Wednesday 26 September was the European Day of Languages, also known as der Europäischen Tag der Sprachen, or la Giornata Europea delle Lingue, Hizkuntzen Europako Eguna, Lá Eorpach na dTeangacha, Evropský den jazyků … You get the idea. Celebrated every year since 2001, the European Day of Languages aims to promote Europe’s rich linguistic diversity and highlight the many benefits of language learning.
At the Stirling School of English, we believe that learning other languages is a way of helping us all understand each other better. Through learning English, our students are not only able to live and work in Scotland, but also feel part of the local community. Quite simply, it’s a way of overcoming cultural differences and making new friends. That’s why we made the European Day of Languages a special day for students and tutors from all our different classes to work together, learn from each other, and have fun.
We started the day with a pronunciation workshop, led by Norman. This was a great opportunity for our students to practise the different sounds used in the English language, and it was also very useful training for our tutors! We learned about voiced and unvoiced consonants, word stress, rhythm, and intonation. We also worked on our listening skills by paying careful attention to the differences between words like ‘ship’ and ‘sheep’, ‘much’ and ‘march’, and ‘cart’ and ‘cat’. It was a very informative session, and the students certainly enjoyed taking part.
After our customary eleven o’clock break for tea, coffee and cake, we enjoyed a range of activities celebrating all different countries, cultures and languages.
Tricia Atkinson and Margaret McCann devised an entertaining series of games and challenges for our students, including a quiz on countries, flags and capital cities, a map of the world jigsaw, and a language activity based on a map of Stirling city centre.
There was also a chance for everyone to get creative. We got the coloured pens out, and invited the students (and tutors!) to draw a self-portrait and write about themselves in their own language.
It was truly fascinating to discover the range of countries our students hail from, and the diverse variety of languages they already speak. Perhaps most importantly, it was a reminder that regardless of age, regardless of cultural differences and regardless of nationality, what we all have in common is that we’re all here, in the Stirling area, learning (or teaching) English.
Through language learning, we’re able to make friends, make connections, and above all, understand each other a whole lot better. That’s what we aim to achieve at the Stirling School of English.
We’ll be celebrating the European Day of Languages (or el Día Europeo de las Lenguas, Ziua Europeană a Limbilor, Euroopa keeltepäeva, etc) on 26 September next year. We’re already looking forward to it – why not join us?
Kevin (volunteer tutor)