Mrs Faulkner's Thought for the Week - 26th September 2022
When I was seven my friend Lizzie taught me how to say numbers up to 20 in French and my love of languages was ignited. I asked my parents to get me Latin lessons (!) because I knew that would support my desire to be a languages teacher, which I had already decided, after my initial language experience, would be my future. This started me on a journey through school and university, through a year in the Soviet Union, as the Berlin Wall came down, time in Uzbekistan and Estonia and an amazing experience of travel and life experiences which I still draw on to this day. My degree in Russian has come in very handy, as I can communicate with our Ukrainian students and have even recently given a tour to a family, where I dusted down my spoken Russian, which has become a bit creaky!
I am telling you all this because our theme this week is We Appreciate Different Languages. In my life language learning has opened the door to many exciting times in my life, enriching what I have seen and done, as well as providing an intellectual challenge.
Languages can sometimes have a bad press or seem scary. People feel shy and nervous in case they make mistakes and look stupid in lessons, or when they are abroad. Some people resort to speaking English loudly and slowly on holiday, or become amateur mime artists, trying to get their point across. It is so much better to show you understand and empathise with people from different countries by trying to speak their language. It gives a better understanding of societies across the world, shows effort and care to other people and ultimately it avoids misunderstandings and upset.
In school we have many responsibilities as educators, and one of those is to broaden our students’ minds and experiences, to show them that there is a great, amazing world out there for them to see, hear, taste and feel. Yes, we are so lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world, but we also need to experience other places and meet other people to ensure that we are well rounded global citizens.
In school this week our Language staff will be asking students and staff to be openminded and to reflect on the whys and hows of language learning. Some of us have made short videos of ourselves speaking foreign languages. Even in a rural Wiltshire school there is a tremendous variety of languages which people can speak, in addition to English. I am really looking forward to seeing our community enjoy and explore what language learning means to us.
In the meantime всего наилучшего (all the best!)