Jump to content
The Education Forum

History and Modern Languages


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

David Cameron said earlier this week that if the Conservatives gain power they would insist that all pupils aged 14-16 take history and a modern language. History at key stage 4 was originally ditched by the Conservatives when in government, modern languages by Labour.

Is it a good idea to make these subjects compulsory? Is it possible that students in history and modern languages are more motivated because it was their choice to study the subject?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David Cameron said earlier this week that if the Conservatives gain power they would insist that all pupils aged 14-16 take history and a modern language. History at key stage 4 was originally ditched by the Conservatives when in government, modern languages by Labour.

Is it a good idea to make these subjects compulsory? Is it possible that students in history and modern languages are more motivated because it was their choice to study the subject?

Arguably those who enjoy it and chose would still enjoy it and be motivated were it compulsory. If Cameron and co think their idea through they will see that the costs of such a move (financial and within the education agendas of citizenship, pshe, work-related learning et al) would in all likelihood be prohibitive.

Still, there's no reason to suspect any politician would really think it through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Modern Languages are in serious decline in schools throughout the UK. This is the result of the daft decision made by Estelle Morris, who did not seriously consider the consequences and who, as the following article by Philip Hensher points out, cannot even speak correct English:

By Philip Hensher in The Independent, 6 December 2006:

"If only Estelle Morris had learned French"

http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnist...icle2040149.ece

See the following article at the BBC site, 4 December 2006:

"Languages 'should be compulsory': Universities say many pupils do not have the chance to study languages. Heads of languages at dozens of top universities are calling on the government to reverse a decision allowing pupils to drop language study. University College London is even considering making it compulsory for new entrants to have a language GCSE."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6205914.stm

But see the following reactions from the public to ULC’s proposal:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbtoday/F5963509?thread=3721073

Xenophobia, ignorance and prejudice rule, OK?

An O-level in a foreign language, along with English and Maths or a Science subject, was a university entrance requirement when I applied for a university place in the early 1960s, regardless of the subject one intended to study. French at that time was considered very important. It was a core subject, and an O-level in a foreign language was not only essential for university entrance but was also considered the mark of a well-educated gentleman or lady. Consequently, French was allocated the same amount of timetable time as English and Maths, which were also compulsory for university entrance. We had a 40-minute lesson every day in each of these subjects for five school years. If you get out your calculators you will find that this amounts to just under 600 class-contact hours per subject. Timetables were less crowded in those days, and “soft option” was a concept that had not yet been invented.

I recall a friend of mine who studied Aeronautical Engineering complaining about having to get an O-level in French - which took him several attempts. He dismissed French as a "useless" subject - until he got his first job, working on Concorde in Bristol and having to travel regularly to Toulouse to collaborate with French engineers.

I cannot recall meeting any historians at in my university days who were not competent in a foreign language. At my university they had to pass a paper that involved reading foreign-language documents and making sense of them.

I believe a Foreign Language, History and Geography should be compulsory subjects at school. Make room for them by ditching some of the dubious-value trendy new subjects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Modern Languages are in serious decline in schools throughout the UK. This is the result of the daft decision made by Estelle Morris, who did not seriously consider the consequences and who, as the following article by Philip Hensher points out, cannot even speak correct English:

By Philip Hensher in The Independent, 6 December 2006:

"If only Estelle Morris had learned French"

http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnist...icle2040149.ece

See the following article at the BBC site, 4 December 2006:

"Languages 'should be compulsory': Universities say many pupils do not have the chance to study languages. Heads of languages at dozens of top universities are calling on the government to reverse a decision allowing pupils to drop language study. University College London is even considering making it compulsory for new entrants to have a language GCSE."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6205914.stm

But see the following reactions from the public to ULC’s proposal:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbtoday/F5963509?thread=3721073

Xenophobia, ignorance and prejudice rule, OK?

An O-level in a foreign language, along with English and Maths or a Science subject, was a university entrance requirement when I applied for a university place in the early 1960s, regardless of the subject one intended to study. French at that time was considered very important. It was a core subject, and an O-level in a foreign language was not only essential for university entrance but was also considered the mark of a well-educated gentleman or lady. Consequently, French was allocated the same amount of timetable time as English and Maths, which were also compulsory for university entrance. We had a 40-minute lesson every day in each of these subjects for five school years. If you get out your calculators you will find that this amounts to just under 600 class-contact hours per subject. Timetables were less crowded in those days, and “soft option” was a concept that had not yet been invented.

I recall a friend of mine who studied Aeronautical Engineering complaining about having to get an O-level in French - which took him several attempts. He dismissed French as a "useless" subject - until he got his first job, working on Concorde in Bristol and having to travel regularly to Toulouse to collaborate with French engineers.

I cannot recall meeting any historians at in my university days who were not competent in a foreign language. At my university they had to pass a paper that involved reading foreign-language documents and making sense of them.

I believe a Foreign Language, History and Geography should be compulsory subjects at school. Make room for them by ditching some of the dubious-value trendy new subjects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

As an instructor who is costantly suffering from the subject, I object to Foreign Language being compulsory.

I teach in the School of Foreign Languages (Ankara Univ) and half of the students who

come to school are there because their college/faculty requires a certificate of proficiency

in English/German/French before it accepts the students to academic programs. Therefore,

a great deal of these young people have to follow a very intense language program for one year

out of their own will, which naturally causes many problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...