His passion for studying language and unbridled enthusiasm for linguistics have earned Elijah Flynn a world-class ranking.
The Year 13 ACG Parnell College student recently received a 2021 Cambridge Outstanding Learner Award for Top in World in AS-Level English, further cementing his love of the scientific study of language.
“English is my favourite high school subject, but my real interest lies more broadly in linguistics,” explains Elijah. “Language is such a socially-entrenched phenomenon that many people simply take it for granted, or neglect to view it as the object of legitimate study. However, an understanding of the ways in which language influences our socio-cultural reality – and vice versa – sheds critical light on the underlying power-relations within our cultural landscape.”
Not surprisingly, Elijah has already set his sights on a future in the field. The highly motivated teen has plans to launch tertiary studies in linguistics and politics next year at Melbourne University, said to have one of the best-rated linguistics departments in Australia.
“Ideally, my career will involve some form of academic research concerning the internal structure and social role of language.”
For this year, though, he’s particularly looking forward to his A-Level English classes (which will incorporate more linguistics theory than previous years), as well as deepening his knowledge in his other subjects - Spanish, mathematics and psychology. In addition, the interconnection between some of his chosen subjects is further fuelling his excitement.
“The fields of psychology and linguistics have some pretty interesting crossovers with one another. Psycholinguistics is a particularly vibrant area of research, and has been for a while. Every year, more is being discovered about the cognitive processes that facilitate language production and comprehension – knowledge with innumerable applications, and, of course, inherent value.”
ACG Parnell College’s top-quality education offering, and in particular the Cambridge curriculum, has kept Elijah engaged and inspired throughout his time at the school.
“Cambridge definitely has its merits. The sources from which its contents are derived tend to be authoritative and intriguing. Especially in the higher levels, a broad range of specialist views are discussed and entertained during the year – and I like the fact that they’re not always limited to those conforming to a particular ideological standpoint. The topics themselves can be challenging, but they’re taught in an accessible manner which facilitates engagement.”
Elijah’s top piece of advice for current Year 12 students keen to emulate his success in their end-of-year Cambridge exams is to value personal satisfaction over external rewards.
“In order to get the most out of your exams, and your schooling as a whole, I would recommend viewing your academic efforts as a path towards intrapersonal mastery. Framing learning in terms of avoiding failure or defining one’s success against some performative norm does little to add any meaning to one’s school experience. Viewing everything within a system of extrinsic reward sucks the life out of education, increases stress, and ultimately lowers feelings of personal fulfilment.”