WoLLoW News

Follow the Hippo

John Claughton, Former Chief Master of King Edward’sSchool, Birmingham, and co-founder of WoLLoW: TheWorld of Languages and Languages of the World. ‘Now, what I want I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.’ In 1854 Dickens created the prophetically named Thomas Gradgrind to be theContinue reading “Follow the Hippo”

The teaching of languages

‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.’
It’s not telling tales out of school to admit that the teaching of languages is in peril. The annual survey of language teaching by the British Council seems to get darker year by year, expressing concerns about Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, and the lack of connection between each of those stages. HEPI’s very own Megan Bowler produced a paper with similarly sorrowful stories.

Breaking down barriers: why do we classify some languages as ‘community’ and others as ‘modern’?

It is claimed that, on average, one in five of school-aged children in Britain have a first language other than English (The Guardian). These languages are often labelled as ‘community languages’ with many of them identified as the ‘languages for the future’ (British Council) in terms of supply and demand.For instance, the top ten ‘languages for the future’ are Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Arabic and German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian, all of which are spoken in communities in Britain. Yet, as the Guardian article and numerous reports point out, support for the community languages in the UK education system, from early years to further and higher education, is seriously lacking.

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About WoLLoW

We provide resources and lesson content to teach pupils how languages work, educate pupils on the history of English and its beginnings, as well as foster an appreciation of all past and present world languages.

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