Inspiring students to pursue foreign languages in further education is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite the wealth of opportunities that are available for those with comprehensive linguistic skills, a 2015 language trends survey conducted by the British Council reported:
“Two thirds of teachers find attracting pupils to study a language post-16 challenging.”
So, why are students dropping the subject? One of the issues highlighted in the survey is a lack of awareness in the value of foreign languages, an issue that can be particularly difficult to tackle when confined to a classroom. Putting your pupils in real-life situations can not only highlight the value of learning a foreign language but also makes it far more engaging. Therefore, we’ve picked out the most significant reasons why taking your students on a Christmas Markets trip could be the key to inspiring them to pursue foreign languages beyond GCSE level.
Demonstrating their value
Physically putting your students in a foreign country can have huge impact on pupils appreciating the value of foreign languages. In a situation where they need to communicate with locals, such as purchasing items at the Christmas Markets, being unable to convey what they want without utilising their linguistic skills suddenly becomes a problem. By allowing students to experience a real-life market situation, they’ll be exposed to the numerous benefits possessing foreign language skills can have.
Opportunities to practice
One of the most impactful ways to spark a student’s interest in foreign languages is to let them put their skills to the test. Allowing them to practise their skills in an engaging environment, as well as requiring them to think on their feet, will help students to enhance their knowledge and boost their confidence.
The Christmas Markets offer a whole host of opportunities where students can perfect their skills, whether it’s refining their German by ordering a Bratwurst in Cologne or Aachen, or getting to grips with their French by asking for directions in Lille.
Making learning fun
An essential part of encouraging students to pursue a subject is making it enjoyable to learn. Aside from the opportunities to improve their ability, taking your students to an exciting environment such as the Christmas Markets can really change their perspective on learning languages.
Key to pursuing other interests
One thing students may not have considered before embarking on a foreign languages trip, is that having accomplished linguistic skills can be a vital tool to pursing other interests such as travel, food and history.
A Christmas Markets trip can show students that areas of their life which they're more passionate about, for instance ambitions to travel the world, can be far more fulfilling when they aren’t restricted by language barriers.
If you’d like to organise a Christmas Markets trip to either Lille, Aachen or Cologne, get in touch with one of the WST team to see how we can tailor a trip around your requirements.
WST is a school travel company that is passionate about enhancing students' learning through experience. For more information, please contact our team.