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January 19

Spotlight on Languages Week and Modern Foreign Languages

How long have you been teaching Languages at Blackheath High School? 

I started a short while ago, in September 2020 and this has already been a fulfilling time! 

Can you tell us about your background? 

I am French! My hometown is a beautiful medieval cite in the Loire Valley. I have lived in the UK for many years now, enjoying teaching in some great schools and doing my best to inspire pupils to love languages. 

What is covered in Languages? What are your students working on at the moment? 

Languages is one of the richest subjects to study or to enjoy learning for pleasure in life! The core syllabus at Blackheath includes French, Spanish, German and Mandarin and there are plenty of opportunities to be inquisitive, creative, a critical thinker or a citizen of the world when studying literature, film, current affairs or even learning grammar and vocabulary. My emphasis is on using what we call the ‘target language’ as much as possible in all we do, whether it be role play or making a presentation. My Year 13 has just completed the study of a novel, ‘Un Sac des Billes’, which has been enriching as we encounter history, politics, literary style, narrative structure and culture in one piece of fiction. It is a ‘bildungsroman’, a German word for a ‘coming of age’ story and based on the real experience of the author, Joseph Joffo. 

What are the benefits of studying this subject?  

Being a linguist embodies the priceless ability to communicate with and understand others. A linguist develops a mindset of cultural agility and the skills that enable them to be productive in environments where collaborators or competitors are international and speak several languages (whether or not they include English).  

Language ability is a path to economic, social, cultural, and research opportunities. Careers in diplomacy, media, fashion, trade and investment are just a few of the vast array of choices for a dedicated linguist. Languages will play an even more vital role in the world economy and refocus the language-skills of UK citizens. 

What are the benefits of studying Modern Foreign Languages at Blackheath High School? What is unique about MFL here? 

The School provides a rich curriculum for its pupils and the MFL Department is delighted to offer as much as it can. Though present circumstances have inhibited the traditional range of trips and exchanges abroad, we are determined to keep the relevance of communicating our subject to the fore. That is why we are launching our first Online Languages Week (w/c 10th February), with the support of resources from GCHQ Cheltenham and our enthusiasms. The realities of strategic intelligence in the role of language analysts will be outlined by our guest speakers in our unique Wollstonecraft Session. 

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