Y9 options - 2 MFL?(23 Posts)
What do people think? DD is thinking of picking French and German. She does really like languages and is good at them, but also does tend to be a bit lazy.
It's not just that I'm worried about the workload - all the alternatives will be a lot of work too - but I'm worried that trying to learn two languages side by side will be confusing and might work against each other.
My dd did French and Spanish, and is doing both at A level too (and will at university as well), so clearly no problem! She occasionally mixes up words, but it's not confusing.
My other dd did German and Latin, but that's not quite the same
I teach MFL (so did two languages - actually I have O levels in five languages if you count classical ones!). I would really encourage her to be a dual linguist if she is keen and able.
There are fewer and fewer students picking two languages now - in a number of schools it is impossible, as only one language is studied due to timetabling issues.
My DC have the option of picking up a second language from scratch in year 10 - not surprisingly not many do! So if she does two that will give her something special and unusual.
French and German IME are sufficiently different not to cause confusion. In fact learning two side by side leads often to connections eg better understanding of how to make the past tense (it is similar in French and German but very different from English).
She will be doing the new GCSE with no controlled assessment, much better and really exciting
DD is taking French and German at GCSE this summer. She has not had any problems muddling up the two. She will probably drop french at A level and just continue with German, but does not regret taking french at gcse level.
Going back 20 years, but I did French and German to avoid art/music i.e. things I was crap at. I did fine, didn't get muddled between them and haven't lost out by not having a poor grade in an arts subject.
Both my DC did 2 MFL for GCSE without issues, and high A*-B grades.
I did French and German at A level, got A grades at both. They are very different languages so I wouldn't worry about getting them confused. Do both if she genuinely enjoys them.
I did French, German and Latin GCSEs, no muddling, A* all 3 and the 2 modern languages much lower workload than more essay based GCSEs in my day.
My DD did 2MFLs and it worked out well for her. But that was under the system of 60% CA for each so things may be different now.
The main benefit was that the skills she had to learn for one were transferable to the other. e.g. understanding that to get high marks in writing she needed to include certain things like 3 tenses and a comparison.
The only minor downside was she would occasionally throw French words in to Spanish and vice versa. Not helped by having the same teacher for both! Also vocab to learn for both each week.
Also I would say there is less revision than for some other subjects such as History, as the skills and vocab are built up over time. This helped when it came to summer of y11.
Some really useful responses. Thanks everyone.
She is actually really keen to do both. Her heart isn't in any of the other subjects. She did originally plan to do History but the syllabus looks so tedious (and I say this as a History grad with a passion for the subject). She also has rejected her other choice, Food Tech, because "people will think she's weird". It's hard being 14!
I did both at GCSE stage and I don't remember any problems with muddling them up - and I'm not particularly brilliant at languages. It gives you a lot of vocabulary to learn, but on the flip side, there are similarities in the grammar stuff so you get more practice in that side of things.
dd1 did French and German and dd2 wants to do the same. I don't think there is any issue about getting them muddled. If she is keen and able, however, it is considered quite a prestigious couple of GCSEs to have, and there aren't that many dc that get them.
Combining French and German is perfectly doable, they are very different languages. I went to school in Holland, where English is compulsory no matter where you are in the system - that means some people do 3 MFLs. I was one of those (but I don't count because I was bilingual Dutch/English at the time) and so were quite a few others - who did very well.
MFL teacher here: If she's good at them and prefers them to the alternatives, then yes, she should do them. As she's in year 9 now she'll be doing the new GCSE which (thankfully) has abolished coursework, so I think she'll find the workload OK. Keen linguists are rare, so if she can do both and get good grades she will be desirable to universities. However, my caveat would be if she is just OK at them. Some children I teach (those who are less able in languages) do get confused between the two a bit - but others find the comparisons across languages helpful. I would have a talk/email with her subject teachers just to check they agree that this is a wise choice.
My dd has had this struggle too and has been vascillating about languages. She is good at them and likes them but has other subjects she really wants to do at GCSE as well. Biscuitsneeded - what advice would you give to someone regarding the possibility of taking an MFL GCSE externally? this is something we are seriously considering. Thanks.
I have limited experience of this. When it's an EAL kid doing a GCSE in their mother tongue - no problem. They usually get high grades. I've never known anyone not pick a language at school but then get tutored privately - it might work but would need fairly intensive tuition from a tutor who knows how the GCSE works (ie not just a native speaker or someone with a degree in the subject). And if you're thinking DD can just work on it in her own time, I'd be highly dubious...
If she can carry on to A level, 2 MFL is a door opener to a very good university. Far less competition for places. My DD did two all the way through and including university. If she enjoys languages, do it. Shame about the History syllabus though.
If she likes them both and is good at them, do them both. Much lower workload than other subjects. The best form of revision if you can afford it is to spend a week or so in each country in the run-up to the exams, maybe in October half term and then at Easter?
I am hoping that my ds (currently Y8) will be able to do German and Spanish for GCSE as he likes languages. He is learning German via Wolsey Hall currently so it's possible he might have to do it externally but the school does teach German so I am hoping they will help even if they don't offer German to his year group.
Interesting topic - having similar dilemmas!
My dc is keen to take French at GCSE (which she has been studying since year 7), and Spanish (which will be a totally new subject for year 10 - a kind of fast track I suppose.)
She is at a pretty high level in French so far, but concerned that it will be confusing with 2 MFLs which are more similar than for example French and German.
Also that the Spanish is a new subject which will be a pretty intensive course through years 10 & 11 and she has had no chance for a "taster" lesson (only exposure is a couple of family holidays to Spain!). Any one else been in a similar position?
DD1 did Spanish from scratch for GCSE, and is now doing it for A level. DH and I are scientists not linguists and her Spanish is the GCSE she had least help for from us.
The similarities helped, for example knowing a word from French helped her to guess meanings of words for Spanish and vice versa. Progress can be much faster for the second MFL as they have already grasped the concepts from doing French. Also my understanding is that Spanish pronunciation is pretty straightforward phonics which makes that easier too.
My dd was home educated - she'd been studying Spanish for a couple of years but wasn't at a particularly high level. Then she went to school for y9, and had to do French and Spanish - having never done any French, she figured she'd get through the year, and then drop it as a gcse option. After two terms she was doing really well at it and knew she was keeping it as a gcse! She did really well, got about 95% ums in both her Spanish and French gcse's. If she did that in 3 years, then if your daughter is already doing well at French, then I'm sure she can do it in two
My DS did German (from scratch) and Spanish and was fine, didn't get them mixed up.
Thanks for advice - just seen though that need to be working at least level 7 at the end of year 9 - dc last assessment was 6a, and options looming in next few weeks, so hoping school will predict level 7 for end of year 9, though should find out on parents evening next week!
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