Showing all posts tagged #language:


How to Be Yourself In Any Language at The School of Life

Posted on July 24th, 2014

Together with John-Paul Flintoff and Jude Claybourne, I ran a session in How to Be Yourself In Any Language at The School of Life on 5 July.



The feedback from participants was very encouraging:
  • “A very innovative way to learn language"
  • “Gave me more confidence. A wonderful way to connect with others"
  • “Really good fun and inspiring"
  • “Fun and creative. I would do the course again I enjoyed it so much"
  • “Very productive, thought provoking – and fun!"
John-Paul, Jude and me (photo by Barbara Le Lan)

How to be Yourself in Any Language - The School of Life - 5 July 2014

Posted on June 29th, 2014

We can all imagine what it's like to speak naturally. We did it as children, we sometimes do it with people we know well, and we see other people doing it on TV. But in practice, much of the time, many of us feel that we can't be truly "ourselves".
The greatest difficulty can come when we speak foreign languages -- a context that worsens the things that might also feel bad in our own language. Speaking foreign languages -- for work, or on holiday -- we worry about getting things "wrong", go blank, and tend to adopt a cautious, low status persona that doesn't feel comfortable for us or for other people.
This class is designed to help you speak happily and freely in ANY language (including your own), and find ways to express what needs to be expressed even when you don't have the right vocabulary -- because there's always a way to improvise.
As well as talking, this class uses theatre games, often in foreign languages, to see more clearly what we may be doing in everyday life (and because the games provide a welcome dose of laughter). You don't need to be good at languages, or acting - in fact, the less expert you are, the better.
Saturday 5 July 10.00 to 13.00 at The School of Life (London).

Why America Lacks Global Leaders - Harvard Business Review

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

In Why America Lacks Global Leaders Bronwyn Fryer notes that "for C-Level leaders in global organizations, one single characteristic - “sensitivity to culture" (so-called “cultural empathy") - ranks at the very top of the requirement list. This rare quality can’t be “taught," or injected simply by working in an overseas office.
Cultural empathy requires a degree of egolessness, because you have to surrender the notion that your country, or language, or point of view is best. Cultural empathy means that you have to not just see through the eyes of someone who is different, but you have to think through that person’s brain. True cultural empathy springs from personality, early nurturing, curiosity, and appreciation of diversity".

Language fear: are we scared of making mistakes in foreign languages?

Posted on February 28th, 2014

Does a fear of making mistakes hold you back when speaking a foreign language? This is the question I asked at the No Island is an Island conference organised by the European Commission in October 2013.

Adam Marshall from the British Chamber of Commerce pointed to cultural differences between the UK and USA: he thinks the emphasis on public speaking and performance in US schools lays the foundation for language confidence:


The Benefits of Improv for UK Language Learners

Posted on January 10th, 2014

Many people in the UK already have a basic knowledge of one or more foreign languages, yet lack the confidence to use this knowledge effectively.

In fact, many people feel anxious precisely in the languages they have learned - because school teaches us to fear “getting it wrong". The same people, at large in a country where they have no language training at all, will tend to improvise with no such fear of failure.

But what would it be like if you didn’t feel that fear, to speak your chosen language fearlessly? By allowing people to speak language in that state of confidence, we aim to greatly accelerate their learning and multiply their enjoyment.

Using techniques from improvised theatre, we help to grow people’s self-confidence abroad or in meetings with people from other cultures.

To be precise: we’re not teaching languages. We’re helping you make better use of what you already know.

Benefits of improvisational theatre games:
  • Improvisation is not scripted - and nor is everyday life. Playing improv games provides a safe space to try things for daily use
  • In improv, as in life, the only way to understand is to “get out of your own head" and pay careful attention to what is happening around you.
  • Improv games can be used to reduce fear and anxiety in performers on stage - they teach that it’s OK to make mistakes
  • Using gibberish, improvisers learn to communicate with body language and mime and facial expressions - even managing to create complex storylines. To experience this is to realise how much we can communicate with even meagre language skills
  • Improv games can be given context like role-play, such as “at the cafe" or “at the airport"
Our next course is Thursday 16 January 2014 13:00 - 16:30 at Cambridge Business Lounge.


Eventbrite - Be Yourself in Any Language

Be Yourself in Any Language - Cambridge January 2014

Posted on December 23rd, 2013


We can all imagine what it’s like to speak entirely naturally. We did it as children, we sometimes do it with people we know well, and we see other people doing it on TV. But in practice, much of the time, many of us feel that we can’t be truly “ourselves".
Often the greatest difficulty comes when we speak foreign languages -- a context that worsens the things that might also feel bad in our own language. Speaking foreign languages -- for work, or on holiday -- we worry about getting things “wrong", we go blank, and we tend to adopt a cautious, low status persona that doesn’t feel comfortable for us or for other people.
This class is designed to help you speak happily and freely in ANY language (including your own), and find ways to express what needs to be expressed even when you don’t have the right vocabulary -- because there’s always a way to improvise.
As well as talking, this class uses improvisational theatre games, often in foreign languages, to see more clearly what we may be doing in everyday life -- and because the games provide a welcome dose of laughter. You don’t need to be good at languages -- or acting. In fact, the less expert you are, the better.
Thursday 16 January 2014 13:00 - 16:30 at Cambridge Business Lounge.
Eventbrite - Be Yourself in Any Language

Antony Quinn

Technology consultant, actor & improviser.