Recent surveys show that the number of pupils set to sit language GCSEs next year will rise by 22% to 52%. (Source: England’s teacher training agency, BBC Education News) The rise is tied to the English Baccalaureate, which requires languages among other subjects.
There has also been a rise in the number of qualified language teachers but this rise is not keeping pace with demand from the students sitting language exams, according to professional bodies like the Association of Head Teachers.
Russell Hobby the general secretary puts it like this:
people really struggle to recruit language teachers, so it is a concern – particularly after a long period of time when modern foreign languages were in decline. It can take years to re-staff your languages faculty. It is one of those subject areas where you definitely need a qualification – it’s one subject you cannot fake.’ (Source: BBC Education News)
Investment in ‘next generation’ language lab software to fill the languages gap.
One of the ways to manage the language skills and recruitment gap is through the use of technology. Next generation language lab technologies allow teachers to work with a greater number and variety of students in the key areas of language learning, in terms of listening, writing, speaking and reading skills.
Will Harvey, Languages & Enterprise Specialism Coordinator at Didcot Girls’ School says that the use of his Sony Virtuoso language lab:
means improved language learning outcomes, as students can be trained more quickly and efficiently in becoming bi or multilingual. Specifically a language lab speeds up listening and speaking skills, increases focused teacher instruction and guidance, amplifies opportunities for individual student learning differentiation and peer to peer assessment.’
Want to find out more? Request a ‘language lab for a day’ demonstration at your school.