which languages are your dc learning?

(64 Posts)
ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 16:12:39

Just that really, which languages are your dc learning in secondary school and do you think they are being well taught?

NewYearNewNN Sat 05-Jan-13 16:15:31

ddtwin one French Spanish and Latin, ddtwin two French German and Latin.

I think they're being taught ok but we're getting extra tuition in the MFLs. But this is partially because we're able to get the tuition at mate's rates.

sicutlilium Sat 05-Jan-13 16:32:17

DS1 Y9 French, German, Latin & Greek. Next year, fingers crossed, he'll add Russian. Very well taught.

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 16:43:33

French & German. I think it's a lousy way to teach languages because they only get 2 hours of German & 4 hours of French per fortnight, both learnt from scratch. I don't care if it's standard English way to teach languages in English secondary schools, it's still a lousy way to teach languages. DS gets very confused and is learning very little of either.


ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 16:54:32

amazng how it varies. Five languages is quite a lot to juggle sicut. If you are happy with the teaching, could you say a bit about how he is being taught? Latin/Greek I can imagine but the MFLs?

I thought a MFL would be compulsory sauvignon. I didn't realise you go elect not to learn any (I am overseas so out of touch with it)

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 16:59:35

Iljkk, just saw on the horrors of Dutch shops thread that you are American. Do you think MFL are generally taught better, more intensively perhaps, in the US? I presume it is usual for dc to learn Spanish as first foreign language in the US, how many lessons a week do you think would be spent on it?

It is compulsory for most ZZZ but they have made an exception for DS as he just doesn't 'get it', it's a shame, I love languages but it's not for him. sad

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 17:16:48

was he learning French? Probably if it really wasn't for him, it is a good thing that he doesn't have to continue. Might have been just the wrong approach for him though. Why do you think he didn't get on with it?

It was French, he has AS and has problems with language processing.
I'm pinning my hopes on DD!

BackforGood Sat 05-Jan-13 17:29:56

ds - none anymore, now he's in 6th form, but did French to GCSE. I think it was taught very poorly - but them I'm old enough to have done O-levels where you had to learn to speak the language. His experience seems to be learning a passage to recite for each exam. Can't have a very basic conversation even at my low levels from 30+ years ago sad

dd1 - is doing French and German. I think it's a lot better at her school, although still driven by this ridiculous 'learn a passage' business. She was doing the same passage in Yr7 though, as ds was doing in Yr10, so I know she's further on. 1/2 her year started Spanish and 1/2 started French in Yr7 (was a randsom split but you were asked to let them know if there were a particular reason they should do one or the other), then those that showed an apptitude were offered a 2nd language in Yr8).

creamteas Sat 05-Jan-13 18:25:37

My two are doing French, and it is the only one on offer now.

Since MFL was dropped from the NC for KS4, the numbers declined so much it wasn't viable to offer two at their school any more.

It is still compulsory for top set, but an option below that and few choose it sad

EmpressMaud Sat 05-Jan-13 18:29:33

French and Latin.
I think it is being taught well, if I do say so myself.

spudmasher Sat 05-Jan-13 18:36:45

Creamteas they only do Spanish at my DDs school, nothing else, for the same reason. It's quite a small school so difficult for them to offer more.
I do think is is well taught- DD totally inspired by hervteacher and doing well....but announced her pregnancy just before Xmas break so I'm a little concerned about the future as I do think it depends on the teacher, not the scheme of work.

badgerhead Sat 05-Jan-13 19:38:25

DD1 & DD2 both did French & Italian to year 9 & then stayed with Italian for GCSE. DD1 got an A & DD2 takes hers this year, don't expect an A but a good C. Different capabilities for them both.

motherinferior Sat 05-Jan-13 19:39:22

French, German and Latin. Don't know yet what I think about the teaching; she's only had a term.

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Jan-13 22:15:46

quite a range from 0-5!

sicutlilium Sun 06-Jan-13 00:10:48

ZZen - French from Y1, Latin from Y5, Greek from Y8, German from Y9 (when he changed schools), Russian (depending on performance in other languages) would start in Y10, but he would take French & Latin GCSEs a year early at the end of Y10.

kaumana Sun 06-Jan-13 00:22:25

French for a couple of years, dropped it for Spanish and studying Latin atmo. Pick something that they are likely to use.

manicbmc Sun 06-Jan-13 00:23:48

Fluent swearing.

cheesesarnie Sun 06-Jan-13 00:28:42

dd and ds1 are both learning German. taught very well, teacher is fantastic and really encourages both. Told that German is a good language to learn for dyslexics as it 'makes sense'? Either way, they both love to speak it at home as I don't know any German!
ds2 is learning french although he's primary. (but very happy with how he's being taught too!).

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Sun 06-Jan-13 00:44:40

DD has done French, Spanish and Latin from year 7, she is now in year 8. Teaching seems very good, DD seems to have learnt loads in past 2 years and enjoys the lessons.

DS still in year 6, does French and Latin. Teaching seems very good, have even managed to spark some enthusiasm from very laid back DS!

LS25 Sun 06-Jan-13 09:54:57

My dd is 14 and in the year above for her age, she learned latin last year, did it in 1 year and got A* she is also learning Spanish and Mandarin and has already taken her French GCSE A* My ds is 16, he's already taken his GCSE French and is now learning Spanish, which he loves, both of my children are in the same academic, year but in different schools.

circular Sun 06-Jan-13 10:46:53

DD1, yr11. oversubscriibed, just above average comp.
French, German & Spanish (just a term of each) in Yr7.
French compulsory for all from yr8, plus a choice of the other two (DD1 did German).
From yr10, after choosing options in yr9, only continued with French. for GCSE. Not great teaching at this level, she has the only teacher that does not teach A'level, and only teaches the mixed ability group to a B/C standard, although DD is hoping for an A, and planning to take French A'level.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 06-Jan-13 10:49:53

French and Latin. And he'll do Spanish next year if he does well in French.

He enjoys them, and what I've seen looks OK.

Bunbaker Sun 06-Jan-13 10:51:50

DD is year 8 and is learning French. I'm not convinced they teach it very well as I have French A level and have spotted mistakes in the teacher's marking. DD say that her teacher speaks French with a Barnsley accent!

happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 11:12:53

DS1 "high performing academy" but significant dyslexia does not do any MFL. DS2 top boys boarding school does two MFL French is compulsory and Latin also compulsory all taught in classes with no more than 12 in one case only 7 the teaching is excellent..

Millais Sun 06-Jan-13 11:31:41

Latin,Greek , French/ German and Spanish Yes all are taught really well though I do have to say I think it is easier to get the top grades with the type of exams they have now. My dcs are amazed that I went into my oral exams not knowing the themes or questions in advance. "What, so you just had to learn loads of vocab?"

Bunbaker Sun 06-Jan-13 13:33:19

"My dcs are amazed that I went into my oral exams not knowing the themes or questions in advance."

Do they really know what questions they are going to get?!!!
It's no wonder we see so many A and A* grades then. I did O levels way back in 1975 and we didn't have a clue what we would be asked. We just did a 2 year syllabus and could have been asked about anything we had learned during that time. The same applied to the A levels as well.

glaurung Sun 06-Jan-13 13:53:28

dd learned french, latin, spanish, italian, german, japanese and mandarin at various stages at school. She learned very little of most of them though so they are of no use at all except to superficially impress the occasional asian friend she meets. Even french which she took to gcse and got an A* she can barely speak as it does seem to be more a question of ability to memorise passages than actually being able to speak the language these days.

happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 14:00:08

"My dcs are amazed that I went into my oral exams not knowing the themes or questions in advance.
Do they really know what questions they are going to get?!!!"
My DS2's school does the iGCSE I believe they dont know what they are going to get asked in the oral!

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 14:12:40

Not sure about all exam boards, but my DC have to prepare a presentation for their orals so whilst they don't know the exact questions they can predict what might come up fairly acuurately.

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 14:14:31

(accurately obviously)

glaurung Sun 06-Jan-13 14:17:57

I think dd knew 6 questions in advance which all but one of the questions she would be asked in the exam would be selected from. The remaining exam question would be similar or related - on one occasion she accurately guessed exactly what it would be.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 16:44:57

My DSSs (French lycée) are learning English and Spanish. They are quite well taught - they have mostly native-speaker teachers (always for Spanish) and get good marks. We supplement their English very significantly, but tbh most children at their school have English tutors and/or extensive travel to Anglophone countries.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 06-Jan-13 17:31:41

Ds, yr 7, non-selective independent, is doing French and Spanish through til end KS3 with choice of one of those or Italian from scratch at GCSE (one at least is compulsory).

I think the teaching so far is very good (Spanish is native speakers; French not so).

The textbooks seem to be very similar to when I was at school and they are learning verb conjugation straight away (a teacher friend from a local comp - language specialist school no less - was horrified and said they don't do verbs til yr 8 or 9...???)

I think learning French and Spanish together is harder than French and German which we did at school; he does get some vocab muddled up between the two.

Millais Sun 06-Jan-13 17:57:42

Mine have a mix of GCSE and iGCSE and knew the topics . They did really well but on holiday their conversation was rather limited!

cece Sun 06-Jan-13 18:06:35

DD is in Year 7 at a local comp.

All Y7 do two languages. Either French/Spanish or French/German. DD is doing German. This was allocated randomly.

I think there is an option to take Latin from Y9.

diabolo Sun 06-Jan-13 18:26:47

Year 8 DS does French, Spanish and Latin.

He's been doing French since Y3, Spanish & Latin since the start of Y7. He's a 6a in French and loving the Spanish and Latin, hoping to keep them up when he goes to Senior school at Y9 (3 tier system here).

crazymum53 Sun 06-Jan-13 19:54:35

dd is in Y8 at high achieving comprehensive. She learns French (started from the beginning) and has 3 hrs worth of lessons a week.

hoodoo12345 Mon 07-Jan-13 14:36:10

DD learns French for two hours a week, no other languages are offered.

Madmog Mon 07-Jan-13 14:37:46

My daughter is in Year 7 and is presently doing French. Already she knows more than I did after five years of french. She is in the top set so maybe has a natural ability. She had the choice of Mandarin and Spanish and has chosen Spanish which should start this week.

SoggySummer Mon 07-Jan-13 14:42:54

DD1 yr9 - French, Spanish, Germna and Latin

DD2 yr7 - French, Spanish, Greek and Latin

SoggySummer Mon 07-Jan-13 14:44:50

oops posted too soon - meant to say DD2 has very limited Spanish lessons it is very much a second language choice which I think is a shame because she is good at it but French gets a higher priority on the timetable.
Greek is also limited but for some reason DD2 is just flying with Greek - says she finds is simple - which I find odd because it very literally is all greek to me - pardon the pun.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 07-Jan-13 14:58:16

ds1 - french, latin, italian, greek. he could have chosen german instead of italian, and also in year 10 had the chance at that point to start russian or spanish from scratch for an accelerated additional gcse. independent school.

Annelongditton Tue 08-Jan-13 16:56:05

DS has to choose an extra MFL for year 9, he is currently studying French and Latin. He has the choice of Spanish, German or Mandarin. Spanish would obviously be the best fit/easiest option, but DH speaks it well we have family living in Spain and he could easily study it outside of school. It seems a shame to pass up an opportunity to study Mandarin.

How difficult is Mandarin, anyone any experience?

sonnieboo Tue 08-Jan-13 18:34:00

DD in y7 does German, Spanish, French and Latin. The idea is to try out different languages and then choose 3 of them in y8.

Groovee Tue 08-Jan-13 18:35:32

Dd is doing accelerated french in S1 (Year7 I think) and has the option of spanish or italian for S2.

In Primary they did Italian and French.

DD (year 10) is doing French and Russian

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 08-Jan-13 18:42:43

DD1 has been learning French in an international school in France for coming up for three years. No real French before. She is now in the advanced/francophone class. I am very proud of her and the effort she has put in to get there.

Her sister, in contrast... grin

happygardening Tue 08-Jan-13 20:18:18

"How difficult is Mandarin, anyone any experience"
I was talking to a teacher of Mandarin who is Chinese. I was absolutely fascinated. Apparently in the beginning its very difficult and may take over a week to learn 1 character and many despair but if you persevere by the end of a year you can learn a character in 5 mins. Apparently a child learning Mandarin to GCSE level or IGCE in this case will not be fluent by any stretch of the imagination by the end even if they get an A* but will have the building blocks in place to go on to learn more in the future.

Annelongditton Tue 08-Jan-13 20:44:56

Thank you happyg.

Is it the writing that is the problem do you know? I think someone told me that learning to speak it is a lot easier than learning to read/write.

We went to a Club Med in Asia at Christmas, and I was amazed by the number of Chinese guests, they have imported loads of Chinese speakers to work there and loads of the European staff are now learning to speak Mandarin. All the young staff told DS to learn take Mandarin lessons if he can, I am just worried it will be too much work as it is so unlike any other language he would be studying.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 08-Jan-13 20:52:36

DD did french, german and spanish in yr7. In yr 8 they could drop one, or do all 3 with French as a 'twilight' class; this continues in yr9. They can also do twilight Latin and a 'conversational' Japanese class.

As far as I can tell the teaching is pretty good (DD only does French and German and will only do one for GCSE, she's not decided which yet - she's not that keen on languages versus other subjects)

Parisbanana Tue 08-Jan-13 21:10:56

Dd is currently in Y11 and has been doing Spanish and Mandarin since Y7.

happygardening Tue 08-Jan-13 21:17:41

Annelongditton the teacher didn't really say he seemed to think once you've got over the initial hurdle that it was within the grasp of any reasonable intelligent person to learn it. For IGCSE I think he said they has to speak it and learn it but not all the characters i believe there are three thousand and I think (athough it was last year and with Xmas etc my memories not all it was) he said you had to learn a thousand. I do definitely remember him saying that they generally now read left to write not right hand corner upwards I was a bit disappointed it seemed so much more fun the old fashioned away.

Annelongditton Tue 08-Jan-13 23:01:03

3,000 chararcters! Probably not for DS, and to think he moans about a few declensions.

Schooldidi Tue 08-Jan-13 23:12:56

Dd1 is year 8 and learns Spanish and Italian. She's not been given any choice about which languages she learns.

She's doing very well at them and seems to have a natural flair for languages. Her teacher last year said she'd never met a year 7 who picked it up so quickly. I was quite good at languages when I was at school, so I suppose that's where she gets it from. I do wish she was allowed to do more languages at school, I think a language with a different alphabet would challenge her a bit more.

sashh Wed 09-Jan-13 02:32:46


Has your ds considered British Sign Language - it has a very logical grammer.

losingtrust Wed 09-Jan-13 10:14:15

Ds year 8. In year 7 they did French, German and Spanish and picked one for Year 8. He choose Spanish but ended up with German due to popularity of Spanish. He is being taught very well. I have degree in German so can see he is much better than I was at the same time. I do speak to him in the language and he understands a lot of it. He can choose another language next year from a wide choice including mandarin with the German but at the moment likely to do French as Spanish is too easy (his words). My sister is ex-language teacher and not impressed with the teaching at her kids school as so little time for the second language.

changejustforyou Wed 09-Jan-13 10:15:50

Regarding Mandarin. ds started learning French and Mandarin last year. He finds Mandarin a lot easier than French. No complicated rules, no real grammar to learn, all very logical...

meditrina Wed 09-Jan-13 10:25:08

Mandarin isn't a complicated language grammatically, but sounding right in a tonal language is difficult (and can change the meaning of sentences).

Learning characters is straight rote learning: it gets easier as you get an eye for how characters are composed, but you cannot predict either sound or meaning from shape. But if all those people on phonics threads who say they/their DCs learned by sight-reading are correct, then they will not find this a barrier.

DS1 (13) does French, Latin, Spanish, Greek and Mandarin. DS2 (6) does French and Spanish.

At their school, they bring in a specialist teacher at nursery level for French, so they've been learning French since they were 3.

Spanish is introduced in Year 2, so DS2 has only been learning that one for a term.

They start Latin in Year 5 and in Year 7 are expected to take one other language from Greek, German, Italian, Mandarin and Russian. The latter two are offered outside of regular school hours only.

We got excellent feedback in DS1's school report about all his languages, especially his French, and his teacher believes he'll be ready to take the GCSE early. According to DS2's report, he is also excelling at French, and (in the teacher's words) "has taken to Spanish like a duck to water."

I'm very proud of them both, especially DS1, because he has to devote quite a bit of his time to rugby (because he's in the elite junior player development squad of a professional rugby club). I have made it clear, his studies are not to suffer, and he's doing me and his dad so proud.

NB: My knowledge of languages is quite poor, so my sons have shamed me into taking recap courses in French and Spanish.

Arcticwaffle Wed 09-Jan-13 13:43:45

They do French from yr 8, top group does Spanish too from yr 8. I think there are German and Latin options higher up the school.

Teaching is OK, they are often native speakers, but IMO it's too little too late. I do tend to compare my dcs' language exposure with various friends in other countries, most of their children have been taught other languages from about 3 and are practically bilingual by 12 or so. So I'm not totally satisfied with my dcs' experience, but I think most language teaching in UK schools is inadequate. I'm augmenting it with extra practice and arranging exchange visits etc.

Summersbee Thu 10-Jan-13 20:53:48

Ref learning passages to recite, it may help to pass the exams (I don't know), but it seems such a shame not to do more 'exploring' when learning a language. If you are interested/doing Spanish or French, I recommend looking up French Listening for Kids, or Spanish listening for kids online. This is the sort of thing out there which I think is great -

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