PGC Talk with Guild members: Studying Spanish and other languages

Gratitude to digital technology, for the miracle of staying connected online deepened this week, when 'Teams' facilitated a meeting between seven members of Guild (attending from locations including Israel and Madrid), four Spanish teachers, and 65 girls from UC4 and over, who are already, or are considering, studying Spanish at CLC or beyond.

Mrs Mooney invited the Guild members, who between them covered College dates 1975-2019, to speak for approximately five minutes each about the highs and lows of their experience of Hispanic language, learning, and culture. This ranged from no formal learning but now living in a Spanish-speaking country, to the first girl ever to take a public exam in Spanish at CLC, to university study, teaching, and using the language in a competitive, high-powered commercial context. The girls were able to ask questions of the guests.

There was unanimity among the speakers around the benefits of learning the language, however formally or informally: connecting with people, engaging with another culture more profoundly, or supplying a ‘USP’ (point of difference) for graduates seeking jobs in a competitive market place worldwide.

All agreed, too, that ‘having a go’ was the most important factor, as native speakers encourage this and are forgiving of imperfect endings and agreements (however desirable these remain, as Mrs Mooney reminded us!). The Principal was also able to join the session, and shared her experience of the fun of setting off on a month’s intensive course in Andalucia.

The guests learnt from the experience too, particularly that today’s A Level has broadened from Spanish language and literature into other media including film, incorporating South and Central American culture, along with topics on politics, social trends and history. They also learnt some new vocabulary for our times: ‘un saludo virtual’ and ‘el distanciamiento social’.

It is hoped that this exercise will be repeated in the future. Hasta la proxima!

Catherine Beale (Owens, St Hilda's/Elizabeth, 1977-1984)