Expectations of (MFL) Ability

(12 Posts)
hanahsaunt Mon 30-Sep-19 14:18:42

Ds1 has completed week 1 of university. He was educated in England and has returned home to Scotland (RG university) to study law with a language. He needed AAA to get in including said language which he achieved. Language is taught at two levels in first year - absolute beginners and those with prior experience.

Week 1 - he (and one other) were asked to leave the language class. He was told in no uncertain terms by the tutor that he was too good and should not be present (they started with my name is ... what is your name ...). His prior experience is too great ...!

He spoke with the course tutor and was told to enrol for second year courses. He has now not been allowed to enrol at that level because there is a clash with one of his law lectures. Given that languages are fundamental to his very being - it's his thing - he did three MFLs at school - it's gutting. He doesn't want to do pure languages at degree level but doesn't want to give up either not least because he has dual EU nationality and hopes to work using both parts of his degree.

It seems so very badly planned by the university - how can they have entrance qualifications which are not commensurate with the teaching that they offer? Not sure how to help - any insight welcome. Clearly I am not about to storm the offices of the university (much as that would be fun ;) )

OP’s posts: |
OtraCosaMariposa Mon 30-Sep-19 14:27:11

I did foreign languages in a Scottish university. I went after 6th year at school, had the old CSYS certificate in both languages which is more than an A-level.

Yes, first year was very easy. We were going over stuff I'd already done at school in the language class. However the rest of it was new - the literature, poems, looking at films and the "historical contexts" classes. But in first year I was doing 5 subjects, 2 of which were languages, and those languages were split into both language and literature/context. I was happy to coast through the language classes for that first year. I think as well that in French because there were so many of us they sorted the classes by ability after a few weeks but I might be misremembering as it was a few years ago...

But when I say "easy" it was WAY past the basics of name and where you come from. If it's going to cause issues with skipping ahead in one half of a joint honours degree, that's not going to work. You can't be sitting first year Law classes and second year French classes, for example. I'd advise that he speaks to registry, or a course tutor or something.

cardamoncoffee Mon 30-Sep-19 14:35:41

I would be encouraging him to storm the offices, albeit in a dignified way. He has signed up and paid for law + language and it is totally reasonable for him to expect lectures with both of these subjects. He should contact his course coordinator outlining the clash and see what they suggest. It is not acceptable for him to miss out on half of his degree in year 1 because they think he is too advanced.

hanahsaunt Mon 30-Sep-19 14:37:02

First year law and second year language is exactly what they have recommended but now can't accommodate because of one lecture clash (which seems insane as lectures aren't compulsory). Law with a language means just the language classes so none of the literature etc and then third year is abroad studying law in that country. The university are the ones who have said that he is over-qualified despite requiring an A for the course!

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Mon 30-Sep-19 18:48:20

Is he bilingual?

I have noticed recently unis putting riders on their MFL pages that say their courses are not for 'native speakers'. This is a growing problem in MFL which unis are trying to address.

olympicfan Mon 30-Sep-19 19:03:04

What language is it?

If it is French, could he transfer to a course like this? www.exeter.ac.uk/undergraduate/degrees/law/master1/

Propertyfaux Mon 30-Sep-19 19:09:40

I am confused with the A requirement in the language and then having a lesson for absolute beginners? His interest for MFL is not likely to be met if the standard is similar to GCSE and his law degree will not be as recognised as that of a 100% law.


NumberblockNo1 Mon 30-Sep-19 19:15:10

In the dark ages when I applied to uni, I was encouraged to enter direct entry to the second year as we'd come from the English system at 18.

Not that that helps. They should be offering langauge at a suitable time for those too advanced for the lesson offerered!

Mychitchatdays Mon 30-Sep-19 19:24:39

Yep I'm in third year at uni in Scotland. There are core subjects that you can't miss and then you have to find anything that fits in to gather enough credits. They don't really care what you pick. Looks like your sons core classes are all law. I don't know why his lectures aren't compulsory though, we can't miss any classes, lectures or tutorials.

hanahsaunt Tue 01-Oct-19 06:47:29

Thank you all. @propertyfaux - it's joint honours and he will be fully qualified in law. I guess that they ramp up the teaching of the language quickly given that they spend a year abroad studying law in the language. It's just frustrating to be admitted to a programme to find that they can't deliver it. @mychitchatdays tutorials have attendance recorded but not lectures where he is; attendance is encouraged but not compulsory hence the hope that they can formally excuse one.

OP’s posts: |
bevelino Tue 01-Oct-19 07:07:09

I don’t understand why a language class for students with prior experience was starting at such a basic level.

On my dds MFL course there are joint honours students taking the language part of the course and it is definitely post A’level standard.

BubblesBuddy Tue 01-Oct-19 09:57:01

Is it because Scottish degrees are 4 years anyway so y1 is easier? Although MFL degree are 4 years everywhere. It seems odd that anyone is admitted without the A level in French for joint honours. Who is doing the basic course? Those with lower A level grades or just GCSEs.?

My DDs ex boyfriend did Engineering MEng with a year abroad and did French lessons but he had a GCSE and it wasn’t joint honours. With Joint honours it makes no sense that anyone is basic at all!

I agree that the required level of teaching should be available to A level qualified first years at a suitable time or at the very least language lab tuition and conversation. I think he should complain.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in