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La Academia News

Why UK schools need to invest in foreign languages

Posted on : August 25, 2017

A saying attributed to Nelson Mandela says: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that will go to his head. But, if you talk to him in his own language, that will go to his heart”.

It’s a well-accepted fact that should we need to build a certain level of trust with people from other countries, whether it be for business or pleasure, it’s often advantageous to do so in their mother-tongue.

Statistics show that England allocates one of the lowest amounts of teaching time to modern languages in primary and secondary education; despite growing level of foreign trade. And considering that only a quarter of the world speaks English, it puts into perspective that there are actually three-quarters of the world’s population out there with whom we can’t communicate.

The British Council’s Languages for the Future Report identified Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese as the languages most vital to UK commerce over the next 20 years. These were chosen based on economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational factors including the needs of UK businesses, the UK’s overseas trade targets, diplomatic and security priorities and prevalence on the internet.

Employers are crying out for more language skills in the workplace, and they often value those employees who have some knowledge of foreign languages and intercultural relations. So an investment in language teaching now should be considered an important investment for our children’s future.

If we want our younger generations to grow up with the language skills they need to stand out in the crowd, compete effectively in a competitive global economy, and to contribute as global citizens, surely we cannot afford to wait for the primary and secondary education system to get their acts together?

At la Academia, we offer a range of modern foreign language courses for all ages and abilities. From primary school to boardroom, we can help you to effectively communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world. It’s 0161 491 1444 or info@laacademia.co.uk

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