As the traditional symbol of high school graduation, 106 students put the white cap on their heads today amidst tearful and proud relatives, speeches filled with wishes for their bright futures and hundreds of colourful roses scenting the air.
The millions of fractured facts and figures from a wide spectrum of fields crammed through during the three hectic high school years will soon be forgotten. Instead, what do I, a foreign language teacher, hope they will take with them?
- a hunch of their developing identity and enough understanding about their roots to be proud of them and to be able to share ideas with those unfamiliar with their culture
- also the willingness to share their culture with others
- a working knowledge of at least English, and a keen interest and curiosity to learn more languages later
- some insights into cultural behaviour – for example, what is considered good manners may vary from culture to culture
- a strong recognition that people from all cultures are equally valuable and deserve to be treated with respect
- some sensitivity to cultural cues in interaction with new people – not to be judgemental or superiour or judge others based on prejudice and negative stereotypes
- the ability to step outside their ethnocentric worldviews
- the ability and willingness to be interesting and cooperative communication partners in all the languages that they know
- the spirit of lifelong learning
- realistic, but still optimistic expectations about their future
And this quote with an apparently unclear origin:
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt, Dance like nobody's watching, Sing like nobody's listening, Live like it's heaven on earth.
CONGRATULATIONS graduates 2009!