The cost of education has often been a bone of contention with students, parents and teachers. Parents of children in primary and secondary education have to continually shell out for school uniforms, books, lunches, extra-curricular activities, school outings, term fees and summer school costs. It´s never ending! Students in higher education are facing continually increasing term fees; last year in the UK, university tuition fees rose to a maximum of £9,000 a year. This led to a decline of 15,000 applicants who just couldn´t afford this high price for their education. More increases are on the horizon for university fees again this year. In Spain this week, demonstrations have occurred throughout the country during a one-day strike against the government for proposed education cuts. Children and teachers in primary and secondary schools were not in attendance, just as students of higher education and faculty members chose to attend the protests instead of their classrooms, in a bid to change the government´s plans and instead promote the need for a proper public-funded education for everyone.
Don´t get caught out with crippling costs
One way to ensure you don´t get caught in this money trap is to arrange your own private tuition. You choose the subject you want to study, where you´d like to have your lessons and who you´d like to study with. One-to-one tuition is great for an intense course but studying in a group is much more interactive and you´ll find that the group rates are much cheaper. There´s no need to sacrifice your education when such competitive prices are available. The courses can be tailored to meet your requirements and you can choose how long you´d like to study for, so there are no hidden surprises! So if you want to brush up on your linguistic skills, for example, what better way than to learn from a native speaking teacher in your local area. You could book some great value Spanish classes in Bristol for some personal tuition that won´t break the bank!
Joanneke, born and raised in Holland, had lived in Spain for a number of years with her English husband. Now divorced, her husband had moved back to the UK and Joanneke had decided to remain in Spain to be near her friends and her work with her two young daughters. The girls attended a Spanish school so had a mixed vocabulary of Spanish, English and Dutch. As they grew older though, it became apparent that more opportunities would be open to them in the UK as well as for Joanneke in her work. So she made the difficult decision to leave her home and friends behind and took the girls to England with her to live in Birmingham near their dad.
Whilst the girls were thrilled to be near their dad and the English side of their family, there was one hurdle they needed to overcome! Despite having British friends in Spain and being able to speak English to a good level, they were still behind with their understanding of the language compared with kids of their own age group in the UK. So Joanneke made enquiries and enrolled the girls in some recommended private English classes in Birmingham which they did alongside their normal schooling. The classes were very convenient as the teacher visited their house to conduct the lessons after school and at a time that fitted in with the girls´ timetable of activities. This extra tuition enabled them to catch up quickly with their new schoolmates and helped them settle in quicker to their new home life.
Now, with lots of friends and a big family, the girls are enjoying a happy life in the UK. The eldest has just passed her exams with flying colours and made her mum proud by excelling in both Spanish and English!
If a 17 year old polyglot can do it, with 23 self-taught languages under his belt, then anyone can. Starting with Hebrew as his first foreign language, Timothy Doner memorized lyrics from Israeli hip hop songs and repeated them to other people until he was able to construct sentences. Talking to taxi drivers, street vendors, and people across the world on Skype, he has mastered each individual language in just a few weeks. A huge fan of the internet, he finds that being able to contact people from all over the world at any time is a great learning tool. He uses online forums to talk with other people and flashcard apps on his iPhone to help him with the learning process. As well as the usual, expected, European languages such as French, German and Spanish, this amazing teenager has learned obscure languages such as isiXhosa which is an official language of South Africa and is comprised of clicking noises specific to that language.
It’s believed that there is a universal grammar which underlies all languages but there is no doubt that a simplistic and positive approach has definitely helped Timothy conquer his linguistic abilities. Through sheer determination he now holds the title of ‘hyperpolyglot’ being one of a select demographic of linguists who have this capability. Living in the cultural melting pot that is New York, Timothy has access to numerous languages from different nationalities and is clearly determined to use this wealth of knowledge to his advantage. With the two languages of Sudanese and Malay next on his agenda, this talented individual clearly doesn’t intend to stop learning any time soon.
So, you can see how it can be done, that it has been done, and now it’s your turn. Learning a new language is easier than you think; you just need the right motivation and perseverance. An obscure South African language is probably not the greatest choice to start with, so how about something a little closer to home. One of the more traditional languages learned, why not enrol in some German classes in Edinburgh to start you on your linguistic journey!
Communications provider Telefonica Digital have stressed the importance of being bilingual. The company have said that UK graduates need another language to work for a digital employer. ‘Research published today shows 70% of UK graduates cannot speak any languages other than English well or fluently.’
Telefonica has said that as a global digital business, headquartered in the UK, it “badly needs” more graduates who can speak second and even third languages to take advantage of huge opportunities in areas such as Latin America.
Although the statistic of 70% is bad news for Telefonica it is good news for bilingual graduates as there should be less competition for jobs that require a second language.
The survey of more than 1,000 UK university graduates reveals 14% of UK graduates have lost out on a job opportunity because they did not speak another language.
French, German and Spanish are the top three languages graduates with a second language can speak, but ‘only 3% of the graduate foreign language speakers can speak Portuguese, the first language of Brazil, despite that country being one of the fastest growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets’. In an increasingly competitive job market it would appear learning another language is not only a desirable addition to your CV but also allows you to compete for jobs many other graduates are unable to.
via: HR Magazine
Sacred Heart Primary School in Middlesbrough, England has made the news because of the headteachers efforts to ensure standard English is spoken by her pupils. A letter has been sent home to parents asking for their support in ensuring children say “work” instead of “werk” and do nor pluralise “you” by saying “yous”.
Headteacher Carol Walker said she wanted to teach standard English, not to remove the Teesside accent.
Of course many pronunciations like “werk” and grammatical anomalies such as pluralising “you” are signifiers of a regional dialect and go hand in hand with the accent. It would appear that the parents of the Sacred Heart Primarty Schools pupils are backing the headmaster however, with parents responses being “”really positive” with no “negative reaction” at all.” The Headteacher was quoted as saying:
“I am not asking children to deny where they come from. I am saying to them there are certain situations where they need to be able to use standard English.”
The BBC obtained a copy of the letter sent to parents and printed the list of offending words.
Head teacher’s language list
- I done that – I have done that or I did that
- I seen that – I have seen that or I saw that
- Yous – The word you is never a plural
- “School finishes at free fifteen” – “School finishes at three fifteen”
- Gizit ere – Please give me it
- I dunno – I don’t know
- It’s nowt – It’s nothing
- Letta, butta – Letter, butter
- Your – Your late should be you’re late
- Werk, shert – I will wear my shirt for work
- He was sat there – He was sitting there
via: The BBC
When learning a new language there are a variety of supplementary ways to help you on your way. The teaching network section of The Guardian posted an article (which can be found here) that reveals different approaches that school teachers take to teach languages. One teacher suggests music as a way of making languages more fun.
Music videos are a great way to introduce students to the culture of French-speaking countries and develop speaking/writing projects.
This got me thinking about the recent global success of Psy’s song Gangnam Style. The vast majority of the lyrics to Psy’s song are in Korean yet people all around the world are humming along to the song, even learning the words, despite perhaps never having considered learning Korean. Below are some musical suggestions for you to listen to. Try to learn the words to one of the artists songs and any words you do not know make a note of and look them up.
Korean: 2NE1, Psy, Wonder Girls and Big Bang.
Spanish: Mala Rodriguez, La Casa Azul, Chimo Bayo and Miguel Bosé.
French: Yelle, Raï’n'B Fever, Edith Piaf, and Sylvie Vartan.
Japanese: Perfume, L’Arc~en~Ciel, Ayumi Hamasaki and Hikaru Utada.
Polish: Kasia Stankiewicz, MIG, Daab and Halina Frąckowiak.
The British government plans to change the education system making it compulsory for children to learn a language in school from the age of seven. This proposal has been put forward because of the decline in British students choosing to learn another language. ‘In 2010, 43% of GCSE pupils were entered for a language, down from a peak of 75% in 2002.’ Along with an emphasis being placed on foreign languages the government intends to improve British children’s grasp of the English language. Specific focus will be placed on grammar as well as ‘a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics – the sounds of letters and groups of letters – would be advocated to help pupils to become fluent readers and good spellers…’
I think that it is important for Britain to advocate language learning from a young age. In many jobs fluency in another language not only makes you stand out from the crowd but is also becoming a necessity to be employed in the field. Britain needs to make language learning an attractive prospect to the younger generation or else it risks being left behind in an increasingly globalised world.
Quotes via the BBC Website.
I came across a fun word game on Word Dynamo that is intended for American students studying for their SATs. As I read English at university I fancied my chances of attaining a perfect score but a few words managed to stump me. I managed to get 44/47 on the quiz and I thought I would include the words that eluded me and their definitions below.
Assiduous – Showing great care and perseverance.
Perfidious – Deceitful and untrustworthy.
Querulous – Complaining in a petulant or whining manner.
Online word games are a fantastic way to enhance your vocabulary and I am going to try and commit these words to memory so I can use them in day to day speech. The quiz I completed can be found HERE. Why not give it a go and see i you can beat my score.
Following last week’s news of a decline in the number of students studying some languages at A-Level, the Telegraph have put together a list of their top 10 “best languages to study” for graduate jobs.
The full list:
The list is somewhat surprising, given that students are choosing not to study German, French and Spanish in favour of Japanese and Mandarin.
The survey asked UK firm managers what languages are useful for their business. Given that Germany’s the only country defying the depression in the eurozone, I’m not surprised it tops the list.
What do you think is the “best” language to study?
This week was A-Level results week, where thousands of young people found out what their immediate future holds.
It appears that fewer young people are choosing languages to be part of their future, with reports saying that the number of British teenagers choosing a European language A-Level has fallen.
The number of students taking German has fallen below 5,000, with entries in French down to around 12,500. Interesting, languages such as Polish, Arabic and Japanese have seen a slight rise in the number of candidates. It seems that languages traditionally studied in British schools are proving less popular with young people.
Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA exam board, said the drop in the number of people taking A-levels in traditional modern foreign languages was a real worry. “We have the euro economy in crisis – I think modern foreign languages are in the same place,” he said.
There was no magic bullet to fix the problem, Hall said, but he welcomed the government’s move this year to introduce modern languages in primary schools.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the OCR exam board, said universities had made it clear they wanted students with qualifications in science and maths. “I’m not sure the message has been as strong around languages, so they could assist in this approach,” he said. (Source: The Guardian)