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Erudite Caveman

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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.
And that is the problem that the schools can't solve.

English is so dominant culturally, that there is no way for an English speaking kid to immerse themselves in another language in the way that French or Dutch kids can with English.

The only way you can do it through the school system is by replicating the Gaelscoil model for other languages. That would be guaranteed to work, but is there an appetite?
 

General Urko

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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
The real issue is most teachers cannot teach and that is accutely true when it comes to languages!
 

General Urko

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And that is the problem that the schools can't solve.

English is so dominant culturally, that there is no way for an English speaking kid to immerse themselves in another language in the way that French or Dutch kids can with English.

The only way you can do it through the school system is by replicating the Gaelscoil model for other languages. That would be guaranteed to work, but is there an appetite?
Apparently, it is not uncommon in France to taech one subject through another language, which use to be done here using Irish as the teaching medium for another subject!
 

silverharp

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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 honurs 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!
you cant beat the parent/s being native speakers and it would be good to see the system not waste their kids potential, but for the vast majority that aren't the system doesn't offer any tailoring. If some parents could send their kids to semi immersion German French or Spanish schools in Ireland then the parents would be motivated to do exchanges , change where they go on holiday or the schools would partner with a school in the other country and you could sent the kids on a 3mth stint abroad or some such. Just needs a bit of creativity which will not be fund in the Dept of Ed.
 

Erudite Caveman

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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.
Absolutely, but with maths - it is effectively one language. 2+2=4 everywhere. With languages the most basic rules change from one place to the next.
 

General Urko

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Ultimately also, a lot of kids who have learned Polish, Hungarian etc from their parents at home, will be joining many native Irish kids in their droves in running out of here when their education is finished, as there will be no decent jobs for non insiders!
 

HarshBuzz

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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.
I would have agreed with this 100% up until recently. Every time I go to continental Europe, anyone under the age of 40 seems to able to converse fluently in English, no matter where you are.

I've been involved in software in my industry recently though and language localisation becomes very important when you are looking to bring on board Asian clients.
Chinese\Japanese\Korean\Malay etc

So from a European perspective, you might be right but globally I would not concur.
 

General Urko

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English is the analytical language with no gender.

In many ways, that's the outlier.
English is the great magpie language stealing from all others, probably, part of the reason for its success. Irish is neither Germanic nor Latin based, English is a mixture of both, though, more Germanic (mind you very few words have directly made it across unchanged from its Germanic cousins).
I have the greatest regard for our national language, but given that it has only 11 irregular verbs, it is quite a difficult language to learn. Indeed if your mother tongue is either Germanic or Latin based, an average person could probably become fluent in one Germanic and one Latin based Language together, before he/she could become fluent in Irish!
 

General Urko

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I would have agreed with this 100% up until recently. Every time I go to continental Europe, anyone under the age of 40 seems to able to converse fluently in English, no matter where you are.

I've been involved in software in my industry recently though and language localisation becomes very important when you are looking to bring on board Asian clients.
Chinese\Japanese\Korean\Malay etc

So from a European perspective, you might be right but globally I would not concur.
In Western, Northern and Southern Europe even the beggars seem to speak English fluently!
 

silverharp

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The real issue is most teachers cannot teach and that is accutely true when it comes to languages!
true, which would be an argument to reduce the language compulsion for everyone reduce the number of language teachers but pay better ones more and or get more teachers from abroad.
 

Roberto Jordan

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While enhancing language proficiency is a reasonable objective I firmly believe the focus on apparent deficiency in teaching of languages by the general public ( including here) and those involved is misplaced.
As I have stated on the interminable Irish language cat fight threads the assumption amongst the average punter is that language teaching is awful because they cannot speak any of the languages they attempted to learn. The inference is that the approach is poor and the level of learning behind that for other subjects.
My argument is that the approach may well be poor, and the level of learning deficient BUT that it is unlikely, in my view, that it is much worse than for any other subject area that is taught at first and second level.
The fact is that most adults struggle to write a coherent , intelligent paragraph in English, have mathematical skills that extend barely , if at all, beyond basic arithmetic and have little or no understanding of any particular area of science.
Certainly very very few retain any understanding of integration, organic chemistry , human biology etc. etc. ....all basic stuff that is taught widely in schools......
If they did then the less people would do things like follow fad diets, consume science scare stories, borrow on credit cards, over leverage themselves when opening a mortgage and so on and so forth
However because the level of ignorance of theses topics extends to a point at which they do not even know how or when they could put the missing knowledge to use it is languages, where occasional attempts or exposure can highlight inability, that get the worst wrap. And because Irish is the language aside from English that most Irish residents are most frequently exposed to it gets a particularly hard time as having been taught awfully.
If someone can point to a study that indicates that general population language learning lags Math, science etc. then I will retract but until then I am vehement in my position that most folks simply are not very well educated, even very very many with tertiary and, sometimes, quaternary degrees,
 

General Urko

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While enhancing language proficiency is a reasonable objective I firmly believe the focus on apparent deficiency in teaching of languages by the general public ( including here) and those involved is misplaced.
As I have stated on the interminable Irish language cat fight threads the assumption amongst the average punter is that language teaching is awful because they cannot speak any of the languages they attempted to learn. The inference is that the approach is poor and the level of learning behind that for other subjects.
My argument is that the approach may well be poor, and the level of learning deficient BUT that it is unlikely, in my view, that it is much worse than for any other subject area that is taught at first and second level.
The fact is that most adults struggle to write a coherent , intelligent paragraph in English, have mathematical skills that extend barely , if at all, beyond basic arithmetic and have little or no understanding of any particular area of science.
Certainly very very few retain any understanding of integration, organic chemistry , human biology etc. etc. ....all basic stuff that is taught widely in schools......
If they did then the less people would do things like follow fad diets, consume science scare stories, borrow on credit cards, over leverage themselves when opening a mortgage and so on and so forth
However because the level of ignorance of theses topics extends to a point at which they do not even know how or when they could put the missing knowledge to use it is languages, where occasional attempts or exposure can highlight inability, that get the worst wrap. And because Irish is the language aside from English that most Irish residents are most frequently exposed to it gets a particularly hard time as having been taught awfully.
If someone can point to a study that indicates that general population language learning lags Math, science etc. then I will retract but until then I am vehement in my position that most folks simply are not very well educated, even very very many with tertiary and, sometimes, quaternary degrees,
Well the standard of teaching in Ireland is shít virtually across the board! As I have said I went to a school where academic results were after ensuring the teachers had an easy life, the priority, children were nowhere on the list and still the majority of teachers could not teach!
Ironically, my Irish, English, Latin and Maths teachers were able to do so!
However, the reason why Irish is so highlighted is because if the only bit most people know is at the level of seas suas, laimhe trasna, an bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leitheras (yeah, I can't spell) after having being supposedly taught a language from about 4 to nowadays 19 in many cases and given access to TG4, then it has to rank as the greatest scandal in European Education and probably worldwide! As I have said, if it's not the case, where is there a greater educational disgrace?
 

General Urko

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Roberto, I also accept your point that a lot of degrees now are about as useful in terms of knowledge attained and commercial usability as the old Inter Cert was!
 

Roberto Jordan

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Well the standard of teaching in Ireland is shít virtually across the board! As I have said I went to a school where academic results were after ensuring the teachers had an easy life, the priority, children were nowhere on the list and still the majority of teachers could not teach!
Ironically, my Irish, English, Latin and Maths teachers were able to do so!
However, the reason why Irish is so highlighted is because if the only bit most people know is at the level of seas suas, laimhe trasna, an bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leitheras (yeah, I can't spell) after having being supposedly taught a language from about 4 to nowadays 19 in many cases and given access to TG4, then it has to rank as the greatest scandal in European Education and probably worldwide! As I have said, if it's not the case, where is there a greater educational disgrace?
Fair, I just think the poor gaelgeoirs get a hard time given so many people can barely add and subtract , let alone do anything more complex. I would also say that it may well be in significant part down to the system and teachers but I would also hold parents and the. Individuals themselves to account.
University graduates who barely own a book, for example, have themselves to blame for their ignorance!
 

farnaby

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There's an political/economic aspect to this. From the OP link:

However in the context of Brexit, the increasing global importance of the non-Western countries, and our diversifying markets for exports, these assumptions [that English is the only language we need] will no longer hold true​
One of the criticisms of the EU is that its polyglot nature is a barrier to true economic harmonisation. Two ways to deal with this - a common language (not acceptable to French or German), or a multi-lingual population.

We'll be the largest English-speaking country in the EU after Brexit, and we'll need to step up our non-UK exports, preferably in a free trade environment i.e. with the rest of the EU.

So maybe it's not just the kids we should be focusing on - ministers, senior civil servants and business leaders should have mandatory language skills!
 

General Urko

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Fair, I just think the poor gaelgeoirs get a hard time given so many people can barely add and subtract , let alone do anything more complex. I would also say that it may well be in significant part down to the system and teachers but I would also hold parents and the. Individuals themselves to account.
University graduates who barely own a book, for example, have themselves to blame for their ignorance!
Also lack of interest in learning The Irish language has contributed to its demise, the association with poverty, rednecks and competition with The Lingua Franca of the world - English!
I remember a few years ago walking passed Ceant Station in Galway and 2 old ladies outside it were speaking in the national language to a middle aged man and the smell out of one of them nearly knocked me! Now, any young person encountering this would associate that smell with the language and would be put off by it. Unfair, yes, a bit, but while there are many stinking English speakers, they are not wearing being an English Speaker as a badge of identity in an English Speaking Society!
I would also reckon the average person's ability to do basic mathematics would be well in advance of their ability to speak basic Irish and perhaps more tellingly their abilty to engage in the coupla focail in French would be a bit in advance of their abilty to do so in Irish as well!
 

General Urko

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There's an political/economic aspect to this. From the OP link:



One of the criticisms of the EU is that its polyglot nature is a barrier to true economic harmonisation. Two ways to deal with this - a common language (not acceptable to French or German), or a multi-lingual population.

We'll be the largest English-speaking country in the EU after Brexit, and we'll need to step up our non-UK exports, preferably in a free trade environment i.e. with the rest of the EU.

So maybe it's not just the kids we should be focusing on - ministers, senior civil servants and business leaders should have mandatory language skills!
While there are exceptions, Minister Bruton speaks French, as for most of the rest, you would be pissing in the wind!
 

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