The 26th of September is European Day of Languages. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, the European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on the 26th of September; this year marks 20 years celebrating linguistic and cultural diversity.
The general objectives of the European Day of Languages are:
- Alerting the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
- Promoting the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, which must be preserved and fostered;
- Encouraging lifelong language learning in and out of school, whether for study purposes, for professional needs, for purposes of mobility or for pleasure and exchanges.
The European Day of Languages website has a vast range of resources for teachers to use both on the day and on the lead up (with some new for 2021). These include lessons plans, quizzes, language facts and fun, a teachers’ area.
They are inviting everyone to participate in a language challenge around the European Day of Languages! The 51 challenges contained within the hand book encourage learners to go a little outside their comfort zone and take advantage of the plentiful opportunities to practice or learn more about a language beyond a classroom context. You can choose easy challenges that don’t take much time – such as “count from 1-10 in 3 different languages within one minute” to ones that are a bit more demanding. You can find more about the challenges here. They have also included a wheel to help you decide which challenge to try first.
The short video below would be an excellent way to introduce the day in assembly entitled ‘Hello! Talk to me!’ You could also invite pupils and parents who are EAL speakers to give language tasters in their mother tongue and talk about their culture.
In this small booklet you will find examples of the many languages spoken in Europe, including numbers to ten and simple greetings.
Busy Things have labelling activities for KS2 pupils in both French and Spanish; looking at colours, food, drinks and body parts. If you go to the special events section (as shown in the image below) you will already find a range of activities already sorted for European Day of Languages that you can then pin to your class page for easy use (if you are unsure how to pin activities in BusyThings then watch the tutorial found in LGfLTV/BusyThings channel and below).
Or why not invite children to come to school dressed in the colours of the flag of a European country of their choice, they could also research and present facts about their country including famous people, geographical features and famous landmarks from the country. They could use j2e Toolsuite to present their work. This could also include planning a trip around Europe, or a travel brochure for their country. The European Commission has a range of resources to support teaching and learning about Europe including maps and a range of information booklets.
Perhaps you could find out some more information about languages spoken within school and build a database in J2 Toolsuite? You could also make use of their example databases and explore the countries, land area, population, currency, flag and the language(s) spoken. See below for an extract of this database and click on the link to see te complete data set:
Or why not hold a European food tasting session, a European Food Market after school or create a menu from a country or even a cookbook of Europe – the Cookit resource features a range of recipes from across Europe.
The day would be an excellent day to launch The Young Interpreter Scheme®, this recognises the huge potential that exists within each school community for pupils of all ages to use their skills and knowledge to support new learners of English so that they feel safe, settled and valued from the start.
The supporting content, which is available to LGfL schools, supports the selection of children and young people based on specific different personal qualities they may have. The materials also offer specific training to equip learners as they begin their new role as Young Interpreters.
The support Young Interpreters can offer to a newly-arrived pupil can be very reassuring from a parent or carer’s point of view at a time when their child may be adapting to substantial changes. It also supports school staff in a variety of ways at different points during the school day. The online materials offered by LGfL support schools in implementing the Young Interpreter Scheme and training their learners.
The Hampshire EMTAS EAL E-Learning resources available through LGfL provide a set of high-quality, cross-phase, interactive online training units based around catering for the needs of EAL learners. This resource is aimed at Governors, Inclusion managers, Teachers and TAs/LSAs. It has particular relevance for NQTs and trainee teachers.
- The E-Learning consists of a number of different units including Introduction, Core Principles, Working with Parents, SEND and EAL, Bilingualism and Teaching and Learning
- The materials have been developed by specialist teachers of EAL in conjunction with senior leaders and class teachers based in local schools
- They contain a variety of interactive learning materials supported by text, images, podcasts and video
- There are assessable assets and free-form activities that enable learners to reflect on their current practice
- The materials can be visited at a learner’s own pace and in their own time-frame
- The system records progress throughout each unit
- Completed units are certificated by the system and can form part of a learner’s CPD
Adobe Creative Cloud could be used to make posters displaying words in different languages and posters celebrating lanuguages spoken. Click here for a quick and easy way to create interactive vocabulary flashcards. The flashcards could be created using Spark images or if you school has claimed your Creative Cloud licences (click here to read more and claim) they could try to use Photoshop too.
Into Film have a range of resources to support European Day of Languages – this resource contains a guide to seven films, which have been specially selected to be accessible to learners aged 7-19. The guides include discussion questions and activity ideas to encourage learners to ask and answer questions about films that reflect different cultures and ways of life around the world. The films and languages featured in the resources are; Wadjda (Arabic), La Famille Belier (French), Max Minsky und Ich/ Max Minsky and Me (German), La Juala de Oro/ The Golden Dream (Spanish), Goodbye Lenin! (German) and Carlitos y el Campo de los Suenos/ Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime (Spanish).
Film represents a valuable tool to support language learning; students will find themselves engaged by the characters, story, and representation of culture as well as absorbing how the language is spoken. Useful to increase vocabulary and improve pronunciation as well as enhancing listening skills, this selection of films represents the most widely studied Modern Foreign Languages as well as celebrating the film culture of France, Spain and Germany, with films for both Primary and Secondary students.
Lightbulb Languages is a fantastic website with a vast range of resources for use in both the Primary and Secondary classroom, packed with over 6000 language resources written by language teachers for language teachers it is one of those must bookmark sites to use in class. The site includes planning, display ideas, flashcards and games.
The Language Magician is a free primary languages assessment tool in the form of a computer game that assesses in the following languages: English, German, French, Italian and Spanish as a foreign language. Help, explanation and story is available in English, German, Italian and Spanish. As a teacher, you can select a new test language and support language for each session. The project co-funded by Erasmus and with the European Union is available both through a browser as well as a free app. The video below gives a brief overview:
There is also a podcast (posted on 15th January 2019) that covers European Day of Languages from #MFLTwitteratiPodcast which you can listen to here.
Blogpost edited from the previous one on this theme posted in 2020.