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Teachers positive about international languages

Teachers positive about international languages

Primary school teachers are already rising to the challenge of international languages education, according to research released today by Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

Ninety per cent of schools surveyed make frequent use of Ministry of Education learning resources and professional support for their international languages programmes in years 7 and 8 (11 and 12-year-olds).

The release of the report on the teaching of international languages at years 7 and 8 coincides with the Government's recent decision to make international languages an option for all students in years 7-10.

The ministry's three year stocktake of the New Zealand curriculum recommended that schools work towards offering instruction in a second language for students in years 7-10.

The report found the ministry's support of year 7 and 8 programmes was a sound approach, given the diversity of views and evidence on optimal starting ages for learning languages.

The government currently supports the teaching of international languages in primary schools through regional language advisors, course materials and a funding pool and researchers found this support was integral to many schools’ programmes.

“Support for New Zealand teachers is vital because many of them are not fluent in international languages. It’s amazing what teachers and schools achieve given our geographical separation from many of the cultures whose languages we teach," Trevor Mallard said.

"Government support is having a positive impact and this latest research will guide further developments as languages become a real option for students in years 7-10.

“This research shows primary schools recognise that learning languages can provide personal, cultural and educational benefits for their students and for New Zealand,” Trevor Mallard said.

The report, by the Auckland University of Technology’s Languages and Education schools, can be found at http://www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/intlang

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