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Students go multi-lingual, multi-cultural to celebrate European Day of Languages

LANGUAGE students from the Jerudong International School (JIS) recently celebrated European Day of Languages, annually held on September 26, with an activity-filled day organised by teachers from the European Language Faculty.

Established in 2001, the European Day of Languages was set up by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to celebrate the linguistic diversity of a continent with over 200 European languages, 24 official EU languages, about 60 regional/minority languages and many more spoken by people from other parts of the world.

A total of 24 Year 11 IGCSE students participated in the multi-sensory cultural day, which was aimed to not only develop students’ confidence in speaking a different language, but to also give them some first-hand insight into the French, Spanish and Latin American culture.

According to the Head of European Languages Faculty Philippe Poulain, the European Languages Day has been celebrated in different ways over the years.

“This year we set up a whole day programme for our Year 11 Spanish students while French students were involved in a variety of activities during lesson time. Whatever the format, at the end of the day, it is all about promoting students’ awareness of European languages, something which is embedded in the schemes of learning at JIS we had fine-tuned collectively as a team,” said Poulain.

Year 11 students from Jerudong International School (JIS) enjoy traditional Mexican tacos

Year 11 students from Jerudong International School (JIS) enjoy traditional Mexican tacos

Hopscotch played by Junior School French Language students

Hopscotch played by Junior School French Language students

Year 11 students in a Spanish language class. – PHOTOS: JERUDONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Year 11 students in a Spanish language class. – PHOTOS: JERUDONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

French students participated in activities from playing Pétanque or Hopscotch outdoors to visiting places via virtual means using Google Virtual Cardboard glasses and learning through online quizzes hosted by the Council of Europe’s Centre for Modern Languages.

The students started their classroom activity in groups, encouraging each other as they attempted the Spanish Spelling Bee challenge which covered topics such as Flora and Fauna and the History and Geography of the Spanish speaking world.

This was followed with a general knowledge competition about Spain and frequently used Spanish words taken from a variety of IGCSE topics.

After a break and Churros con chocolate, the students were given recipes in Spanish with steps on how to make traditional Mexican tacos.

Albeit adapted according to ingredients available in Brunei, this activity provided students with a chance to work as a team, using problem solving skills.

At the end, they were happy to devour their tacos.

Finally, to develop their listening skills, historical understanding and cultural knowledge, the students watched a film based on a true story about child soldiers and the civil war in El Salvador. “Learning languages is a vitally important skill. Understanding how to see things from another person’s perspective starts with understanding their language because it is inextricably linked to culture, history and even geography. Only by understanding how another person thinks can one really create an integrated community.

“I am totally supportive of initiatives from the European Languages Department such as this to promote language learning in a creative way,” said JIS Principal Barnaby Sandow.

Borneo Bulletin | Izah Azahari & Khairil Hassan | October 4, 2018