Michael Gove has, as a precursor to the Tory Conference, decided that he will champion the learning of a foreign language. This ‘new’ initiative will apply to children from the age of five so says the Guardian.
In a pre-Conservative conference interview, he says: “There is a slam-dunk case for extending foreign language teaching to children aged five.
“Just as some people have taken a perverse pride in not understanding mathematics, so we have taken a perverse pride in the fact that we do not speak foreign languages, and we just need to speak louder in English. It is literally the case that learning languages makes you smarter. The neural networks in the brain strengthen as a result of language learning.”
And how will this fit in to a school timetable … simply extend the time children are at school …
… Urges more schools to follow the example of academies by extending the school day, for example by adding five hours’ extra learning a week – or six weeks a year.
So how long is a school day? It just can’t be right that if the current arrangements for the time children/students spend in school is right for when they are 11, 15, 18 that it is also right for 5, 7 and 9 years old. It can’t be right that the length of ‘learning’ time is the same for all. There must be another way.
Adding extra hour does not mean extra learning … for some it would mean the opposite.
I also wonder, at a time when our youngest children are being fed on a diet of systematic synthetic phonics whether any confusions would come to them as they try to learn and pronounce things in a different language. I am unsure how well the SSP works in other languages.
Well worth reading this to get a language teacher’s perspective. I wonder if Mr Gove has read it?
Attribution: Image: ‘universal thank you note‘