MFL: Language Week Costume Parade


What does a dog say in Spanish? "Guau guau". And a cockerel? "Coroco", of course. So Year 7 Spanish students discovered when they began rehearsing a song for Languages Week about a Spanish farmyard! 

IMG_4407The song, El Pollito Pío, was performed in costume to the whole school at our Friday assembly on March 8th. The school also saw Mr Gisby's Year 5 form present Japanese Haiku, and Mr Bryant's Year 4 class were filmed singing a lively German song, whilst performing all the relevant - and very energetic - actions.

We also had a full rendition of the old favourite, Frère Jacques, 'en canon' by Years 3 and 4. How do you play 'Rock, paper, scissors' in Norwegian? Year 4 discovered that you can ask Luka to teach you, because he speaks Norwegian at home. And if you play the same game with Eyup, you can learn the three important words in Turkish. This popular playground game featured as one of the clips on Mr Pianet's film of Bede's bilingual pupils speaking their other language. 

We also saw Year 3 pupils Naya and Isabella reciting a Spanish nursery rhyme and heard Sasha from Year 5 sing 'Au clair de la lune', while Arseny from Russia (in Year 7) and Alex from Hong Kong (in Year 8) both  recited poems in their native languages. It felt a privilege to hear them speak fluently in the language they use in their 'other' life, when they are not at school.

IMG_4421The MFL Department had issued a challenge to everyone, staff and pupils alike, to learn a few words in a completely new language during Languages Week and, judging by the show of confident hands at assembly, many had risen to that challenge.  Prep School children learnt that a small percentage of the world's population has English as their native language, so that the majority of children who speak English are also fluent in at least one other language. Looking around the Prep School assembly, a show of hands revealed that our pupils have between them a range of ten languages other than English. We are a truly multilingual community and Languages Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate that.

The highlight of the week came on Thursday when pupils wore an outfit to symbolise a nation or a language. They were invited to parade in the dining room to some rousing background music, and prizes were awarded for the best-presented outfits and to pupils who were able to offer a little of the language they represented. We saw imaginative costumes representing Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Turkish and German - to name just a few.

We are already looking forward to next year's Languages Week. Who knows … we may find out what a Japanese cat or a Norwegian sheep says.

Louise Galletly

Head of MFL