Secondary School Third Languages

PSLE marks the graduation of Primary school students and their entry into Secondary schools as teenagers. Discuss all issues about Secondary schooling here.

Secondary School Third Languages

Postby heutistmeintag » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:40 am

I am helping my fren to ask this question - How do you choose the 3rd language? TIA!

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Postby xhxie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:01 am

My son drop his third language (French) in sec 1. It is not easy to complete the 4 years study and most likely will clash with other school activity such as CCA and AEP , MEP etc. Actually, I feel the school does not encourage their students to take 3rd language so much.

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Postby heutistmeintag » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:37 pm

Thanks for the feedback, insider and xhxie. :)

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Postby moom » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:22 pm

hmmm, choose based on interest? I took Jap as third language all the way to AO level.. enjoyed it quite a bit despite the extra work and commute needed

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Postby Fairy » Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:00 am

insider wrote:My daughter is taking Japanese as 3rd lang. She started with a class of about 60 and then when come to O level exam, class size reduced to about 20. About 30% dropped out in sec 1 and the rest dropped out in their sec 3 in preparation of O level. In my daughter's school, if your results in other subjects are not so good (average Bs for example), you will be 'invited' to the principal's room and the principal will try to talk you into dropping the 3rd lang so that you can have more time to for other subjects to score As... (so that you will not get the Bs or Cs to affect the school's ranking, etc). I heard from her German has very high drop out rate. But taking 3rd lang is no joke coz has to commute to Bishan centre for the lesson twice a week and she has to forego her favourite CCA which clashed with the 3rd lang lesson hours. Twice a week, she has a schedule of 6 am to 8 pm - very poor thing and need a lot of stamina to ride through the four years (those with parents fetching may have an easier life but my daughter has to juggle herself coz I believe in training kids the harder way...) Hope the info helps.


Oh dear, my son has just opted to learn German as a 3rd Language next year. I don't think it is going to be easy. But I'll let him try and see if he can cope.

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Postby sashimi » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:26 pm

Language learning is entirely about one's engagement with the culture. It's not just a matter of memorizing words or having another line in the O-level cert. With this in mind, I feel that those of you who are, or who have a child who is going to, learn a third language - get immersed in the culture if you/he/she doesn't already.

Eg. Japanese is very popular because of the popularity of anime and manga. Even office ladies are taking Japanese because of an interest in Japanese beauty care and products.

For German - another important and rich culture. I strongly suggest listening to classical music, eg. Bach and Beethoven. I.e. the choral/vocal pieces. Beethoven's 9th symphony comes to mind, Mozart's operas or Bach's cantatas. Perhaps your child is already learning music, so this should not be difficult.

Last thing is practice! If there is no opportunity to practise the language, you will surely not be able to learn it well.

I deeply regret not learning a 3rd language in sec sch. Now that world is so globalised, being able to speak more languages can open up long term benefits like being able to access job markets in foreign languages. It's a great investment for a child.

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Postby micko07 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:58 pm

Hello, I'm a former 3rd lang student who gave up French after 1 term. xP
As others have mentioned, taking 3rd lang is very tough. Firstly, there's the two lessons per week, 2 hours per lesson. As with any other subject, there's also homework, tests, quizzes and exams. A lot of my friends quit their 3rd langs just before end-of-year examinations in Sec 4 because 3rd lang is counted into your marks and will affect your grades if you do badly. It will be tough but there are people who do really well and survive all the way up to A levels. It's also expensive; $100++ per year just for your books.
I think drop-out rate for all 3rd langs are high ... many leave after Sec 1 because it's difficult to cope with 3rd lang, school, CCA, music etc. However, if you're really keen, you should be alright. Passion and interest is very important because learning a new language isn't easy. (I regret quitting mine but I just couldn't cope) Just give it a try and see how it works out (:

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Postby Vanilla Cake » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:40 pm

Info that I got from my school about Year 1 / Sec 1 students taking a 3rd language.

From 2009, the lessons will take 2 forms - a 3 hour 15 min formal lesson conducted at the respective venues and a 45 min e-learning lesson via the MOELC learning portal

This applies to students learning French, German , Japanese & Malay Special programme.
For students taking Arabic or Bahasa Indonesia , lessons would be conducted twice a week, 2 hours per session.Two slots are available -> 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm or 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm.

If you are not successful in your application for 3rd language, you can make an appeal in person at the Bishan MOE language centre.

Textbooks and supplementary materials amount to about $120. Students selected to study French, German or Japanese please take note that Foreign Language books are more expensive as they are imported.

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Postby wiimum » Wed May 20, 2009 3:42 pm

I would say interest in the language is the most important. Otherwise, with the stress and the extra effort required, the child would soon drop the subject. But with interest, hopefully the child will shoulder on....

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Postby QueSeraSera » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:17 pm

I've been taking Malay Special Programme for 4 years now. No doubt it's a whole lot more stress and commitment to juggle with all the other school activities.

I've heard of friends taking third lang because their parents want them to. But I don't actually think that can sustain them through the whole time with so many other things demanding their attention.

So I would say interest is the most important. To be frank, third lang does not have a very significant practical value. I would say the majority of students in third lang in Sec 1 drop out on the way, so no use coercing the child to become one of them :D

QueSeraSera
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