In November 2016, Dulwich Linguistic week saw the whole school crossing frontiers into the languages and cultures of countries beyond the English-speaking world. It challenged linguistic limits, perception of how we see ourselves in a rapidly shrinking world and heightened appreciation of communication in all its forms.
The College became a veritable melting pot of events and activities crossing the imaginary divides between languages, science, music, mathematics, academia, business and sport. Every day engaged boys in a cornucopia of opportunity. During one day for example, boys could make their protest through the creative medium of screen-printing, be transported to Renaissance Italy, learn about the phonetics of ventriloquism or take part in a multi-lingual treasure hunt.
A week such as this would not have been complete without stretching ideas of what language means. Pupils engaged with thought-provoking talks and activities across a wide range of disciplines. Physical challenges included a cycling Tour de Dulwich, a Kung Fu demonstration, a fencing master class in Italian and the Kindergarten and Year 9 formation of the Chinese character for ‘Friend’ – ‘péngyou’ – on the 1st XI outfield that was photographed from the air. Special guests and visiting speakers included Miss Susan Bullock CBE, and journalist and presenter Huw Edwards, who hosted a career-focused Question Time.
There was a sense of linguistic purpose about the College throughout the week, with boys moving from one activity to another and challenging, celebrating and communicating in various ways.
“The week served many different purposes. It was first of all a chance to diversify from the normal curriculum, that can often be constraining, and show that there is more to language than learning vocab and memorising verb endings. The week was also a chance to encourage the study of language and the immersion in a variety of cultures with ideas that are different from our own.” Luke Jensen-Jones, Year 9
“Its effects will stay with the school for a long time. I do wonder what the next November event will be?” James Lyon, Year 9