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Your backstage pass to language learning
Across Canada, the summer season is synonymous with festivals. Music, art, dance, comedy, culture: there’s something for everyone. Many of these festivals can be experienced in French and English, and there are some that are even celebrations of language itself!
Each festival is a new opportunity to practise the language you are learning, which is why the Mauril pedagogy team has created special challenges that you can do before, during and after each festival to get some practise in.
Consider this your backstage pass to language learning!
Before heading out:
Research your options
Which festival or event matches your interests? Do you love listening to music in a sprawling park or listening to comedy in a smaller venue? What about Indigenous cultural festivals, or ones that feature food or art from around the world? When you already feel connected to and interested in a festival theme, it will be easier to get in the language learning spirit.
A great place to begin researching which festivals to attend is on message boards and social media. Follow a festival’s Instagram, Facebook or TikTok account, or find an influencer attending the festival who speaks the language you are learning.
Create a wish list
Write down a list of the festivals you would like to attend, and then strike up a conversation with a friend or family member, in the language you are learning, about the pros and cons of each festival. This is also a great opportunity to practise vocabulary like date and time, location, transportation, etc.
Plan your outing
While figuring out how to get to the festival venue, challenge yourself by reading the directions in the language you are learning. Practise giving these directions out loud as well. Then, write down a list of what to bring (i.e., water bottle, camera, sunscreen). Not only are you practising the language, you’ll be prepared when it’s time to go!
Make a playlist
Creating a playlist is a great way to set the mood and it allows you to feature artists you might see if you’ve chosen a music festival. Even if your chosen festival is not music-related, find some artists from the area you're planning to visit, and use music to immerse yourself in the culture and language.
During the festivities:
Talk the talk
There’s excitement in the air as you arrive onsite. Everyone is relaxed and happy. This is what makes festivals an ideal environment to practise your language skills! Switch to the language you are learning when it’s time to order food and drink, buy souvenirs, or ask for directions to the washroom or a specific venue.
Take a snap
One of the best ways to remember your festival outing is with a photo. In the language you are learning, ask another festival-goer to take a photo of you. Not only will you have a nice pic, you may even make a new friend!
Visit the shop
Why not pick up a souvenir to remember your time at the festival? Ask for the price and size of a souvenir T-shirt or hat. “Do you have this in a medium?’’ “Which other items do you sell with this logo?” This is a great opportunity to practise vocabulary like price, size and politeness.
You are sure to be surrounded by like-minded festival-goers, which means you already have lots in common! Listen to the conversations around you. How much do you understand? Get out of your comfort zone and strike up a chat in the language you are learning.
In the days that follow:
Revisit the moments
Scroll through your festival photos with a friend, colleague or family member. In the language you are learning, try to describe what is in each photo. If a photo reminds you of a funny moment, talk about it! Challenge yourself further by comparing two photos. Can you see the weather change between photos? Do you look more tired at the end of the experience than you did at the beginning?
Write it down
Similar to the photo review above, but this time write down some of your favourite festival moments. Who did you see? How did you feel when you were there? What were the highs and lows of the festival? Detail the emotional side of the experience that is maybe less obvious when looking at a photo. A writing exercise like this will challenge you to go deeper and use different vocabulary.
Leave a review
If you are anything like us, checking out a review of a festival or event is always helpful. Write a festival review and post it online. Future festival-goers will certainly appreciate it!
As you can see by the challenges we’ve listed above, festival season is full of opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and speak/write in the language you are learning. Everyone is in a great mood and open to communicate. Go ahead and begin the “Before” challenges and see how far you get. Happy festival season!