Language lessons ‘should aim for more than phrasebook competence’

Language teachers should aim beyond “functional phrasebook competence” and encourage self-expression in pupils.  Bernice McCabe, headmistress of North London Collegiate School, will say teachers should be “a thorn in the side of British insularity and reticence”.

Her comments will be made at the start of a course for language teachers run by the Princes Teaching Institute.

Mrs McCabe, who is also co-director of the Princes Teaching Institute, says the aim is to bring “new life” into language lessons. She acknowledges that the obstacles “are many” and that a lot of schools are put off from offering language qualifications by “the perception that top grades in languages are harder to obtain than in many other subjects”.

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