26th September - European Day of Languages
Held every year to celebrate linguistic diversity and promote language learning, European Day of Languages is in keeping with Global Futures – the Welsh Government’s plan to improve and promote modern foreign languages and its ambition for Wales to become a “bilingual plus one” nation. The vision is that
“all learners in Wales become global citizens, able to communicate effectively in other languages and to appreciate other cultures.” Ministerial Forward
Many schools already celebrate the day by holding language tasters and quizzes. This year, why not use the ideas and resources below to give the teaching and learning of languages a global context?
Key Stage 2
Using the BBC World Voice website, learn more about the culture and language of another country by watching a video of children performing a song and then learning this to sing with them. The background of each song is provided as well as subtitles, pronunciation guides, and music sheets.
Promote language awareness by encouraging pupils to spot words that may be similar in their own language or other languages and explore how languages continuously evolve and borrow from one another. Here are some examples that would work well:
Key Stages 2 and 3
The Multilingual Treasure Hunt from the Global Campaign for Education in Germany puts pupils in a situation where they are unable to find their way due to not understanding the local language. It encourages empathy with the situation of recently arrived refugees. If there are pupils with languages other than English/Welsh in your school, they can be given an important role to play in this activity. Signs in a language unknown to the majority of pupils are placed around the classroom and pupils are challenged to complete simple tasks such as buying bread. Excellent follow-up questions are suggested.
‘Ein Hiaith/Our Language’ celebrates the diversity of those who speak Welsh and looks at how and why the language nearly died out. Use this 10 minute video to discuss the role language plays in culture, identity and heritage.
The right to practise your own language is enshrined in article 30 of the UNCRC. Encourage pupils to research situations around the world where this right has been or is still being denied. What measures were taken/are being taken to combat this and by whom? What actions could be taken to improve the situation? Interesting examples could include Catalan in Spain, Maori in New Zealand, or Kurdish in Turkey.
For those learning French, watch interviews in French (subtitles and glossaries provided) filmed with young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo about their lives and some of the challenges they face.
In the last video, Aimée talks about how International Women’s Day is celebrated there. Pupils could compare this with special days celebrated in Wales and discuss whether this day should receive more attention here. This could be linked to work on the World’s Largest Lesson, which this year focuses on gender equality.
Give pupils opportunities to learn about global issues through developing skills in the different languages being studied.
These WJEC magazine articles have an audio facility and are accompanied by comprehension questions suitable for those studying for higher tier GSCE.
Read about food wastage in French.
Focus on water conservation and golf courses in Spanish.
Learn about environmentally friendly practices in German.
There are also articles on young people’s rights in each of the above languages.