Summarizing the History of Languages into a ten-minute presentation is no easy feat, but Mrs Matchett attempted to do just that in the annual EDL Assembly. By linking the key language families with families from the Game of Thrones series, pupils were (hopefully!) able to see how the present linguistic landscape came into being: the Indo –European languages were represented by the Lannisters; the Semitic language group by the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen; the Germanic tongues by the Starks; and the Romance languages by House Martell. English, the current global lingua franca (RBAI pupils should now know what this means!) was represented by Lord Petyr Baelish; that seemingly unscrupulous character armed not with birth right, army or wealth, but with knowledge, scheming and the art of serving others in power.
The Assembly inaugurated the highlight of the celebrations: the pupil-led lunchtime language tutorials. This is an opportunity for Inst pupils and staff to sample a foreign language not currently offered on the School Curriculum: the breadth of languages on offer is a snapshot of the rich cultural diversity of the Inst School Community: Arabic was taught by Year 11 pupil, Yassen Gumaa, and it is testament to his affable and hard-working nature that his lesson was attended by two of his teachers; Mr Allen, Head of the Mathematics Department; and Miss Gray of Science. The following week saw Mr Steele, the SEN co-ordinator, teach us Italian greetings; Tuesday was the ever-popular Mandarin Chinese, taught by the conscientious and experienced Panda Shui; and Vitor Munhon concluded the language lessons with his native language, Portuguese. As ever, the Modern Languages Department is most grateful to the lunchtime tutors, boys and staff who attended. For us as language teachers it is always refreshing, enjoyable and challenging to learn afresh, or be reminded of, the geography, culture, history and linguistic differences of other languages. It is always a healthy reminder to feel that uncertainty, self-consciousness and growing satisfaction when you are able to address someone in their native tongue.
Mrs M Matchett