Teign School’s European Week of Languages

From the 23rd to 27th September, Teign School’s Modern Languages staff led a celebration of the use of languages across the globe with a variety of fun activities. The European Week of Languages (timed around the European Day of Languages on 26th September) aimed to promote languages, not just as a useful tool for travel, school and future jobs but also to recognise it as an important way to show cultural identity, illustrated by the growing popularity of speaking Welsh for example.

“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to promote languages and their international importance at such an important time in our nation’s history,” said organiser Pete Rose, Team Leader for Modern Languages. “Languages are and will continue to be necessary for interesting travel, international relationships, business and education. They also allow us to showcase our own culture and through speaking another language it allows us to understand another culture better, to respect it more and to appreciate the people that speak it better.”

To start the week, the French and Spanish film clubs showed ‘Kirikou et la sourcière’, a French film set in Africa and ‘El Orfanato’ (a Spanish gothic horror film set in an orphanage). On Tuesday, the Modern Languages staff launched Japanese, Spanish and Italian clubs that will run throughout the year providing staff and students the chance to pick up the basics of other languages. Wednesday saw the unveiling of the ‘Prix Bayeux’ competition. This is a French photography competition in which Young People take photos that best represent the last year. Teign students got the chance to vote on this internationally recognised competition. On Thursday students were encouraged to enter a poster competition and lessons throughout the school began with activities focused on the international origin of English language words. In addition, students began the day with a tutorial session on untranslatable words. The week ended with the big ‘European Bake Off’ where students were asked to bake any cake and either decorate it with an international theme or use an international recipe.

In year group assemblies that week, a light-hearted video of teachers trying to understand some of the language some young people use was shown to illustrate how language evolves all the time. Staff also focused on their own use of language in assemblies and tutorials. The message was that if we say nice words and use positive language that reflects on the people we are. Students were also shown that speaking even a little language goes a long way to showing respect for another culture. In the words of Nelson Mandela:

“If you talk to someone in a language they understand, that goes to their head. If you talk to them in their language, that goes to their heart”


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