In an ever more globalised world – one in which there is increased competition for university places and on the job market – one way to really set yourself apart is by speaking different languages. There are many benefits of learning a new language – standing out from others applying for the same role as you, networking on a truly international scale, learning about new cultures, and more.
In this post, we speak to Christel Droulez, French teacher at The Global College, to discuss some of the reasons for learning a foreign language, and explain what TGC does to support students on their language learning journey.
What are some of the key benefits in learning a new language?
Learning languages gives you a choice: where to live, what job to get, and what university to go to. Studying maths, science and business is great – but I also tell my students that when it comes to university access and jobs, who will be chosen first? If you can add something else to your profile, such as learning a second language, you will stand out.
Our students may not know what university or career they’ll want yet, but by learning a second language, they will be adding so many new skills and opening more doors to their future.
Tell me a bit about the language curriculum at TGC and what students can expect?
We offer different courses- initio, language A and language B. There are different levels in the IB programme. For some, it will be about learning the language but without worrying about becoming a university lecturer in the target language. The aim is to create a good base from which to learn further.
Language B is more advanced and designed for students who want to discuss things such as global issues, the environment, poverty, personal matters, their lives, and their daily routines.
Language A covers language and literature. Here, we go even further and it’s really interesting for the students because we analyse different text types both literary (for example novels, plays and poems) and non-literary (such as articles, blog entries, letters, speeches, ads and political cartoons). The course also encourages students to “question the meaning generated by language and texts”.
How does technology help in language acquisition?
Technology is absolutely vital in everything we do now and it’s no different when it comes to language learning. There are many different ways we can use technology to learn a language. Every student is different when it comes to learning vocabulary: using pictures, lists of words, videos, games, or quizzes, and I offer students a variety of studying tools to best suit their needs, skills and preferences. It’s important for older students in particular to give them the freedom to choose.
Technology also allows for the learning to be more of a two-way process and gets the students to reinforce their knowledge and communicative skills. My students have used tools to create online books which they then share with classmates, family and friends. They’ve created videos, brochures and all sorts of materials. In addition, using technology also means students can do their own research, something that they’ll need to learn to do once they go to university and beyond – it’s a real life skill.
If you could give one piece of advice to language learners, what would it be?
I guess I would tell students they shouldn’t see learning a language as just something they need to do at school. Of course, language is an important part of the IB programme but I think students should understand that the importance of learning foreign languages goes beyond that.
Really, students are studying life skills – they are learning how to write, they are learning how to communicate, they are learning to organise and analyse different texts. Those skills they learn while studying English, French or Spanish can then be applied to other classes, and students will see they’ll be able to make progress at a much faster pace. Studying a second language also allows you to understand your own language even better.
Students at The Global College will have the perfect conditions to learn a second language. It’s a small school, meaning there is more focus on each student. And in such an international environment there will be so many opportunities to speak English, French and Spanish, both in the school and around Madrid in general – at cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. What a wonderful opportunity to learn, study and discover!