MFL: European Language Challenge Week
Bede’s Modern Foreign Languages department recently held a celebration of European Language Day and hosted a whole Language Challenge Week, all of which began in a School Assembly.
The Assembly saw the School invited to reflect upon a famous quotation from Nelson Mandela both on the power of language and on the complexities of the language learning process:
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”
What followed was a heartfelt celebration of the many different languages that are spoken and represented at Bede’s: a video was projected in the hall featuring 8 of our international pupils sharing and expressing their passion and very personal connection to their native language.
Eymeric and Paul offered us a very entertaining dialogue on various attributes of French and German languages, both competing in true spirit to present their respective language in the best possible light! This was a beautiful moment of camaraderie, and the Franco-German Alliance clearly has many happy days ahead!
Claudia and Joana then reminisced over a piece of Spanish poetry that all Spanish children have been learning off by heart for generations before listing some of the unmistakably Spanish food such as la paella, el aceite y el jamon... the list went on… mouth-watering!
Joana DaCosta candidly recited a Portuguese poem while Luca, not far off Portugal, conjured up beautiful Italian Alpine landscapes.
It wasn’t difficult to picture those magnificent Italian sceneries in our heads!
Next, Sasha and Velko transported us in Eastern Europe with a more politico-historical recount on Russia and Bulgaria; a very patriotic Velko praised the Bulgarian bravery against all sort of enemies and invasions across the centuries.
Finally, Maria invited the audience to look out for one of the biggest music festival in Europe which is held in Romania, Cluj, every summer, which sees world-famous DJs performing to vast crowds but which next-to-nobody had heard of in the audience.
This video proved to be an excellent introduction to the Language Challenge week that then took place.
Every morning of that week, a cultural/language challenge was sent to the whole school, be it a test on culinary specialties in France, a Spanish, Italian or Chinese quiz on cultural or, indeed, a now famous quiz on how knowledgeable one was on Germany!
Many-a-pupil entered the various challenges each day, with a special mention to the German Challenge which saw no less than 300 participants! It was a tour de force masterfully orchestrated by the brilliant Mr Rohmer, who had set up a yes/no German challenge on My.bede’s with instant submission from participants and only a click away!
Winners – quite amusingly – won a German passport!
Principal Deputy Head Mr Lewis presented all 5 winners of the week’s challenges with their prizes in the next-week’s Assembly, with the whole enterprise providing a week to remember.
Staff and pupils celebrated languages and cultures in a jovial atmosphere, differences were fêted rather than stigmatised, and the School was filled with a sense that everyone felt valued and included.
The event was a precious moment in our school community which I was very proud to have been part of and which I hope will have inspired many to take on language learning – if they were not already doing so!