April 4

My thoughts on El Plan Bolonia

I’m a linguist: I like languages, I’ve always enjoyed learning languages and thankfully, I’ve always been quite good at learning languages.  However, if someone had told me that at the start of my university degree I would have to run a half-marathon in order to complete my studies, I don’t know what I would have done.

There’s a lot of talk in Spain at the moment regarding B1 and El Plan Bolonia – students must now have a B1 level in a foreign language in order to complete their university degree.  Great news for us teachers, partly as students are coming to us to study for PET, and also as we now have long-term, attainable goals within our academies.  It also means that saying, “English will be very useful in your future” has more oompf than it perhaps did in the past.

However, on the other hand, I’m a little concerned.  I see students in my classes who aren’t linguists, who don’t have a natural affinity for languages and who will really struggle to get a B1 level.  Are we effectively denying them the opportuinty of further education by insisting that they have a B1 level?

Posted April 4, 2011 by Teresa Bestwick in category My thoughts

2 thoughts on “My thoughts on El Plan Bolonia

  1. Michelle Worgan

    Don’t get me started on this one! The worst part of this whole idea for me is the absolute NEED these students have to get a B1 certificate. It means that students who have finished their degrees and have an elementary level of English are now joining PET classes and enrolling for an exam in which they haven’t the faintest chance of passing. Students who should be in an Elementary class this year and possibly move on to a PET class next year, are failing miserably due to this requirement that they are B1 cert as soon as possible. I swear that next year I am going to self-impose an entrance test to my PET class next year!

    1. Teresa Bestwick (Post author)

      I agree, Michelle. I think lots of students are rushing into “learning” the language, just so they can get their B1. It’s a shame as the cost of classes and the exam doesn’t seem worth it if they have no intention of using the language once they have their degrees. But then again, Spain (though not the Spanish!) is very much about having the right piece of paper and ticking the right boxes.


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