Language GCSE's - no need to sit an oral exam.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Squirrel, Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. Is it just me, or does anyone else find this ludicrous?

    What it says to me is that there will be a generation of children who will claim to have GCSE's in whatever language, but will be unable to speak it. In my opinion, and when it comes to languages, I have a lot of opinions, to be able to claim competency in a language, you need to be able to prove you can speak it.

    All this because the oral exams are deemed to be too stressful, well aw bless! Where do we stop? Just fcuking bin exams all together in case the little dears get upset at the prospect of not passing? Why not give every fcuker a blanket pass, just so as not to make them feel bad! This country is well and truly shafted!

    I'm afraid to say, the newly qualified baby CT who on completion of his Arabic/Farsi/Pashto or whatever course who declares to me that he can't be deployed on the ground as a front line interpreter because he/she's "not a very confident speaker" will find him/herself not receiving a great deal of sympathy from this c/s.

    I'm annoyed, can you tell?

    edited to add link
  2. What is the point of learning a language (at an level) if you are too shy to attempt to speak it. Both my Thai and Chinese are self taught and I must admit that while I am not proficient in either to hold a conversation I am able to ask for food, booze (most important) and other things. The Chinese and Thais that I worked with were only too happy to help me and applauded the fact that I attempted to speak their language.
    Yet another backward step by Brown the Clown's government.
  3. That's been my experience as well slim, I can't believe that anyone in power can think this a good idea.
  4. I can only agree with you on this one Slim. I speak Two Chinese dialects Teochew, and Cantonese, Neither of which I was taught but practiced, more and more. My wife’s family thought it was so funny, but they help me become proficient. Of course I made some CLASSIC errors, even on one occasion, when I referred to my Mother in Law as a Smell ****! Much to the chagrin of my Father in Law.

    But we must not lay the blame for this dumbing down at the feet of Gordon, The blame MUST be placed at the feet of the TEACHERS, they are the laziest, bone bloody idol, most risk averse profession in the UK. They were the ones who have consistently winged and whined to the QCA to get the examination methodology changed to make them look good, and the results of their output look good.

    Before you try to rip me a new hole and tell me I don’t know what I am talking about. I would like to inform you that I am a Teacher, (all be it in FE & HE) and I am constantly amazed at how the teaching unions can influence the QCA Quango (sorry NGO) into changing the rules, and adjust standards.

    I believe we in the UK are the worsted teachers of Foreign languages in the world. We should teach folk how to SPEAK the language, then teach them to read and write it. A little like how a child learns really. Or am I being too simplistic.

    I will be honest with you I can still not read or understand the written chinese language, its a bloody Mystery to me and I expect it will remain so until I shuttle off this mortal coil. But it's nice to have a mystery to work on. :thumright: :thumright:
  5. I never could recognise the Chinese sign language, well apart from the numbers 1 to 10 and the signs on the toilets. Interestingly the sign for ladies reminds me of a pair oflegs being crossed :thumright:
  6. The acid test for anyone's foreign language ability must involve an examination of their oral skills to a common standard. The chief benefit of any language is the ability to speak with other people and understand what they are saying. Having gone from foreign language courses in a British school, where attention was focused on dusty prose and written grammar, to American schools where the emphisis was placed on the spoken word, I know which has served me best. Learning foreign languages was even made fun in the States with weekend trips to the mountains, dinners featuring food from the countries concerned, viewing foreign films and plays and other organised events during which students had to converse in the appropriate language. There were also thriving foreign exchange student programmes. This is not to say that we didn't read foreign classical literature and discuss it too; but we discussed it in the language of the book.

    I have since found that any effort to speak in someone else's language is usually warmly appreciated and my schoolboy standard foreign language abilities have landed me some enjoyable visit liaison jobs while serving in the RN.
  7. Hmm, I don't think the purpose of GCSEs is to "demonstrate" anything about the associated subject. Binning the oral bit just brings the language GCSEs into line with all the other subjects, IMHO.
  8. Indeed, the 'pass' rate increases making the governments ' targets' look spiffing. :pukel:
  9. Thats stupid, I took gcse french at school, and gcse spanish at college .... how can the oral be nerving?
    Thats the whole point of speaking a bluddy language!

    They only say that because its the hardest part of the exam haha, but the whole reason for learning a language grrr
  10. I am sorry but the Oral tests had been dumbed down enough already, you are told what you presentation will be about and then are able to write out what you are going to do, the teacher then helps you correct this and runs through countless practise questions about the presentation.

    If people are scared about the exam, it says one thing, they have not prepared and they know it. It is all well and good being able to read a language, but if you cannot engage with a native speaker on issues and have a conversation with them, it is not a great deal of use. We do appallingly at Languages in this country, because of thinking like this, I have been to a School in Solingen, Germany, where some of the lessons are conducted completely in English, they are able to hold near perfect conversations.

    My opinion is that nothing will help a student to learn the language better than being immersed in the language country, it brings home just how useful it is, and forces you to put to use what you have learnt, which in turn builds confidence and competence.

    Strangely my German verbal ability went up massively after a few beers...
  11. This is known as being Fluid in the language
  12. Surely being able to actually speak the language is of a higher priority than being able to write and read it?
    Getting rid of the oral examination is the worst possible solution.

    Having said that, I've passed oral in the following languages:
    Australian (dialect),
    New Zealand (dialect),
    USA (dialect),
    A lot of English derived dialects in fact,
    Bored now in listing. :whew:

    I never failed to get my clear intentions across to the "ladies" who spoke these languages, they all responded very well to what I was saying..........
    Now the blokes, never had a clue what I was saying because I never tried!
  13. Qutie true P/O, I agree that immersion is by far the best way to achieve fluency, but it's not always an option to be fair.
    I accept that GCSE is a very basic level, but I believe that all 4 linguistic skills need to be developed from the very beginning.
    I taught Arabic at Chicksands for a couple of years and all 4 skills are practised from the very beginning, right up to Diploma level. Of course some people find it hard, but it's the only way to ever become proficient.

    BTW P/O
    looking at your signature block, you got some of the words right, but in Arabic, the correct way to write "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs back" is
    يقÙز الثعلب الاسمر السريع Ùوق ظهر الكلب الكسلان

    Just a friendly word of advice to a fellow Arabist :)
  14. So... Do we all agree that it is the teaching and teachers that have bumbed down and NOT Gordon?

  15. Me luv u looong time five dolla!
  16. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    I agree mate, problem is that few others will, teaching is such a respected profession that few have the Balls to challenge what the academically sheltered teachers of today claim (Ed certainly ain't about to). Personally I think the "risk averse" statement from your previous post is to blame along with a lack of real leadership in a profession that generally couldn't spell it.

  17. Pair of them in it… under Neue Arbiet everyone wins a prize.
  18. I suspect he knows no Arabic, but has used 'Google translate', which told me that the rapid fox jumps over the sloth dog!

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