Bilingual schools in Spain abandon English

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Education recovery plans published
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Bilingual schools in Spain abandon English to teach other subjects in. 90 public schools in Spain have decided to return to teaching in Spanish.

The schools have said that the “Students don’t think; they only memorize”. The Junta de Castilla y León created a bilingual programme in 2007. The Antonio Allué Morer school was one of the first to join. Headteacher Enar Rubio explained that it was an extraordinary opportunity at the time, but it has not worked out well.

The children found subjects such as science and history too much for them when taught in English. Students have struggled to understand the lessons. This means that the students stopped learning and memorised facts instead.

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Rubio told El Espanol: “When we realised that there was a big gap between the pupils, we decided to take the matter to the teachers’ staff and the school council, where we voted unanimously to leave the programme.

“What the students really need is linguistic competence in a foreign language, not in Science; to learn how to hold a conversation in English and not how to say seagull, when they have never seen one in Valladolid”.

The school will now teach English as a separate subject. Students will have more hours of English lessons in both infant and primary schools to help them learn the language too.


Science teacher Ruben García believes that this is the way forward. García said: “having taught the classes in English has caused a great lack of motivation in them. The students didn’t think, they just memorised, and what I want is for them to be motivated to learn. This should be a wake-up call for the administrations, I am not against bilingualism, but they should change the approach in the classrooms”.

 


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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