YEAR OF INTENSIVE LANGUAGE LEARNING, A SPECIAL PROGRAM TO ROCKET HUNGARIAN STUDENTS’ FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY: A SUCCESS STORY?

Enikő Öveges

Abstract


Hungary has witnessed several major attempts to improve the foreign language proficiency of students in primary and secondary school education since the political changes of the 1990s, as both international and national surveys reflect a dramatically low ratio of Hungarian population that self-reports to communicate in any foreign language at any level. Among other initiatives, a major one to boost students’ foreign language competence has been the Year of Intensive Language Learning (YILL), introduced in 2004, which allows secondary schools to integrate an extra school year when the majority of the contact hours are devoted to foreign languages. The major objectives of YILL are as follows: 1) to offer a state-financed and school-based alternative to the widely spread profit-oriented private language tuition; thus 2) granting access to intensive language learning and 3) enhancing equal opportunities; and as a result of the supporting measures, 4) to improve school language education in general. YILL is exemplary in its being monitored from the launch of the first classes to the end of their five-year studies, involving three large-scale, mixed-method surveys and numerous smaller studies. Despite all the measures to assist the planning and the implementation, however, the program does not appear to be an obvious success. The paper introduces the background, reviews and synthesizes the related studies and surveys in order to evaluate the program, and argues that with more considerate planning, the YILL ‘hungaricum’ would yield significantly more benefits.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/sm-2017-0008


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Keywords


foreign language; school education; intensive; program evaluation; Hungary

Full Text: PDF

Barcode: 9772335201001
Print copy: ISSN 2335-2019
Online copy: ISSN 2335-2027