It is that time of year again and it always comes around really fast. European Day of Languages. If your school does not take part then this is your opportunity. It is great free publicity for your subject! Not to place ideas in any of your heads but you could even call it “Languages Week”…
There are many ideas out there, resources on TES and even on the EDL website itself. Here are a few I have seen work over the years…
Update: ALL have also produced some ideas here.
School site quiz quest.
This one requires some prior preparation, you will require: a quiz on paper, answers on paper, blue tac, sweets. Give students a set of quiz questions with answers around the school in creative places. Put the answers up a few days before announcing to generate interest. Any students who complete the quiz in their breaks and lunches get some kind of reward. It is very likely you will have a fair number of keen year 7s for this. Students collect the quiz sheets from you and hand in to an agreed location.
Tutor time quizzes/videos.
Some schools do not have a tutor time programme so create one for the week. Your other staff will often get on board if they are invited to take part. If they are forced then they may resent it. My experience was that 2/3 of staff would willingly go along with it.
We did the following:
- Quiz on a different European country each day.
- Video on a different European city each day.
- The register in a different language each day (modelled and practised in staff briefing of course).
- Staff used Digital Dialects to teach themselves and the kids a new language
- Some members of staff taught languages they knew such as Gaelic, Spanish Welsh and Hebrew.
- Some members of staff from other countries insisted on registers being done in the language in their classes!
- Some members of staff kept the language from registration going all day.
Who speaks what? Display board
Do you have pupils and staff from other countries? Prepare a display with a photo and a short bio as to what languages they speak, how they learnt and how much they can still do.
Who speaks what? Video interviews
Get around your multilingual staff and interview them about their experiences of language learning. How easy/difficult did they find it? What are the benefits and advantages of speaking a language? You could show the videos in an assembly or tutor time.
Various famous people have learnt languages. If you want a list then here are a few… It didn’t take long to create a nice PowerPoint background, add a picture from the internet and a text box with the languages they have learnt. These then went along the corridor.
- Bradley Cooper – French.
- Carlo Ancelotti – English, French, Spanish.
- Mark Zuckerberg – Mandarin.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic – English, Spanish, Italian.
- Tom Hiddeston – Spanish, French, Greek.
- Tom Daley – Spanish.
- José Mourinho – English, Spanish, Italian, French.
- Natalie Portman – German, Spanish, Japanese.
- Colin Firth – Italian.
- Viggo Mortenson – Spanish, French, Norwegian, Italian.
- Dory – Whale.*
- Christoph Waltz – French, English, Italian.
*may not be a recognised language
I appreciate that some readers may have visibly tensed up at this suggestion. It is a great bit of free advertising for your subject! Two years ago, I did an assembly titled “I never planned to teach languages”. It went down really well. We began with a quiz of film quotes translated into other languages (we used google, more on the evils of google here). They got sweets for guessing the film and the quote. Languages such as Portuguese, Dutch and Romanian are great for this. Then I started telling a little bit of my story about how I got into MFL teaching and where it has taken me. If you’re interested in that story, or in need of a good night’s sleep then you can read a bit here.
One of my former colleagues is a little too keen on this idea… I’ll let your imagination take care of this one.
Foreign Food Stall/Tasting – courtesy of a great colleague from previous school.
Bring in plenty of foreign foods for kids to try at a breaktime. Staff and students could contribute to this. This could be run much like a cake sale with profits going to a language related charity or a charity run in a European country. Efforts we had one year included Schwarzwaldkirschetorte, Tortilla Española, Tarte au Citron Apfelstrudel and Croissants. You could even insist on orders being given in the foreign language.
Get the canteen involved.
If your canteen is up for it, then take over the menu for a week. I’ve given each day a theme as they will know what is practical. As nice as it may be to have a Croquembouche, it might be a little too much to ask!
- Monday – French.
- Tuesday – Spanish.
- Wednesday – Welsh (that’s for Secondary MFL matters in Wales – you guys are great).
- Thursday – German.
- Friday – Portuguese.
Your canteen staff will probably welcome the opportunity to vary the menu a bit, just give them plenty of warning.
Language Learning Videos
Here are a set of videos with a pro-language learning theme.
Funny Foreign Language Videos
Who doesn’t love a funny or odd Youtube video at some point? Here are a few favourites from the past few years:
This one had the kids saying “poom” for a few days.
PE Department will approve of this one!
One semester clearly hasn’t convinced her…
What do you do? Share your ideas on Twitter