A penfriend of mine who teaches at the Ural State Pedagogical University, Institute of Foreign Languages in Yekaterinenburg, Russia
has asked me to write her a paper for their conference they are holding about the importance of the knowledge of foreign languages in our careers and about the means by which professional language skills can be obtained through self-study and in what way I integrate the material I publish on my blog into my lessons.
It would also be intersting for me to hear your, the readers, opinion on this topic!
Here below is the part of the report where I write about the importance of language knowledge for us here in Switzerland because on my blog you can find enough ideas of how to achieve the goal by self-learning.
2.Why is the knowledge of a foreign language important for your/our career?:
In Switzerland we have 4 national languages or more precisely German, French, Italian and Romantsch. Beyond that approx.25% of the inhabitants are foreigners in our country .This shows very quickly how important languages are in order to communicate with one another and, of course, to understand the cultures of the others better.
To acquire language knowledge belongs to our everyday life. People who work for banks or at international companies, in general, or for travel agencies wouldn’t have any chances to get a job without this knowledge. The languages represent our „natural resources“ which we do not possess.
In our globalized world languages have become more and more important. Only through communication and comprehension of the other can we improve the world or at least avoid many misunderstandings. Imagine also that you go on a trip to a foreign country and what use this is if you can’t even speak to the people there!
I teach English and German at an International Company and for some of the employees the knowledge of these languages is a must.
Besides this, I teach the above mentioned languages to people who work for the security services and for them too, the languages are essential in their jobs because of the many contacts they have with tourists or partners.
On this video I’m explaining why I set up a blog and why I think it is useful for adult learner/students, also for those who study on their own because I give answers to questions or explain or translate vocabulary.
I am adding the video once more, so that you can rewatch it!!!!; I’m, of course, not a movie star, but I hope it will give some hints of why I do this work here!
Here below you can read a composition by one of my students in conncetion with this topic.
Is it useful to know foreign languages in your job?
Actually we are undergoing a period of changes and movement in the world. It’s really very easy to travel and get into contact with other people and cultures and then choose another place to live or simply work.
In my case, I have changed my country, language, culture…and I’ve learnt that to know the “others” is imperative and so to communicate is a means of interactacting and integrating.
I need frequently to communicate with suppliers, or get technical information or less frequently simply talk with truck drivers who ask me for some information about our company, other companies, directions… English and popular gestures are the main languages to do it. Fortunately these people are very kind and help me a lot with corrections or by simply having patience. Some times it is very funny to have a conversation between two people who are learning English and who use gestures !
But the goal needs to be reached. At the end I think: these things help the companies to create a good partnership in general and for the employees to do their job is getting much more interesting more challenging.
I thought my student’s mentioning of gestures quite interesting and would there also like to include this link http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2010/aug/09/emotional-robot-university-hertfordshire. We can see in this Video by the Guardian that specialists at the University of Herfordshire have developed a robot which is capable of expressing certain emotions. So, if we are not able to use the language, gestures should not be underestimated!
Besides, the following article by the Guardian shows us that language skills are not only important for our career but have many other positive sides. Alzheimer, for example, may be at bay for another frour years on average and multitasking is enhanced as well as your cognitive skills.