This week, from Aug 19th to Aug 25th, is International Languages Week. During this week, the Association of Language Teachers reminds New Zealanders about the value of learning an international language.
Many New Zealanders are not motivated enough to learn a second language. It is hard and they don’t feel it is necessary. Some language departments at universities have closed because there is so little interest. Now the Ministry of Education is trying to encourage 11 and 12 year olds. In Years 7 and 8, school students have an introduction to a foreign language – often a European language. Because we do not have enough language teachers, the class teacher and students learn together, using books and tapes.
However, from Year 9 – the first year at high school – schools have to offer a second language and they have qualified teachers to teach these languages. There are NCEA qualifications for students in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Latin as well as Samoan, Tongan and Maori. However, only a small number of students choose to continue with a second language from Year 11.
Universities and Polytechs also offer classes in foreign languages and culture. Auckland University offers 14 languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek. They include Russian and Italian amongst the European languages.
• value – importance, usefulness
• motivated – interested and keen to learn
• qualified teachers – know the language and are trained to teach
• Why are so many New Zealanders not motivated to learn a second language?
• What is the value of learning a second language?