Portsmouth High School was delighted to host eleven visiting primary schools for their seventh Festival of Languages. The Festival is an opportunity for the Languages Department at Portsmouth High School to share their passion for languages and to celebrate some of the languages spoken by pupils in the school. Senior School pupils joined specialist teachers in leading the sessions to teach a carousel of eleven taster lessons ranging from Arabic, Russian and Mandarin to Korean, Hindi and Polish.
A study of macaque monkeys suggests that languages may have evolved to replace grooming as a better way of forging social ties amongst our ancestors.
‘At Portsmouth High School we feel very strongly about the power of language,’ said Head of Faculty of Modern Languages, Mme Jane Arthers. ‘Through language, better relationships can be made and a greater cultural awareness formed. In Portsmouth we live in a multi-cultural society so we feel it is important to celebrate the diversity that we encounter every day.’
The event was for local primary and junior school pupils in Years 5 and 6 and the morning was designed to ignite a love of languages and also to celebrate the rich diversity spoken by pupils in schools across the county. Research shows that the best age to start learning a language is seven and this can help the brain to grow and develop.
The visitors had fun with a language themed treasure hunt around the school before taking part in a carousel of ten minute taster language lessons which were taught by senior girls and specialist language teachers from Portsmouth High School.
‘Thank you so much for a wonderful morning,’ said Mme Fabienne Bennison, a teacher at Westbourne House School. ‘Our word that we have all taken away is ‘Namaste’ which is a Hindu greeting. We loved the whole morning but particularly this word and the action that goes with it; usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together. It shows so much in one word.’
‘I thought it was a hugely enjoyable and exciting language learning experience for the girls,’ said Mrs Jane Best from St Jude’s Primary School.
It is thought that there are 7,000 different languages spoken around the world. More than half have no written form. All the visitors had a taste of a few of those at Portsmouth High School.