Land ahoy! How languages open up a world of opportunity
Learning a new language can open up new cultures and opportunities for people both at home and abroad. Megan Titley finds out how learning a second and third language has opened up opportunities for one Preston resident, Tasha Clough.
As a young girl Tasha remembers her Grandma and father speaking German at home.
It was her first exposure to another language and it spurred her on to make foreign languages a big part of her life.
Tasha says: “I started to study languages at school and university, which lead to trips abroad.
“Before the age of 21 I had spent considerable amounts of time in Europe visiting different countries and studying.
“I split my year abroad at age 21 between Brussels and Bilbao in Northern Spain, which was an unforgettable experience.
“I was able to study International law, History, Politics and Philosophy as well as French and Spanish.”
Tasha, now a married mum of two little boys aged five and seven, runs a business teaching languages to little ones in Lancashire called Lingotot Preston.
Although she took some time out of working with languages, she soon returned to teaching when she found that she missed it.
“I have always loved learning other languages and I studied both French and Spanish at High School,” she says.
“I didn’t want to give up either language so I then chose to study French and Spanish with Italian Studies at Lancaster University and went on to complete my Secondary PGCE at the University of Cumbria in 2011.
“After a few years in secondary teaching I decided to move on, I worked in different roles and then in a more corporate environment for a year but found that I missed teaching but wanted a role that would be flexible, enable me to work round my boys and do the school run and also have a job that I really loved.
“I launched my Lingotot classes in September 2018.”
These days Tasha teaches French and Spanish to babies, pre-schoolers, primary aged children and adults all over Preston.
From the new year she will be busy teaching around 11 classes a week in the community, nurseries, primary schools as well as adult classes.
Tasha says: “Being able to immerse yourself in another culture is one of the most enriching experiences I find that you can have.
“I love being able to travel abroad, speak with the locals, learn about different cultures and understand different ways of life.
“I have found that learning another language not only opens up opportunities in the world of work but gives you skills and experiences that you wouldn’t normally receive anywhere else.”
Tasha says that learning another language as a youngster is a great time to learn as children soak up so much information and are not afraid of making mistakes.
“At Lingotot we teach languages through songs, games, stories, play and crafts,” she says.
“Each lesson involves lots of songs that the children would usually know in English just in the target language so they are very quick to recognise.
“We have props such as scarves, instruments and puppets that engage the children and encourage them to practise the new words each week, we have games and then we always finish a class with a story and a craft that ties the lesson together.
“I would always advocate that young children should learn one or two languages apart from their first language because it opens so many doors and pathways in life.
“It’s really important to immerse young children in a second language from as young as possible.
“Even before being able to speak, babies acquire language just through listening and being exposed to a second language.
“Young children don’t have any inhibitions either so they are more than happy to repeat new words and sing songs in another language as there is no fear of making a mistake or getting something wrong.
“In just one session, my pre-schoolers pick up songs and new words and are usually happy to use the basics such as ‘please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ confidently.”
But for those who are keen to pick up another language later on in life there is always value in it.
“I would always recommend learning a new language no matter your age and the younger the better,” says Tasha.
“A candidate who can speak one or more languages will always stand out to an employer and linguists are known to have a specialist skill set.
“There are so many opportunities for linguists, whether that is teaching a language or teaching English abroad or working in a more corporate environment.
“I think it’s important to learn and then to practice - visit a new country, make new friends, learn about another culture, try different foods and discover new worlds.
“There is always someone who is thankful that you have made the effort to learn their language and I have found through travelling over the years that many people will offer to help you with your language skills when you’re abroad.”