Multilingual Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s ability to speak Russian fluently – and Boris Johnson also choosing to deploy his own skills as a linguist – makes it harder for the Kremlin to suppress dissenting views.
Even though the Russian media would have been banned from using words like ‘invasion’ and ‘aggression’, the world must follow President Zelenskyy’s lead – this conflict will only end with the ousting of Vladimir Putin from power.
And it is reflected in the humility of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries like Poland – then apologizing for their poor English at the start of media interviews describing their escape from hell, then calling, with great eloquence , the world watching to stand union with Ukraine.
Contrast that with Britain paying a heavy price for past decisions to marginalize foreign language teaching and how, on the 25th anniversary of World Book Day, six out of 10 primary school teachers have to buy books to stock their classrooms because of budget pressures.
Now, while it’s important to note that successful teaching depends on a three-way partnership between parents, policy makers and schools, children who couldn’t read or write well in primary school don’t see only their future endangered; they are also deprived of the world of opportunities open to bilingual speakers.
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