It was back in 1957 that the National Council of Alpha Mu Gamma was inspired by its then National President to make the United States aware of the need for and importance of foreign language study through the celebration of NFLW. The week has been held ever since. On December 12, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent a telegram endorsing the celebration, and each succeeding president has added his support.
There are many days of celebration held regionally around the UK, by schools and other language networks. The UK celebrates the European Day of Languages in September each year but this excludes the languages increasing in popularity such as Japanese and Mandarin. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to dedicate a whole week to the cause with official endorsement? Perhaps you already do? I’d love to hear about it.
Here are a few thoughts on holding a languages day at your institution:
A Languages Day can help to raise the profile of Modern Foreign Languages and give staff and children the chance to enjoy a specific language or a range of languages as a large group. You can celebrate previous successes and enthuse pupils about future learning. To give the day a bigger impact, staff and children can be asked to wear the colours of the country flag(s).
When organizing the day, we recommend you provide teachers with all the resources they will need, to help alleviate stress and to allow them to participate fully in the day and enjoy themselves. Have a go at the following four tried and tested activities:
Activity A – Famous Artist
Art – Learn about an artist from the target country and create artwork in their style.
Activity B – Traditional food
Research traditional foods and hold a food tasting. Make a place mat where children add their food likes and dislikes.
Activity C – Parachute activities and learning a song
Parachute activities following instructions in the target language.
Learn a song and some actions for everyone to perform together in the final assembly.
Activity D – Classroom activity
Playing board games using target language.
We recommend having two assemblies: one in the morning to explain what will happen and set the tone for the day, and one at the end, so that you can celebrate your achievements.
These general ideas are taken from our Festivals and Traditions books which contain more detailed lesson plans and activity sheets to make your Languages Day run smoothly as well as information on festivals and traditions held in each country throughout the year.