Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

    • ex. We always see a decline in ice cream sales in winter.
  1. assume
    • ex. Why did she assume that Jacques can speak English?
    • ex. They said that the package was going to arrive by Friday. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
  2. a scheduling conflict
    • ex. Because of a scheduling conflict, I won’t be able to go to the meeting.
    • ex. The high price may be a barrier for some people.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Fewer and fewer Australian students are choosing to study foreign languages, but the reasons for the decline may surprise you. It’s commonly assumed that students are just not interested in learning foreign languages. However, according to a recent study, that’s not the case. Many Australian students actually want to learn a foreign language but say they can’t.

The study discovered that scheduling conflicts were a major barrier for foreign language learning. One student reported that he wanted to study both Chinese and French, but the two classes were at the same time. A second barrier for many students is their schools’ limited options. As one boy explained, he wanted to study European languages, but his school didn’t offer any. In fact, 55% of students said that their school didn’t teach their preferred language.

Currently, fewer than 10% of Year 12 Australian students are studying a foreign language. The government says that students should have 870 hours of foreign language study between Years 6 and 12, but this number is only a recommendation. Supporters of foreign language learning say that it should be encouraged much earlier than Year 6.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Studying Foreign Languages at School

  • In your opinion, what languages should high schools offer? Why? Discuss.
  • Should all students have to learn a foreign language at school? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, is it possible to become fluent in a foreign language if you only study it at school? Why or why not? Discuss.

Learning a Foreign Language

  • In your opinion, what languages are the most difficult to learn? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, is it important for native English speakers to study foreign languages? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • How do you feel about learning "dead" languages like Latin or ancient Greek (ex. it’s helpful, it’s a waste of time)? Why? Discuss.