Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why do Spaniards not Speak English

It is perfectly possible to teach young Spaniards to speak English to a good enough level to study or work abroad, or work in Spain in one of the many professional fields that require high competence in English (most jobs worth doing, these days). That means B2-C1 level, for those of you who understand these things.

I know it is possible because I have been doing it successfully for years. I know why schools fail to do it, and I know why that isn’t going to change, probably for decades.

The technical probably with teaching here is that it doesn’t focus on communication. Mixed groups of 30 children, the need to justify marks, which dictates the kind of exams to be used and the material to be examined, the interests of powerful Unions that take precedence over those of children, the monumental lack of imagination and the general ignorance of those who make the laws and design the system.

It is widely recognised that proficiency in English is a basic skill, but the state system is quite unable to provide the means to gain that skill. It is not even capable of transmitting the idea it is possible to learn English well, let alone of transmitting the motivation required to do it.

As I frequently point out, not always to universal understanding, in England even the village idiot speaks English. It really isn’t so hard, but in the absence of saturation, it takes a lot of work. But it can be done, and I’m not the only one who knows how to do it. The problem is that those who think they should have a monopoly on Education, don’t know how to do it, and are not trying to find out.


James Higham said...

Debatable how many in Enland speak English. Just look at the Geordies.

The Hickory Wind said...

True enough, you wouldn't want to learn English in a mining village in Newcastle, and definitely not from the village idiot. But the general point is that it really isn't hard, it just takes a bit of motivation and the right environment. A good teacher can provide both of these things.