ERIC Number: ED430394
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Foreign Languages in the Upper Secondary School: A Study of the Causes of Decline.
McPake, Joanna; Johnstone, Richard; Low, Lesley; Lyall, Lindsay
The report presents findings from a study into the causes for modern language enrollment decline in Scotland's high schools. Data were drawn from teacher, students, and administrator interviews in 12 school studies and a survey of modern language teachers and a sample of students from 100 schools taking standardized modern language exams. Results indicate a major increase, over 20 years, in language enrollments at S4 level, but a major decline in enrollments at High Grade level, both in absolute terms and relative to other subjects. Two factors unique to Scotland are identified: limited exposure to foreign languages outside school, and lack of shared motivation within Scottish society. Perceptions of public policy on modern language education was found to have little effect on enrollment. Students are more critical of the language curriculum than of teaching methods, resources, class size, or ability grouping. Learners did not find second language learning intrinsically motivating, needed more support for their interest in other languages and cultures, saw few short-term benefits in language learning, and lacked clear expectations of language study. Recommendations are made for changes in the structure of the modern language program, in course content, teaching methods, resources, recruitment, and in promotion of lifelong language learning. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Scottish Council for Research in Education, Edinburgh.
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)