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MFL: Flying the flag

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By Julia Stead, MFL coordinator, St Michael’s CE (Aided) Primary School

Championing languages can open up doors to the world around us

Flags

European flags

We all know it well… a squeezed curriculum where it’s hard to find the time for our planned lessons, let alone half an hour for a new-fangled idea like modern foreign languages. Well, not so new fangled, I cry! Languages came into vogue years ago, when in the mid 70s, teachers saw the benefits of early language acquisition in our European counterparts. But then, with more flexible teaching patterns and a more topic-based curriculum approach, it was easier to fit some teaching of languages into the school day. Recently, in the UK, subjects have been squeezed to breaking point, with teachers being forced to devote huge amounts of time to basic skills. However, language learning will become statutory in 2010, and all Key Stage 2 children will have an entitlement to learn a modern foreign language for an hour a week. My argument, as MFL Coordinator and teacher in a city primary school in York, is that it should be seen as an essential subject. Taught well, it can inspire children, foster a huge sense of achievement and broaden children’s horizons past the end of their street, which can be the furthest some children ever reach.

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