Know your teachers!

Below are some interesting and little-known facts about some of your teachers at Rugby School. See if you can guess which teacher they belong to: the list of teachers’ names are at the end. 

Send your answers to Stella Spens, to try and win a prize! Answers will be published during the last week of term. Watch this space, and good luck!

  1. As a child, I was in an ITV drama, written by William Trevor, and starring Maggie Smith, and filmed on location at Bilton Grange.
  2. I used to work for AstraZeneca on new drug development.
  3. I read the news on BBC when I was 10
  4. I have conducted the Children in Need song twice live on BBC1.
  5. I am followed by Barack Obama and Britney Spears on Twitter.
  6. I got told off by Richard Dawkins for asking a stupid question
  7. My wingspan exceeds my height.
  8. I nearly drowned in the Nile when I was ten
  9. I once appeared in a short film alongside the person who created the TV channel ‘Dave’ (whose name is actually Dave, by the way!)
  10. I spent a year teaching in a Category A, ‘maximum-security’ prison.
  11. I was once on Iranian television as a belly dancer.
  12. I am an ex pro beach volleyball player.
  13. I cycled from Yorktown, Virginia to San Francisco, California (3830 miles) in the summer holiday of my first year of Uni.
  14. I can speak 5 languages including German 
  15. I kept scrapbooks full of the successes of Liverpool FC throughout the mid 70’s when they were winning the League and European Cup
  16. I met Stephen King and got his autograph. And yes he is scary.
  17. I own a 300 year old pub.
  18. I met my wife in Transylvania during my gap year
  19. I have scored a hole in one in a golf competition 


Mr Kurgansky
Dr Hancox
Mr Nicks
Mr Wright
Dr Crabb 
Mrs Robinson 
Mlle Durieu 
Mr Folker
Mrs Baker 
Mrs Stevenson 
Mrs Rosser 
Mrs Hampton
Mrs Waweru 
Mr Foulds 
Mr Robinson 
Dr Fowle
Dr Leamon 
Mr Day 
Mrs Lockhart-Mann

Weihnachten im Deutschland — Jack Turner

Für Deutschland, Dezember ist ein Monat von fröhlich Ferien und eine Zeit für du bist mit deiner Familie zusammen. Festlicher Beifall ausbreiten über das ganze Land wie der Winter kommt und der Schnee fällt.

Im Deutschland, Weihnachten ist um 24 Dezember fiert. Der Tag vor Weihnachten ist heißt Heiligabend. Obwohl Weinachten beginnt um 24 Dezember, viele Leute arbeiten an diesem Tag also die richtigen Feiern beginnt um 25 Dezember.

Kein Weinachten ist komplett ohne lecke Essen. Um Weinachstag, ist es eine Tradition essen Braten Truthahn mit Füllung, Rotkohl, Rosenkohl und Kartoffeln. Ente, Gans und Hase sind auch beliebt Optionen. Für Nachspeise, Stollen oder Pfefferkuchen (und Lebkuchenmann) sind die einzig richtigen Optionen. Ein deutsches Weihnachten muss Alkohol haben. Glühwein ist das Getränk von meistens ausgesucht und es haben von Weißwein, Rum oder Fruchtsaft machen. Für gewagter Leute, Feuerzangenbowle ist perfekt. Es ist eine Mixtur von Glühwein und Rum das ist verbrannt.

Wie obengenannt, Weihnachten ist eine Zeit sein mit deiner Familie und was besser Dinge gibt es zu tun mit deine famille als schauen einen Film zusammen (so lange wie deiner Eltern sprich nicht für die ganze Zeit wenigstens)? Tolle Deutsche Filme einbeziehen „Alle ist lieber“, „Das ewige Lied“ und „Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel“. Ich empfehle dringend du siehst diese Filme diese Weihnachten, wenn du willst spaß diesen Urlaub.

In der Sekunde das die Uhr wird Mitternächtig, die Weihnachtslieder beginnt zu spielen. Festliche Lieder um deinen Tag zu erhellen bis um 26 Dezember, wenn es wird traurig wenn der Weihnachtszauber verschwindet und du wirst überall mit Verpackungspapiere zurückgelassen. Jubel wie du hörst einen Klopfen an deiner Tür und du triffst dich mit Sternsinger.

For Germany, December is a month of jolly celebrations and a time to be with your family. Festive cheer spreads across the whole country as winter comes and snow falls.

In Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December. The day before Christmas is called Christmas Eve (Holy Evening). Although Christmas begins on the 24th December, many people work on this day so the proper celebrations begin on the 25th December.

No Christmas is complete without tasty food. On Christmas day, it is a tradition to eat Roast Turkey with stuffing, red cabbage, brusselsprouts and potatoes. Duck, geese, and rabbit are also popular options. A german Christmas must have alchohol. Mulledwine is the beverage of choice and it is made from white wine, rum or fruit juice. For more adeventourous people, „fire tongs lunch“ is perfect. It is a mixture of mulled wine and rum that is set on fire

As aforemtnioned, Christmas is a time to be with your family and what better thing to do than watch a film with your family (as long as your parents don’t take for he whole time at least)? Great German films include „Love is All“, „The Eternal Song“ and „Three hazelnuts for Cinderella“. I strongly recommend you watch these films this Christmas if you want to have fun this holiday.

The second the clock hits midnight, the christmas songs begin to play. Festive songs brighten up your day until the 26th when you are sad when the christmas magic vanishes and you are left with packaging paper all over your living room. Jubilation as you hear a knock at your door and you are met with carolers.

Christmas in South-East Asia — Yuto Ito

As we all know, Christmas is a large celebration held in all four corners of the world. I, being a Japanese student, can confirm that Christmas is widely celebrated in Japan and many children look forward to a time of receiving gifts (it is actually a celebration of the incarnation of Jesus). Obviously, Christmas is not celebrated in the same way everywhere, and I realised that in the media, we often do not hear about Christmas celebrations in other parts of the world. I was particularly curious about how Christmas is celebrated in south-east Asia I only know how Christmas is celebrated in Japan in Asia. For that reason, I have decided to write this article to inform people who may be curious like me about how Christmas is celebrated in south-east Asia.


Christmas is a major celebratory event in Vietnam, along with the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Lunar New Year (Tet Ngyuen Dan) and Bhudda’s Birthday. Around 8-10% of the Vietnamese population are Catholics because of the French occupation of Vietnam which ended in 1954 so, because of French influences, Christmas is a widely celebrated festival in Vietnam.

During this time of the year, there is more anticipation over the coming of the Christmas Day and the cities in Vietnam like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh which have ornaments and it is an ordinary site to see people singing carols. Department stores and shops would show off their extravagant lights and ornaments to join the of the flood of celebrations coming their way as it is the perfect opportunity to make profit from sales. Interestingly, Santa has a different name in Vietnam: ‘Ông già Noël’, which means ‘Christmas old man’, so the Vietnamese people would not be familiar to the name ‘Santa Claus’ which would be much more familiar to the western world.

Overall, there is a larger emphasis in celebrating Christmas Eve rather than Christmas. For example, there are midnight masses in churches with the most famous services being held in the Saint Joseph Cathedral. In addition, there are nativity scenes in those churches and home called a ‘crèche’ which depicts Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the Three Magi and the cattle looking at baby Jesus. Typically, after the midnight mass, many people hold a special meal called the ‘Réveillon’, which contains oysters, escargots and the Bûche de Noël and it sometimes has roasted turkey as well. On Christmas, the sales of goods would continue but there would be less excitement compared to Christmas eve, however, Christmas is still celebrated such as exchanging gifts (which traditionally reminds people of the gifts to Jesus from the Three Magi).


Christmas, or ‘Natal’, is a national holiday in Indonesia and many people look forward to the time of this celebration. Compared to other countries around the world, there is a larger distinction between the differences of how Christmas is celebrated. Different communities celebrate Christmas in a variety of ways which makes Indonesia unique in the way that there are many ways to celebrate Christmas within the same country.

In Kampung Tugu in the Cilincing area in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, there is a tradition called Rabo-Rabo (‘Rabo’ means ‘to follow’). The residents in that area are mainly of Portuguese descent and if we go back in time, their ancestors would have been soldiers or workers of the Dutch era. During Christmas, the residents parade through the area and they walk around the churches and the homes of their relatives and neighbours. While they walk around, they sing and dance to the traditional music of Kerencong Tugu, which happens when one person from the visited house follows the crowd as soon as the visitors decide to move to the next house.

In Papua, there is a much more contrasting celebration which marks the coming of Christmas. There, the residents have the tradition of Barapen where they express their joy for Christmas. Barapen involves burning stones which would be used to roast pigs for the celebrations and by roasting pigs, they show their gratitude, togetherness and their sense of sharing in order to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. In some places, there are decorations and ornaments and there is also music being played for 24 hours during the peak of the Christmas celebrations. Finally, the local residents cook pork, yam, kale, papaya and other foods in a hole which contains the hot stones and it lasts for half a day which unites the local residents and allow their relationships to improve.

The Philippines

Compared to Vietnam and Indonesia, there is a larger population of Christians of around 86 million Catholics in Vietnam because of the Spanish occupation which lasted until 1898. Also, Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines for a long duration of time, with celebrations starting on the 1st of September and ending in January. There are different timings of when Christmas celebrations finish as some Filipinos end the celebrations on Epiphany (the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus which primarily focuses on the Three Magi) or the Feast of the Black Nazarene (it celebrates the relocation of a Christian icon) on the 9th of January whilst some Filipinos end it on the third Sunday of January. There are many celebrations that occur during those times but the main focus here is Christmas eve and Christmas.

From the 16th of December to the 24th of December, there is the ‘Simbang Gabi’, which are the Masses. Many Christians in the Philippines have services being held in the churches and they believe that attending all nine masses shows their devotion to God, their anticipation of the incarnation of Jesus and that God will grant wishes to those who attend all nine masses. During this time, it is considered as a holiday and many Filipinos would purchase traditional Filipino foods after the masses for breakfast, such as bibingka (a rice-flour and egg-based cake) or putò bumbóng (a sticky rice delicacy). On Christmas Eve, they also hold a traditional Noche Buena (‘Good Night’) feast where family members dine together to eat meals like queso de bola (‘cheese ball’), noodles, pandesals (Filipino bread roll) and fruit salads.

On Christmas morning, Filipinos visit their family members and pay their respects to the older members of the family. They do this by taking the elderly person’s hand and pressing against their forehead while saying the greeting, ‘Máno pô’, which means, “hand, please”. The elderly person would then respond by reciting a blessing and give gifts or money to them. The younger the receiver, the more that person will get so younger relatives often enjoy this time of receiving gifts and money. After the greetings, a festive lunch is held. At night, family members return home to drink, play parkour games and chat.

The MFL Bake-Off, what happened?

The D Block MFL inter-house Bake-Off competition took place at Kilbracken House on 30th November 2021. Pairs of students from each of the houses competed to produce eight identical, nicely decorated Christmas cookies. At stake: two packets of Maryland cookies, and of course the coveted Bake-Off Trophy. All teams had a recipe written in either French, German or Spanish, which they had to follow (see Recipes section). The event was judged by two of our Modern Language Society Secretaries, Harriet and Walter.

The MFL bake-off went seemingly smoothly this year, as the D Block cookie makers did all they could to understand and to execute the orders from the recipe provided.

As the results were read out in the infamous Kilbracken dining room that has hosted this event  many times now, the mood was tense. Each team held their breath as the judges unravelled the artificially aged results scroll. It was at this point that inter-house rivalry peaked, with viscous glares being cast from all angles, as the lust for the title of greatest cookie creator loomed. The participants waited and the results were as follows:

 1st – Rupert-Brooke, with a team made up of Ella Pryke and Charlotte Steel
2nd – Bradley
3rd – Town House 2

Overall, the MFL Bake-Off was a great success as it demonstrated the talent of D Block cookie makers and it kicked off the season of Advent for the school in an interesting and exciting way. Congratulations to Rupert Brooke, the runners up and all those who helped to organise this competition.

Danish Christmas Music Video 2021

Married YouTube couple Jas and Mika have released this new Christmas song featuring Mika’s family. It begins with a surprise phonecall from Julemand (Father Christmas) asking them to help him wrap and deliver presents to save Christmas, as his elves have quit. There follows a fun video in which they dress as elves to take on the challenge, showcasing some Danish Christmas traditions such as dancing around the Christmas tree, drinking gløg (mulled wine), cutting and pasting Christmas decorations and eating duck.

GLÆDELIG JUL! Merry Christmas!


GLÆDELIG JUL! 🎄🎁 Familien Schultz har fået en opgave, nemlig at redde julen. Husk at synge godt med! 😉

Merry Christmas! The Schultz family have been given a task, that is to save Christmas. Remember to sing along! 😉

Sang produceret af Mika. Song produced by Mika (Schultz).


Julemissionen (The Christmas Mission)

Vi har fået en opgave fra Julemanden selv

We’ve been given a job by Father Christmas himself

– at pakke gaver ind

– to wrap up the presents

Det er en kæmpe ære at få lov til det

It’s a great honour to be trusted with this

Spørg selv Jasmin Lind

Ask yourself, Jasmin Lind

Ah men den er go’ na?

Ah well, it’s good yeah?

Vi skal ha gavepapir, tape, en saks og silkebånd

We’ll get wrapping paper, tape, scissors and ribbons

Og marzipanen her – nej Jasmin

And marzipan here – no, Jasmin

Men vi kan ikke redde julen når vi kun er 2

But the two of us alone can’t save Christmas

Så derfor får vi brug for fler’ (Det din familie Mika!)

So that’s why we need more (It’s your family, Mika!)

For en mission fra Klaus ja den ka’ vi klare

For a mission from Santa, we’re ready to do this

– familien schultz træder til

The Schultz family will step in

For vi ka’ klippe og klistre og bikse det sammen, julen er på spil

For we can cut and paste and throw it together, Christmas is at risk

Når julefreden sænker sig over, hele land og by

When the peace of Christmas descends over the whole country and town

så samles folk i hyggelige stuer, og fyldes op på ny

People get together in cosy rooms and fill up again

Når juleaften endelig er her, så fejres det til sent

When Christmas Eve is finally here, we celebrate until late

Men er der ingen gaver ved foden af træet, så har vi et problem

But if there are no presents under the tree, we’ve got a problem

Mit navn er Karin, jeg er mor – jeg laver mad!

My name is Karin, I’m mum, I make the food!

Mit navn er Jeremias og jeg elsker and!

My name is Jeremias and I love duck!

Mit navn er Benjamin og jeg’ er super mand!

My name is Benjamin and I’m Superman!

Mit navn er Benny og jeg har lidt ondt i min tand.

My name is Benny and I’ve got a bit of toothache

Mit navn er Elvira og jeg drikker gløg

My name is Elvira and I’m drinking mulled wine

Mit navn er Josias og jeg er blevet syg

My name is Josias and I’m feeling ill

Mit navn er Nora, jeg danser ballet!

My name is Nora, I’m a ballet dancer

Og mit navn er Emilyyyyyy

And my name is Emilyyyy

For en mission fra Klaus ja den ka’ vi klare

For a mission from Santa, we’re ready to do this

– familien schultz træder til

The Schultz family will step in

For vi ka’ klippe og klistre og bikse det sammen, julen er på spil

For we can cut and paste and throw it together, Christmas is at risk

I håb om en rigtig jul

You’re hoping for a proper Christmas

Har vi slidt og slæbt med gaver

We’ve been weighed down with gifts

Vi har pakket sækkevis

We’ve packed sackfuls

Faktisk 20 milliarder af slagsen (oooooh)

Actually 20 billion things (ooooh)

Når julefreden sænker sig over, hele land og by

When the peace of Christmas descends over the whole country and town

Så samles folk i hyggelige stuer, og fyldes op på ny

People get together in cosy rooms and fill up again

Og nu er vi færdig med julemissionen, og santa claus er glad (hohoho)

And now we’re done with the Christmas mission, and Santa Claus is happy (hohoho)

Og ønskerne opfyldes rundt på kloden, og vi går glad i bad

And wishes are fulfilled the world over, and we go happily to our bath

igås mormor? JO!

Julen er reddet og sneen er hvid

Christmas is saved and the snow is white

Vi danser og hygger til midnatstid

We dance and have fun until midnight

Vi åbner gaver og spiser and

We open presents and eat duck

Julen fejres til evig tid (x3)

Christmas celebrations go on forever


Do kolacji świątecznej tradycyjnie zasiada się z pojawieniem pierwszej gwiazdki na niebie. Chyba nie da się opisać atmosfery świąt. Wystarczy powiedzieć, że na stole palią się świeczki, choinkę rozświetlają kolorowe światełka, a z kuchni unosi się zapach barszczu i korzennych przypraw.

Christmas celebrations in Poland start when the first star appears in the dark sky on the 24 of December. The family dinner consists of 12 dishes that must not contain meat. I present you with my grandma’s cake recipe that we always have on our Christmas table.


– 3 eggs
– 2 cups granulated sugar
–  1/5 cup coffee
– 1 dessert chocolate bar – milk or dark
– 1.5 packet of butter
– 1 Tbsp. alcohol – usually whiskey

– 1 egg
– 7/6  cups purpose flour
–  5/11 cup oil
– 1 Tbsp. baking powder
– 4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
– 1/4  cup sour cream
– Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Measure out dry ingredients into large mixing bowl (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt). Add
in sour cream, oil, egg and beat until smooth.
3. Brush the baking tray with butter.
4. Roll the dough and put it on the baking plate.
5. Bake for 10 minutes!
6. Place chopped chocolate and the eggs in the heatproof bowl.   Set the heatproof bowl in
a pot with hot water. And stir occasionally, until melted in 2 to 3 minutes.
7. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add
eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
8. Then add alcohol, coffee, and melted chocolate bar and mix everything.
9. Pour over dough bottom.
10. Decorate as you please.

Decorate a cake with fruit on top: blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. You can also use walnuts and almonds. Serve with a scoop of vanilla or pistachio ice cream. Decorate the plate with mint leaves.

A Natale Puoi — Iona Cockburn (XX)

A Natale puoi

Fare quello che non puoi fare mai

Riprendere a giocare

Riprendere a sognare

Riprendere quel tempo

Che rincorrevi tanto

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può amare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

Per noi

A Natale puoi

A Natale puoi

Dire ciò che non riesci a dire mai

Che bello stare insieme

Che sembra di volare

Che voglia di gridare

Quanto ti voglio bene

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può amare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

Per noi

A Natale puoi

È Natale e a Natale si può amare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

Per noi

A Natale puoi

Luce blu

C’è qualcosa dentro l’anima che brilla di più

È la voglia che hai d’amore

Che non c’è solo a Natale

Che ogni giorno crescerà

Se lo vuoi

A Natale puoi

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può amare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

Per noi

È Natale e a Natale puoi fidarti di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

È Natale e a Natale si può fare di più

Per noi

A Natale puoi

A Natale puoi

When it’s Christmas you can

do what you can’t ever do

can start to play again

can start to dream again

can start again the time

that you used to chase that much

It’s Christmas

and when it’s Christmas you can do much more

It’s Christmas

and when it’s Christmas you can love much more

It’s Christmas

and when it’s Christmas you can do much more… for us

When it’s Christmas you can…

When it’s Christmas you can

say what you can never say

that it’s nice to be together

that you feel like you can fly

I wish I cry out

how much I love you

It’ Christmas …. [refrain]

Blue light

something shines into your soul

it’s your need to love

that not only at Christmas

but every day will grow, if you want

It’s Christmas

and when it’s Christmas you can do much more

It’s Christmas

and when it’s Christmas you can love much more

It’s Christmas

and from Christmas on, you can have more trust

When it’s Christmas you can…

you can put more confidence…

MFL ‘Languages for Life’ Colloquium – Stella Spens (XX)

The MFL ‘Languages for Life’ Colloquium took place this year on Teams on the 2nd November. It is an annual academic seminar where a variety of panellists kindly give up their evening to talk to the polyglots of Rugby about how languages have played a role in their lives post-education. Designed to enthuse and invite the students at Rugby to pursue languages in both their studies and their personal lives, the evening saw a flurry of funny stories along with a plethora of reasons to delve deep into the world of languages.

Dr Smith asked four panellists to talk:

– Peter Nicholls, COO of Rugby School
– Ciara McKibbin, OR
– Phil Sparke, a Rugby parent
– Lucy Burns, OR

The Chairwoman for the evening was the extremely eloquent Holly Goodier, who introduced the Colloquium by talking to us about the title, ‘Languages for Life’. She spoke about the preconceived notion that one would normally leave one’s subjects behind after school and move on with life without taking them further. However, she stated that studying languages is not an ephemeral stage in one’s life but instead a long-lasting, sustainable skill. And thus, the evening began.

The first speaker of the night was Lucy, who studied German and French at Rugby and then on to Oxford to study German and English. She segued into a career at the BBC, doing audio journalism, and making news programmes for the World Service. She began her talk by describing how much she preferred German to English, and how much more stimulating and fulfilling it was. Prior to Oxford, she took a Gap year. Working in Hamburg, she illustrated the lack of glamour yet how eye-opening the experience was, especially coming from a ‘structured, sheltered environment in Rugby’. The world she was thrown into was the antithesis of where she had grown up and she loved being around people who were not brought up in the same way as her. This transformational period allowed her to realise the importance of languages. During her third year at university, she returned to Germany, to Berlin, where she studied theatre and film and admitted that it was very difficult to comprehend all the complexities of the subject in a foreign language! After graduating, she continued to work in theatre but then came back to the UK and gained a job at the BBC. She broadcasted many news stories but her first big project was the coverage of the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then, she also made a documentary and was given the job because of her German knowledge and therefore conveyed the many more doors which languages can open for you. The skills she acquired from learning German are numerous. Her confidence and communication abilities, her research knowledge, her fluid writing, and the intercultural communication are just some of the many things she could take away from her time in Germany. During the question period, Lucy spoke about her regret at not studying more languages when she had the time, but her eager drive to learn Russian and Mandarin.

Secondly, it was Ciara. After studying French for A Level, she then studied French and Spanish (ab initio) at Bristol. Her year abroad was in Chile and France which brought about her love for travel. She now is in technology and has recently been working for high growth start-ups. Ciara began her talk by informing the audience that the way one learns languages at university is starkly different to that at school. Some topics which she enjoyed during her time at Bristol were The War on Drugs, Women’s rights, Football, Food and so many more. She demonstrated that she did not think there was another degree option which can give one so much breadth and variety. Likewise, she said that there is probably no other degree in which you can count watching Netflix as homework! Another major perk of doing a language degree for Ciara was the year abroad. It was a unanimous head-nod among all panellists when Ciara said that ‘the year abroad is the best year of your life’. In Chile, Ciara was shocked by the lack of English speakers and how little she knew about where she was going. However, she quickly adapted, and it was a very memorable and extraordinary time for her. Her languages abilities accelerated her career and like Lucy, was able to complete tasks which otherwise would have been impossible without languages. She mentioned that travelling as a woman, it is much easier and safer to know the language to communicate with the locals which gives one a totally different experience. When she was in Columbia, Ciara wanted to take a bus and was little informed about how the bus system worked. As it happened, she spent half a day at the bus stop without any coming. Instead, she ended up talking to taxi drivers and assimilated into an impromptu English lesson, and then becoming friends with them and eating meals together. She now learns Russian in her own time and has enjoyed the challenge and one day would like to read Harry Potter, The Philosopher’s Stone in Russian, as she has done in four other languages!

Next was Rugby’s very own Peter Nicholls. He initially went to work in Rome when he was working for BT, and although he did not know any Italian before, he had French A Level but managed to pick the language up after about six months, however, he mentioned that he never understood a joke for the first three years! He spoke about the difference between how he and his wife approached the language; she is very care-free and confident whereas he was rather strict and grammatically correct. Yet, the Italians revelled in his wife’s approach and with their flattery it all came together eventually. Mr Nicholls spoke about his mindset change and how his cultural awareness shifted quickly. The reputation in Italy is that people like to do things in a rather disorganised fashion, but in the UK, we are more structured and planned. Mr Nicholls conveyed that everything comes together in the end thus, it is just different elsewhere, not wrong. Another lesson he learnt is that the more one puts in, the more one gets out. Mr Nicholls put time into learning the language and consequently befriended his Italian colleagues which allowed him to travel through more of the country and explore the continent-likeness of the country. Mr Nicholls also touched upon making one’s own luck. He expanded on it by implying that whatever path one takes, one must pursue each possibility with the greatest enthusiasm which can in turn create more and more opportunities.

Finally, after three tough acts to follow, it was Phil Sparke’s turn, who studied English, German and French at A Level and then did a dual degree in French and German at Exeter. Phil worked in the Royal Navy, travelling around Europe, most notably in France and Belgium. Today, he works with disabled and disadvantaged children and adults and takes them on pilgrimages to Lourdes. For Mr Sparke, learning languages felt like a vocation; his parents were very competent and would practically learn each language of the countries they travelled to. With some excellent language teachers, Phil had a great foundation on which he could build. He solidified that whatever one does in life, it will be better and more fun if you have learned languages. While in France with the Navy, Phil mentioned that his son Freddie was born there and how his linguistic abilities have been handed down to his children. With his job, Phil has really had to learn the ways and means of French culture. He has often had to talk to 800 people in French, he knows most of the hotel owners personally in Lourdes and has seventeen French staff. He believes that he could not do his job to the best of his ability without being a francophone.

In all, after a whirlwind of an evening, the Colloquium was a huge success and would have persuaded anyone to study a language. All four panellists were captivating and the passion which they had for languages really shone through. Many thanks go out to the four speakers, Dr Smith for organising, Holly for moderating so well, and the MFL Secretaries for their introductions.

Una estudiante de 17 años crea la aplicación SignUp que ofrece versiones signadas de películas para niños y niñas sordas

Una nueva extensión de Google Chrome, de momento dispone solo en Estados Unidos, llamada SignUp está consiguiendo una gran acogida entre la comunidad sorda al estar dando respuesta a la necesidad de la falta de versiones signadas de películas y programas de TV. A pesar de que el lenguaje de signos suele ser la primera lengua de las personas sordas, este vació está privando a muchos niños y niñas sordas a acceder a estos recursos. Algo que está cambiando SignUp, al permitir que niños y niñas sordos puedan sentarse y entender una película (BBC). 

Mariella Satow es la creadora de SignUp y es estudiante de bachillerato de 17 años. Desarrolló la aplicación durante el confinamiento con la ayuda de profesores de ASL (lenguaje de signo americana) y de la comunidad sorda. Lo hizo al darse cuenta de la falta de recursos de aprendizaje gratuitos y atractivos de ASL, cuando se disponía a aprender esta lengua. Una carencia queda confirmada en un estudio realizado en 2017 que señala que el 80% de los niños y niñas signantes tienen dificultades para leer, lo que hace que los subtítulos escritos sean inaccesibles. Por ello, la mejora que aporta aplicación, al proporcionar signos ASL, está siendo una revolución, al hacer la subtitulación más accesible. 

De momento SignUp solo funcionan con las películas de Disney Plus, porque es donde Mariella pensó que podía ayudar más a los niños y las niñas sordos, pero ante la gran acogida ya se plantea seguir trabajando para desarrollar una nueva versión en lengua de signos británica para otras plataformas en streaming, como Netflix y Amazon Prime. De momento, los éxitos de Disney como Frozen, Moana y Los Increibles ya han sido firmados por SignUp y Mariella ha recibido peticiones para hacer cientos de películas más. 

Mariela compagina sus clases con el desarrollo de aplicación, lo cual dice le supone darse grandes madrugones, aunque admite que este esfuerzo se ve recompensado con las reacciones positivas que recibe de profesores y familias que transmiten la alegría de los niños y niñas sordas cuando son capaces de seguir una película de Disney y disfrutarla. 

Laura Natividad

Un’intervista con il Signor Freddie Sparke MBE

This project was done as part of the IB Italian Course, linking to the theme of Identities. We were tasked to conduct an interview with someone else based on five questions on their mother language, other languages they know and how knowing more languages might contribute to their identity. Freddie took on the character of a war veteran, professional tree hugger and master of languages, and I interviewed him as an interviewer for a TV show. We recorded the interview on video, and the transcript for the interview can be found below.


Porgo un caloroso benvenuto al nostro stimato ospite, Signore Freddie Sparke MBE, veterano di guerra, abbracciatore di alberi professionale, e maestro delle lingue fin dalla giovane età. Grazie a Lei per aver sacrificato il tuo tempo prezioso. Cominciamo con la prima domanda. Qual è la sua lingua madre?

La mia lingua madre è l’inglese, ma sono nato a Parigi. Allora, posso anche parlare un po’ di francese. Penso che avere l’abilità di parlare l’inglese sia davvero utile perché è una lingua molto parlata nel mondo o negli altri Paesi.

Lei parla la stessa lingua dei suoi genitori?

Allora, a casa parlo l’inglese con i miei genitori, ma qualche volta parlo in francese a casa mia se non voglio che mia sorella capisca. I miei genitori possono anche parlare il tedesco, perché loro hanno studiato il tedesco all’università, ma io ho deciso di studiare l’italiano invece del tedesco.

Perché l’italiano?

Ho deciso studiare l’italiano perché adoro la pizza e anche è un Paese bellissimo con le migliori ragazze del mondo!

Lei parla una lingua straniera o delle lingue straniere? È facile?

Sì. Io parlo il francese. Sono nato a Parigi e ho abitato in Belgio per quattro anni, dove ho parlato il francese, quindi posso parlare il francese abbastanza fluentemente, ma è difficile praticare il mio francese perché non parliamo francese in questo Paese. Anche, io posso parlare un po’ di italiano, ma io trovo che sia più difficile di parlare il francese perché non ho abitato in Italia.


Sì… grazie.

Prego! Allora, secondo Lei quali sono i fattori che facilitano l’apprendimento di una lingua straniera?