Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at Advanced Level

Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at Advanced Level

Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at Advanced Level

Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at Advanced Level


Teaching Modern Foreign Languages at Advanced Level has been designed to compliment Learning to Teach Modern Foreign Languages in the Secondary School and focuses specifically on the skills and processes of teaching modern foreign languages.


by Trevor McDonald,
Chairman of the Nuffield Languages Inquiry

'Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.' This gem from P.G. Wodehouse (The luck of the Bodkins) has always made me smile, reminding me of the many occasions when I have felt every bit as awkward when travelling or working in countries where I did not speak the language.

Learning a language successfully lifts our confidence, and helps us even when we go on to encounter speakers of languages unfamiliar to us-as inevitably most will be. For those of us with a taste for exploration, learning a language can become a journey rich in challenge and in satisfaction: the challenge of a lifelong progress towards a horizon which we never quite reach but which always beckons, and at the same time the satisfaction of becoming increasingly familiar with new ways of thinking and communicating, and of entering a culture often accessible only through language.

Continuing the language learning of more of our young people beyond the basic requirements of our national curriculum is an aim to which we must all aspire. Too many sixteen year olds-including large numbers who have been successful in their language learning-abandon the study of languages after GCSE (or Standard Grade in Scotland). Numbers entering advanced courses in languages remain in decline. But the signs of a resurgence are there. There is very strong demand for languages as a supporting discipline among the 30% of students entering higher education. The market for languages in adult and continuing education remains buoyant. There has been a dearth of positive messages aimed at sixteen year olds about the importance of maintaining or progressing their language skills, but again there are positive signs of change.

Meanwhile, for those students entering advanced courses, this book reminds us that teachers and researchers are constantly seeking new insights into the teaching and learning process, and are applying ever more refinement to the design of courses and approaches. The future is in good hands.

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