The Syrian boy who helps pupils with English

Getting to know you: Mohammed knows English, Arabic and a little bit of French.

Should we all learn new languages? Eleven-year-old Mohammed is very good at it. A video about how he helps his classmates to understand English is very popular online.

What’s happening

Eleven-year-old Mohammed is from Syria. People in Syria mostly speak Arabic.

Now, Mohammed lives in Belfast in Northern Ireland. He is very good at learning new languages.

Find out more

Mohammed learns languages by talking to people.

He is now so good at English that he can interpret for other Syrian students “when they are stuck on something”.

He says he wants to learn Spanish or Irish next. “I would like to have three languages. It is better than two.”

A video of an interview with Mohammed is very popular online.

Should we all learn new languages?

Some say…

No. Learning languages is hard. Most people can speak English. If you can do that, what is the point of learning anything else?

Others think…

Oui. Languages are a great way to make new friends. They are fun to learn and they help you see the world in new ways.

You Decide

  1. Which new language would you like to learn?

Activities

  1. Watch the BBC interview with Mohammed in which he talks about learning new languages. Write down another question you would ask Mohammed if you had the chance to interview him.

Some People Say...

“Learning another language is like becoming another person.”

Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Syria
A country in the Middle East. There is a difficult civil war there, forcing a lot of people to run away.
Arabic
A language spoken by around 260 million people.
Interpret
Translate.
Interview
When a journalist asks someone questions about their life for a news story.
Popular
Well-liked.
Oui
French for “yes”.

Subjects

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