Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Loras Network interviews Alex Rawlings – Speaker at the 1st International Loras Network Workshop

Loras Network (L.N.): Alex, we would like to thank you very much for this interview. We are also very happy that you will be presenting at our 1st Loras Network Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

L.N. : Alex, we first saw you in a BBC video, being presented as the UK’s most multilingual student, with a total of eleven languages. Can you give us some background as to how and why you learned so many languages?

Alex Rawlings (A.R.): Languages started off as a hobby for me and quickly turned into a passion. I speak Greek from childhood and studied French and German at school, but that never felt like enough! There were so many people out there in the world that I wanted to talk to, and I didn’t want to restrict them to those I had a common language with. I picked up some language courses from my local bookshop and library and decided to have a go. Then I caught the bug – I wanted to learn more and more, picking a new one each summer and trying to find out as much about the country and culture as I could, hoping one day to visit them!

L.N. : What one tip would you give a child- language learner? How about a teenage-language learner and then an adult-language learner, as you have experienced all these stages now?

A.R. : Don’t let your limits be set by other people – set them yourself. Actually, I don’t think anyone really has limits, if you want something and you put your mind to it, you’ll always succeed. I think that advice applies to everyone!

I’m skeptical about there being an “ideal age” to learn languages. The way I’ve learnt languages has constantly changed and developed with the different ages I’m at. I used to hate flashcards and vocabulary lists when I was younger, but now I can appreciate their efficiency and I use them myself. Equally, I used to not have to spend much time on pronunciation, but now I have to concentrate on it a bit more. Not that any of these things become impossible as you get older (or younger!), it’s just that you have to change the way you go about them.

L.N. : What one tip would you give the parents of a child language learner? And then the parents of a teenage language learner? 

A.R. : Encourage them! Like with everything, there’s nothing a child wants more than supportive parents who think they’re great no matter what, even if they don’t always say so! But don’t be pushy with them – nobody can develop a passion for something when their parents are just forcing them to do it. We’re all individuals with our own interests, and for some languages aren’t that exciting. Don’t despair though, it’s very likely that they’ll go back to it in later life when they realise just how valuable languages are!

L.N. :We are sure many people are wondering, as we are as well – which is going to be your next language and why?

A.R. : The problem is there are so many languages I’d like to learn! It really depends on where I am when I finish my degree. If I’m still involved with Eastern Europe I think I have to learn Polish to find out more about the region. Otherwise I like the challenge of Arabic, and Turkish has always seemed interesting. But at the same time, I’d like to get better in the languages I do have!

L.N. : Do you know all languages you have acquired both in written and spoken form? Would you ever learn a language in only one form?

A.R. : Yes of course, and no never!

L. N. : Thank you so much, Alex! We are truly looking forward to meeting you in person.

Please feel free to explore the links to the 1st International Loras Network Workshop and Alex Rawlings’ blog:

http://www.lorasnetwork.com/events/events-1/25-1st-international-loras-network-workshop

Poster Part

http://rawlangs.com/

copy-RawLangs-WP2

Feat No 15: The Loras English Network …with a touch of Greek School!

Our school year is coming to an end and so is the case for Maggie’s Swiss Public School, Nicholas’ Swiss Playgroup and last but not least Maggie’s Greek School.

A full, productive and of course, hard-working year. One that is entitled to a well-deserved summer break.

When we decided to change Greek school after the Christmas break, as described in Feat No 4, we chose a private Greek school. Both, however, in Zurich. Twenty-five minutes away from Zug by train and one tram-ride away from the center of Zurich. And we did it. To be precise, Maggie did it. We were just the escorts. The cheerleaders that kept encouraging Maggie and her progress. For two whole years, every Saturday, Maggie woke up to a school day.

And when the going got tough, literally, the homework got heavy and the cheering was not working anymore, we discussed the issue with Maggie and decided that we should try the second option. The private Greek school. An extra expense for the family budget, but a very good way to maintain and progress our Greek. And it worked! Maggie had fewer hours of lessons, fewer classmates and less homework. She had regained confidence especially in her Greek speech and is now very advanced for a child that does not attend a daily Greek school.

We are very proud of her and also relieved that this school year has come to an end. She can relax and practise during our holidays in Greece with our relatives and friends.

But you do not know the best part yet…

Although The Loras Network is, in fact, The Loras ENGLISH Network, we have decided to go a bit further than that and create a Greek Language Workshop for the families of Greek origin living in Zug:

Dear Parents and Students,

As of the new school year, August 2013 we shall begin a Greek Language group for an hour and a half, once a week. This will be a group for children aged 6 years old and up. The lessons will take place at our facilities and we shall maintain and develop the children’s Greek Language skills in a pleasant and creative way close to their homes.
As we noticed with our own child, Maggie, it has been extremely difficult, exhausting, time-consuming and expensive travelling to another Canton weekly. We have been doing so for the past two years while trying to facilitate her Greek language skills at the Greek schools that exist in Zurich. Through our own personal experience, we came up with the idea of creating this Greek Language group here in Zug. For your children and ours.

And many families in Zug were relieved to receive that letter. So were we. So was Maggie who has already paved the way for Nicholas’ well-being while learning Greek.

At the same time, this will be a test for our professionalism as teachers due to Maggie’s presence in the group. Both Vicky and I are my children’s English-speaking contributors. From now on, every Wednesday for an hour and a half, we will be her Greek language teachers.

Greek Workshop image