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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?

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 -

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.

TessOfTheBaublevilles Wed 09-Jan-13 11:22:02

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.

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.

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...

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.

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


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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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)

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.

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.

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

TequilaMockinBird Tue 08-Jan-13 18:36:02

DD (year 10) is doing French and Russian

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

DD1 yr9 - French, Spanish, Germna and Latin

DD2 yr7 - French, Spanish, Greek and Latin

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.

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

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

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.

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