Second submission to Lord Dearing

by the LAGB, January 2007


Dear Lord Dearing,
I am writing once more on behalf of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain in connection with your inquiry into KS4 languages. As we said in our first submission, our main concern is that children should learn to enjoy studying and learning language simply because it is fun and interesting - i.e. to treat it just like most of the other curriculum subjects rather than simply as a tool which may (or may not) come in handy later in life. However, now that we have had a chance to read your preliminary report, we should like to add two slightly more specific comments which essentially confirm the comments you will receive from the British Academy.

1. We believe that the Frameworks for languages at KS2 and KS3 define an exciting, innovative and very promising way forward, but they need time to take effect and teachers need a great deal more support than they are currently receiving to help them with the linguistic content. In particular, we believe that the focus on KAL and language-learning strategies is the only solution to the fundamental problem of different languages being taught in primary and secondary schools.

2. We believe that language departments in HE should play a more positive role in teacher recruitment by encouraging students to consider teaching and by teaching them subjects which are relevant to teaching. In particular, undergraduate programmes in a foreign language should include several courses on the linguistics (including phonetics, grammar and sociolinguistics) of the language.

We hope these comments will be helpful.