Language teachers should be looking to encourage self expression in students, it has been claimed.
Bernice McCabe, headmistress of North London Collegiate School, thinks educators have to be aiming for more than just "functional phrasebook competence" when teaching kids.
Youngsters who are given the chance to learn a language creatively can develop an "outward-looking perspective" on the world and different cultures, the co-director of the Prince's Teaching Institute stated.
Ms McCabe also advocates giving students the chance to travel abroad and speak another language, as this is a good way of bringing it to life. She was speaking ahead of the launch of a course for language teachers.
"The best teachers represent for our pupils a cultural confidence ... a world with which they will connect much more than previous generations," she added.
Those in teaching jobs need to help youngsters "understand the richness of human communication" and act as a challenge to "British insularity and reticence".
Part of the problem at the moment is that many schools feel top grades can be hard to obtain in languages, and this has led some to neglect their recruitment strategies in this area in order to prioritise other fields of study.
Ofqual has announced that the way language papers are set and marked is going to be changed and it is hoped this will eventually see take-up of both GCSEs and A-Levels increase. These changes are expected to come into force by next summer.
Ms McCabe is also calling on the teaching community to breathe "new life and prominence" into languages. For example, she has suggested that language teachers should be pooling their ideas to come up with new ways of educating pupils.
Posted by Theo Foulds