Are Brits Lazy Language Learners?

According to a recent article in The Independent newspaper, the writer speaks about the general laziness and misunderstanding regarding learning languages in the UK. That an ‘everyone speaks English anyway’ attitude prevails in the UK which adds to this ignorant view that there is no point in learning a foreign language. This attitude and misunderstanding has been around for a long time in the UK and seems to be getting worse. But, do you agree with this opinion?

The article goes on to say that it should be compulsory for children to learn languages at an early age otherwise children will just not to take it up at GCSE and A-Level later in their lives. It is true that young children are like sponges when it comes to learning and it is an excellent opportunity for them to learn a language at a young age. Unfortunately, the number of children taking up a language at GCSE and A-Level has fallen dramatically since the Labour government decided not to make learning languages compulsory at GCSE level, back in 2004. Nowadays, only a small percentage of teenagers learn languages at all.

Added to this, is the attitude surrounding learning languages in the UK which also has an influence. The article goes on to say that ‘Most people love bumbling about how “hopeless” their French is. If you speak a language, you are seen as being somehow superior’. Do you agree with this? Are you are language teacher? Have you experienced this attitude yourself?

Hopefully, the number of students taking up a language at school in the UK will pick up now that the English Baccalaureate covers subjects such as mathematics, English, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and languages (classical and modern). Kids should also look up to young people like British Olympic diving medallist, Tom Daley who recently achieved an A in his Spanish A-Level. Let’s all encourage our kids to learn a language today!

Read more about the article in The Independent>>

What are you thoughts on this? Do you think that Brits are lazy language learners? What can be done to encourage more children to learn a language? Send us your comments by completing the Comments box below!