Liz Dyer is marketing manager at London-based language learning publisher, EuroTalk. With a degree in Hispanic Studies from the University of Nottingham, Liz is a great believer in the value of languages - not only as an academic subject, but as a practical life skill. She is also the organiser of EuroTalk’s annual competition, the Junior Language Challenge, which aims to inspire a love of languages in primary school children across the UK.
The past few years in the UK have seen a steady decline in the number of young people studying foreign languages at GCSE, A-Level and university. In other words, as soon as learning a language becomes optional, the majority of students give it up. But why, when languages offer a variety of proven benefits (see below), are they still seen as an unnecessary subject by so many? And what can teachers do to inspire their students – not only to persevere with languages, but actually to enjoy them?