Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
15 April, 2023

Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages - What a journey
Wednesday 19 April was a day to remember for our Years 9 and 10 students of Spanish and French (who also invited two very keen Year 12 French students)… not only were both trips excellently planned and orchestrated, with the minutest attention given to detail, but the students showed they were in their element on the day, enjoying the fun and culture that makes learning these languages so relevant and so special.
The Spanish Day – Que rico!!
This was built around the enjoyment and vibrancy of Latin music and Spanish gastronomy. The Spanish vibe, introduced by way of a Spanish presentation on the origins of Salsa, was soon infectious, having the desired effect on the students, giving them the confidence and enthusiasm to let their shyness dwindle and become fully involved with the language of a famous Salsa song by Celia Cruz. Then, there was the meeting of the Salsa instructor, Mauricio, who by all accounts exuded a magnetic and energetic personality. The students enjoyed a Salsa lesson in which they participated and learned enough steps to fully follow the rhythm. Some students enjoyed the experience so much – they continued into the break time!
The topic of food has featured in our MFL classes recently, so now it was time to taste the fabulous famous food for ourselves, in the form of tapas, of course! The students, having studied this in advance, but only in theory, were able to express their opinions on the ingredients and presentation of the tapas on the menu. In Macarena, our chosen restaurant, students tried a variety of dishes, all of them typical tapas, affording more than a touch of authenticity to the day!
The students excelled on the day, showing how well they can work together as a team, and across year groups, showing maturity and a sense of responsibility for others.
The French Day – La vie est belle!

Meanwhile, whilst the Spanish students were strutting their Salsa and tucking into their tapas, the French students in Year 9 were experiencing the mysterious but beautiful life “la vie est belle” finding their way around the French Concession, discovering new paths, new skills to find the answers to the clues they were given for their treasure hunt of facts about famous people, incidents, and places in Shanghai. I felt exceptionally fortunate to be accompanying my French teaching colleagues on this trip, where I saw first-hand how students, even those who seem at first hesitant, benefit from these days of fun and culture.

The students demonstrated curiosity, generosity of spirit by helping each other to succeed, even offering help to carry the water bottles, to their prized reward for this fact-finding mission – well… authentic French food of course!! After a few hours of following leads, old maps, new maps, and clues in French and practising their French with the teachers and professional guides, their quest for knowledge, solved mysteries and secrets surrounding this area of the French Concession, students were rewarded handsomely by being able to feast on French crêpe at an authentic crêperie.

Last but not least!! The German Day – Das Leben ist süβ!

This took place on Thursday 27 April, and whilst one would have thought that the students of Years 9 and 10 German might have had their fill of chocolate by now, this was evidently, and thankfully, not the case. The students were so excited to visit the famous Austrian chocolate factory here in Shanghai. The day arrived at last… and it did not disappoint. The students watched in silence and interest as the history of the factory and the Austrian ties, its roots and collaboration with not just China, but with so many other countries across the world where chocolate is created on an industrial scale, were relayed.

The students learned about the different types of chocolate and were able to taste the chocolate as it was being made, so were able to appreciate the different stages of chocolate making. Before being allowed to buy some finished products as souvenirs of a day of sampling well spent, they were also given the opportunity to try their hands at designing their own chocolate, choosing a special shape and ingredients tailored to their personal taste, making a truly memorable keepsake. Well, not sure about the longevity of those particular souvenirs and how long they will last …

Finally, back in class, the students were able to show off their knowledge about chocolate production and how this can be a successful example of a sustainable and responsible industry. Year 9s and 10s learned about Fairtrade, from reading and answering questions in our survey of the Zotter factory (in German!) and were able to reflect on the questions on their survey sheets, practising their knowledge of German cognates along the way, as well as sharing their newly found chocolate preferences.