Parlez vous English? Why a foreign exchange enhances learning.

13 Jan 2016 17:17


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Voyager’s school tour, Paris Parle is one of our longest running and most successful tours and it’s easy to see why.

In an interview with the Daily Mail Caroline Jordan, the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association urged parents to forego beach holidays and instead use their money to send their children on a foreign exchange.

‘There’s no real way of learning a language quite so effectively as being in that country, being absorbed in it.’ the headmistress of Headington School, Oxford said.  ‘There are cheap ways of doing it, through links directly with a school. It’s trying to convince the parents that that’s good use of their finances as opposed to a foreign holiday to Majorca, where they may well be in a Spanish environment but they’re less likely to be experiencing Spanish as they would be if they were in somewhere like Madrid or Barcelona on exchange.’

Voyager has long since recognised the benefits of ‘immersion’ to language students; along with our Paris Parle programme we offer both French and Spanish language immersion programmes based in Normandy and Murcia respectively. Increasingly, we are seeing schools opt for these programmes, as opposed to an out-and-out exchange which can be a little intimidating for less confident students. Our immersion courses allow students to experience the culture and language amongst their peers and along with the fact that all our animateurs or monitores are native speakers who encourage students to use as little English as possible, teachers consistently feedback how markedly students improve their understanding and confidence during their holiday.

Figures show that last year, there was a drop in language GCSE entries, with French down 6.2 per cent in 2014, German down 9.8 per cent and Spanish down 2.4 per cent.

Mrs Jordan recognises this problem and addressed this in her interview saying: ‘We need to make sure we’re not isolationist in the UK. We need to be encouraging our young people to learn a different language to be able to converse with each other. These days we’re living very much in a global village. Whereas when we were at school people would emigrate - emigrate is a word you don’t hear very often any more. Our youngsters will think nothing about going to work for two years in Vancouver or a year in Singapore. So how do we give them those skills when they’re at school?’

Voyager School Travel can help. Get in touch today to talk about your next language immersion school tour.

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