Friday, 19 July 2013

Auf Wiedersehen and Danke Schön to Mrs Brown - Director of the Language College

It is with the utmost regret that we have to announce that Mrs Brown, Director of the Language College, is retiring at the end of this academic year.
Mrs Brown has been teaching at Tomlinscote  for 24 years and led this school to becoming one of the first designated Language Colleges back in 1996. 
Our latest Ofsted report states rightly that "the impact of specialist status permeates the school's whole existence, philosophy and ethos". This is to a very large extent due to Mrs Brown's boundless passion for language learning and her untiring work to give our children copious opportunities to experience other cultures. 

Not only do all students learn French or German and Spanish, but they also enjoy taster sessions and extra-curricular courses in Japanese, Chinese and Latin. Mrs Brown introduced the international week trips enjoyed by year 7s and started the German exchange (back then through her own former German exchange partner with whom she is still in touch after 50 years!). 
As part of the Language College status, Tomlinscote has been a pioneer in primary language provision and in bilingual teaching, leading to cross-curricular projects with geography, science and history, and this year's handball sessions with P.E.. 
Thanks to Mrs Brown's application and groundwork, we have become a PASCH partner school for the German embassy, leading to additional funding and resources, as well as great enrichment events like theatre performances, cooking demonstrations and workshops taking place at Tomlinscote, and students being sent on trips and courses to London and abroad. 
Her vision has also infected staff throughout the school: teachers from all departments have enjoyed staff exchange programmes with Germany and embarked on multinational projects, such as the music exchange with Munich, a maths trip to Paris, science projects with Germany and an Erasmus economics project with Hungary, to mention only a few). 
Fluent (and incredibly accurate!) in French, German and Spanish, and having learned Latin and Russian as well, Mrs Brown has been fighting monolingualism in Britain and has explained to many students and parents the advantages of language learning for their personal development and careers, as well as for the UK economy.
Our Director of the Language College  has touched the lives of many, inspiring and encouraging students and colleagues alike to become better linguists and to appreciate and celebrate cultural differences.

We thank her for the many years she has dedicated to our school and wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement - or, as she prefers to call it, her jubilación!

Isobel Leigh (year 11) writes:

"Frau Brown hat mir und allen Studenten viele Möglichkeiten für das Lernen der Fremdsprachen und besonders für Deutsch gegeben. Es ist so wichtig, dass Lehrer ihr Fach lieben und ich kann einfach sagen, dass Frau Brown Deutsch liebt. Sie will immer unser Deutsch perfektionieren und sie möchte, dass wir die Vorteile des Deutschlernens erkennen. Als ich eine Deutsch Ambassador war, hat Frau Brown mir und den anderen Botschaftern geholfen, und als ich eine Rede im Mock EU -Council halten musste, hat Sie bei meiner Aussprache geholfen, und jetzt fühle ich mich selbstbewusster mit meinem Deutsch." 

Rachel Daw (A2 German & Spanish 2008):

"Thank you so very much for all that you have done for me over the years. From right at the beginning of my seven years in Tomlinscote, you have always gone the extra mile for me, encouraging and enabling me to take German and Spanish for GCSE and A-level.
You went above and beyond the call of duty as my A-Level teacher to arrange our work experience in Wendlingen and to offer me additional tuition in preparation for Oxford interviews, and although I studied German and Spanish in Durham in the end, I went away with a greater knowledge of German, Germany and German culture thanks to our extra lessons.
I can’t thank you enough for inspiring me to study languages, from the age of 11 back in Year 7. Some of the most fantastic experiences of my life have been had through languages. 
Thank you for always believing in me, for your lovely emails and your never-ending willingness to help me." 

Chiara Giovanni (A2 German & Spanish 2012) 

"In dieser oft von falscher Bescheidenheit geprägten Gesellschaft war Frau Browns Begeisterung für Fremdsprachen wirklich ein Fanal der Hoffnung für mich. Mir wurde oft gesagt, ich müsste meinen Enthusiasmus für mein Fach abmildern, wenn ich ernstgenommen werden möchte. Zum Glück zeigte mir Frau Brown, dass eine echte Leidenschaft auch nach Jahrzehnten weiterleben kann und soll, und dass man sich nicht für seine Interessen schämen sollte. Zahllose Stunden habe ich an Literatur und Grammatik in ihrem Büro gesessen, aber mir war kein einziges Mal langweilig. Ich war damals und bin immer noch so dankbar für die Zeit, die Frau Brown mit mir verbracht hat, und die ich nie vergessen werde.
Viel Spaß wünsche ich ihr in dieser neuen Lebensphase !"

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