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Language Bodies Join Forces to Promote Language Skills

The National Centre for Languages (CILT) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL) are launching a book to promote the teaching of languages.

In the United Kingdom a high percentage of the population believes that it is essential for people to be able to master another language, and that 92% consider that every child should learn a foreign language in school. However, there are various factors that hinder the process. The biggest problem is the lack of motivation: school governors, teachers, parents and even pupils have to be encouraged to acknowledge the importance of teaching and learning languages.

The Vital Importance of Languages

In the present scenario of globalization the ability to speak many languages is very important. Each language is connected to and represents a specific culture of one or even many nations. Multilingualism is then of essential value in the world, as by learning various languages people are able to have a higher understanding and appreciation and better life, to face new and diverse ideas, to exercise their minds and even to benefit from cultural diversity.

50% of pupils in the UK are expected to take a language to GSCE, as the Schools Minister Jacqui Smith MP announced. This reveals how important it is to insist in the teaching of languages at school, which is the foundation for a person’s studies and consequently his or her educational development. Linguistic diversity opens many doors for our future success.

Motivation: The Key Factor

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Most people recognize the advantages, professional and also personal, that come from the knowledge of languages, and use these as an incentive to learn. Nevertheless it is necessary to help people, especially children, who often do not have any motivation and feel an aversion to learning new languages. “There are still too many people ready to believe that certain children do not need to study languages” says Linda Parker, co-author of the book, and Director of ALL.

The new book being released by CILT and ALL, as part of the “Every Child Matters” agenda, has the main objective of highlighting the significance of languages. It presents facts and figures for teachers, advice on the best ways in which to teach and also arguments to convince people of the importance of languages.

Teresa Tinsley, Assistant Director of Communications at CILT, stated that the book will be an essential and useful tool for all language teachers: “Our Language Trends survey of Key Stage Four this autumn showed that languages have a stronger place in schools which are proactive about promoting them. So it is the leadership team within the school that needs to be convinced first that languages enrich children’s educational experience and will offer real advantages to them in their future lives.”

The Book will be launched by the authors on Tuesday, the 28th of February at the Goethe-Institut in London, and is counting on the presence of Mike Ullmann, teacher of the Year 2005.

Joana Lage

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