Going into the learning from life placement I had no previous experience of teaching a foreign language in the primary school. Teaching English as a foreign language was something that I found very daunting as I did not know how children in other countries learned the language. All I knew was how I was taught French as a foreign language at the end of primary school and throughout high school.
English is a language that most children learn in France. The begin learning English in CP which is the equivalent to primary one in Scotland. Learning a foreign language from an early age allows the children to become more competent in the language as the younger you begin a language the easier it is. This is why I believe the 1 +2 language approach is Scotland should be well implemented. Children in Scotland should be afforded the opportunity to learn a foreign language form the start of primary school. This would allow them to have a greater understanding of the language and have an advantage going to high school.
Speaking is the main focus when learning a foreign language in France. This is something I learned when teaching English in a French primary school. The teacher informed me that I was not to write words on the board or ask the children to write in their jotters when beginning a new English topic. Speaking and repetition of vocabulary is the best way for children to learn a new language. From my experience of learning French in both primary school and high school we do a lot of reading and writing. Speaking and listening is not the main focus (Maxom, 2010). However, from being in France and having the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language I believe that I will take what I have learned and utilise this knowledge as a teacher. I think that Scotland needs to adopt this approach as speaking and listening are the most important aspects of learning a language. When a baby is born it learns how to speak through listening to others and repeating. Teaching a second language should be no different.
I came to France having no previous experience of teaching English as a foreign language, therefore, I had to learn quickly the various methods used in the various years. This was daunting at the beginning, however, after a few lessons I believe my confidence grew and I was able to make lessons engaging as well as see results week on week with my various class. Teaching English was so rewarding as I could see how much the children enjoyed learning and how happy they were when they mastered new vocabulary. The enthusiasm in relation to learning English was unbelievable. I never realised prior to coming here how much the children enjoyed learning another language. This also emphasises the need to adopt this method in Scotland. I believe that children in the early years would love the opportunity to start learning a foreign language. Learning simple things such as colours and animals and building up vocabulary over a child’s primary school journey will allow them to go to high school with a greater understanding of the language.
This experience has given me a greater passion for languages and I only wish I was given the opportunity to learn French from a young age. By the time I started learning French I was nearly twelve years old and learning consisted of a lot of reading and writing. I believe that when I become a teacher I will encourage the learning of languages within the school. I would prioritise language as a curricular area as I believe just now it is something that is often forgotten about. Some teachers do need feel confident enough to teach, therefore, don’t bother to include it. Becoming more confident in French I believe that I would be able to use this to my advantage offering to teaching the language throughout the school years when I qualify.