Minister Bruton to Prioritise Teaching of Foreign Languages

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
The Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said at the TUI conference, Ireland should benchmark itself against the best English-speaking country in the world for foreign languages and aim to emulate that performance within a decade.
Minister Bruton also said that we should aim to be within the top ten in Europe in this area. He was speaking ahead of the publication of his Department’s ten year strategy for foreign languages, a key commitment in the Action Plan for Education. The plan acknowledges that in general, Ireland, in common with other English-speaking countries, has not, prioritised learning of foreign languages when compared to other countries, tending to regard English as a common international language of communication.

Link -

19 April, 2017 - Minister Bruton to Prioritise Teaching of Foreign Languages - Department of Education and Skills

I believe that Minister Bruton is genuine in this, but language teaching is seriously fúcktarded in Ireland. The teaching of the Irish Language has got to rank as the greatest scandal/failure in Western European education and possibly worldwide history! If it's not, what is? This more or less follows through to other language teaching.
My French Teacher was French born and I would say that any French born and fluent 3rd level graduate who had done the equivalent of a French 1 month TEFL well FEFL in that case, would be at least as good as him, if not streets ahead in their abilty to teach. In fact, he was also one of the few teachers, I saw in secondary school, (it was very common in primary school) hit a child a smash in the face!
One easy thing which can be done is that along with TV5, channels such as ZDF, ARD, TVE, RAI should all be available on cable tv!
Another issue is tehnological advances, Yes, I know, the calculator did not do away with mathematicians, but a universal translator will make an imbecile manager think he knows as much as a native speaker of another language.
Also the director of one of the French Language Institutes told me we get honours university graduates in French coming to us and they cannot put 2 words together, which does not surprise me!
And of course re jobs a lot of jobs which require fluency in another European Language are being advertised by chancer employers for around €18K-€21K, which is absolutely outrageous!
 


silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,526
Putting the European State run stations on cable would be a great idea, its the least they can do to justify their licence fees.

The problem is languages are introduced too late, my solution would be to pick a number of bigger schools and introduce a foreign langue from when they start primary and not have primary teachers teach it obviously.
My kids go to a school that's has an international focus, so they only start Irish in 5th class, by Leaving Cert they do reasonably well compared other Dublin schools big lol so kind of shows up the Irish system as being a bit crap meanwhile they have an A in the bag for their European language because the foreign language exams are so easy for them
 

ger12

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
47,680
Good move. Good luck with finding language teachers.
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
Putting the European State run stations on cable would be a great idea, its the least they can do to justify their licence fees.

The problem is languages are introduced too late, my solution would be to pick a number of bigger schools and introduce a foreign langue from when they start primary and not have primary teachers teach it obviously.
My kids go to a school that's has an international focus, so they only start Irish in 5th class, by Leaving Cert they do reasonably well compared other Dublin schools big lol so kind of shows up the Irish system as being a bit crap meanwhile they have an A in the bag for their European language because the foreign language exams are so easy for them
AFAIK you can take all main EU languages for your leaving cert including Polish, Hugarian, Dutch etc. which given that there is no way an honours leaving cert paper in any of these languages could be anything like as tough for somebody who has grown up speaking them at home, as an honours Irish or honours Engllish paper for a Paddy is massively unfair to Irish Native Students.
Also, because Irish is such an outlier in terms of Indo-European Languges, teaching it and indeed teaching it, appalingly badly from a very young age, is probably not very wise, so starting from about 10 is a better idea with it.
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
Good move. Good luck with finding language teachers.
It will nice to see more Eastern Europeans etc. in The Irish Public Sector!petunia
 

HarshBuzz

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
11,815
Now watch and see how the teacher's unions move to block this just as they do with all proposed reforms (or grudgingly accept in return for a nice fat payoff).

The unions are the most change-resistant group in Irish society. And the least aligned to the public interest.
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
Now watch and see how the teacher's unions move to block this just as they do with all proposed reforms (or grudgingly accept in return for a nice fat payoff).

The unions are the most change-resistant group in Irish society. And the least aligned to the public interest.
Absolutely, there is no such thing as society with these complete and utter gobshytes!
Also from what I gather we have an excess of French teaching graduates, my guess is that almost all those eejits would never be at a level where they would be capable of using the language commercially, so masquerade as French Teachers in our schools instead!
 

Voluntary

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
2,858
And of course re jobs a lot of jobs which require fluency in another European Language are being advertised by chancer employers for around €18K-€21K, which is absolutely outrageous!
Well, these are modern equivalents of manufacturing jobs. These are call centres jobs. It's good we have them as people can move from manual jobs to these with minimum training.

But you're right, in 5-10 years time they won't be needed due to the apps like www.livechatinc.com . It's already proven customers prefer to use chats over phone for dealing with companies and I guess chats can be operated from anywhere in the world and language skills will no longer be required due to improvements in machine translation.

We're however not there yet.
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
Well, these are modern equivalents of manufacturing jobs. These are call centres jobs. It's good we have them as people can move from manual jobs to these with minimum training.

But you're right, in 5-10 years time they won't be needed due to the apps like www.livechatinc.com . It's already proven customers prefer to use chats over phone for dealing with companies and I guess chats can be operated from anywhere in the world and language skills will no longer be required due to improvements in machine translation.

We're however not there yet.
I would regard fluency in another language as a skill which should require a premium level payment to an extent!
However, TBH, with a universal translator and every fúcktard ass hole then regarding themselves as fluent in several languages, where they might not in cases be even fluent in one, it will be virtually as impactful as the fall of The Berlin Wall had on East Germans who had the Russian language as their primary offering to the new job market down the line!
 

Watcher2

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2010
Messages
34,559
I don't get our fixation on languages. English is spoken very, very widely. He should be concentrating his efforts on improving students proficiency in spoken and written English in regards to language. After that, focus on science and maths. Much more important than foreign languages. Other languages have limited appeal.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,526
AFAIK you can take all main EU languages for your leaving cert including Polish, Hugarian, Dutch etc. which given that there is no way an honours leaving cert paper in any of these languages could be anything like as tough for somebody who has grown up speaking them at home, as an honours Irish or honours Engllish paper for a Paddy is massively unfair to Irish Native Students.
Also, because Irish is such an outlier in terms of Indo-European Languges, teaching it and indeed teaching it, appalingly badly from a very young age, is probably not very wise, so starting from about 10 is a better idea with it.
I'd agree, I don't know what level they are pegged at but if LC Arabic or Polish is similar to LC German then its just giving free points for little effort also it doesn't say much about the student's abilities, if they were set closer to their country's LC it would be an achievement.
The flip side is they do have the additional skill which is based on a cultural input, so its good for "Ireland inc" if there are a cohort of kids that are fluent in a second language and it opens doors for them personally
 

Cellachán Chaisil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
9,841
AFAIK you can take all main EU languages for your leaving cert including Polish, Hugarian, Dutch etc. which given that there is no way an honours leaving cert paper in any of these languages could be anything like as tough for somebody who has grown up speaking them at home, as an honours Irish or honours Engllish paper for a Paddy is massively unfair to Irish Native Students.
Also, because Irish is such an outlier in terms of Indo-European Languges, teaching it and indeed teaching it, appalingly badly from a very young age, is probably not very wise, so starting from about 10 is a better idea with it.
English is the analytical language with no gender.

In many ways, that's the outlier.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
9,841
I don't get our fixation on languages. English is spoken very, very widely. He should be concentrating his efforts on improving students proficiency in spoken and written English in regards to language. After that, focus on science and maths. Much more important than foreign languages. Other languages have limited appeal.
Not comfortably.

People like to buy things in their own language.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,526
I don't get our fixation on languages. English is spoken very, very widely. He should be concentrating his efforts on improving students proficiency in spoken and written English in regards to language. After that, focus on science and maths. Much more important than foreign languages. Other languages have limited appeal.
From an educational perspective objectively its good for kids to learn a second language. The problem is the Irish system is anti elitist when it comes to content, everyone in the audience needs to get a prize and a knife taken to the tall flowers. Not everyone should be doing second and third languages especially in secondary but you would be faced with muh equality
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
I'd agree, I don't know what level they are pegged at but if LC Arabic or Polish is similar to LC German then its just giving free points for little effort also it doesn't say much about the student's abilities, if they were set closer to their country's LC it would be an achievement.
The flip side is they do have the additional skill which is based on a cultural input, so its good for "Ireland inc" if there are a cohort of kids that are fluent in a second language and it opens doors for them personally
It is extremly rare that any leaving Cert student manages to become fluent in another European Language through our secondary school system alone, unless they have a great interest and ability in languge learning or they are subjected to it being spoken at home.
I would reckon that certainly an honours leaving cert paper in French and probably German, Spanish and Italian are pitched at about A2 level standard, TBH for an average person 2 intensive full weeks would get you to A1 standard in any of those main languges and probably another 6 weeks intensive (mean 6 hours per day) would get you to A2 level standard!
An honours university degree is pitched at probably B2 standard, though AFAIK today 6 months or so studying abroad in a country where that language is spoken is now de rigeur to get a languges degree.
To use a languge commercially, you would really need to be at C1, which is quite a jump, with C2 being more fluent than a lot of native speakers.
 

stakerwallace

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2011
Messages
13,187
Now watch and see how the teacher's unions move to block this just as they do with all proposed reforms (or grudgingly accept in return for a nice fat payoff).

The unions are the most change-resistant group in Irish society. And the least aligned to the public interest.
There was a pilot language scheme in primary schools up to the time of the crash. Indeed, I was involved with it in its initial stages. No such demands were made.
 

Erudite Caveman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
7,329
I don't get our fixation on languages. English is spoken very, very widely. He should be concentrating his efforts on improving students proficiency in spoken and written English in regards to language. After that, focus on science and maths. Much more important than foreign languages. Other languages have limited appeal.
Yeah, I'm beginning to wonder myself. I am (re)learning a foreign language at the moment, and there are all sorts of new tech teaching tools that help me. But it is becoming obvious to me that we are making such strides in tech in relation to languages that universal translators are going to be real in the medium term, and that will mean that we can effectively communicate with people who speak a different language for business and whatever else. In other words there will be no 'need' to learn a foreign language. Learning one will be like keeping a cow in the garden versus having the milkman drop a carton at your door.

Who knows what that sort of disruptive technology will do to things like the dominance of English, or how many million TEFL teachers will be wiped out, but that is another issue.
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
There was a pilot language scheme in primary schools up to the time of the crash. Indeed, I was involved with it in its initial stages. No such demands were made.
Wasn't such a scheme ultimately discontinued!
 

General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,710
Yeah, I'm beginning to wonder myself. I am (re)learning a foreign language at the moment, and there are all sorts of new tech teaching tools that help me. But it is becoming obvious to me that we are making such strides in tech in relation to languages that universal translators are going to be real in the medium term, and that will mean that we can effectively communicate with people who speak a different language for business and whatever else. In other words there will be no 'need' to learn a foreign language. Learning one will be like keeping a cow in the garden versus having the milkman drop a carton at your door.

Who knows what that sort of disruptive technology will do to things like the dominance of English, or how many million TEFL teachers will be wiped out, but that is another issue.
Well, we don't just learn languages for commercial reasons and the calculator did not finish off mathematicians. However, unfortunately having languages as your main skill to offer an employer may be as useful as haing a betamax video recorder today to record Tv programmes.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top