in the techniques needed and rapidly discovered the remarkable ability of young children to acquire languages, and their boundless enthusiasm for doing so when given experiences and activities to inspire them. Even bilinguismo isn't really that impressive, there's a local language here, making Spanish pupils' second language and English a third. Good luck, Bilingual Primary School of Brighton. At long last an educational reform that gives children a chance to show what they are capable of. Suerte!

Jeremy Dean (a pseudonym), Author of Zen Kyu Maestro: An English teacher's Spanish adventure, a Monday Books e-book (forthcoming).

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