Posts Tagged ‘languages’

Business Brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

A group of ten S3 pupils attended a ‘Business Brunch’ at the Kingsmills Hotel recently. The theme of the event was the importance of learning languages. We had the opportunity to chat with representatives from a variety of companies and organisations. The speakers were very enthusiastic and focused on their personal ‘journeys’, highlighting how they have used foreign languages in their careers. They emphasised how languages can be both the key to success as well as empowering in life generally. One speaker described how in business you are less likely to ‘have the wool pulled over your eyes’ if you at least understand the language of the people with whom you are negotiating. Another mentioned how you gain respect by trying to speak the language of the locals when abroad. Perhaps the most amusing anecdote was an hotel manager and keen football fan who had given up studying Russian at school and has just missed out on the perfect job at a hotel in Moscow which is opening just before the World Cup starts!

Modern Languages Department

Multilingual Debate at Herriot-Watt

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

On Wednesday 22nd March, our Higher French class travelled to Heriot-Watt University for the Multilingual Debate and Chinese cultural experience. The motion was ‘this house believes that robots will soon be a positive aspect of our lives’.

When we first arrived, we were escorted to the Confucius Institute, where the Chinese cultural experience was held. We tried on traditional Chinese clothes, tasted various Chinese dishes and practised Chinese calligraphy. It was a lot of fun!

We then made our way to the James Watt centre, where the debate was held. It lasted for two hours and was a fully interactive experience. The speakers debated in several different languages, including Chinese, Spanish, German, French and English. The Post-Graduate students interpreted the speeches into a variety of other languages. We were all provided with a headset, in which you could tune into a specific channel for your desired language. We were all extremely impressed with the interpreters’ fluency during the debate. Before and after the debate, we were given a chance to voice our opinions on the matter, through an electronic voting system. This allowed us to engage in the debate and express our views. Beforehand, the results favoured the ‘for’ side, however, in the final vote, the majority voted against the motion.

Overall, it was an extremely educational trip that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

by Amy Riddle, Grace Bird and Sami Cochrane

European Day of Languages

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Personal, Wider Curriculum

This year, we celebrated European Day of Languages by having a lunchtime photo booth.  Pupils brought along European themed props which resulted in lots of fun and some entertaining photos.

The winning pupil team was made up of S1 pupils Drew Pimm (1L1), Liza Smith (1T1), Daniella Allori (1K), Christy MacPherson (1T1), Meg Leaver (1T1) and Ellie Wilkinson (1T1).  We particularly liked how their photo showed a variety of different languages.  Congratulations, girls!

The RMPS Department won the staff competition – well done to Mrs MacKenzie and Mr Stewart!

Mrs Kirsty Bremner, Languages Department

Multi-Lingual Debate

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

On Wednesday 23rd March a group of 9 pupils and 3 staff travelled to Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

When we arrived we navigated our way across the mini village to the postgraduate building where there were various Chinese workshops being displayed. There was a chance to try traditional Chinese food, see a performance of Tai Chi and also an introduction to Chinese knots artwork.

Following lunch and our little taste of China, we walked back across campus to the multilingual debate. Schools from all over Scotland were in the audience and there was even a camera broadcasting the debate online for students all around the world. The topic of discussion was: “This House believes that accessing public services in your native language should be a recognised and implemented human right”. There was a panel of six people from different nationalities who were arguing either in favour of the motion or against. They all spoke in their native tongues which were Chinese, German, French, Spanish, English and British Sign Language. In booths at the side of the stage, there were language students interpreting their arguments into English for the audience to understand. This was done by providing everybody with headphones, a radio and three channels to tune into. You could flick through the channels and hear the students translating very successfully.

Before the debate, everybody in the audience voted anonymously using an electronic device. The results came in at 68% Yes votes and 32% No votes. After the debate there was an audience vote again and the results dropped quite significantly to 56% Yes and 44% No.

At the end of the debate a representative of Heriot-Watt told us the benefits of having a language in the world of work nowadays. It offers many opportunities for young graduates in both business and international affairs.

Claire MacDonald 6S


European Day of Languages

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

This week, pupils in French and Gaelic classes have been celebrating European Day of Languages, to promote language learning and have some multilingual fun!

Classes watched some entertaining film clips then teams of pupils took part in a Quiz, which had rounds on European landmarks, famous Europeans, European food, languages and general knowledge.

In their feedback some of the comments made by pupils included:

“The quiz opened my eyes to different cultures and places around Europe.  It was very interesting and fun!”

“I now have a better understanding of why having a second language is valuable.”

“I learned more things about different languages.”

“I enjoyed working as a team.”

“I enjoyed learning about the different languages and cultures of Europe.”

Mrs Yvonne Gunn, Principal Teacher of Languages


Multi-Lingual Debate

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

A group of S5 and S6 pupils made the long trek down to Heriot-Watt University onWednesday. It is the third year we have attended the event and this time we invited a group from Glen Urquhart High school along.

The motion was “This house believes that the rise of the machine will end the era of the linguist.” The debate was held in five different languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. We were all given headphones and could listen to simultaneous translations into English.  If we wanted to, we could also listen to versions in Chinese and Arabic as well as French, German and Spanish. All the translating was done by students at the university.

We were asked to vote at the beginning whether we were for or against the motion. About a third was in favour and two thirds against. The debate itself was very lively and informative. Given that the speakers arguing for the motion were linguists themselves they put up a good show playing ‘devil’s advocate’. Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough and at the end of the debate they lost comprehensively.

After the debate a representative from Heriot-Watt told us a bit about the courses they offer. She focused on the work opportunities for linguists, both in business and international affairs. The future certainly looks rosy for language students, even if they still resort to using translating ‘aps’ on their phones once in a while!

Mrs Sylvie Robinson, Languages Department

Mandarin Taster at Charleston

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum, Wider Curriculum

Charleston Academy celebrated European Day of Languages with a series of fun activities.  All S1 pupils took part in a Languages event in the Hall.  Monica Lee-Macpherson and Wendy Wei from the Scottish Highlands & Islands and Moray Chinese Association (SHIMCA) were invited to speak about Chinese culture and Mandarin.  Pupils learned the numbers 1-10 in Mandarin and some basic phrases.  S1 pupils then took part in a Languages quiz where they were asked to identify different languages, famous people, European buildings, food and songs.  The winning team was The Kitty Cats.  Two S2 classes were also lucky enough to have a visit from the two Chinese teachers.

All pupils S1-S6 completed a quiz in registration classes about the languages spoken and countries visited by staff in school.  There are 7 bilingual members of staff and 21 languages spoken in total within the school community.

Well done to Amma Crombie in 1L who could remember the most numbers in Mandarin and will receive a prize donated by SHIMCA.

Miss Yvonne Gunn & Mrs Emma Harris, Languages Department

Multi-Lingual Debate – Edinburgh

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

The Modern languages department recently organised a trip for S5 pupils to attend a multilingual debate at Heriot-Watt University.

The motion debated was “This House believes that the fragmentation of existing member states could endanger the future of the EU”. The speakers used English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. We had been given headphones, which enabled us to listen to simultaneous translations by students from the university. The skill of the interpreters was very impressive. We could see them in their glass fronted booths, frantically trying to keep up with speakers.

Before the debate started, the audience was asked to vote with an electronic gadget, the results of which were illustrated graphically on large screens. This was repeated after the debate and the proposers of the motion had managed to increase support for their argument to win the debate.

After the debate, a representative from the university spoke about the huge advantage of having foreign language skills. She emphasised how in the ever competitive jobs market knowledge of more than one language would open doors for young graduates.

Although the journey up and down the A9 took over 6 hours, the opportunity to witness such linguistic skill and diverse cultural views was well worth it. At least on the return journey, we had the chance to ‘refuel’ at MacDonald’s where no translation was necessary!

For more information, click HERE.

Modern Languages Department

European Day of Languages

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum, Personal


Charleston Academy celebrated the European Day of Languages on Thursday 26th September.  This annual event celebrates the diversity of culture and language in Europe.  This year, the canteen provided popular European dishes all week, we had European bunting displayed in the canteen, hall and language classrooms and cupcakes decorated with European flags were available at break.  All tutor groups took part in the ‘Good Morning’ quiz, where pupils had to correctly identify ‘good morning’ in a range of European languages.  Congratulations to 2T, 3K2, 5S1 and 6L who were the winners of this year’s quiz.

Merci beaucoup et mòran taing to our S6 language prefects who helped to organise this successful celebration – Kharis MacPhee, Charlotte Wilde and Rachel McCoach.

Rachel McCoach, 6T

Rachel McCoach, 6T

Charlotte Wilde, 6S

Charlotte Wilde, 6S

Kharis MacPhee, 6T

Kharis MacPhee, 6T

First National Scottish Spelling Bee Competition

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum, Personal

Spelling Bee

Claire and Danielle outside the Scottish Parliament

Claire Macleod (1L1) represented Charleston Academy at the National Spelling Bee competition held at the Scottish Parliament on Friday. She achieved the highest score of all the first years taking part. She was very dedicated and practised every lunch time the week leading up to the event. Danielle Ross (1K1) came second and was invited as official supporter. Her enthusiasm was very much appreciated by all.

Thirty seven S1 pupils from twenty schools in thirteen authorities were invited to compete in the final. They were asked to learn two hundred words in French, German or Spanish. They had to be able to translate the words from English and spell them using the alphabet of the target language. They had to spell as many words as possible in one minute.

After a guided tour of the Parliament, pupils were ushered into a rather grand committee room for the semi-finals. The contestants were facing the audience and the words were displayed on large screens behind them. The atmosphere was electric and there was a lot of encouragement from the supporters.

In the first round, four were chosen to go through to the final. Claire was unlucky, just missing fourth place. All was not lost for the Highlands though. Glen Urquhart High School was the overall winner in the French section and took the trophy in the final.

The event was supported by the European Commission and organised by the University of Strathclyde and SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages). The MSP Maureen Watt sponsored it.

The event was so successful; the organisers are very keen to see it grow.

Well done to Claire and Danielle who were a tribute to the school.

13-09-2012-10-57 099580 13-09-2012-10-57 099690

Mrs Sylvie Robinson, Languages Department