Year 12 GCSE French students joined Oxplore for an interactive online event for schools at 2pm on Tuesday 6 February 2018 in G2, to discuss the Big Question ‘Would it be better if we all spoke the same language?’
Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. Its aim is to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity.
Participating in the live debate were specialists from across the University of Oxford.
Dr Thomas Crawford, a maths tutor at St Hugh's College, who also works at St John's College helping to run the Inspire Programme which aims to encourage pupils at state schools to apply to top universities in the UK, presented the idea that Maths is the only true universal language.
Professor Katrin Kohl, a Professor of German Literature and Fellow at Jesus College, was keen to emphasise the importance of diversity and identity attached to language. She is also leading the Creative Multilingualism project to explore the crucial role of creativity in the use of languages.
Dr Marianna Bolognesi is a post-doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. She looks at languages from the vantage point of psycholinguistics. Her main focus in the debate was the cognitive benefits of learning additional languages.
RBAI students enjoyed listening to the thought-provoking analysis and submitting their own questions through the digital portal. The debate continued after the live event in G2, with many interesting arguments in favour of cherishing the richness of linguistic diversity.
And the result of the debate? An overwhelming victory against the motion!