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Dd has been told she can take a second language but she's not keen

(39 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Oct-12 10:43:10

She's in year 7 and already does French. She's had a letter sayi g she's been identified as someone who could cope with a second language which would be German.

It would mean dropping one dt class and one PE class a week, she likes dt but would still get to do a dt class every week.

I think German would better for her, a German gcse would surely be better than a dt gcse. She says she doesn't like German but she's never done it so she's been daft. Am I right to push her into doing the German? She'll do it without argument if I tell her I really think its in her best interest.

Ploom Sat 27-Oct-12 10:47:25

I was in exactly the same situation at school (many moons ago!). I chose to do German as well as French in my 2nd year at secondary school and altho I really enjoyed it, I dropped it again at the end of that year to do computer studies instead (which I turned out to be rubbish at).

I'd really advise her to go for it - languages are such an asset to have. Turns out I now live in Germany - wish I'd stuck at German after all grin.

ZZZenAgain Sat 27-Oct-12 10:50:34

does she have any idea what she would like to do with her life? I think if she has French and is doing well at it but has no interest in learning German, I would not insist on her doing it. If you have learnt one foreign language to a good level, you know how it works and it is easy enough to learn German as an adult if she develops a need or interest in the language, or any other language for that matter.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Oct-12 10:55:21

She alternates between wanting to work with animals, run a craft shop or be a ski instructor. She is very good at skiing so German would be a benefit for her there, though she says she wants to work in val d'isere so only needs French!

ZZZenAgain Sat 27-Oct-12 10:59:00

it wouldn't harm for a ski instructor to speak German. However I think a 3 month intensive course in a German speaking country, followed by living there and having to use it would suffice for the needs of the job tbh. After a year, she'd be fluent anyway.

I can't see any harm in learning German now alongside French but I doubt she would be at any kind of disadvantage later if she did not do it. I suppose she just doesn't have any kind of connection to the language, German speaking countries atm and is probably not keen on all the grammar and vocab learning for a second language.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Oct-12 11:11:32

Maybe she'd be better off concentrating on French then? Can learning two languages at the same time be confusing? If she doesn't like it she could drop it in year 9 and if she really hated it I'm sure she could drop it earlier and go back to dt.

ZZZenAgain Sat 27-Oct-12 11:17:46

I would say either option is ok. She won't confuse German and French, learning them at the same time shouldn't be a problem. If she can do German for two years and then drop it, what has she lost by trying it? It could be that she warms to the language once she makes some progress with it. It is a difficult language to master to native speaker proficiency both orally and in written work. It is a reasonably easy language to obtain GCSE level in IMO.

There are some degree courses where she would need German to read secondary literature, for example art history or archaeology. If she might go on to do something like that, leaving school with the ability to read German would be an advantage. It would save her a bit of time. She is young and she may well change her mind a few times about what she wants to do with her life.

I think she would be fine picking up German when she has left school, if she wants or needs it. I also think she will manage fine learning both French and German at school. It is probably all the learning off by heart which puts her off - the vocab lists and the grammar tables, the conjugations and declinations. German is one of those languages best acquired via many, many written exercises and you have just got to learn all the tables off by heart. THat is how you get the endings to sink in IMO. It is highly structured but when you learn the forms and practise them enough, it is entirely do-able.

diddlediddledumpling Sat 27-Oct-12 11:28:46

Don't think you should push her into anything! If she has an aptitude for languages, she'll be able to pick another one up in the future. I'd be asking her what she enjoys doing most, learning a new language or doing dt (both of which she has experience of) and going with that. She''s more likely to thtive if she's doing something she enjoys and that she chose.

DeputyChiefJohnson Sat 27-Oct-12 12:40:37

If your DD tries it in Year 8 I would have thought she could choose to drop it before GCSEs if she doesn't enjoy it?

Both of mine took a second language in Year 9, in their case it was Spanish. So they had a taster before they chose their options. In the end they both chose to do only one language to GCSE (French).

BackforGood Sat 27-Oct-12 12:52:06

My dd had this at the end of Yr7. She doesn't like French much. She did take the German however and absolutely loves it. I think it they are capable, it can only ever be an asset to have mastered two MFLs, whatever job you are going in to.
dh is a scientist - all collaborative work is done in English, across the globe, but he still has to travel - say in Germany - from the airport, into the accomodation, then into the University, then socialising in the evening etc. - he wishes he had a bit of spoken Germna, even though you wouldn't think it would be related to his job in any way. Another friend is an accountant - again, you wouldn't think a linguists job, but his French got him a fab job auditing for a global company, where he could travel around to bases in several countires.
As Deputy says - if she finds she doesn't like it in Yr8, I'm sure she will be able to look again before GCSE options

muminlondon Sat 27-Oct-12 13:44:51

I think it would be a great opportunity. It's a harder language to pick up later, because it requires effort, while the grammar is good brain training in memory and being able to analyse structure (compared with e.g. Latin, lots more practical). Really useful for someone who wants to travel, be a scientist, etc. Two languages also look impressive on a CV. Hard to force her if she is unwilling though - especially if it means missing PE.

Clary Sat 27-Oct-12 13:59:39

I think it's a great idea to do extra languages but then I would as I teach MFL.

Dual linguists to GCSE level or beyond are becoming ever more rare it seems which makes me sad.

Would that be 2 lessons of German a week? Probably enough to make a good start in learning it.
Don't really think you should push her into it tho...

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Oct-12 15:10:19

Yes, two lessons a week.

We've had a chat and though her initial reaction was to take the easier option when I've pointed out that she might like German more than French, etc. that if she did like it a German gcse would probably be better than a dt gcse she says she'll give German a go.

If she'd been adamant she didn't want to do it I wouldn't have forced her.

Thanks everyone.

Moominmammacat Sat 27-Oct-12 16:16:12

Do it ... I think only 5,000 students did A level German last year which makes them rare and good unis like languages. My DS did Span/Germ/Fr at GSCE, with Spanish in one year in Y10. There's not that much to it with good teaching

NamingOfParts Sat 27-Oct-12 22:42:28

There is a lot to be said for taking MFL to A level. The class sizes are often so small that they are close to individual tuition.

Roseformeplease Sat 27-Oct-12 22:45:16

I hated German. If you look at the global population, hardly anyone speaks it. Second language, definitely, but not German. Not really sure why schools still offer it. Spanish or Mandarin would be far more useful.

HeathRobinson Sat 27-Oct-12 22:52:12

If she's not keen, I wouldn't force her. Some people never get on with the cases in German. Does she like how German sounds? You could try her on some German (Bitesize, maybe?) to see if she likes how it sounds.

And yes, some people do get confused between French and German. One of my classmates, in a French class, ended her sentences occasionally with German and couldn't hear what was wrong, until someone pointed it out.

I would say if her heart's not in it, then she won't enjoy or possibly be good at two lots of vocab learning, two lots of grammar learning, two orals etc etc.

My dd did French and Spanish at GCSE. It was very hard work and the orals/practice orals often seemed to be arranged at times when other exams were due. I seem to remember a clash with orals at the mock GCSEs in November. A lot of work in a short space of time. Shudder.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Oct-12 23:18:16

The school does Spanish as well but it's pot luck which language you're offered. Dd is lucky she got French as her first language as she really wanted French. I think she'd have preferred Spanish for a second language but has only been offered German.

BackforGood Sat 27-Oct-12 23:39:36

My dd much prefer German to French - she says it's more logical. She also likes maths and science subjects and has quite a methodical, logical type of mind I guess. She find French "stupid" (to use 13 yr old phrasing) because "there's no sensible reasoning as to if something is feminine or masculine", but she tells me that German follows all the rules correctly. I never did German myself so will have to take her word for that. smile

busymummy3 Sun 28-Oct-12 00:04:49

Why is DT not a "good" GCSE ? My DC is in Y11 and does 2 MFL - French and Spanish - predicted A* in both and also does DT Product Design ,sat written exam in Y10 and achieved an A* and is predicted an A* in practical course work. DC loves DT and we think it gives an option to show creativity.
DC also loves MFL's and is planning to continue with French and Spanish to A level and beyond.

Clary Sun 28-Oct-12 00:09:43

Nothing wrong with DT as a GCSE option IMO, it's obligatory to do some kind of tech subject to GCSE at my school and actually I think it's a good thing.

I gave up all that stuff in year 9 to do Greek (!) tho, but I was rubbish at art and nothing like DT was offered at my school .

muminlondon Sun 28-Oct-12 00:10:08

I think French and German really complement each other because they are different. If you've mastered German then Russian case systems are easier to understand. Much more confusing to do French and Spanish. I also find the argument that 'more people speak Spanish or Mandarin' a bit unconvincing. More people speak German in Europe than Spanish, and in more countries. And German/French have influenced the English language more than any other. I can't think of any Spanish philosophers or composers either...

Clary Sun 28-Oct-12 00:11:33

BTW roseforme German is actually a valued MFL as it is spoken by a lot of the people who are involved in engineering, so if you are thinking of a career in any such area then it might have an advantage over Spanish in terms of employment prospects tbh.

busymummy3 Sun 28-Oct-12 00:27:08

Thanks Clary was beginning to think DT was a weak GCSE! in my DC's school they have to take DT as an option-but would have taken it anyway as I said before really enjoys it. Is predicted A*/A in all GCSE's which are all "academic" subjects so we believe DT shows creativity strengths.
muminlondon DC is studying French and Spanish GCSE. Did French from Y7 and is in a small group of students who opted for a second language to study Spanish is not finding this confusing at all in fact the opposite - says can often "guess" Spanish from knowledge of French .

JessePinkman Sun 28-Oct-12 01:44:25

In my opinion Spanish is shit. I am completely blindsided by that when I arrived at Valencia I was robbed.

And in German speaking countries I have not only not been robbbed but have also have my phone returned to me.

I love our teutonic neighbours.

I would also say that if the child has good skills she could perform well in any MFL offered at secondary school.

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