Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Languages are NOT a Political Football

Before the General Elections in May, I followed the advice from the Wall of Languages website

“The Wall of Language is a website where you can email prospective MPs your questions about Languages and then post their reply on this website.
You can also use this site to see what others have asked and the replies they have received.
Our aim is to make all political parties make statements about the importance of languages and language learning”.

So I duly emailed my local candidates and received... one answer. It was received the day before the elections and it assured me of a strong support for the cause. However, as I read on, I was told that there were schools where languages were still strong-and the candidate to give me the example of one of the two language colleges in our Local Authority, where he is a governor.

Language Colleges as a rule do a fantastic job of promoting languages, their departments tend to be healthy and large and their curriculum clout is always significant. But what about the rest of the schools? How can we state that we are supporting languages and in the same breath reduce it to only schools that have them as a specialism? Languages colleges work with many other schools to share what they have but there aren’t simply enough of them.

I love the idea behind “The Wall of Language”-solidarity is so important to keep morale high. By uniting, whether through our local networks or our subject association, the impact of the Languages Community is bound to be stronger and hopefully will get through to politicians.

We are not a political football and I often think we would if we showed ourselves more as a community. I would prefer it if of languages were used or even abused in manifestos rather than ignored...

The future is professional networking and sometimes it is not just for professional development but also for fighting off the danger of extinction...

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