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Sixth Form Modern Languages Conference

Monday, 23 November 2015

On 16th November a group of Year 12 linguists across the MFL department were lucky enough to attend a Modern Languages Conference hosted by St Albans High School. We joined other schools including QE Barnet, Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes for masterclasses, talks from current University language students and a talk by Lizzie Fane on the benefits of living abroad.

Lecturers from the University of Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and Cambridge delivered inspiring and varied masterclasses including Dada and Surrealism in France, National identity in contemporary Germany, Dante's Divine Comedy and the making of Italian Literature and Images of Conflict and Civil War in Spain. Our students (and staff) were put out their comfort zone to look at subjects which fall out of the A level programmes of study to give them a taste of University modules.

Our pupils found it particularly helpful to hear from current students studying a range of languages at Exeter, Southampton, Durham and Cambridge. They were excited to hear of the range of courses and choice of modules and what skills they would develop as Modern Linguists at University as well as their employability in the Global market.

Languages teachers were particularly pleased to hear that new neurological research suggests that language learning actually makes you ‘cleverer’ and more empathetic, with 79% of employers saying that knowledge of intercultural skills and other cultures extremely important to them.

Equally it was shocking to learn that there are £50 billion lost contracts per year because of a lack of language skills in the workforce.

With the added excitement and benefits of a year abroad and the infinite possibilities of mixing a language with another subject, our students came away inspired to pursue a language at University and the minibus was buzzing with talk of ab initio languages, places to go for your year abroad and whether to choose a literature based course or not.

We are very grateful to STAHS for the invite. Thank you to the girls for their impeccable behaviour and enthusiastic response.

Mrs J Davies (French Department)