Word from the Head 12 November 2021

Languages Week Reports

This has been the biggest and best Languages Week at Channing yet. Our usual classes have been suspended to allow our students to take part in exciting cultural events.

The MFL Poetry Competition was in our Monday morning assembly and kicked off the week. This was the third and final round of the competition and the students’ performances were inspiring. Congratulations to:

Key Stage 3

  • Rory D (French)
  • Elizabeth S (German)
  • Thea F (Spanish)

Key Stage 4

  • Rosie P(French)
  • Margo G (German)
  • Bluebell H (Spanish)

Key Stage 5

  • Alia K (French)
  • Lucie B (Spanish)
  • Maria K (Mandarin)

The winner will be announced in Mark Reading at the end of term.

Year 7 Spanish – World Trade Game

In this cultural event, groups were assigned a Latin American country and given a fact file about the types of materials that they export.They had varying budgets, according to the wealth of their countries, and had to buy materials from the teacher to create a prototype of a product that they would sell.They then decided in their teams who would be the buyers and sellers. The creativity was amazing!

Year 8 Spanish – Spread the Word

Our keynote speaker, Alison Prunier, spoke to pupils about the role of languages within the World Health Organisation. Pupils were then tasked with creating a character for the WHO, writing a tweet and creating a preventative poster on one of the following topics:

○ Dog with rabies ○ Safe drinking water ○ The importance of vaccinations ○ Road safety

Year 9 German – Goethe Institut Visit

On 8 November, along with around 19 other German students, Frau Stöckmann, Frau Pavlopoulos and I got on the Tube into London to visit the Goethe Institut. The Goethe Institut is a German cultural association which operates globally with 159 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations.

We came down to eat an early lunch in the dining hall before assembling to practise our German headcount as we prepared to leave (each of us with a different number to call out in German). Then with Frau Stöckmann leading the way and Frau Pavlopoulos bringing up the rear we headed down to Archway station, chatting excitedly. We then poured onto two trains before we exited at South Kensington station. In the very short walk to our final destination we took in the beautiful location, admiring the Natural History Museum’s festive lights and Christmas Tree. We soon arrived and took a group picture to preserve the moment before we proceeded up the stairs into the building. The walls were vibrant and the people were welcoming and we were greeted immediately by our guide who told us a bit about the Institut.

We then had a talk by a student named Daisy, who studies at Imperial College London and who took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her experiences of studying German and Science at university. She talked engagingly to us as the audience, explaining her course, exchange trips, experience when working in Germany, work-life balance and so much more. She explained herself with such clarity and enthusiasm and we all couldn’t help but take in every word. I and, I know everyone else listening, was fascinated and we all asked many questions which she informatively responded to. Overall I personally think this talk was the most interesting and engaging talk I have heard. We all thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from it.

Next we went upstairs to visit the library where we were able to have a look around. There were thousands of books from all different genres and it even had books to support the learning of German and fun German magazines. The library also had an interactive installation called Seat #12. This seat, pictured below, was created to rely on teamwork and communication to function (it tipped if unbalanced) and as you can imagine we all enjoyed having a go.

We then went outside to sit and eat our snacks and were surprised with the German branded ‘Choco Leibniz’ biscuits, Lindt chocolates and ladybird chocolates which correlates to our class name:‘ Die Marienkäfer’ (the ladybirds ?). I was then further surprised as everyone sang happy birthday to me (in German of course) as my birthday had been the day before. I was kindly gifted a German mask which I wore on the journey home.

Our final activity of the trip was watching the movie Das Wunder von Bern (The Miracle of Bern), a 2003 film directed by Sönke Wortmann. It tells the story of a young boy and his depressed ex-POW father, and the unexpected West German miracle victory in the 1954 World Cup Final in Bern, Switzerland. This was my first time watching a movie in German with English subtitles and I really enjoyed it. I think it was a great way to combine education with enjoyment and a great way to conclude the trip.

Overall I had a really great time and so would like to thank both Frau Stöckmann and Frau Pavlopoulos for taking us.

Thandie H, Year 9

Year 9 French – Cinema workshop

On Wednesday, Year 9 French pupils had an online workshop with Muriel Huet, a French-speaking educational consultant at the British Film Institute. Through the use of two short films ‘Les Crayons’ (The Pencils) and ‘Le Baiser’ (The Kiss), Muriel showed them the importance of soundtracks, camera shots and angles and of course plot twists for short films. The workshop, which was led in French, had a range of activities. Pupils had to guess the film genre simply by listening to the soundtrack, they identified different camera shots, they wrote scripts, described characters and reviewed the films. The workshop gave them the opportunity to use the French language in a fun and interactive way, they learnt new vocabulary and they gained a greater insight into what key elements a short film should have.

Year 10 Spanish – Marketing workshop

Our keynote speaker, Sally Fagan, spoke about the role of languages in the world of marketing, especially in the transcreation of a product. Pupils had to rebrand ‘Jelly Babies’ with a Spanish name, slogan and advert.

Year 10 French – History of Art workshop

During this year’s Languages Week, our French class met with Alice Odin, a member of the Courtauld institute of Art to discuss various pieces of French art virtually, including Edouard Manet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’. We began by discussing the main components of the painting in French, going on to sketch our own impressions of the artwork. Additionally, prompted by paintings such as ‘The Theatre Box’, we went on to discuss the French post-impressionist art movement as a whole whilst being encouraged to look further than just what we could see in the painting. Overall, the workshop gave us an insight into French history and culture, allowing us to explore the language we are studying even further.

Erica M, Year 10

Year 11 Spanish – Space Hotel

Jack Lidgley is a software engineer and research scientist who spoke about how he has used his Spanish language skills throughout his career. Students learnt about some of the obstacles to space travel and ways to overcome them. They had to design their own space hotel and perform a promotional advertisement in Spanish.

Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 – Dr Philip Hirsch

As part of Languages Week, students with an interest in the fields of diplomacy and/or languages attended a talk from Dr Phillip Hirsch of the German Embassy. This fascinating talk covered the principle of diplomacy and various projects he has undertaken, including one in the Middle East where he worked to prevent violent extremism. Dr Hirsch also made clear the power and importance of language as a tool to connect with others, and emphasised how making an effort to learn somebody’s language can be a sign of respect (even if you are not completely successful!). The talk was extremely insightful for those considering a career in diplomacy, and gave us more of an understanding of the opportunities unlocked by learning a language.

Annabel G, Year 13

Year 9, 12 & 13 Spanish – flamenco workshop

Students learnt about the history of the flamenco tradition and then some basic moves. ¡Olé!