Kingston Diary - A MFL Challenge
I do hope that everyone enjoyed a good summer. Mine was great fun, but also challenging. You see I always found Modern Languages tricky when I was at school and it is one of my great regrets that I did not pursue learning one beyond GCSE. So when my best friend announced his engagement to his Spanish girlfriend, I knew I was on a countdown to delivering a speech in Spanish, in Spain and to an audience who were seventy percent Spanish. Anyone who has undertaken the duty of being a Best Man will tell you that it can be a nerve racking experience. You have to steer a careful line between being entertaining but not offending anyone and this was made more challenging for me by the fact that I would deliver part of my speech in a language in which I lacked confidence. Fortunately, I have a Spanish friend and with her help, over a number of weeks, I was able to work on my speech and in particular my pronunciation, in order to speak for five minutes in Spanish and, I am told, to be understood. Whilst my pronunciation may have in places caused some of the locals difficulty, I knew from my conversations with them later, that they appreciated the efforts that I had gone to in order to speak to them in their own language and it has given me the determination to have a go at working at and improving my Spanish over the next year.
Later this month, we will celebrate the European Day of Modern Languages (26th September) with a host of events throughout that day and week and I would encourage all our students to engage with the MFL House Quiz, the European themed lunch and the MFL Spelling Bee. Learning a foreign language can open up a myriad of career opportunities and as many businesses become global organisations, they are increasing looking to recruit staff who can converse confidently in more than one language. Beyond this however, many studies have shown that learning another language can help to boost your brain power improving both memory and attention span. Understanding another language also enables you to engage in a wider cultural understanding of other countries, this may manifest itself in opportunities to enjoy works of art or literature in their original language, to discover the places treasured by ‘locals’ when visiting another country or simply to build meaningful friendships with other people around the world. So whether like me you find Modern Languages tricky, or whether there is another area you feel challenged in, I would encourage you to be daring this year and to embrace the challenge, you might not get everything right, but you may have a lot of fun and learn something new along the way.
¡Qué tenga un trimestre genial!