Meet Fiona – our activities and language leader
Good morning & buenos días everyone! Today’s blog post focuses on our growing bambolango community. We’re really happy to introduce and welcome the newest member of our community, Fiona! Read on to find out a little bit more about her and her relationship with language…
About me, Fiona
Hello, I’m Fiona, originally from rural Worcestershire in England. I have lived in various parts of Valencia city for about 10 years. I now live close to the beach, with my Spanish husband, our English/Spanish bilingual son, and a recent addition to the family; our rescue dog, Banjo.
I have 15 years’ experience teaching English and Drama to children and teenagers and am passionate about making both of these fun and accessible for young people. I am a qualified Secondary English and Drama teacher, and headed up my own drama department back in the UK.
In addition, I have 7 years’ experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language to students from 2 years old up to adulthood here in Valencia and hold a CELTA certificate.
My family’s language journey
When I was about 15 years old, my parents acted as a host family for Spanish summer school students. As these students were similar in age to me, we became friends and that’s how I first became interested in the Spanish language, culture and people.
So, apart from my native English, I also speak Spanish and on a good day, I have a B2 level! I also learnt French and German at school and have been lucky enough to visit and make friends with people from both of these beautiful countries too.
My husband speaks Spanish, Valenciano, which he learnt along with his native Spanish at home and school, and English in which he has C1/2 level.
Our son is bilingual in Spanish and English and is learning Valenciano at school which he enjoys practicing with his paternal grandfather.
Advantages and disadvantages of exposure to another language from a young age
As a foreign language teacher and mother to a bilingual child, I believe the main advantage of early exposure is the openness of young children to experience another language. At young ages they don’t experience the barriers or fear factor that adult learners often feel. Their absorption of language through songs, stories and games makes the process easier and more fun.
I haven’t experienced any disadvantages, but I would highlight that sometimes my son will speak in Spanglish whilst he tries to sort which vocabulary belongs in which language camp. However, I feel pretty confident that this will correct itself with age and experience!
Advice for families introducing a second language to their children
My main tip is to have fun with it! Use songs, games, stories, flashcards, sensory activities to broaden the language learning experience and enjoy the language along with your children.
When I’m not teaching, I enjoy creative writing, baking, getting out and about in nature with my family, often to source material for nursery classes, and reading. I am in a book group here in Valencia and we try to meet every 6 weeks to discuss our book of the moment.
I am inspired by positive efforts to change our world for the better, however small, and by the funny conversations I have on a daily basis with my son.
Thank you Fiona for sharing your insights and tips and tricks for exposure to another language from an early age. We look forward to sharing many more Spanglish moments with you in our bambolango community!
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and loved ones. Because if it’s helped you, it may well help them too!