Friday, March 11, 2016

World Language Week: Polyglots (and what they can teach us!)

Today is the FINAL day of the week set aside to celebrate World Languages. I hope you have sparked some enthusiasm in your students, your coworkers and throughout your sphere of influence:  Languages ARE influence.  Languages are power.  Languages are connections and communication and change.

Here is my last suggestion for celebrating languages (yes, MORE than just Spanish) in your classroom:

Introduce your students to the AMAZING reality of polyglots!

If you hadn't heard the term before, polyglots are individuals that can communicate in multiple languages (often used to describe people who know more than SIX).  In the most incredible cases, these individuals know more than 12 and are called hyperpolyglots.  Yeah, #mindblown.

This can be a really fascinating discovery for your students that value competition, records, trivia and hold themselves to high expectations or like to be known for something they can do that no one else can (um, hello every middle school student ever).  Here are some fun resources you can use to wow your students with the perfect representative for this week of celebration:  The Polyglot.

  • This article gives basic information on what a polyglot and hyperpolyglot really is, as well as lists some amazing, living examples.
  • This blog post includes 5 mini-interviews with polyglots where they share language learning myths, their favorite technique to learn a new language and things they wish they would have known when they started their journey.
  • Tim Doner began teaching himself languages when he was 13!  Here is a video in which he demonstrates many different languages, and here is a Ted-Talk where he discusses the issues in our school system when it comes to language education and gives us many ideas of how to improve it:

  • And this final video is of a young boy,Ravi, from India who uses an AMAZING amount of languages to sell things on the street. Genius.
I love the intrigue that discussing individuals such as polyglots bring to our class.  It's amazing! It astounds us!  We immediately think of how difficult just one or two languages has been for us, and we think How in the world did they do it?!  This is a great place for your language learners to be:  curious, motivated, and challenged.

How did you celebrate this week?  Please reach out and tell me; I would love to hear from you!

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