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An interview with James Keep - Curriculum Area Leader of MFL

Posted on: 28/06/2019

Where did you grow up?

South East London

What was your favourite subject at school?

French and German were my favourites, but I also loved Geography.

What university did you go to and what did you study?

I went to the University of York and studied French, German and Linguistics, which is the study of language as a whole, how words and sentences are put together and how individual sounds are made in different languages around the world. It was fascinating! As part of my course I also spent a year studying in France & Germany, which was a great experience.

What made you decide to go into teaching?

Young people are so engaging and think in a different way to adults so a school is an engaging, exciting place to be. I had a taste of teaching while at university and while living in France where I really enjoyed seeing the young people taking joy in learning a language and grow to love it. If I can do anything to pass that on through teaching, then it’s a valuable job to do.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Well, predictably I enjoy learning languages so have tried learning a bit of a few including Norwegian, Tamil and a couple of years ago I did my Spanish GCSE! I’m a member of my local church and volunteer a lot there. I really enjoy sport, so I do a lot of cycling and running. Finally, I love to travel and discover different landscapes, cultures and languages when there’s time.

What is your favourite part of your job?

The best thing about being a C.A.L. is working with the wonderful team of languages teachers we have a Capital - everybody works incredibly hard and it’s wonderful how we all help each other out. I also love our annual trip to France or Germany where the pupils get a chance to put into practice in a real life situation the language that we’ve learnt in class.

What is your favourite thing about working at Capital?

It sounds like a cliché, but the best thing about Capital is definitely the pupils! Every day they make me smile, impress me with their amazing resilience and determination to succeed and outstanding good nature. Among the pupils and staff we also have such diversity that our Capital Culture is so rich; for example, there are 11 people in the office where I sit at school and we’re from 11 different countries – the world really is on our doorstep at Capital.