Welsh medium education if no Welsh at home?(8 Posts)
We have to decide v soon
whether to send my son to English-medium or Welsh-medium state nursery. Both are equally good on inspection reports etc.
We're keen to give him the advantage of becoming bilingual in Welsh but have reservations about his overall attainment, his acquisition of English if we choose Welsh-medium and us feeling shut out of school life as non-Welsh speakers.
Also, is the advantage he'd gain (only really useful within Wales and far from a necessity here anyway) worth the potential compromise to his education as a whole - his own experience is the most important but our experience as parents too?
Welsh-medium is immersion here and so no English is taught at school until age 7.
It seems you can't get a balanced answer from anyone here! Everyone seems to have vested interests, regardless of which 'side' they're on. Also can't help wonder whether Welsh-medium is just a large scale political and social experiment, the drawbacks to which may not yet be known and may never be admitted anyway due to the political, nationalist agenda.
I am Welsh, but don't speak it.
I don't think there is any comprise if both schools are doing well. One of my younger sisters went to a Welsh school that was new when we were half way through English primary. So loved languages and ended up being fluent in 3 and picking up bits of others for fun.
Yes there are some drawbacks with secondary school where some kids don't want to ask for bilingual reports... Which can mean you have to trust their honesty but all teachers at parents evenings etc will talk to you equally well in Welsh and English. That's my experience some schools my have more bilingual approach to home communication these days.
Oh and it's no different to learning Arabic or another language at home it's not political! There is a lot of evidence to show kids who grow up speaking two languages are brighter in the same way that teaching musical instruments affect the brain. But if you think Welsh language is just some sort of phase and it's damaging kids then by all means don't do it.
If I lived in Wales I'd be tempted to send my DC to a Welsh-medium primary. I probably wouldn't for secondary because my Welsh is limited & I'd want to be able to understand their homework but I think primary age would be advantageous. They're more likely to pick up & internalise a language at primary age, which apparently makes it easier to learn more languages when you're older & you won't compromise their ultimate attainment levels if the quality of teaching isn't as high as an English speaking school. It would be tricky for them for the first couple of weeks but I know a few people who've moved to non-English-speaking countries with pre-school/primary aged children & they've all picked up the language really quickly.
Welsh is also useful in Patagonia... It's a positively international language!
I'm interested to know what drawbacks there night be to bilingualism?
If you are to remain in Wales it can be very positive from a career perspective. More from a point of view of translation and pronounciation.
My cousins had English speaking parents and went to Welsh speaking schools for their entire education.
They are both teachers in Welsh schools now, but both attained degrees in English.
It's really not something to overthink, in Wales. People like my cousins are pure 50/50 bilingual, they have plenty of exposure to English.
Learning Welsh at an early age also opens up the mind for other languages. I remember a few fellow English students unable to deal with German numbers, but as a Welsh speaker I wasn't phased at all!
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