Bilingual language programmes are a niche within a niche: there aren’t that many parents who are willing or able to invest in their child’s bilingual education. And within that small pool, there are even fewer parents who see that our offering is substantially different from a club, getting your child to watch a foreign language tv programme or subscribing to an online course.
One of the things that can be difficult for me to convey to prospective parents is how and why what VICI offers is materially different from other options.
So today I want to talk about a somewhat nebulous concept which I’m going to call the “multi-lingual state of mind”.
To us at VICI, learning a language is about so much more than being able to recite words in the target language, or even stringing those words together to form sentences. It runs deeper than improving outcomes at secondary school level. It is more formative than just ensuring better results in a school subject.
Yes, we provide the opportunity for an educational investment.
But for us, learning a language is also about learning to be open minded, being good at solving problems, acquiring critical thinking skills, mixing with other kids from different schools and communities, understanding and adopting tolerance. And that, for me, is part of the multi-lingual state of mind.
Sometimes I have the privilege of seeing this lightbulb moment as it happens in our students. Anna came to us when she was 5 or 6 and really excelled during her time here. After 4 years when she left us to move to a private school, she told her mother “I loved going to the Academy. When I’m older I’m going to go back and sign up as a grown-up.”
Anna had already realised at the tender age of 9 that learning languages are not just a school subject or a tick-box exercise. She knew that it was a lifelong opportunity, a journey that she could come back to and delight in throughout her life.
Alix is 5 and is already bilingual in French and English. Recently she told her parents she also wanted to learn Spanish because she has a Colombian friend, Thomas, who she wanted to be able to communicate with in his mother tongue. “Maman, Chupa-Chups are called that because in Spanish chupa means suck – it’s good that I know that because It’s important to know how to ask for a lollipop when I’m in Spain or Columbia!”
Alix already understands there are different ways to communicate and has opened her mind to the possibility of acquiring additional languages to improve her communication opportunities. She has just clicked into the way of thinking that foreign languages are something which are accessible to her.
One of our French class students recently travelled to France with his family for the first time. As they made their first stop, his parents encouraged him to go and make some purchases on his own.
“He looked so proud and confident being able to do it on his own.” His mother told me “he came out looking like a different child.”
This experience will have a more profound impact than just being able to reel off foreign language vocabulary – deploying his foreign language skills is fundamentally shaping this child’s character and life experiences, his view of himself and the esteem he derives from his capabilities.
Everything we do at VICI is based around this mindset. Parents who come to us don’t just buy lessons, they’re buying a multi-lingual mindset, an open-minded approach to opportunity and success and a way of thinking that fundamentally changes the way your children think.
And sometimes the children realise that before the adults do!
To learn more about The VICI and our commitment to excellence, arrange a call with one of our friendly language experts, and start your learning journey today – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01635 444 24.
by Nathalie Danon
Nathalie is the award-winning linguist & entrepreneur behind the VICI Language Academy, VICI Language Dynamics, VICI Languages France and Nathalie Danon Coaching. Her mission is to deliver a lifelong love of languages to everyone: child, or adult in both personal and professional worlds.