Bringing language and culture to life at High School

Ghaniya Zarouk and Gabriela Hirt
Ghaniya Zarouk and Gabriela Hirt
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Spalding High School has welcomed French and German Language Assistants from other countries.

Ghaniya Zarouk and Gabriela Hirt will be helping to bring language and culture to life for pupils at the school over the coming academic year.

Ghaniya, who comes from Mayotte – a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Africa – joins the school to help teach French as part of the British Council’s Modern Language Assistant programme.

Gabriela arrives from Kirchberg, St Gallen in 
Switzerland to assist with German.

Modern Language Assistants bring up to date language skills and use materials such as news and culture to engage pupils in the language they are learning.

As they are often university students or recent graduates themselves, pupils find it easy to relate to them and develop confidence in speaking as a result.

Gabriela said: “The language assistant programme was the perfect opportunity to venture abroad and experience life as a teacher.

“My ultimate goal is to become an English and Spanish teacher. Hence being a language assistant I can gain experience for my professional future while improving my skills in English.”

Ghaniya said she has always loved English as far as she can remember.

“I was taught by native English speakers when I was in secondary school and I was fascinated by their stories about their history, their culture, their language etc and this is how it all started.

“Also because I would like to teach English in the future, it was very important that I spend some time in an English speaking country to become more fluent and get some teaching experience. And what’s best to start with if not England?”

The scheme benefits the language assistant as well as the host school and both Gabriela and Ghaniya are enjoying the experience.

Gabriela added: “So far, my time as a language assistant has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

“I learn something new about the English language and culture or about teaching every single day. Furthermore, witnessing the progress of my students and helping them overcome difficulties as they grow more confident in speaking German makes me feel useful.”

Ghaniya said: “Since I have started working at the school, I have learnt a lot, especially from the teachers whose commitment I think is admirable.

“Students and staff are kind and helpful. I particularly enjoy the sessions with students because I am not only teaching but sharing knowledge about my bicultural background.

“I think it is very important for them to know that France is not only the country across the Channel but also territories in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific and that, therefore, it is a country with several facets.

“I see these sessions as a real exchange because I learn from them as well, not only words and expressions but also about their culture in general.”