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 Post subject: French or German?
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:47 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
I have a Y9 boy who is choosing his options. We've just had his report and he's done really well in his core subjects and the subjects he wants to take to GCSE (Music and History) ...... but not in French and German. He has zero interest in languages but has to take one at GCSE level. He said he'd wait and see which one he got the highest mark for in his end of year test but got 62% for both of them. :? He only achieved a level 5 in both overall for the year based on his classwork, homework and general attitude.

The only difference in the reports for each is that the school also gives a mark 1-5 for effort/application and ability to cope. He got two 4s (some concern) for French but two 3s for German (Satisfactory). However his target in French was higher (7) than in German (6) so maybe the French teacher thinks him capable of more?

French would, I am sure, be more useful than German, but he's clearly never going to be a linguist so I just want him to do the one he is most likely to be able to pass. The speaking element of both exams is 30% and a teacher told me that he thinks a lot of boys don't like French because they don't like doing the French accent and they feel less self-conscious with German. However, I think my son's dislike of languages goes beyond the accent! He did Mandarin for a year then dropped it like a hot brick. He wanted to give Spanish or Italian a go but these options are for those boys who have shown some aptitute in languages.

Does anybody have any thoughts on which of these a language-hating boy might get through more easily? The composition of both exams is identical.

We get to talk to the subject teachers at parents evening in a couple of weeks, but the option forms have to be returned the next day :roll: so I'm trying to think it through before then.

Any advice greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11952
You could ask to go in before the Parents evening - a five minute 'slot' is unlikely to be enough for an in-depth discussion anyway.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
I agree with guest55 - I suspect that parents evenings are not the place to sort out the more complicated areas re choices and problems with a subject.
I wonder if he will be better doing just one language regardless of which it is?
I did french at school (no choice) and was pretty hopeless - got a B at O level but never felt confident - generally manage now to get by in france without too much chaos, I think they are more tolerant of my appalling accent and memory of genders than ever my teachers / french exchanges were.
However started trying to learn some german later on and visiting the country I find it much easier to catch onto sign posts/ instructions and what is going on etc than I do in French


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:58 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 875
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
It might be worth talking separately to the Head of Languages (assuming he/she isn't one of the individual language teachers anyway) as he/she would be able to take more of an overview of his likely success. FWIW both my sons and my daughter have found German more straighforward and logical than either French or Spanish, once you've mastered the use of capital Letters for Nouns and the disconcerting Way that Verbs at the End of the Sentence to put you must... Plus German has a more logical relationship between spelling and sounds than French with its numerous "silent" letters.

Another factor is whether you / your OH can speak any of either language which makes informal help easier. My DD grew up hearing me chat in occasional random half-remembered O Level German phrases with her older brothers which I like to think may have helped them a little - I was also able to scan through any written work for obvious errors (such as the lack of capitals!) and guide them towards corrections.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
Solimum - that's a brilliant idea. I was wondering how I was going to get to see French and German teachers and the head of languages will hopefully be able to offer more objective advice.

I've got an O'Level in German (can't remember a word) and an A'Level in French (can remember a reasonable amount) so could help him a bit with the French. Because my other two are younger they do French too so we sometimes prattle a bit in franglais when we're in the car or I'll ask them some simple questions in French. Y9 boy is also going to France twice this summer (once with school; once with us) so will have more exposure to that language.

The fact that he's convinced his French teacher picks on him doesn't help (she's SOOOO unreasonable - writes comments in his planner about him not handing in homework, talking in her lessons/not being able to sit next to his mate in her lessons in future etc etc :roll: )


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