24 Apr, 2023 @ 16:30
1 min read

Vast majority of people aged 20 years and under can’t speak English in Spain’s Costa Blanca area

Over two-thirds of people aged 20 years and under can't speak English in Spain's Costa Blanca and Valencia areas
Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay

OVER TWO-THIRDS of young people in the Valencian Community have told a survey that they cannot speak or understand any English, with just one out of ten saying they speak it well.

The study was compiled by the National Institute of Statistics(INE) in a region where English language teaching is prominent in state schools.

Several schools and teachers say the lack of English being retained is down to a lack of teachers trained to teach the language as well as too much emphasis on grammar and vocabulary as opposed to oral situations.

73.2% of those questioned aged 20 years and under said they did not understand English, which is the second-worst regional figure in Spain, surpassed by Galicia in the north on 73.7%.

As the age groups get older, no knowledge of English was the 81.5% response for those aged between 40 and 59 years.

68% of ‘Millennials’ between 20 and 39 years said they did not understand the language, with 70% admitting they do not read or speak anything in English.

Even in a strong tourist area like Alicante province, the percentages are pretty much the same.

In raw figures, 248,383 people aged 20 and under have no English comprehension in Alicante province; 340,459 in Valencia province; and 83,783 in Castellon province.

The way English is being taught as well as options to avoid using the language are seen as key factors behind the poor statistics.

Interpreter Maria Domene said: “We should move away from grammar and vocabulary and use new technology to make progress.”

“We are in a country where everything is translated and young people don’t watch tv and films in the original language simply for the ease of hearing it in Spanish,” she added.

Young person Pilar Ruiz backed up Domene’s comments.

She told the Information newspaper: “Students are made to behave like robots performing the same exercises year after year and we need more dynamic tutoring within conversational workshops or even working in pairs.”

“Classes were boring and theory-based with little practice and no motivation to learn English in a fun way meaning that we lost interest in learning the language, even though nowadays we need English for everything,“ she added.


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