Urgent help needed from any languages teachers

(14 Posts)
youcannoteatconkers Mon 19-Sep-16 18:35:56

DD is in year 9. It is a 14 plus school but has taken year 9s for the first time this year.

Up to the end of year 8 dd did Spanish once a fortnight and French weekly.
DD was predicted a high C to a B in French but they did not assess the Spanish.

DD has just moved to a new school where they teach Spanish, French and German. DD hated French and wanted to do Spanish. Only 2 of the children in her year have chosen Spanish so she is in a mixed year 9/year 10 class.

They are doing basic work, numbers, what is your name, how old are you etc. I have seen her work book.

Her Spanish teacher has taken her out of class today and said that she is struggling (after one week) and should consider a move to German. DD did a taster of German and hated it.

If they were doing complicated Spanish then I would force the move but they seem to be starting from foundations.

DD has come home in floods of tears today. She has low confidence and self esteem and is the only one who has been taken out of class so it has hammered her tonight.

Any advice greatly received.

GU24Mum Mon 19-Sep-16 22:51:22

I know you said she hated French but on balance, mightn't that be the better option if she'd feel more confident than in Spanish? Hope it works out OK.

Lapinlapin Mon 19-Sep-16 22:57:03

Mmm, tricky. It seems a bit much that the teacher has said she is struggling after only a week!

Confidence and enthusiasm play a big part. So if she's enthusiastic about Spanish or at least not negative about it then I'd say stick with it.

But...is this teacher just going to further erode her confidence? If so, she might be better off moving to a different language.

Germans is a great language by the way! smile

I think in your position I'd try to get in touch with the teacher myself to find our what's going on. Is your dd really struggling? etc. You can also explain her previous language experience up to now and see what the teacher suggests. Can you phone the school or email the teacher?

Traalaa Tue 20-Sep-16 09:10:18

If she's year 9 and they're only doing such basic language, I'd think a good GCSE pass is a heck of a stretch. So maybe that's what the teacher's thinking, so not really about your dd in a way as even for a child who was confident it sounds like a leap. My DS started Spanish in year 7. They have Spanish for two hours a week and they carry that onto GCSE. He was doing age/ introducing yourself, etc at the very start of year 7. If your DD's year 9 she's at a real disadvantage in comparison. Seems crazy to me.

user14729372739 Tue 20-Sep-16 09:19:03

Yes, definitely talk to the teacher to find out exactly what's going on. Is she using the first week to assess where they're all at given that some have just arrived from another school? At our school we did German from year 9 so it can be done in time for GCSEs if you're motivated and I got an A*

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Tue 20-Sep-16 09:25:06

Spanish is much easier than German (in my opinion)! Starting it in Year 9 for GCSE is fine, my school did that and most people got A*/A.

I don't know how she can be obviously struggling so early, surely it takes a but if time to settle into a new school and with a new teacher?

I think you need to find out why the teacher thinks she's struggling.

Whynotnowbaby Tue 20-Sep-16 09:40:28

It is definitely possible to go from beginner to completing GCSE in two years - I used to teach a language like this and my students did at least as well as they did in the language they had studied from y7 - but I don't really understand the set up you describe. Are the y9s in the class beginners? If not they are probably just doing the first part of the GCSE course which is a very quick review of all the basics before they start deepening the knowledge. This would mean someone without much prior knowledge might struggle to keep up but unless the setup in German is different, I don't see how that would be any more accessible. Really I would have thought she would be best off switching to French if she switches at all.

I think you need to contact the head of languages and discuss your dd's prior knowledge and the teacher's comments and try to work out with everyone involved what the best option is.

youcannoteatconkers Tue 20-Sep-16 09:45:11

Ok i have spoken to the teacher and got the full story.

The idea was that all language beginners were put in German. They have then done a random check to make sure there were no beginners who had slipped through the cracks in Spanish and French.

The teacher has asked if anyone had never done Spanish before immediately after helping dd who had been stuck. Dd whos confidence is rock bottom at the moment has panicked and presumed it was because she was stuck so put her hand up.

She has then been taken to the head of languages to discuss best way forward.

Dd has had two years of being made to feel she is not good enough at the old school and has some sen has reverted to that mode and got very upset.

She was apparently doing fine but has chosen beginners German instead now as that is year nines.

Traalaa Tue 20-Sep-16 09:45:12

Ah I stand corrected! I know that in DS's school if they show they're good at languages, they can start another in yr9 and do that up to GCSE. It's reserved for kids who have shown they're doing well in Spanish though.

OP could your dd be thrown by being in with the yr10's? Presumably they've done far more Spanish, so working at a higher level. That might be knocking her confidence?

youcannoteatconkers Tue 20-Sep-16 09:47:15

X post i think that is a huge part of it Traala. She already thinks she is 'thick and stupid' sad so i think it has probably not helped.

Traalaa Tue 20-Sep-16 09:59:08

Oh your poor DD. Hard enough to start at a new school, without being put in a position to feel stupid. sad

Lapinlapin Tue 20-Sep-16 10:27:13

It's a shame she's been made to feel she has to change.
I'm biased, but German is a great language and a good one to have as fewer schools teach it these days.

If she's now in a true beginner's class, could you maybe help to boost her confidence a bit? I'm thinking that if you did just a little bit extra with her at home for the first few weeks so that she goes in to school feeling she knows more than the others rather than less? That's such a powerful feeling, confidence-wise.
Once she feels better about herself she'll find it all so much easier.

There's lots of good websites and apps these days that help with language learning. Duolingo is a good one for instance.

youcannoteatconkers Tue 20-Sep-16 20:24:47

Thanks Lapin. Will download Duolingo. Definately up for helping.

If i am being fair now knowing what has happened it is definately more dds worrying rather than the teacher!

I think her being in the complete beginners class with her own age will be much better for her confidence than feeling under pressure.

Balletgirlmum Wed 21-Sep-16 23:58:34

In ds's school they can start a new language in year 9 if they choose to but they have double the normal amount of lessons that year to catch up.

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