three barriers that stop students choosing to learn a language in high school
Credit: Shutterstock

Fewer students are choosing language electives at school, but contrary to popular perception, it isn’t purely a lack of interest causing the decline. My recent study suggests students want to study a language, but can’t.

Language electives continue to have the lowest enrolments compared to other subjects. In 2020, only 9.5% of Year 12 students were studying languages. This is the lowest figure in the last decade.

Learning another language is important in our globally connected world and has personal, societal and economic benefits. These include enhanced cognitive functions and cultural sensitivity. Language learners develop more of an understanding of the nature of language and communication and languages can improve employment opportunities.

I conducted an online survey with over 500 students from years 9 to 12, asking about their attitudes to school and learning languages. I found there are three main barriers stopping students from reaping the rewards of language study.

1. Lack of options

Not being able to study the language they preferred is a key barrier. Some 55% of students surveyed in my study said their school did not offer their desired language. One boy said, “I want to learn European languages but my school offers none.”

2. Timetable restrictions

Students experience barriers from their school’s timetabling arrangements. One boy said he was unable to study French and Chinese because both subjects were scheduled at the same time. Another boy said, “I am interested in continuing with a second language but cannot fit it in around other subject choices.” This is because students often only have room for up to six subjects on their timetable. In Year 12, this can drop to four.

three barriers that stop students choosing to learn a language in high school
Credit: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

3. Languages are rarely a prerequisite for study

In senior year levels, students start thinking about what subjects they need for future study, which leads to students prioritizing some subjects over others. Although interested in a language, other subjects are seen as more important for study and career pathways. “I probably would’ve done French, but I needed a science to be applicable for studying to be a pilot,” said one boy. One girl added, “a lot of people do not study a LOTE because other subjects, such as prerequisites are more of a priority.”

How to get more students learning languages

To boost senior secondary language enrolments, languages need to be available and encouraged all the way from early learning to year 10 in order to build a pipeline of language students for senior year levels.

Ensuring students are familiar with language learning from an early age will set the foundation for them to continue with languages later.

Additionally, each state needs a language policy that requires schools to teach the recommended hours so students see a commitment to this subject area. The minimum recommended hours by the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority are 870 across Years 6–12. As this is a recommendation, these hours are not enforced and differ between states.

The most popular reasons for students doing a language are:

speaking the language when travelingenjoying the challengeliking the language and culture.

Parents and teachers should emphasize these aspects if they want to ensure their children and students reap the benefits of language learning. Provided by The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Citation: Three barriers that stop students choosing to learn a language in high school (2022, April 26) retrieved 26 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-barriers-students-language-high-school.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Webb telescope: NASA to reveal deepest image ever taken of universe

A wonder of engineering, Webb is able to gaze further into the cosmos than any telescope before it thanks to its enormous primary mirror and its instruments that focus on infrared, allowing it peer through dust and gas. NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Wednesday the agency will reveal the ...

View more: Webb telescope: NASA to reveal deepest image ever taken of universe

Team reassesses greenhouse gas emissions from African lakes

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)—the most potent greenhouse gases—into the atmosphere from African lakes are reassessed in a study undertaken by the Laboratory of Chemical Oceanography (FOCUS research unit / Faculty of Science). While it was previously assumed that these lakes ...

View more: Team reassesses greenhouse gas emissions from African lakes

Business sentiment worsens for July amid inflation, recession woes

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s business sentiment worsened for July amid deepening concerns over high raw materials prices and a global economic downturn, a central bank poll showed Thursday. The business sentiment index (BSI) for local companies came to 82 for July, down 5 points from the previous ...

View more: Business sentiment worsens for July amid inflation, recession woes

The rise and precarious reign of China’s battery king

Ascent has major implications for a world increasingly reliant on electric vehicles.

View more: The rise and precarious reign of China’s battery king

When should I buy my kid a Nintendo Switch?

Source: iMore As a parent or guardian in this day and age, it’s likely that you will be asked at some point to buy your kid(s) a Nintendo Switch. And although Nintendo is known for its family-friendly games and kid-friendly systems, it still may be a tough choice to decide ...

View more: When should I buy my kid a Nintendo Switch?

Experts Provide Online Data Protection Advice Following Roe v. Wade Overturn

(Photo : Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) Legal and information technology (IT) experts are debating how state-wide reproductive control laws would affect personal information protection following the overturn of the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Digital Evidence Is Still The Primary Documentation Used By Prosecutors in Violations of Reproductive ...

View more: Experts Provide Online Data Protection Advice Following Roe v. Wade Overturn

Being mindful can improve your interactions with co-workers, new study finds

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Although mindfulness originates within an individual, a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher has found the benefits do not end with this person. The real payoffs emerge when an individual’s mindfulness is translated into mindful interactions and relationships. Such interactions—infused with intentionality, compassion and presence—can bring about ...

View more: Being mindful can improve your interactions with co-workers, new study finds

Cooking up a conductive alternative to copper with aluminum

Aluminum is just one-third the price and weight of copper, but it is only about 60% as conductive. Aluminum’s relatively low conductivity can be a limitation in some real-world applications. Credit: Shannon Colson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory In the world of electricity, copper is king—for now. That could ...

View more: Cooking up a conductive alternative to copper with aluminum

Redmi Note 11 finally gets Android 12 update

Choose Your Own EK-Quantum, The Surface S360 Or Surface X360M

First national guidelines established for integrated student support programs in K-12 schools

Shimano 105 Goes Electric, Possibly Their Biggest Revamp Ever

SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Broadband Is Speeding Up, Ookla Says

You Can Finally Afford to Buy a GPU Again

How the world's rivers are changing

The evolution of evolutionary developmental biology

Pokémon Unite medals: What do the medals mean?

Enzyme of bacterial origin promoted the evolution of longhorned beetles

One step closer to fire-safe, recyclable lithium-metal batteries

Research team captures an elusive shadow: State-by-state gun ownership

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News