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Foundational Statement

Foundational Principle: The inherent value of each individual

Language enables us as individuals to make sense of and connect with the world around us. As humans, we are social beings who yearn for this connection and when we have it, we flourish. Today, technology has provided a means by which we have unprecedented possibilities to connect with people from all over the world and to share our cultures, values and traditions. For these possibilities to translate into genuine human connections on a global scale, intercultural communication skills, developed through the learning of languages, are essential.

Language and culture are fundamental to individual and collective identity, to both our understanding of ourselves and our understanding of others. It is by valuing the language and culture of each individual that we value who they are as people. Cultural identity is shaped by the values and attitudes of those around us and language is intrinsic to the expression and transmission of culture. The interconnectedness of language and culture is never more evident than when we attempt to translate from one language to another. The inherent beauty and meaning of language is best appreciated in its original form. Literal or automated translations rarely suffice and it is from the cultural context that the true meaning of language is born.

Learning languages is much more than words and grammar, it is ultimately about gaining a profound understanding of and appreciation for the complex, interconnected yet diverse global society in which we live. Our boys are entering into a global job market in which having a second language and intercultural literacy are no longer a competitive edge but rather an expected norm. Through the study of languages and contact with members of those language communities, boys learn about people and culture, they engage with different philosophies, histories, literature, art, customs and traditions whilst critically reflecting on their own. This facilitates social cohesion and equips boys with the global mindset and cultural agility necessary to transcend national boundaries, to prosper and to actively contribute and lead as global citizens, whilst supporting social responsibility in local and national contexts. Studying languages enables us to be part of and to celebrate the diversity and commonality of the human experience.

Foundational Question: How did the world evolve to be as it is and how might it be made to evolve for the greater good?

Our world today evolved to be as it is largely through conflict deriving from a lack of understanding of one another. For it to evolve for the greater good our boys will need the skills to engage linguistically and culturally diverse societies and to build strong collaborative relationships between them, relationships founded on intercultural understanding and mutual respect.