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1 Is Dearing a shot in the arm for the Languages Strategy? A view ‘from the British Academy’ Dick Hudson July 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Is Dearing a shot in the arm for the Languages Strategy? A view ‘from the British Academy’ Dick Hudson July 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Is Dearing a shot in the arm for the Languages Strategy? A view ‘from the British Academy’ Dick Hudson July 2007

2 2 Yes, Dearing wants: ‘a coherent place for languages in the school curriculum, and beyond.’ –‘the New Paradigm for languages’ languages to be less ‘boring and difficult’ at KS3-4. teachers to have more CPD.

3 3 Boring and difficult at KS3-4 MFL are the least liked subject (QCA 2007) French is the worst-taught subject (pupil survey in TES) MFL have no linguistic or cultural content (think-tank Civitas in Telegraph) “… the quality of teaching … in [MFL at KS3] needs to be raised in comparison with other subjects.” (DfES)

4 4 But, Dearing: almost ignores the attraction of ‘language for its own sake’ completely ignores the problem of teacher recruitment –Closely linked to need for CPD and retention. –Said to have motivated drop in GCSE FL.

5 5 PGCE applications …

6 6 Why are FL teachers scarce? Schools teach language, but little or no literature. But in most HE courses, –the dominant topics are cultural and literary. –language teaching is not inspired by research. Because language research is in crisis.

7 7 Language research in FL depts (1) PhD grants by AHRB Panel 5, : Culture: 181Language: 11 The RAE 2001 panel for French noted: a ‘significant drop’ in the number of entries for French linguistics since a ‘lack of renewal’: no new names.

8 8 Language research in FL depts (2) AHRC research grants 2006: French Culture: 46Language: 8 Academy post-docs : in a department of French or German Culture: 10Language: 0

9 9 Staff research interests Cambridge (RAE 2001: 5*) Culture: 28Language: 5 Nottingham (5) Culture: 20Language: 1 Sheffield (5) Culture: 16Language: 0 Google’s top three French departments:

10 10 It’s official In 2002 the AHRB recognised the crisis. It ring-fenced six PhD studentships per year for the linguistics of the major foreign languages. –But in 2005 there were too few good applicants to fill them. So language teaching is not inspiring at HE.

11 11 Conclusion Teaching at KS3-4 is poor. –Why? Too few good teachers. Few FL graduates become teachers. –Why? BA courses don’t match KS3-4 teaching. Language has low status on BA courses. –Why? It has low status in research. So maybe HE needs to change.

12 12 Thank you This file can be downloaded from


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