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MFL levels - new language year 8

(13 Posts)
bruffin Fri 12-Nov-10 16:31:40

DD yr8 ended year 7 at 4.17 for French and latest progress report is 4.50 which I think

She has just started Italian in year 8 and is already level 4.17

Is that because italian is easier, or

the fact she has studied another language is makes learning a new one a bit easier

or they are covering the curriculum faster

or she is just better at italian

any ideas?

bruffin Fri 12-Nov-10 16:32:19

ignore the which I think

LondonMother Fri 12-Nov-10 20:41:12

Is that a National Curriculum level?

I think it gets easier and easier to learn a language the more of it you've done. My son started French and Latin in Year 7 and German in Year 10. He and a lot of other boys who had done their first MFL GCSE at the end of Year 10 did a one-year course in Year 11 leading to GCSE in Italian. 34 out of 35 of them got an A*. Now, although they are bright and have an obvious facility for learning languages, and the school weeded out those they thought wouldn't cope/put the work in, and the teaching was terrific, I have to say I think this says at least as much about MFL standards at GCSE as it does about their abilities.

bruffin Fri 12-Nov-10 21:07:16

They are National Curriculum levels

I am just wondering how she can get to the same level in Italian in 2 months that took her a whole year to get to in French.

The school does fast track a lot of the top set MFL students in german and most of those get A*s in year 9.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Nov-10 21:10:41

Learning languages is, of itself, an acquired skill, and you will acquire the skill of language learning at the same time as acquiring the language the first time you learn a foreign language.

So that partly explains the OP's question.

Italian is a Romance language, as is French; it is much easier to learn a second (or third, or fourth) Romance language, because of the similarities between them.

Witchesbrew Sat 13-Nov-10 15:06:46

Take it with a pinch of salt, there's actually no such thing as level 4.5 or 4.17,it's just the system your school has devised. It's all subjective and based mostly on tenses, so if you can do a bit of past tense you could be level 4+, despite knowing virtually no vocabulary.

Talkinpeace Sat 13-Nov-10 16:33:37

Is she enjoying Italian?
Is she telling you what new words and phrases she has learned?
Does she look forward to ordering a meal in a proper Italian restaurant?
Does it matter one iota what number label they give her new found proficiency?

This obsession with levels and getting the "system" to verify what we should be able to work out for ourselves is not good for us or our children.

thirtysomething Sat 13-Nov-10 16:44:31

I taught myself Italian to O and A level in no time at all. It seemed remarkably easy compared to French and Latin though having learnt grammar etc with those first definitely helped.

bruffin Sat 13-Nov-10 18:13:32

She does really enjoy italian, much more than french, but she is not the type who would like to show off in a restaurant by using the language. We aren't a particularly language minded family, far more maths and technically orientated. I learnt german at school and can work my way round reading other languages using logic. I don't think DH even did a language as he is dyslexic. I don't actually see how we are supposed to work out for ourselves what dcs are doing in something we have no experience of. I only have her progress report to go on.

I can assume from the above answers that the school that italian is easier, also easier because she has the basics of another language and also that it is being taught at a faster level.
I would much rather she did one language and then chose a second language when it came to gcses if she had a particular apptitude and/or interest for languages.

qumquat Sun 14-Nov-10 12:06:03

I would take all levels with a pinch of salt. The NC only has level 4, 5, 6 etc, sub levels are --made up-- decided by schools. Every school I have worked in has applied levels slightly differently, and every teacher within them has applied them slightly differently. I would --ignore them-- take them with a pinch of salt and focus on actual written and verbal feedback from the teacher.

And I think it's fantastic that your DD's school offers two languages at KS3, so few do nowadays and it's a real deprivation I think. I thought I hated languages after three yrs of French, then I started German in Yr9 and loved it, and now have a degree in it!

Talkinpeace Sun 14-Nov-10 17:28:15

DDs school offers
French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Latin and Chinese comes in next year
plus
Netball, basketball, cricket, rugby, tennis, rock climbing, table tennis, badminton, boxing, golf, gymnastics, trampolining, dance
plus
orchestra, wind band, jazz band, choir
plus
all the academic subjects that get several kids a year into Oxbridge

I am SO glad I sent her to the local comp rather than a narrow academic private "gels" school like I went to.

Still have to choose where she will do sixth form.

faileddoctor Sun 14-Nov-10 17:32:34

well, our local comp offers the following foreign languages: French and uhh, that's it

bruffin Sun 14-Nov-10 19:14:07

DCs school offer French, German and Italian at KS3.

When DS started the top band did French and German which I thought was a lot in year 7, lower bands did French and Italian.

DD started two years later and they only did French for year7 but for 3 periods, rather than 2 periods each of two languages. In year 8 they were given either german or italian as well. I think if parents requested a particular language then they school would try and comply with the request. There is a big italian community in our area, due to prisoner of war camps in WW2 which is why I think they offer Italian.

DS hated languages partly because he has SLD problems and he was top set and had a lot of pressure on him. If he didn't get 70% in tests they were given detention. However spoke to SENCO and we managed to get pressure removed and was moved down a class in year 8. Now he is yr10 and started GCSEs and dropped French he is loving German and doing really well.

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