07 December, 2020 – Minister Foley opens #ThinkLanguages 2020 Event

Schools will host the largest National Foreign Languages Celebration, #ThinkLanguages Event 2020 this week

 

Almost 5,000 students from 70 schools across Ireland set to participate in #ThinkLanguages 2020

Languages Connect encourages students to ‘Think Global, Act Local’ by bringing languages to life in their schools this December 2020

 

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today joined students from schools from across the country to open the reimagined #ThinkLanguages celebration. #ThinkLanguages which was a bustling day of 3,000 TY students at the Convention Centre Dublin in 2019, has been transformed into a school-run extravaganza with a virtual opening ceremony and online workshops paired with nation-wide in-school events.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions 70 schools and almost 5,000 students have enthusiastically embraced this years’ theme: ‘Think Global, Act Local’ organising a diverse range of workshops that bring foreign language learning to life for their school and  which highlight and celebrate the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of language learning.

Careers workshops by former students demonstrating the value of foreign languages in the world of work, cookery demonstrations in Chinese, a catwalk in German, students teaching their home languages to their peers, visits from people in direct provision centres and foreign language assistants doing craft workshops, provide just a flavour of some of the creative ideas that schools have come up with.

Languages Connect has provided support packs which assist schools with project management through to execution, 14 engaging recorded culture-themed language workshops online, virtual events and activities throughout the day, online support portal and downloadable plans, schedules and activities and these will be available for schools to use beyond the event. Workshops available range from Spanish Flamenco Dancing and Portuguese Capoeira to beginner classes for Polish and Chinese. #ThinkLanguages will give students the opportunity to experience and understand how learning foreign languages can have a tangible, real-life impact socially, culturally and professionally. 

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD, gave the opening address in a streamed opening ceremony with key note speaker Des Bishop, MC Zainab Boladale and other speakers Ruairí de Burca, multilingual Director General of Irish Aid, and Orlaith Tunney, Trinity College Careers Consultant.

Minister Foley said: “This year’s #ThinkLanguages theme  ‘Think Global, Act Local’, is very relevant for 2020, a year in which we have all come to realise just how interconnected we are with the rest of the world – and how important it is that we can communicate with our fellow global citizens. 2020 is also a year that we are getting to know more about and appreciate what is on our own doorstep.

“Take some time today to reflect on the languages around you – in your school, in your community. There are so many opportunities to learn a few words from a friend or neighbour, find out what languages they speak and a bit more about them too.”

As an awareness raising campaign, facilitated by Post-Primary Languages Ireland, Languages Connect aims to highlight the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of language learning. Students attending the #ThinkLanguages event are encouraged to think about global work opportunities, to embrace diversity, be open to a wider circle of friends and the richer life experiences that foreign language skills can offer them.

Karen Ruddock, Director, Post Primary Languages Ireland, said:“#ThinkLanguages will follow a very different format this year, and we’re using this opportunity to open the language-learning doors to every school in Ireland.

“TY students are now considering what they will study for their Leaving Certificate and beyond. By showing them the benefits that foreign language skills give them in their life and career, we encourage them to keep up their foreign languages and maybe even take on another language for the Leaving Certificate. #ThinkLanguages is a language class with a difference – it should open students’ minds and really bring many different aspects of languages to life.” 

Aoife Dungan, Marketing and Communications Manager, Languages Connect, said: We would like to thank all the TY coordinators, teachers and TY students for helping us put on local events in 70 schools this week. It’s been a challenging year for everyone – but we hope that nearly 5,000 TY students will enjoy their own local #ThinkLanguages as much as the 3,000 who came to the Convention Centre Dublin did last year.

“There will be a festival of languages happening all over Ireland this December – with fun workshops and language classes organised and given by students and lots of local speakers getting involved. We have worked hard to support the schools with resources – a packed virtual opening ceremony and a great variety of brilliant online workshops. It’s now over to them to create the buzz and excitement we all were able to enjoy last year. We hope it will be a day these students never forget!”

Launched to support a strong, growing economy while also promoting a multicultural and inclusive society, Languages Connect asserts the necessity for Irish people to learn foreign languages.

For more information on #ThinkLanguages, please visit: https://languagesconnect.ie/thinklanguages/.

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Note for Editors

 

About Languages Connect:

Languages Connect, the awareness raising campaign, was launched in September 2018 by Post Primary Languages Ireland, a unit under the remit of the Department of Education, with the vision to promote a society where the ability to learn and use at least one foreign language is taken for granted, because of its inherent value for individuals, society and the economy, and to promote the many advantages of having foreign language skills as well as to make foreign language learning more appealing to everyone. Languages Connect is working to demonstrate the ever-increasing necessity of learning foreign languages both professionally and culturally – languages are no longer a luxury for some, but a necessity for most.

Languages Connect wants people to realise:

  • Learning foreign languages opens doors to interesting and exciting opportunities both in Ireland and abroad. 
  • Learning a foreign language can be transformative, offering a different way of conceptualising and experiencing the world
  • Encouraging the maintenance of foreign languages spoken at home can have long-term benefits for the language speakers and the economy as a whole
  • Learning a new language can be lots of fun and enhance your life in so many ways. It opens doors to a range of career opportunities and gives you the chance to make real personal connections. Travel experiences are enriched and horizons are broadened. 
  • Right now in Ireland, foreign language skills are more important than ever – we need to keep connecting with new and exciting global opportunities. Languages Connect is here to tell you just how much you can gain from boosting your foreign language skills.

Workshops at ‘#ThinkLanguages’:

-          Interpreting with EC Interpreters

  • An opportunity to meet European Commission Interpreters, both from Ireland and abroad. They will highlight the languages they use, what they do in a day, explain the different types of interpreting and outline how to get from TY to an interpreting job in the European Commission

-          Italian and Italian Cuisine

  • This is for complete beginners. Students will come away with a wonderful recipe to try at home, and some basic and moderate Italian.

-          Polish Language

  • This is a colourful workshop for complete beginners, and a great opportunity to try one of the new Leaving Certificate curricular languages.

-          Portuguese and Capoeira

  •  This is for complete beginners of both Portuguese, one of the new Leaving Certificate curricular languages, and capoeira.

-          Russian and Ballet

  • This is a beautiful workshop for complete beginners of both Russian and ballet.

-          Arabic and Belly Dancing

  • This is for complete beginners of both Arabic and belly dancing.

-          Chinese Language

  • This is for complete beginners, and a great opportunity to try one of the new Leaving Certificate curricular languages.

-          Danish and Design

  • This will be of interest to students who are interested in Design and Communication Graphics and is a great opportunity to learn some Danish.

-          Greek Language

  • This is for complete beginners, and a great opportunity to learn some Greek.

-          French and Natural Beekeeping

  • This is a Content Language Integrated learning (CLIL) workshop suitable for anyone who has done Junior Cycle French. It might be of particular interest to anyone with an interest in science or the natural world, but no scientific experience is required.

-          Spanish and Flamenco

  • This is a CLIL workshop suitable for anyone who has done Junior Cycle Spanish.

-          French and Fashion

  • This is a CLIL workshop suitable for anyone who has done Junior Cycle French.

-          German and Passive Housing

  • This is a CLIL workshop suitable for anyone who has done Junior Cycle German. It might be of particular interest to anyone with an interest in Construction Studies but is suitable for everyone.

-          French and French Cuisine

  • This is a CLIL workshop suitable for anyone who has done Junior Cycle French.