Shall I sign dd up for out of school french classes?

(22 Posts)
temporary Tue 04-Dec-12 10:46:37

My dd changed schools in Y3, and went from learning some french to not learning any. She enjoyed it previously, although it was obviously very basic. The new school has a very narrow curriculum and rubbish after school clubs for girls, so I have provided the extras myself.

I have covered the music and the sports side pretty much (though she doesn't do any ball sports) but not French. I was going to let it slide but have heard that there is a language group starting at the library for children, and I am now wondering whether to do it, or whether we are just taking too much on.

I think she would enjoy it, but I am thinking of me and her siblings too, not just wanting to be ferrying her about. Or would it be a worthwhile thing.

Opinions please?

redskyatnight Tue 04-Dec-12 11:12:38

I think you have to treat it as any after school club really. Will she enjoy it? Can she fit it in with other commitments/homework etc? Can you get her to the club? Does it fit in with other family arrangments?

I suspect the club is not worth busting a gut to get to if it's otherwise difficult. Equally she may go and find she hates it/it's not very good.

healstorturepeople Tue 04-Dec-12 11:15:04

She doesn't have to do everything you know! (your ball sport comment makes me think you feel like she has to be good at everything). Relax! Ask her if she wants to go but don't worry if she doesn't.

LoopsInHoops Tue 04-Dec-12 11:16:14

It's very unlikely that she'll learn a great deal this way to be honest, so if she wants another activity for fun go for it. I'd say sports and music are more important at this age unless there's some proper provision possible.

(Languages teacher)

Startail Tue 04-Dec-12 11:20:26

DDs did external French club in school lunch time.

Pointless for dyslexic DD1, but well worth it for DD2.

She has found the transition to secondary easier knowing some French already.

Lots of research says learning languages young is easier.

Personally MFL is the one think I'd pay for a tutor for DD2 in, they do look good on your CV and she can do them.

DH can help a bit, but like DD1 I'm dyslexic and gave up in Y9.

Haberdashery Tue 04-Dec-12 11:28:21

DD is six and does French after school at a club run by external tutors. It's only half an hour so not too tiring. She absolutely loves it and over a year has picked up a reasonable vocabulary, an excellent accent and is able to hold simple conversations of the how old are you, I am six, I live in London variety. She knows colours, can count up to twenty, can sing a ton of dreadful songs and knows the names of some animals, household objects and food. I think it's brilliant.

Startail Tue 04-Dec-12 11:29:33

Loops DD2 has found German, which she knows non of very hard.

I agree that she didn't learn a lot of French in primary, but at least she doesn't feel totally confused.

She's a clever girl, but loses confidence a bit easily.

This isn't a problem with maths and science as these are DH and I's field and we can cope with most other things.

However, MFLs are now taught quite differently and DHs bit of O level French is not really sufficent.

Katisha Tue 04-Dec-12 11:33:22

DSs did a French club once a week at lunchtimes between years 1 and 4. Then moved schools to where French is taught in lessons. I don't think think they gained much from the French club to be honest. It was a lot of money and not much if anything to show for it bar "My name is X and I am X years old". And a lot of colouring in. I thought it might ease the way into actually learning French but as they started from scratch at the next school I don't think it made any difference.

Startail Tue 04-Dec-12 11:34:19

I should add that DDs are at State schools and despite the EBAC etc. state MFL teaching isn't great.

RichTeas Tue 04-Dec-12 12:42:33

I would do it. She liked French and so may well like continuing. And if not, so easy to drop out (unlike music/sports where you may have bought an instrument or kit). However, it doesn't sound like the environment where she would seriously progress with the language, more a case of keeping the flame alive.

LoopsInHoops Tue 04-Dec-12 13:13:54

But some people just do find a different language harder than another, startail. Lots of people find French easier than German, I doubt it has much to do with her primary French.

I absolutely think that MFL should be taught earlier in primary schools, but for effective results we really need to go the whole hog. An hour or less a week is not enough for real results.

For many years I have taught mixed y7 classes, comprising about half that have studied French from y3 in primary, half with no prior knowledge. By Christmas in y7 there is no difference in levels.

If she wants to do it, give it a go. If she finds it fun, keep going. If not, don't stress about it. smile

gabsid Tue 04-Dec-12 14:31:43

True, if she enjoys it let her do it. But if you are just hoping give her a head start for secondary MFL then chill!!! They all start from the beginning and they may even teach her another language altogether.

If you do want her to learn French or any language, let her go to the club, visit the country and make sure she sticks to learning one language (at first anyway).

Many primary schools seem to give DC a 'taster of language learning', e.g. teaching them a bit of French, then the next year a bit of German and then Spanish ... depending on whatever the teacher knows best I think. I (a linguist) would find it frustrating if I worked hard to learn the basics of one language and then do the same thing all over for another language. I find language learning becomes increasingly interesting and fun the more you can do with the language, e.g. hold a conversation, read an article/story, understand films/TV ...

temporary Tue 04-Dec-12 22:13:21

Ok, thank you for your input, I have decided not to do it. She would enjoy it a lot, I know, and for that reason I am not going to tell her it was an option because she would be disappointed that it won't happen. There are lots of other things she would enjoy too.

Also, I have found out it costs £11 a class, which feels like a lot for something I am only ambivalent about, and as one of the reasons was I thought she might be behind everyone else in secondary school then that doesn't appear to be an issue from what has been said here.

Moominmammacat Wed 05-Dec-12 08:32:14

In my experience, they learn colours and not much else in clubs. You can easily do it at home a lot cheaper. My DSs did no languages at primary and went to selective state where they caught up with the prep school children very quickly (ie, preps had to wait for them) and went on to do language A levels with no problems. Should be taught properly in primaries though ... wasn't that a Labour promise years ago?

LoopsInHoops Wed 05-Dec-12 09:40:52

The Rose / Dearing report. This government scrapped it as soon as they came into power for some unknown reason.

LoopsInHoops Wed 05-Dec-12 10:07:28

Sorry, just Rose, not Dearing blush

LoopsInHoops Wed 05-Dec-12 10:09:18

The farce of it was that LAs up and down the country had appointed and trained MFL primary liaison advisors, primary schools had planned delivery of MFL courses after having either taken on extra staff, organised outreach, or paid to send their own teachers on training. All scrapped suddenly. Idiots.

gabsid Thu 06-Dec-12 10:12:18

Oh, I must google that report.

Good idea, do it at home.

Before we went on holiday to Spain last summer I taught DS (7) some Spanish. There are lots of little songs on YouTube and games on websites, e.g. BBC. I am sure you will find the same for French, e.g. catchy songs for 'What's your name? My name is..., How are you? ..., the numbers, How old are you? ... Where are you from? ...

At home we played funny games in Spanish, e.g. Do you want (food)? Yes, I want (food)/No, I don't want(food). Close the door, I am cold (I told him that a lot resently). Just to repeat the same language lots of times.

Result: DS thinks Spanish is a joking language and he doesn't have to listen when I tell him off in Spanish. DS can hold a basic conversation with above questions, he knows numbers to 100 and can do maths with them, colours, and he understands and responds to simple requests.

If you speak a little French you can achieve a lot yourself I think.

vesela Fri 07-Dec-12 23:15:57

It's definitely worth doing some at home, if she enjoys it. Not so much for the amount she'll actually learn as for the confidence it'll give her when she starts doing languages at school. The fact that they all start from scratch again at school doesn't make any difference.

My grandmother used to do a little bit of French with me when I was about 8-10 (she'd been a supply teacher during the war) and we also did a tiny little bit at primary school. My grandmother didn't do much speaking with me - just translating little sentences into English - but it all helped. Only a bit, but the "I can do this!" feeling it gave me when I started French at secondary school was invaluable. I went on to enjoy languages hugely, and am now a translator from Czech. It's quite possible that I would have enjoyed languages in any case - but I'm sure that the bit I did at primary age made a difference in terms of my confidence.

vesela Fri 07-Dec-12 23:19:55

Not sure if I explained myself very well there, so to repeat - it's worth doing some at this age not for the quantity that they'll learn (which will probably not be huge) but to introduce them to the concept of a different language and give them confidence.

Lavenderhoney Sat 08-Dec-12 05:30:12

My ds does extra French but it's supplied by the school and is free. It's more for exposure to the language though, as many of his relatives are French. We try to do it at home, watch DVDs in French, and use French apps- there is a lovely one called " princesses learn French" which dd loves and ds enjoys to. We have French reading books too, which are part of bedtime - the same books as his favourite English ones.

However ds has requested to drop it and do extra swimmingsmile have yet to tell dhsmile

gabsid Tue 11-Dec-12 12:57:07

Lavender - from what you say it appears to me that you are almost a bilingual family, that your DD has had lots of exposure to French from relatives and what you do with her, so her understanding may be pretty good already and what they do at French club at school may be boring for her.

Many bilingual DC I know will only speak English but they have a very good understanding of the second language.

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