Students Urged to Study Languages

Secondary students are being heavily urged to Brexit-proof their career prospects by taking up foreign languages as part of a new campaign that began this week. 

There are almost 5,000 students in 70 schools across Ireland are participating in the #ThinkLanguages2020 event, billed as the biggest foreign languages’ celebration event in the country. 

Brexit means that it is imperative that Irish people become better users of foreign languages. Previously, they could rely on trade with the UK, however, they can no longer do this.  

If they are looking to adapt to this new world we will be living in and sell in other countries, they will need to learn the languages spoken in the other countries.  

Many speak about how important Stem subjects are, although you cannot access Stem markets without a foreign language, making learning additional languages ever more important. 

The purpose behind the #ThinkLanguages event is to raise awareness among students in transition year of the absolute necessity and relevance of having a foreign language as it will open up more opportunities and doors in their lives. 

We have to look beyond the traditional provision of primarily French and broaden language offerings available to students. The event is mostly online and is providing a variety of language workshops, for example, in Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Polish. 

Schools are being provided with access to workshops and virtual talks which range from Portuguese capoeira and Spanish flamenco dancing to Danish design and Italian cuisine.  

Additionally, many schools are creating and planning their own events by inviting speakers in to speak about why languages are essential in their lives, while some are asking non-Irish students to teach their home language this week. 

The theme surrounding this year’s event is ‘think global, act local’ and is very relevant to this year where we have all come to truly realise the importance of communicating with our fellow global citizens.  

Students should take the time to reflect on the languages around them, in their community and in their schools. There are many opportunities to learn a few words from neighbours and friends so discover what languages they speak and a bit more about them also. 

This is a particularly important time for transition year students who are now considering what topics they will study for their Leaving Cert and beyond. 

By showing them how foreign language skills will benefit their lives and careers, the event will encourage students to keep up their foreign languages and maybe even take up an additional language for the Leaving Cert. 

#ThinkLanguages is said to a language class with a difference and is expected to open the minds of students and truly bring many different aspects of languages to life.  

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