Learning Languages

Would you like to learn a language? Or improve a language you started learning years ago?

So many of us seem to have forgotten that language can be fun and engages parts of the brain which need reaching and developing! Whether you would like to gain a GCSE or A Level in a foreign language or just want to learn for personal interest, Home-School Tutoring is here to help.

Facts about language learning  in  our schools and colleges

Did you know that in 2011 only 40% of GCSE pupils sat language exams, compared to 75% in 2002? The number of students studying at languages at A Level has also fallen to crisis levels, according to the chief executive of exam board AQA.

Research has suggested that students may be put off languages because they believe it is more difficult to get a good grade in a GCSE language subject than in other subjects. ( Home-School Tutoring  believes that we can help you achieve GOOD grades).

This year’s European Survey on Language Competencies placed England at the bottom of the table for foreign language skills in reading, writing and listening, which is not good news.  There were a number of reasons that the English are behind their peers: pupils in England start learning a language later, are taught it for fewer hours a week, and spend less time on homework. The current curriculum, it seems, puts English pupils at a disadvantage when it comes to learning languages and it should be no surprise that many pupils find it difficult.

The recent news that it will become compulsory for children to learn a second language from the age of seven addresses one of these issues. However, British children are likely to continue to spend less time learning another language at school and at home than their European peers. In addition, they have fewer opportunities to immerse themselves in another language in the same way that young people studying English as a foreign language in Europe are able to, where English language music, TV, and films are part of everyday life.

Also, while the dominance of the English language across the globe provides a strong incentive for learning the language for students in Europe and other countries, many English students fail to recognise the benefits of learning another language.

“Young people who have a second language are at a huge advantage in life,” the former Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb, said in a speech not too long ago.  “It opens doors to new friendships, gives them greater facility to learn different tongues and enables them to think both laterally and creatively.”

The English Baccalaureate

However, if this is not sufficient incentive, it is hoped that being able to achieve the English Baccalaureate will be. To receive the award, pupils must attain grade C or higher in English, maths, history or geography, two science qualifications, and a language. With competition tough for the top university places, the E-Bacc provides students with an opportunity for further distinction (especially if they go on to study a language at A Level).

It seems to be working. The National Centre for Social Research has estimated that 52 per cent of pupils are expected to enter GCSEs in a language subject in 2013, compared with 40 per cent in 2011.

However, students are likely to continue finding GCSE languages as challenging as ever. To help their children, many parents are choosing to enlist support from private home tutors.

Home-School Tutoring, established in 1984, provides home tutoring for GCSEs, AS and A Levels in French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Italian. Your local Area Advisor is available to provide advice to parents and match students with the tutor most suited to their needs.

Parents can be assured that all tutors are suitably qualified and experienced, and that Home-School Tutoring has checked qualifications and references, as well as conducting an enhanced DBS check, before recommending tutors to students.

Margaret Sweetland, the UK Proprietor of Home-School Tutoring, says: “One-to -one tuition helps a student get to grips with a language by focusing students in a way that they often don’t in the classroom.  With a private tutor there is so much more time for conversation, to really get to grips with speaking , trying to make yourself speak and build confidence without others listening in.

Speaking the language and attention in listening is key to language learning, but the demands of the national curriculum mean there often isn’t the time or resources available for enough of this is in the school day. Our tutors have helped many students to master their chosen foreign language, and get high grades as GCSE and A Level.”

Parents can find contact details for their local Area Advisor using the Tutor Search facility, while teachers and specialists interested in joining Home-School Tutoring as a language tutor can find more information by visiting Become a Tutor.