Research on modern language teaching by Prof. Suzanne Graham (Professor of Language and Education) got reported in the media this week. In a Guardian article (‘Language exams: how hard are they and is there a crisis?’), Prof. Graham concluded from her research that even though many students believe it is important to learn another language, they choose not to take language GCSEs because they are difficult.
In a related Guardian article, titled ‘Modern language teaching ‘under threat from tough exams’’, which highlights the excessive difficulty of language GCSE and A-level exams, Prof. Graham commented that the exams are increasingly becoming elite subjects. She is further quoted as saying that: “GCSE modern foreign language entries tend to be highest in independent, selective schools and converter academies, and lowest in schools in more challenging economic circumstances and those with lower levels of attainment overall” and that “low uptake of languages is especially acute among those from more economically disadvantaged backgrounds or those with special educational needs.”
Prof. Graham was also interviewed on the same topic by BBC Radio Berkshire which can be accessed here (from 38:53 to 44:58).
For more information on Prof. Graham’s research interests, please visit her staff profile page here.