Play Ode to Joy as they come in.Who was tuned in? What music was being played? Who composed it? Why might I have chosen this as an appropriate piece of music for this week’s assembly?Answer: Ode to Joy by BeethovenIt is the European AnthemThis seemed appropriate for Languages Week as you all tune in during your language lessons.
Everyone sitting in this room is a gifted linguist. How? You all learnt English and speak it fluently. What’s more, you probably learnt it when you were about two!Not only that, but you know that you need to use a different type of English when you’re talking to a teacher than when you’re talking to your friends.Many of you speak two languages at home or understand a second language that your grandparents speak to you.Beaumont students exceed the national averages for GCSE languages every year, so you may not say that you are useless at languages.
Would anyone like to guess the percentage of people in the world who do NOT speak English at all?Elicit guessesIt is about 75% of the world’s population. Yes, you can go to major tourist areas and buy a coffee or a postcard in English.But what about if you want to be one of the many students who take a gap year and go travelling? Do you want to be the stupid English person?Learning languages opens the door to different cultures and traditions. Languages can open the door to friendships and even relationships.Did you know that the most popular reason that adults in the UK start learning a new language is so they can speak their partner’s first language?
Language skills are valued in more jobs than you might think. Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper jobs section had 129 graduate jobs requiring German, 134 requiring French and 73 requiring Spanish. Examples of these jobs: research analyst, sales executive, event manager, advertising director, accountant, marketing manager, magazine editor.Employees with language skills get the opportunities which non-linguists do not get. Which member of the web design company gets to fly business class to pitch to Mercedes? Well, that would be the German speaker. Who gets sent to Mexico to help set up a branch of the business there? The Spanish speaker.If you are skilled at one language, many employers will train you in another language. For example, if you are interested in a career in the army, they will train you in the languages that they require for intelligence work. Consider doing a language alongside your main subject at university. You can combine a language with all sorts of subjects from Accountancy to Zoology (Zoology and MFL at the Uni of Manchester). Many universities will offer you the chance to study in Europe for a year as part of this sort of course. These years abroad often come with scholarships.
There is a lot of hype surrounding languages such as Mandarin. Of course, Mandarin is really important which is why Beaumont has started a Mandarin enrichment course in the 6th form as well as an adult learning class in Mandarin.However, according to an analysis of job adverts by the Independent newspaper, the strongest demand remains for French and German. Many French and German companies are major UK employers, for example EDF Energy (French) and T-Mobile (German)So we are trying to put you on the best possible path for a future career.