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Could businesses take a leaf out of this school’s book? Newbury Park primary school in North East London teaches pupils who speak between 30 and 40 languages, but instead of seeing this as a hindrance, the school has embraced it. Pupils learn a different “language of the month” which is spoken by a child at the school every month, with video clips of the pupils teaching their classmates words from their native language.

Already having covered about 50 languages, from French to Swahili, the scheme has been really popular, with pupils keen to promote their own languages. The teacher who came up with the scheme said, “It started simply as a common courtesy, but as we went on we found that children who have their language valued are more open then to learning English than if we just let them hide their language away.”

Could we learn something from this scheme? If nothing else, it would be a great programme for other schools to replicate – learning small snippets of another language from such a young age can really help with language learning, and boost children’s interest in it.

But what about businesses? If you find yourself dealing with an international client, why not make an effort to learn some of the language? Whether this is in the form of a language course, or just spending a few minutes figuring out how to say hello, it could make a big difference. Teacher Joe Debono adds “If you want to get to know a person you want to get to know a little about their language. It’s only polite…A child’s language is a big part of their identity. It comes after their name and family.” This doesn’t just apply to children – this bit of knowledge may just make a big difference to business success.

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