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Is Spanish A useful subject to be studying at GCSE level?

(33 Posts)
paulkal Fri 16-Jan-15 07:55:39

My brother has a daughter who has chosen to do Spanish at GCSE level because it is compulsory at the school she goes to. She now beginning to question whether it's worth it, despite both my brother and I reassuring her that t is a language spoken y many people around the world and may be useful for holidays in the future, if nothing else. Has anyone had a similar experience with a ds or dd, and if so, what did you say?

Trills Fri 16-Jan-15 07:58:52

Learning a language is useful in general. It's a particular kind of learning that you often don't get in other subjects.

NorwaySpruce Fri 16-Jan-15 07:59:29

Languages are always useful.

Is the language being badly taught, or is the child struggling with it?

Not being able to see the 'use' of it seems a bit of weird stance.

If it was something like cookery, or business studies, I could understand it at GCSE, but not languages.

tiggytape Fri 16-Jan-15 08:00:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Clobbered Fri 16-Jan-15 08:01:19

Spanish is virtually the second language in America now, isn't it? South America, Spain, that's a lot of places where it could come in useful. Plus of the various European languages she could be tackling, Spanish is arguably one of the most straightforward.
Other than that, quit whining and get on with it!

EBearhug Fri 16-Jan-15 08:10:38

If you're learning a language, you start from nothing and build up. GCSE is a stage on the way to becoming more proficient. I think it's quite useful, because I did it at evening classes.

Languages in general are useful - for being able to communicate with people in that language, but they also improve understanding of your own language and can give you other ways of thinking about some things. If I were recruiting someone, I'd be more likely to want someone with even basic knowledge of another language than someone who has no other language skills at all.

Besides, it's compulsory, so she has no choice - or did you mean a modern foreign language is compulsory, and is a different language a better choice? That is a different question, and depends on different things, most of which are personal.

OldBeanbagz Fri 16-Jan-15 09:14:58

Languages are always a useful skill whether you intend to study them after school or not. And Spanish is probably the most widely spoken European language if you take into account South America.

My own Y8 DD is already planning on doing French & Spanish GCSE as she sees the benefits whenever we go travelling. She has the option of doing German & Mandarin but i don't think she'll take either.

Figmentofmyimagination Fri 16-Jan-15 15:22:08

Obviously it's useful, but it's also supercool. My DDs were born in chile - although we came home to the uk when they were still very young so they had to learn spanish from scratch. One thing that engages them is spanish rock and pop music. There is loads of it. Try my favourite, Mexican rock group Mana - or Chilean Los Prisioneros, shakira of course, Laura pausini, There really are tonnes of great bands and solo artists - these examples are probs quite old now and embarrassingly out of date. Now with YouTube and amazon it is so much easier to find something you like. When I lived in Chile, English language rock music was one of the main ways in which young people picked up English and developed accents etc. don't see why it can't work the other way.

BikeRunSki Fri 16-Jan-15 15:31:00

I did Spanish O Level (old gimmer, but I was the last year of O levels). I am now a civil engineer. Apart from a holiday in Spain, I have never specifically needed Spanish, but I did need a language to get into university. As languages go, it's a pretty easy one to learn.

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 16-Jan-15 15:36:51

GCSE subject hierarchy according to Mumsnet, with examples (in descending order):

1. English, Maths

2. Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology

3. History, Geography, French, German, Spanish, Latin

4. RS, Music, Art

5. PE, Food Technology

piggychops Fri 16-Jan-15 15:41:12

Yes! Ours don't have the opportunity to learn Spanish but it's spoken in so many countries, I personally think it should have the same priority as French and German. The world is a far smaller place now.

NetballHoop Fri 16-Jan-15 15:45:24

Of course it's a useful subject. It opens up Latin America, will help you with Italian and French, it delays the onset of Altzheimers and more importantly it allows you to pronounce chorizo correctly.

Muskey Fri 16-Jan-15 15:51:49

In year 7 at dds school they teach Spanish and French one year and then the following year they do French and German. Dd will be doing French and German so I will be getting her private lessons in Spanish as I consider German a bit of a waste of time learning it as a language unless you are planning to live there. Given the size of the population of Latin America and the fact that it has a huge economy I think Spanish is one of the most useful languages you can learn along with Mandarin Chinese

lljkk Fri 16-Jan-15 16:43:33

It's pointless if she hates it but otherwise extremely useful in general. I've used my Spanish skills in every job I've ever had.

eatyourveg Fri 16-Jan-15 17:02:02

TheFirstOfHerName you missed off DT resistant materials and drama - do they come in at number 6? wink

I would always encourage any dc to take a language - saying that though ds1 did French and Spanish, hated Spanish and gave it up at Xmas in Y11. I didn't mind at all seeing as he was also doing French, I think I may have thought differently however if it had been his only MFL

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Fri 16-Jan-15 17:04:58

Of course it's useful. It may not lead to a career but it's definitely useful.

Viviennemary Fri 16-Jan-15 17:06:00

I don't think learning a language to GCSE level is very useful. You might remember the odd few words in years to come but IMHO it's pretty useless. Though it doesn't seem quite right to say this. But it's what I've found.

fedupbutfine Fri 16-Jan-15 17:07:41

See the following:

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Fri 16-Jan-15 17:22:14

Vivienne, I did French GCSE and I still speak it. It comes from spending a lot of time in French speaking countries so I never lost it. I love languages and My GCSE was a real asset.

paulkal Mon 19-Jan-15 08:09:12

I think that my brother's ds is struggling with learning the language and seems to think that it is not well taught.

paulkal Mon 19-Jan-15 08:10:12

Tahnk you for your advice. I will pass it on to my brother.

paulkal Mon 19-Jan-15 08:11:55

I agree because, for me , it was straightforward but for my brother's dd it seema to present some learning challenges.

paulkal Mon 19-Jan-15 08:13:02

I will find out if she has the choice of another foreign language. Good point.

SanityClause Mon 19-Jan-15 08:13:15

Spanish is the second or third most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, and possibly English.

Incidentally, German is widely spoken by other Eastern Europeans (including Russians) as a second language, so is more useful as a business language than might be immediately obvious.

paulkal Tue 20-Jan-15 07:56:25

Good point. We have mentioned this to my niece and she is thinking a bit more positively about it.

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