Posts Tagged ‘language learning’

When we came across this story at Euro London, we couldn’t help but read on. A British student winning the French X Factor?! It sounds absurd, but Matthew Raymond-Barker touched the European nation’s hearts with his renditions of pop classics in the native language. Although admitting being less than perfect at the language when he arrived in the country, with the X Factor winner’s crown at stake Matthew quickly found his fluency with French.  

The story is a perfect example of how language learning can open up opportunities that you may never have dreamt possible. Ok, this is a rather exceptional example but nonetheless illustrates that you do not need to let language be a barrier to your ambitions.

Learning a language may just be the X Factor you need to find your dream job!

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Whether you’re a natural when picking up the lingo on holiday or just can’t get your head round your adiós and au revoir, we all have different learning styles when approaching languages. The process in which you learn a language can often determine whether you throw your books down in frustration or reel off vocabulary with ease.

As individuals, we have a natural preference for a particular style of learning. Discovering which style is best suited to you can enhance the process of language learning, as well as making it a far more enjoyable enterprise. Here at Euro London, we encourage anyone and everyone to take up new languages and whether you are a visual, kinaesthetic or auditory learner here are some handy tips to help.

Visual – Do you delight in drawing mind maps? How about scribbling down lists? If yes, then you may be a visual learner. Visual learners thrive on seeing vocabulary written down and therefore flash cards can be a useful prop to learning.

Kinaesthetic – If you enjoy learning through the act of role play and interactive group work then you are most probably a kinaesthetic learner. Kinaesthetic learners prefer to reinforce the act of learning through a physical activity. Interactive language games are perfect for those who prefer this style of learning.

Auditory – Do you find yourself singing Adele’s latest hit, word for word? Then you may favour auditory learning. Auditory learners tend to pick up conversational language more rapidly than others and rely largely on the spoken word to process information. Making up rhymes to remember vocabulary and listening to language tapes are both ideal approaches to learning a language for these individuals.

Discovering whether you favour visual, kinaesthetic or auditory learning may just be the key to unlocking your language potential!

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Bilingual Officers

The future of policing?

Ever had your purse pinched? Well fear not, the police’s latest weapon in the fight against crime is here: the bilingual officer. The recruitment of overseas officers is a police initiative set up to crack down on foreign gangs, many of whom target the Westfield shopping centre.

French-speaking officers have been used in an undercover operation to infiltrate an Algerian gang. Although this may read like a James Bond script, the use of bilingual policemen has led to the arrest of ten individuals responsible for theft.

Inspector Dan Stobbart claims that such measures are necessary to tackle the growing number of foreign gangs in the area, especially at a time when the police are experiencing Government cuts. 

Only time will tell whether this is an effective and sustainable approach to policing gangs, however, in the mean time foreign criminals better watch out for those who may be listening in…

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If you’re a multilingual jobseeker, your language skills are your bread and butter. In a competitive market, particularly with many bilingual and multilingual graduates out of work, it’s important that, if you’re not a native speaker of your chosen language, you keep your skills as honed as possible.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with five effortless ways to make sure you stay on top of your language skills!

1.       Stop watching films in English (unless, of course, you’re not a native English speaker!) – watch some European cinema instead! Even if you’re watching an English film, change the audio track to your second language. Doing this a couple of times a week is an easy way to immerse yourself in the sound of the language without being in the country.

2.       Talk to your friends! For example, if German is your second language, keep up the regular conversations with native German-speaking friends. Ask them to point out any mistakes and make a note of them at the end of the conversation.

3.       Read a book or a magazine in your second language. Doing this will give you the time to pause and check on any grammar or vocabulary you’re not sure of.

4.       Learn a new word every day – even native English speakers feel the need to increase their English vocabulary so why not do the same with a second language? The more articulate you are, the greater the edge you have over other candidates.

5.       Play games! Sites like Sporcle are great resources for language quizzes for those times you feel like brushing up (and competing against yourself).

Keeping yourself at the top of your game doesn’t have to be a big effort, nor does it have to change anything about your regular routine, apart from the soundtrack!

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With English fast becoming a global language, and certainly the language of business, many people have taken on the attitude that it’s unnecessary to learn a second language. After all, if everyone speaks English, who needs to make the effort?

Here at Euro London Appointments, we seriously disagree! We are always talking about how language skills can increase your employability but that’s not the only reason why language skills are beneficial. Here are the other top five reasons you should learn a second language:

1.       Studies have shown that being bilingual actually structurally changes the brain and increases intellect, especially for people who have been bilingual from an early age. Therefore bilingual people are more likely to have a rounded intelligence than monolinguals.

2.       Language is not just about semantics. Having access to a language means having access to another culture and coming to truly understand it. This is great for business as different cultures have different ways of doing things and makes you more desirable to potential employers!

3.       Knowing a second language increases your knowledge of the English language. Many non-native English speakers are sticklers for grammar – the same goes for language students. Learning a language from scratch makes you more aware of your native language’s grammatical structures.

4.       Language skills get you into university. Some UK universities are now rejecting applicants without at least a GCSE in another language. Degrees are generally a path to a better job, therefore learning a language is a ticket to a better career!

5.       Last, but by no means least, learning a language widens your appreciation of art, cinema, travel, music and the list goes on. By learning another language, you’re giving yourself access to a whole world of culture and art that you may have never experienced!

So don’t rely on the language skills of others. Take matters into your own hand, learn a language and open lots of new doors!

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When it comes to language learning in the UK, the figures aren’t great. Less and less students are taking languages but we’re hearing more and more stories about the increased importance put on learning them. So where do we stand?  I think that more needs to be done to encourage young people to study languages and there must be a clearer policy when it comes to languages in education.

Since 2004, studying a language at GCSE has been optional in the UK, however the new English Baccalaureate will only be awarded to students that take GCSEs in language subjects. Furthermore, there are set to be changes to the way league tables are calculated to encourage more students to take languages, and Universities like UCL will soon only consider applicants who have studied a language at GCSE level.

We are giving young people such mixed messages when it comes to studying languages. One minute languages are optional but then they won’t get the English Bac without them – is this a case of a bit too little, too late? With schools and students both unsure of where they stand when it comes to language learning, the current situation is too contradictory and I think that languages should again become compulsory to ensure the UK remains competitive and that British students get the best future job prospects.

As business becomes increasingly international, languages have become a crucial skill for employers, but we’re finding fewer and fewer British graduates with strong language skills as those that took their GCSEs once languages were no longer compulsory are now coming out of the education system. This needs to change if we want young people to have the best chance of finding a job and if we want British business to remain competitive.

What do you think?

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Why the government made languages optional, as the business world becomes increasingly international, is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Employers need more linguists than ever to help them build and maintain strong relationships with customers and colleagues overseas, but statistics show there are less and less young people learning languages at school since they stopped being compulsory. A recent report by Ofsted highlights that some state schools have not one pupil taking a foreign language GCSE and only a third have reached the target of having half of their students taking a modern language GCSE.

It seems that rather than admit the error of its ways and make languages compulsory once again, the government is trying to come up with other ways of producing future linguists. It is proposing that the way schools are ranked is changed and saying that they should be judged on the level of success at GCSE in five subjects, one of which is a foreign language.

Although if this does happen it will hopefully increase the number of young people learning languages, is it too little too late? Many schools are not geared up for such high levels of language teaching after the government made them compulsory – “You can’t have schools judged against criteria that were not previously in place,” said National Union of Teachers leader Christine Blower.

So, what will happen in the future? Whatever legislation the government decides to implement, we hope that schools will be encouraged to get as many of their students as possible taking languages, and encourage them to pursue these subjects past the age of 16. Language skills can lead to some great jobs – see our posts in the category ‘language jobs’ if you need proof!

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