The 2017 Annual Report of the Flemish School Inspection Service is now available. It indicates that a third of Flemish primary school teachers say that they do not have sufficient mastery of French. Others say that they lack the confidence to dare to use it in the classroom environment.
The Office for the Flemish Minister of Education Hilde Crevits (Flemish Christian Democrats) produced the document yesterday (Tuesday).
A positive assessment of the teaching of modern languages at the end of secondary education emerges from the report.
The Flemish School Inspection Service gave, in equal measure within the primary and secondary sectors, a favourable opinion or favourable with a caveat to the majority of schools. Thus some 96% of Flemish schools and Brussels Dutch-speaking schools received these.
This was a stable proportion compared to previous years.
However, apart from this positive assessment, the latest version of the “Reflection on [Flemish] Education” highlights several points requiring attention.
This includes the teaching of French in primary schools. Since 2010, the subject syllabus and objectives have focused mainly on oral skills. The idea is that a new language is especially well learned by speaking it.
However, the inspectors in French who inspected 195 year 5 and 6 classes, observed that further work is required in practice. We read in the report, “In nearly six out of ten classes, there is insufficient emphasis upon oral linguistic ability. In half of the classes inspected, grammar and vocabulary are considered an end in themselves.”
Upon self-evaluation, as mentioned earlier, one in three primary school teachers say that they have insufficient mastery of French or dare not speak it in the classroom environment.
However, Hilde Crevits responded by saying that she does not wish to introduce specialist subject teachers within basic primary education. Having said that, she believes that improvements are required for the basic training of teachers in the French language.