Business Language Services New survey reveals what would motivate students to learn a new language

Motivate Students

A lot has been written recently about the lack of interest amongst students when it comes to language learning and indeed many figures that have been published paint quite a grim picture. Since 2004, it has not been mandatory for students to take a language GCSE and as a result there has been fewer than 40% of pupils sitting a language exam between 2001 and 2010.

 

 

A recent survey conducted on behalf of the Guardian newspaper and the British Academy has looked into the possible reasons why languages have lost their appeal amongst pupils and has come up with some very interesting findings.

Out of the 10001 youngsters between the ages of 11 and 14 who took part in the survey, 70% said that they would be interested in learning a new language whilst 20% already spoke a second language with their families at home. The majority were also aware that being fluent in another language has economic benefits as it can open up job opportunities both at home and abroad.

The findings from the survey show that there are two main elements that are putting off young people from languages. The actual learning process has been cited as the major reason for avoiding language courses, with 48 % claiming that grammar learning is too difficult. Another aspect that was identified as making language learning unappealing was the fact that the subject was not interesting enough for the pupils. 32% of the surveyed youngsters said that they found other subjects more interesting with 27% stating they did not feel confident speaking in a second language.

When young learners have low confidence they often lose interest in a subject as they feel that they are not progressing, which is exactly what the figures from the survey illustrate. Most pupils said that they had basic language skills, meaning they could understand and communicate using simple words and phrases.

Given the opportunity to communicate with native speakers and going on school exchange trips were the things that the pupils said would make the process of language learning more attractive to them.

As foreign language teaching has become compulsory in all state primary schools, teachers are already having to think of ways to motivate students, to make their lessons more interesting and engaging for the younger pupils. The findings from this survey can be used to produce new foreign language curriculum which will place more of an emphasis on interaction and encouraging student participation through various activities which would make the subject more relevant to them and also help to build their confidence.

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