Could you tell us about your own language learning journey, at home and school as a child.
I remember being interested in languages from an early age. I was lucky enough as a child to go on family to holidays to France quite a lot (living in Kent made it fairly easy to pop over on the ferry) and I loved trying out phrases my parents taught me. Normally, buying sweets or asking for ‘frites’ on the campsite. I was also fascinated with the Netherlands as we have family friends there and I remember dressing up as a Dutch girl for a school summer fayre with the theme of European countries. When I was in the last year of primary school, a
German lunchtime club was offered which I loved going to. Moving on to secondary school, I enjoyed both French and German lessons, taking both for GCSE and French for A level. Following this, I decided to study French at university and start Italian alongside. (I think the incentive of a year abroad was one of the deciding factors for this!)
What inspired you to love languages?
My teachers at secondary school were very inspiring and I enjoyed all their lessons. We went on two trips to France with school which were great fun. I also just enjoyed finding out and learning new vocabulary and for some reason I loved learning French grammar!
What led you to pass on your love of languages to others through teaching?
I have mainly taught in schools located in areas of high deprivation where children don’t often get the opportunities that others would. I think it is really important to widen their horizons and show them there is a world out there with which they can communicate. I love it when they find out something new about a country or learn a phrase to use. The children are on a level playing field when learning a language so it gives everyone a chance to shine which is really important, especially for those who may struggle in other areas of the curriculum. I ran two trips to France at my previous school and the majority of children had never been out of the East Midlands. It was wonderful to see their fascination when arriving in a different country.
Could you tell us about ALL
The Association for Language Learning or ALL is a small charity which promotes language learning and supports teachers in the teaching of languages. We work closely with a team of volunteers and cultural institutes to provide support and help to anyone teaching a language. For example, through CPD events, resources, our magazine and research articles. I think it is important, with the workload of teachers being so high at the moment, that there is good quality support and materials out there to make everyone’s life easier! I still teach, alongside my role in the office, and the resources and ideas I use from ALL are brilliant. I would urge anyone involved in the teaching of languages to get on board. We would love to have you as part of our association!