Foreign languages ​​could be taught in preschool and primary

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Foreign language teaching should be considered in kindergartens and primary schools, according to school inspectors from the Ministry of Education.

In a new report on the quality of teaching practice, inspectors said pre-school teachers could be trained to integrate languages ​​such as French, German and Polish into early learning contexts.

Furthermore, he indicates that the reinstatement of modern languages ​​in the primary school curriculum would be a timely decision.

The bulk of the inspectors’ report concerns the quality of secondary education, which is generally judged to be positive.

Inspectors found that students had a satisfactory or better language learning environment in 98% of lessons observed during subject inspections.

The fact that the quality of learner engagement in language lessons in post-primary schools was rated as satisfactory or better in 95% of the lessons assessed “bodes well for successful language learning”.

When students’ enjoyment and motivation to learn were surveyed, a majority of lessons (72%) were found to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’, while a further 21% were satisfactory.

For the small minority of lessons where learner engagement was either fair or low, students were noted to lack focus during lesson tasks.

Findings regarding the achievement of learning objectives were mixed.

In most cases (74%), the achievement of learning objectives was rated as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

A total of 16% were satisfactory and the remaining 10% were either “fair or poor”.

Inspectors also reported finding examples of preschools using a number of approaches to include foreign language teaching in schools.

These practices often focused on promoting inclusion and diversity, particularly by supporting children from the heritage language.

For example, in an early learning and child care setting, Polish was the first language spoken by providers and by the majority of children.

He found that practitioners worked to improve children’s vocabulary acquisition and tried to balance listening and speaking with children in English and Polish.

They used nursery rhymes and action activities to promote children’s language development in English.

In another setting, families with English as an additional language were supported by a ‘communication corner’ which used symbols to improve communication with children and their parents.

Prior to the settling-in period, preschool teachers and caseworkers met with parents to build positive relationships and discuss the various approaches used by caseworkers to support children. They also held an open house to implement efficient installation procedures.

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