“Well my daughter used to come to VICI when she was little but now she goes to Secondary school, she doesn’t really need you anymore… does she?” A great question that parents committed to their child’s language learning should ask and they are right to wonder.
Here at VICI we’re thinking: ‘But you’ve built all the wonderful foundations of helping the child play with the language, and when they’re now mature enough that we really could start to push them towards fluency, that’s when you think school can take over?’
Why is your school teaching French? Obviously it is part of the curriculum and their goal is to get children to pass an exam. They’re not there to inspire the children to be bilingual. They’re certainly not there, and don’t have the capacity, to get your children to be really good orally, which 90% of the time is what matters out there in the real world.
Much like my own bilingual son, who is learning Spanish instead of French this is an option where you continue with French at VICI and choose a different language at school. Of course it does depend on their ability, but because they’re still carrying on with their French at VICI and now they’ve been introduced to another language at school and they’re doing really well.
For other children, perhaps who have started to learn a language later, we can support them with the language they are learning in school to ensure they thrive and get the best of both worlds.
We want parents to move away from this idea that “Oh my child will be bored in the French class if they carry on with you.”, or, “My child doesn’t need to come anymore because they go to Secondary school; the school can take care of it.” If they really want to invest in their children’s future, they need to think differently, understand how we contribute to true fluency.
I often use an analogy with parents I speak to and I say: “Well, my kids do music at school and they are introduced to instruments, but I still pay for Sacha’s guitar lessons, because I realise that they’re not really going to make him a musician, because that’s not what they’re focussed on, but they are introducing him to it.”
P.E is a prime example in my opinion. All children do P.E at school, from 5-18. That doesn’t mean that we don’t pay for our kids to go to football or tennis club.
Now we totally get that it’s hard to convince teenagers to take on extra study and perhaps they’d rather go out with their mates. But I also think that they have in their head that the school is going to deliver language learning, especially if suddenly the parents are pushing less for it.
When we lose students in these circumstances it is often is a real, real shame, because when they’ve developed such a great ear for languages at a young age and they stop in the middle of Secondary school to focus on exams; then 90% of the time, they won’t take it at A-Level, because once again it all became this idea of taking a language, rather than embracing languages for their future.