UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

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Kraut
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UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby Kraut » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:30 pm

United Kingdom-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Among modern foreign languages, German is particularly difficult. Just 3300 students chose the language as one of the three compulsory subjects for the A-level degree in 2017, according to a study by the cultural institute British Council. 20 years earlier, the figure was 9000, a decline of 63 percent.

And the trend is unbroken. Last year, interest in German as a subject up to the A-level equivalent continued to shrink, by 16 per cent compared to the previous year, according to data from the British Academy, the national umbrella organisation for questions relating to the humanities and social sciences. The language also has little appeal among younger pupils. In 2017, around 45,000 students will still have completed a GSCE, the degree after the tenth grade, 31 percent less than in 2010.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)


https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/karriere ... chule.html

Deutsch hat es unter den modernen Fremdsprachen besonders schwer. Gerade einmal 3300 Schüler wählten die Sprache im Jahr 2017 als eines der drei verpflichtenden Fächer für den A-Level-Abschluss, besagt eine Studie des Kulturinstituts British Council. 20 Jahre zuvor waren es noch 9000, ein Rückgang um 63 Prozent.

Und der Trend ist ungebrochen. Im vergangenen Jahr schrumpfte das Interesse an Deutsch als Fach bis zum Abi-Äquivalent weiter, um 16 Prozent gegenüber dem Vorjahr, zeigen Daten der British Academy, der nationalen Dachorganisation für Fragen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften. Auch unter jüngeren Schülern hat die Sprache wenig Anziehungskraft. Einen GSCE, den Abschluss nach der zehnten Klasse, haben 2017 noch rund 45.000 Schüler gemacht, 31 Prozent weniger als im Jahr 2010.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby chove » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:36 pm

I did German in school and I remember the teachers telling us not to do the Higher (approx A-Level) if we needed good grades for university because the exams could be a bit random. No idea if that's true or they were just scare-mongering.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby LunaMoonsilver » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:17 am

Yeah, I'm not at all surprised; German's been dropping for years (French has dropped but slower and remains kind of steady, and Spanish has seen an increase iirc). Anecdotal, but I did German A-Level (10 years ago :lol:) and there were three students in my class.

That's not just one school, either. That was three students out of four-five schools. So yeah, unsurprising. :(
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:31 am

The number of schools offering German is declining, so the trend is not likely to change.
FINDINGS FROM THE SECONDARY SURVEYS
Although French remains the language most commonly taught in English secondary schools, there is a trend for slightly fewer schools – both state and independent – to offer it. For example, at Key Stage 3, 91% of state schools now report offering French, compared to 94% in 2015. Post-16, 84% of independent schools offer French, compared to 90% in 2017.

The shrinkage is more marked for German, with 40% of state schools offering the language in Key Stage 3, compared to 48% in 2015 and 66% of independent schools offering German at Key Stage 4, compared to 79% in 2017. Spanish appears much more stable in both sectors and in across all Key Stages.

https://www.britishcouncil.org/research ... rends-2019

It would be interesting to see any numbers from the universities beginner language courses.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby Neurotip » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:11 am

Yes, I think this is the trend. I did French and German at school, while my son is doing French and Spanish.
Among modern foreign languages, German is particularly difficult. [Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Deutsch hat es unter den modernen Fremdsprachen besonders schwer.

Just out of curiosity, doesn't that mean 'German is having a particularly difficult time of it'?
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby Kraut » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:30 pm

Neurotip wrote:Yes, I think this is the trend. I did French and German at school, while my son is doing French and Spanish.
Among modern foreign languages, German is particularly difficult. [Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Deutsch hat es unter den modernen Fremdsprachen besonders schwer.

Just out of curiosity, doesn't that mean 'German is having a particularly difficult time of it'?


Yes, and since all languages are always paired with English first, the mistake appears there as well:

Among modern foreign languages, German is particularly difficult.

Parmi les langues étrangères modernes, l'allemand est particulièrement difficile.

Tra le lingue straniere moderne, il tedesco è particolarmente difficile.

Onder de moderne vreemde talen is Duits bijzonder moeilijk.

Entre as línguas estrangeiras modernas, o alemão é particularmente difícil.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby tungemål » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:59 pm

Interesting article.
This is definitely the trend in my country as well. When I attended school I had to choose between German and French (in addition to English). Nowadays Spanish is way more popular. In addition to the fact that it is easier to use English today, I think the reason is this: Spanish is seen as attractive because Spain and Latin-America are seen as exciting tourist destinations. While German might be useful for business but more boring. In that case, is that a change in how young people think about language education?

One interesting point in the article: The pupils that chose language in British schools, were likely to get worse grades than they had in other subjects, so "languages promise bad grades". What is that a reflection of?

By the way, the article was a good German reading and grammar exercise for me. It had a lot of subjunctive forms, for instance in the second paragraph.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:18 pm

tungemål wrote:One interesting point in the article: The pupils that chose language in British schools, were likely to get worse grades than they had in other subjects, so "languages promise bad grades". What is that a reflection of?

There has been an issue with grade inflation in british exams. Perhaps language exams are tied to Council of Europe standards, so more resistant to pressures to make them easier?
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby gsbod » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:46 pm

I think there are a number of different factors related to the decline in foreign language teaching in British schools, going back to when the curriculum was changed in the early 2000s meaning that it was no longer compulsory to study any foreign language over the age of 14, creating a vicious circle where demand is dropping so schools offer less languages, and demand drops further.

I also know that there have been issues with regards to the grading of language A levels (the grades you get here determine which university you can study at, so it is pretty important) in that in some years the marking has been inconsistent compared to other subjects. Also, as the numbers taking language A levels drop, the grade boundaries get skewed by the proportion of people sitting the exam who have the language as a native language already and take it as an "easy" option! If you want to study a language at university, you will of course do a language A level, however for anyone else who needs to secure high grades to study a different subject, it's perceived as less risky to study something else.

That being said, although French is still by far the most popular foreign language to be taught in British schools, and the already low numbers of people taking German are dropping further, I have met several Brits with various backgrounds, all under 40, who actually speak pretty good German. Some started learning it at school, but others learned it as adults. In contrast, the only person I know personally who speaks good French lived in France for most of their teenage years.

I think it's important to give people the best start with a decent education as children, however I believe it is equally important to encourage adults to take up languages. This belief that languages are too hard, and if you didn't learn it at school you are a lost cause, is the most damaging, in my opinion.
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Re: UK-Pupils-Learn-Less-German-in-School

Postby Cainntear » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:38 pm

First up, in education, there isn't really such a thing as "British" or "the UK". Each of the constituent countries (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) has its own education department. Wales and Northern Ireland mostly align with the English system and do the same exams.

The linked article links to sources at the BBC and the British Council that both discuss figures for England only, so the repeated reference to "Großbritannien" in the article is potentially misleading.

However, trends aren't much different here in Scotland. I had considered becoming a high school language teacher for a long while. Here in Scotland, it is theoretically possible to train to teach one language only, but priority will be given to someone with two languages. When I started looking into it about 15 years ago, only two languages were offered as a first choice, French and German, and Italian and Spanish were available as 2nd language options only.

I recall reading around that time that the language in most demand from parents was Spanish, but because schools already had German teachers (often as the head of the language department) and lots of German resources bought and paid for, there was a reluctance to offer it. I seem to recall reading the claim that there were more trained Spanish teachers in Scottish schools teaching only French or German than there were that actually taught Spanish.

This has now changed, and probably for 2 reasons:
1) The last big wave of German teachers are retiring
2) The move to interactive whiteboards in the classroom meant that money was released for new resources to replace the old books and cassette tapes. If you've got a workforce that's trained to teach Spanish and demand from parents, why buy unpopular German resources instead of popular Spanish?)
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