A study carried out in Mexico on learning languages, mainly English, shows that young people do not have the necessary skills and that they lack confidence.
Learning English, considered a basic and universal language, often leaves students with only fundamental skills, and nearly 4 out of 10 who have studied it say they can understand only basic sentences. Surveys found that students have trouble understanding, speaking or writing anything, and for some others they only know what they were taught in kindergarten.
Despite the apparent failure of the courses to integrate language skills, young people know of the benefits that languages bring, almost three quarters think that English or another language gives information about other cultures, 5 out of 10 say that knowing Another language offers better job prospects in other countries, and more than a fifth think it gives you more professional opportunities in Mexico. Despite their current prospects, 8 out of 10 want to learn English or any other language in the future.
The Autonomous University of Mexico interviewed young people between 15 and 24 years of age from all over Mexico in February of last year, and showed a generation very open to the idea of learning a language, but very doubtful of their ability to put it into practice, 4 out of 10 who decided not to study English, for example, at level A stated that learning the language is a challenge, half of those surveyed said that grammar is difficult to learn, forty percent said that memorizing vocabulary is work heavy. It was also documented that schools, mostly public, consider English as a second category subject, giving more importance to subjects such as mathematics and Spanish. The suggestion that current methods do not meet the needs and dreams of students opens the debate about the purpose of learning a foreign language.
A review of the programs used to teach English found that the stages that most attract students are not used. Stakeholders are inspired and motivated to learn a language with the dream of speaking, and a focus on writing and assessments in school programs is off putting. Arturo Robles, director of ANB, said that including mandatory English from primary school to the new educational reforms, adding good measures of school performance, will help students to learn the language for longer, considerably improving their confidence.
He said that ANB studies had shown that level A1 in English is perceived as more difficult than any other subject and its content is not motivating at all. Robles said that the current reforms to the study programs are focused on the workforce, that changes should be made according to the interest of the students to speak it well. English grades may need to be 90% based on spoken language. The current education system allows teachers to give students bits of language that allow them to pass the subject, which is useless in real situations.
Victor Alvarez has proposed in the reform to bring together technology and culture for the English subject in schools, students must demonstrate with this understanding and knowledge of the culture and society of the countries where English is spoken and analyze the works that were created with this language. The technology contained in some software is so advanced that students can feel that they are talking with someone real, in the case of artificial intelligence that is increasingly used for learning. Alvarez has even proposed replacing teachers with advanced language systems, this opened a debate, since many argued that the presence of a teacher is always important for a student, Victor for his part clarified that he is not against teachers but that he is You should give them follow-up and technology update courses to teach classes, as it would be very good to combine teachers and technology.
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With a very clear problem that the country presents between the interest of students in English and the very clear feeling that the programs do not live up to their aspirations, it remains to be seen if educational reforms can rescue the study of the language in Mexico of a fatal decline.