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Discovering new languages with workshops

Published on 30/03/17

We are very grateful to several parents who came into school on the Thursday to help us run our ‘Discover A Language’ workshops, which were a huge success.


Year 3 had an exciting day visiting the wonderful workshops, learning about different languages and cultures. Mrs Bedford's excellent French workshop enabled them to test their French knowledge and to try and remember key words for food including bread, cakes and different fruits. They enjoyed exploring the different areas of France on a map, thinking carefully about the aspects that make France famous. Every pupil enjoyed taking part in a short role play, speaking French to each other. At the end of the session a small group of pupils wanted to share a French song with the class which was excellent and very confidently sung. Thank you Mrs Bedford for an excellent session!


Mrs Li and Mrs Mak introduced us to the wonderful language of Mandarin. We were taught about the sounds of the language, how numbers sound and look, and how characters are drawn and changed to represent different words. At the end we sang a song where we had introduce ourselves to a friend in Mandarin.

It was interesting and tricky because there are 23 initials and 24 finals, and for each vowel there are 5 tones.

I enjoyed the challenge of trying to work out what was being said.


Mrs Sugarman-Banaszak talked to us about the language of Hebrew and how it is written and read from right to left. We learned that it is a very old language and the Jewish holy books are written in Hebrew. We even had the chance to look at some Hebrew texts. We played a game where we had to match the colour of different balloons to the Hebrew word and sang a song about friendship.

I liked seeing how the books look as if they are written backwards. Mrs Sugarman-Banaszak explained that she would rather describe the direction as ‘opposite’ because both ways of writing are correct for that particular language!


I really enjoyed learning a language that has been around for thousands of years.

The Cantonese session was led by our very own Miss Chan. Even though she came to England from Canada, she was born in China and is fluent in the complicated but fascinating language of Cantonese. We learnt that Cantonese is the main language in south-east Asia. She taught us that Cantonese is a tonal language and how you say the word is just as important as the word itself. We learnt how to say Mum and Dad and that you don't just say brother, but you have to say the word for little brother or big brother. We found out that the Chinese language developed from pictograms that became characters over time in order to make it easier to read and write them. Lastly we learnt how to paint a Chinese character. We had to use strokes of paint to create the character and it was important to do them in the right order. In fact it was even difficult to hold the paintbrush correctly as it had to be upright and you had to pretend you were holding a tomato in the palm of your hand at the same time. We really enjoyed the session with Miss Chan!


What a fascinating talk Mr Heirman gave as part of the wonderful series of parent workshops during language week. He had us all thinking hard about which countries in the world have French as their first language and even provided maps of the world and of Europe for us to demonstrate our knowledge. He then had us guessing which languages other than French are also derived from Latin before explaining why this so called ‘dead language’ is no longer spoken. We also discovered that, just as people in England have different accents and different words for some objects from those in America, so do people in France from those in Canada. Finally, did you know that the circumflex is there to represent letters that are no longer present in words? Well, we all do now. Merci, Monsieur Heirman!

I loved getting to know that there are 37 different countries that have French as their first language. Haniya

It was interesting to see how many languages came from Latin. It's 11 although some are very similar. Aknur


With a huge smile, Mrs Marino welcomed us into Room 9 to learn about the wonderfully evocative language of Italian. Not only did we practise the Italian words for the days of the week, numbers to 10 and months of the year, we had a discussion about Italian food and why Italian is called the language of music. Mrs Marino's talk had us speaking and learning this beautiful language. She even gave us a brief history lesson on the language and told us the story behind the origins of Pizza Margarita, as well as the secret of where to buy the best gelato in the world. Grazie, Signora Marino!

I liked how Mrs Marino chose a different member of the group to say words in Italian so we all had to listen carefully and learn a lot. Molly

Mrs Marino's favourite city is Pompeii and her favourite word is amore. Elif

Tagged  Junior  Global outlook