Otázka: Language learning
Jazyk: Angličtina – Report
The aim of this report is to explain which foreign languages are commonly learnt in my home country, the Czech Republic.
Languages today and before
During the times when the Czech Republic was a part of the eastern block, Russian was a compulsory and therefore extremely unpopular subject at schools. As it is a Slavic language, Czech people learn it with ease. Therefore, the older generation speaks it quite well. Today, children and adults customarily take up English, while German, Spanish and French are popular as well. Since most of our export is dispatched to Germany, German may not sound the best, yet it is definitely a reasonable choice.
The schooling system
In Czech public grammar and high schools, English is compulsory a subject from third grade on, and there is a second foreign language to learn, usually from seventh grade on. Regulations of the government, below-average salaries and the unfavourable environment are all effecting the motivation of teachers in a negative way and should be changed. Lessons are based mostly on grammar, which is not necessary, as the main purpose of language learning is communication. Boredom among students and resistance towards learning languages can be accounted for by these methods of teaching. In order to be more objective, some positive exceptions should be mentioned, such as some humanistic high schools, which provide excellent language education.
Another major issue typical in the Czech Republic is a huge difference between students who visit language courses apart from state schools and the ones who do not. Methods of teaching are significantly more interactive and focused on communication. The roots of this gap may be in social differences, as for well-educated parents the schooling of their children is a priority, which means they are more likely to be able to afford to pay for courses, unlike parents with a lower educational background. It is common that better qualified teachers or native speakers leave state schools and rather teach in a private language school.
Many people, even young underestimate the importance of knowing foreign languages. As our country is tiny, it is crucial to speak several languages than for people living in bigger countries.