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Would you learn Mandarin?
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Would you learn Mandarin? Reply with quote

Education Secretary Alan Johnstone is proposing that English school children are offered languages such as Mandarin and Erdu in school to enable them to compete in the global marketplace.

What do you think of this? Have you thought of learning these languages since leaving school?
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lakedaemon
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have thought about learning a lot of languages since I left school, none of which were an option to learn when I was at school. However, saying that, as a child I probably would have been equally bad at learning Mandarin as I was at learning French and German. I just didn't have the patience.

I welcome the new proposals though. I think a more global understanding of language other than latin based languages is a good idea.
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paul
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I studied Mandarin for two years at University. I haven't yet found the opportunity to use it, and it wouldn't help me much now as I've forgotten a lot of it (probably comes with not using it). If we are going to be dealing with a society where it'd be useful more often than it is now, then maybe there is a case for teaching it.

Paul
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul wrote:
I studied Mandarin for two years at University. I haven't yet found the opportunity to use it, and it wouldn't help me much now as I've forgotten a lot of it (probably comes with not using it). If we are going to be dealing with a society where it'd be useful more often than it is now, then maybe there is a case for teaching it.

Paul


Didn't you do a geology related degree?
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paul
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, a geography and geology joint honours degree, and a subsidiary in Mandarin.

Zai jian,

Paul
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I thought. Is Mandarin a commonly used language in that field?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL... no, not that I know of. I could have chosen any subject I liked... it could have been psychology, philosophy, or whatever... I think the only requirement was that those studying arts degrees had to do a science-based subsid. Not sure from memory if it applied the other way around.

Paul
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MikeH
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps Paul's post highlights an important issue. Study Mandarin with another field of study that will be of benefit. Just knowing the langauage may not open many doors other than translation. It may be also argued that knowing the language without any real direction or other academic knowledge is a wasted oportunity.

Mike.
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you think it would be a language better suited to higher education, when students focus on a particular field, rather than secondary education when things are much broader?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any language taught at too early an age is dropped by most kids in secondary education. How broad should we be with our early education?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teach a child something they are interested in, at any age and it will stay with them in one way or another for the rest of their lives.

Force a child to learn something they have no interest in and it will go out the door as soon as they leave school.
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting concept and one I know that Montessori schools follow. It would be good to see it in practice because obviously a child could decide that they're not interested in anything and thus do nothing Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most bi-lingual people have learned languages in counries where knowing another language apart from the national language was necessary. Most of these people would have learnt at least a grounding of language structure at a young age. My mother speaks tamil and english, my neice is learning welsh and english and is picking up more than I ever learnt and she is four.

I think, in my case especially, that by the time you get to secondary school it is too late to cultivate interest or teach something totaly alien to what we know. The english system is one of the latest at teaching language to children and as such are quite lazy when it comes to speaking foreign languages.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think mandarin could be avery useful language to learn with china becoming a global super power speaking there language couldn't be a bad thing I also think spanish is a good language to learn due to a large amount of countries speaking this language.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to know where exactly they are going to get teachers for every school who can speak and teach Mandarin and Erdu? In some areas it'll be no problem, but then, in those schools which have these teachers it's often available anyway instead of French or German.

Also what happened to going back to basics and the 3 R's? And when will they stop messing with the system and actually leave schools to get on with it? From what I've seen of a couple down Ipswich way there's a vast gulf between them in terms of quality and OFSTED assessment, and they are supposed to be working off the same platform. Get the schools sorted out before you start messing with stupid things like teaching Mandarin to kids who really don't give a monkeys.

Trev
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