We all need at least one language, just to be able to communicate with other people. How much more fun can you have with more languages and the chance to communicate with more people, perhaps right across the world?
We want to give children the chance to find out, and we are very lucky here. We have a French teacher from France, and pupils from right across the British Isles, as well as from Spain, Russia and the East, to name but a few; there are often as many as six languages being used every day around the site.
French, Latin and Mandarin
All pupils have the opportunity to learn French, Latin, and Mandarin, starting French in the Pre-Prep, and adding Latin and Mandarin in Year 5. Mandarin is a two-year course throughout Years 5 and 6, finishing with Common Entrance Level One in the summer of Year 6. Pupils may then opt to carry on with Mandarin privately or return to it at senior school.
This year for the first time we ran a pilot scheme with those who had finished Scholarship exams and needed further challenge; they received several hours of Arabic tuition from Mr Docherty, and then presented what they had learned, all in Arabic, to an audience of parents and staff at the end of their short course; they cast themselves as tourists asking questions and produced a quite astonishing amount of Arabic conversation.
Alongside the optional additional Mandarin lessons we run a Lower School Spanish club and, from time to time, an Arabic Club. These help to expose the children to a range of language options, whilst constantly developing the core skills for language learning through French and Latin.
Bringing language into context
All foreign languages taught at Hazlegrove use technology to help, for example, hear more native speakers, watch events in foreign countries, and learn vocabulary. We try to bring as much language in real context as we can into the teaching. That can come through bigger events like an annual visit from a French touring production, a trip to France and celebrating the European Day of Languages, or everyday moments in the classroom, writing Chinese characters using a brush and special ink, learning to give opinions about flavours in French by tasting a range of ice creams, photographing Lego scenes to help to learn trickier Latin vocabulary or analysing the Latin in an inscription.
We hope our children leave us equipped to study any language they might choose in the future.
Do please scroll through our photos below or click here to view the album in Flickr