French declining at Lower Secondary School level / News / The Foreigner

French declining at Lower Secondary School level. UPDATED: Spanish still reigns supreme, but pupils in Norway are increasingly choosing to learn German as a foreign language. French’s popularity is declining, according to educationalists. Figures from the Norwegian Centre for Foreign languages in Education show a steady drop in popularity for French over a three-year period. 15.3 per cent of Lower Secondary School pupils chose to embark on studying the language in the 2011-12 school year, while the percentages for 2012-13 and 2013-14 were are 14.7 and 13.9, respectively (national basis).

languages, schools, education, norway, foreigners



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



News Article

LATEST:

French declining at Lower Secondary School level

Published on Tuesday, 30th December, 2014 at 14:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th December 2014 at 22:12.

UPDATED: Spanish still reigns supreme, but pupils in Norway are increasingly choosing to learn German as a foreign language. French’s popularity is declining, according to educationalists.

La tour Eiffel
View of the Eiffel tower and the "Champ-de-Mars" at night taken in 2008.La tour Eiffel
Photo: echiner1/Flickr


Figures from the Norwegian Centre for Foreign languages in Education show a steady drop in popularity for French over a three-year period.

15.3 per cent of Lower Secondary School pupils chose to embark on studying the language in the 2011-12 school year, while the percentages for 2012-13 and 2013-14 were are 14.7 and 13.9, respectively (national basis).

While Spanish-interested 8th-graders increased in the 2011-14 period, from 33.5 to 35.2 per cent.

The general percentage trends for those pupils who wanted to study German also rose. These were 26.9 per cent for the 2011-12 school year, 26.4 per cent for 2012-13, and 27.2 per cent for 2013-14.

For the 2014-15 school year, the respective language figures for French, Spanish, and German are 13 per cent (-1%), 34 per cent (-1%), and 30 per cent (+3%).  English is obligatory for all schoolchildren from the age of six, and thus not seen as a foreign language in Norwegian schools.

“Disappeared”

The Foreigner spoke with Gerard Doetjes, senior advisor at the Norwegian Centre for Foreign languages in Education about the issues.

Why do you think the popularity of French is decreasing?

Pencil and pen collection
Pencil and pen collection
Sleeping Sun/Flickr
“This is mainly because schools offer Spanish instead. But in my opinion, it’s also that the country and culture have disappeared off the radar, in a way. What France was before is what Spain and Latin America are now.”

As for Spanish, its popularity is no longer increasing like it used to, but it is still a popular choice.

“I think that its popularity is a result its status as a world language, being greater than French and German put together,” says Mr Doetjes.

And what are the reasons for the German language’s increasing popularity, in your opinion?

“There are several ways to explain this growth, though presenting hard evidence as to why is difficult. Plausible reasons could be full Spanish classes, which ‘force’ pupils to choose German instead, and better German teaching with less correcting, more communication and modern textbooks. There is also increasing awareness of the importance of Germany for the Norwegian economy.”

“But most of all, I think that it’s about Germany being more popular as a country than it was five years ago,” Mr Doetjes adds.

Increased awareness

Children who are introduced to more than one language at an early age are more likely to perform better at school, Scandinavian research has demonstrated.

The previous government’s Deputy Education Minister for the Socialist Left (SV), Elisabet Dahle, told The Foreigner that “plurilingualism is a resource in the Norwegian society, and that it should be valued in the education system”.

School lockers (illustration photo)
School lockers (illustration photo)
wired_gr/Flickr
Percentages for those studying French, Spanish, and German at Upper Secondary School level also vary from year-to-year, though marginally.

The Norwegian Centre for Foreign languages in Education groups the first two levels (VG1 and VG2) together in their general overviews. English is not compulsory at VG2 and VG3 levels:

  • 2011-12 school year: French 18%, Spanish 44%, German 36%.
  • 2012-13 school year: French 17%, Spanish 44%, German 37%.
  • 2013-14 school year: No change in the percentages.

Gerard Doetjes explains that “during the last years, we have seen a rise in the percentage of students that choose a foreign language when they start at 8th Grade. It used to be 73, it is now 78.”

“This increase might be a result of better language teaching, a rising interest in foreign languages, and an increasing awareness amongst students and parents that not choosing foreign languages at 8th Grade limits the number of choices one has at 12th Grade,” he concludes.

Norway’s school education system uses the following classifications:

  • Barnehage – Preschool, ages 1-6
  • Barneskole – Primary School, ages 6-13, Grades 1-7
  • Ungdomsskole – Lower Secondary School, ages 13-16, Grades 8-10
  • Videregåendeskole – Upper Secondary School, ages 16-19, Grades VG1-3.



Published on Tuesday, 30th December, 2014 at 14:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th December 2014 at 22:12.

This post has the following tags: languages, schools, education, norway, foreigners.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!