Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

‘We need to make more of our children multilingual’

“In 2012, the Minister of Education announced that from September 2014 it would be compulsory for children aged 7 to 11 years to learn a foreign language.

This ambitious plan, a product of Michael Gove’s term in Office and endorsed by his successor as Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, was intended to close the gap between the British education system and school systems abroad, as well as the yawning gulf between state and independent schools in their language provision.

Some leading schools are already making a significant contribution encouraging the teaching of languages in their immediate communities, by sharing their language teachers with other local schools or by running evening classes.

Technology offers another way forward in sharing resources.

Only by making more of our children bilingual, or multilingual, are we going to shake off the tag of being Europe’s laziest linguists, one we have sadly had for far too long.”

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Languages do matter!


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