Bilingualism alive and well at the 2012 Olympics.

It never ceases to amaze me when out and about that some people, often in positions of importance, seem to miss the whole point of bilingualism altogether and just focus on ‘they must learn English’ …. whoever ‘they’ are.

No notice is taken of any prior learning and often in education then use their trump card what if they don’t write …..Tamil, Portuguese, Chinese… and think that this lets them off the hook with everything else and along their merry way they go continuing to do what they have always done and not embracing change or any other ideas.

It was therefore great to see the  2012 Olympic opening ceremony bilingualised as is the Eurovision Song contest languages are spoken alongside each other and everyone is included.  Critics are quick to point out that other languages are more common or should have been used but again it goes back to complacency and not willing to embrace change and finding the one area that it doesn’t work and hanging your hat on that. What I feel is more important is that everyone is able to communicate and be part of it together rather than being the one person in the corner who is looking on. Sadly some of my educational colleagues do not feel the same and some have argued ‘I only have 1, 2 with EAL,ELL’ and are quite happy for that child or those children to just sit and the teacher waits until they catch up  whilst teaching using often out of date methodologies.

Perhaps with the constant use of the flags and this bilingualism being televised they will start to think differently and embrace what those who speak Welsh and Gaelic and many other languages already know it is a strength not a weakness and should be nurtured.

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 – International

Two cultures have crossed inside me. I can write music which can be equally understood by Africans and Ukrainians”

 Gaitana Ukrainian 2012

A few years ago we met our friend  Юра (Yannis, Ukranian) at the Global Educational Technology Summit in Brussels.  Thanks to our new communication tools we were able to converse in Russian. To date we still communicate but it is getting easier and tonight we have been able to communiate via facebook.  Юра speaks only Russian and Ukranian and I dont speak either of these langauges, but thanks to improved technology we are able to keep in contact.  So I will also be cheering on the Ukraine as well as the UK and yes the Irish entry…but be secretly hoping the Russians grannies get somewhere in the top 3.

Good luck Gaitana, Engelbert and Jedward. Those of us in the UK use the red button and become instant bilinguals.