Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 85

Languages in schools

by : 

I’ve just moved to Germany for a year as part of my university course. I am working in a school in a small town in North Rhine – Westphalia, Germany this year and I’ve been here just over a month now. I’m starting to settle in and I’m learning lots about how the school system is different here and what is “normal” in Germany. I am an English Language Assistant at the school which means I help teach the children English, especially their conversational skills. I work with a range of classes, from year 5 (the youngest, aged 10 – 11) to year 10 (the oldest, aged 15 – 16) so I get to see the different levels of English in the school, and hopefully this means I will be helping a lot of people!

In England I don’t think learning languages is taken so seriously, although it is becoming more important as more and more businesses work internationally now. At school I learned German and Spanish, but foreign languages are not considered to be main subjects, which are English, Maths and Science. Here in Germany, where everyone has to learn English, English is one of the most important subjects, along with German and Maths. They start learning English in primary school and have to study it until the end of school, and many schools have some bilingual lessons! For example at the school I am working at, History and Geography are taught in English which must be very difficult, but it means the children have more opportunities to improve their English.

The children in Germany also seem much more motivated to learn English than English children are to learn other languages. Maybe this is because there are a lot of English and American things in daily life, such as songs and films here. At home in England, it is hard to practise foreign languages because the vast majority of our music and films are in English. A lot of English people can be lazy in terms of learning other languages because they think that everyone can speak English, but I don’t think this is a good attitude. In my opinion, the emphasis on learning another language (English) here is a really good thing, but maybe as a language student myself, I’m a bit biased! 


How many languages do you learn at school? How old were you when you started learning English? 


bookworm19's picture
bookworm19 28 December, 2016 - 06:12

i started learning English from the day i entered kindergarten..we also learn Tamil as our second language as it is most of the people's mother tongue (not mine!!my mother tongue is Kannada..i dont know to read and write it coz it is state language of Karnataka whereas i live in Tamilnadu..but soon i ll learn to read and write Kannada also!!!)we also learn hindi as 3 rd language until 8th grade...after it is optional..i droped it as i am better in tamil than hindi...

13 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 11 December, 2016 - 03:55

I started learning English from the day I started my school. In our school a kid that joins Kindergarten, Nursery or Prep. Class, has English lessons too. So, I started learning when I was 4 years old.
We learn two languages in our School. Urdu- our mother tomgue. And English.
Arabic is also there, but very less.
We have to speak English in the school hours all the time while having a conversation or when asking about the lectures etc. except in Urdu class. And other subjects like Islamic Studies.
Except them, we are bound to speak English. So that we can improve.
Since I've join College, there's no such rule and we can speak Urdu all the time. That's because, we are grown ups. And Can speak it well. All of our subjects are in English. So yes, we still write, speak and learn everything in English. But unlike school, we don't need to talk in English.
Whenever it's needed we do talk but mostly prefer Urdu with friends.
Yesterday, we were learning about different languages in our Class. There's a language "Punjabi" that is pspoken by most of the people in Punjab, Pakistan. It sounds funny while speaking. The introduction and information about Punjabi was written in Urdu in our Book. But teacher said us to translate it in our mind and read out aloud in Punjabi. It was fun and we really enjoyed it.

15 users have voted.
Lorriee's picture
Lorriee 5 April, 2014 - 12:28

As a high school student I have to learn two foreign languages. The first is English and we had to opt for a second which could be German, French, Italian or Spanish. Therefore I opted German, so now I learn English and German. I know it sounds ridiculous but it would be my biggest dream to speak these languages fluently. My great-great grandfather was German, so I think it'd be the perfect time to turn to my family and force them to teach me. :)

27 users have voted.
dzeni's picture
dzeni 18 March, 2014 - 14:32

In my school we learn English, Italian and Russian. Italian and Russian are elective subjects so one class don`t learn both of them. I learnt Russian one year but I stopped and now I`m learning Italian. I started learning English since I was 4. Then I was in nursery school but I started learning English seriosly when I went to primary school.

27 users have voted.
serap's picture
serap 16 December, 2013 - 20:58

I learn English and German at school. But at home, I am learning French and Spanish by myself as well. And I started to learn English when I was 10. I have been learning English for nearly 6 years.

24 users have voted.
cranberry's picture
cranberry 15 December, 2013 - 15:57

In my school we learn English and Italian and you can choose to learn Russian as an additional class, but you dont have to choose it. I was 5 years old when i started learning english. I've always had a talent for speaking foreign languages so learning english never was a problem. People were so surprised when they heard a five-year-old speakin englis like a real proffesional.

26 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
MALINE 25 November, 2013 - 01:00

I just study Spanish and English but I just have a few classes a week ,so I love this site wich I can practice my English and make new friends.

20 users have voted.
Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 9 November, 2013 - 14:34

Wow, June! I can see you have made amazing progress since you started learning English. Congratulations! I love languages too, and I completely agree that you need to enjoy making progress with the language, and not just focus on grammar exercises and passing exams. 

Now you reached such a fantastic level you can do lots of interesting things with your English. Do you read in English? What about watching films? Chatting with people on here is an excellent way to practise and improve as well.

Best wishes,

(LearnEnglish Teens team)


23 users have voted.
June's picture
June 10 November, 2013 - 03:08

Thank you very much! But I don't think I'm good enough to read in English and I can't find suitable books to read. I tried reading Twilight but I found it too boring. Besides, my English vocabulary is so poor that I have difficulty reading all the books that I'm really interested in. I think unless I'm qualified enough to get high score in IELTS, I won't be able to read in English. However, I live in a small city and there is no big language center to study for IELTS so taking IELTS is really impossible for me.
I love watching English films. They not only have interesting contents but also help me know more about cultures, languages,... And English songs are fantastic!
Actually I don't have many trustworthy friends in real life to share my thoughts, my feelings. Since I joined LearnEnglish Teens, I have had more friends who are always willing to read my comments and give heartfelt advices. That makes an extremely strong impression on me. Thank you all so much.

29 users have voted.
June's picture
June 11 November, 2013 - 13:41

It's great to know that you still remember me. Thank you so much.
I've been quite busy lately. It has taken me a long time to get used to my new school, new friends. As a high school student, I have to student much more than before, you know.
How are you?

27 users have voted.
June's picture
June 9 November, 2013 - 02:07

I have learnt English at school along with Vietnamese - my mother tongue. My high school is small so we have to study English as a foreign language only but in some big cities, students may study French, Chinese, Russian and so on. I started learning English when I was in grade 3 which means I was 8 years old. At that time my friends were much better than me since they had studied English before. Now I'm a student at English major class of my province. I think that the most important thing when you learn a new language is that you should love it with all your heart. Don't consider it as a subject that you have to get good result to pass the exam. Make it your become hobby, your passion.

21 users have voted.
WildChild's picture
WildChild 4 November, 2013 - 21:21

I'm learning Russian and English in my school. I started learning English when I was 4. Sometimes I make mistakes in grammar, but it's only because I'm clumsy. lol :D I like English very much, and sometimes I talk to myself in English, that's how I practice speaking.. Russian is awesome language too, but it's very hard and difficult.

23 users have voted.
justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 19 October, 2013 - 09:42

We learn our mother tongue, English and every year we have an optional language. Last year it was Chinese and I learned it. I've been learning English from even before I started school. English meduim schools here in Pakistan teach English from the start of our school life. We can only speak Urdu in English meduim schools in our Urdu class.

24 users have voted.
clsn's picture
clsn 19 October, 2013 - 15:38

What did you learn about Chinese at school? Writing Chinese charachers or speaking Mandarin (Putonghua)?

21 users have voted.
Bosnianchild's picture
Bosnianchild 18 October, 2013 - 14:00

How many languages do you learn at school? How old were you when you started learning English?

In my school, I learn: German, English and Latin.
I have started learn English when I was 8-9, I don't remember, very well:O

19 users have voted.
someoneintheworld's picture
someoneintheworld 18 October, 2013 - 10:24

I learn 2 languages -English and German- in school. We started to learn English, I was 8. Also, i know Bulgarian and my mother language-Turkish-.

23 users have voted.
Harabeli Supersweet's picture
Harabeli Supersweet 17 October, 2013 - 17:19

I learn just English in my school. French and Italian are optional subjects, but I didn't choose one of them, because I chose advanced Maths and IT. I would love to learn more foreign languages. Anyway, it doesn't matter how many foreign languages I will learn, English will always be my favourite.

30 users have voted.
Lavender's picture
Lavender 16 October, 2013 - 17:06

We learn mother tongue and English at school. English is one of my main subjects at school. All the students must learn it from the grade 1 (6 years old), along 12 years to the grade 12. Then we continue to study English at university. We have Math taught in English but just in high quality schools which of course the fee is high.

25 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
Natalija 16 October, 2013 - 16:25

I learn two languages-English and French. I had a Latin class for two years, but that doesn't count, since Latin's a "dead"language. I'd like to learn some language more, because it's so interesting. I'd like to learn Russian, German, or Turkish.
I was 4 when I started learning English with my father, but officially, I started learning when I was 7 years old, at school.

26 users have voted.