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Naples student heads to China for intensive language training

Collier Citizen – Lance Shearer

“”They told us to bring a gift for our host family — but be sure it’s not something made in China,” said Nick Lamb. The concept illustrates some of the cultural currents the rising Naples High sophomore will navigate this summer, as a U.S. State Department scholar in Sichuan Province, China. Nick will have intensive Mandarin classes six hours a day, all while living with a local Chinese host family and speaking nothing but the local tongue. Nick’s merit-based scholarship, officially known as the National Strategic Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares outstanding American students to be leaders in a global world…The NSLI-Y program seeks to increase the number of Americans who can engage with native speakers of critical languages. The goals of the NSLI-Y program include sparking a life-long interest in foreign languages and cultures, and developing a corps of young Americans with the skills necessary to advance international dialogue and cross-cultural opportunities in the private, academic and government sectors.”(more)

Old-fashioned toys better for language learning, study finds

The CTV News – Staff Writer

“A US study has found that traditional children’s toys such as wooden puzzles, rubber blocks, and shape-sorters are more effective in increasing the quantity and quality of language in young children than modern electronic toys that produce lights, words, and songs. In the study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, a team of researchers from Northern Arizona University, USA, carried out a controlled experiment with 26 children aged 10 to 16 months old. The children were given three different sets of toys, electronic, traditional, and books, for playtime with a parent their own home. The sound of the playtime was recorded in the home using audio equipment for researchers to analyze later.”(more)

FSU works to expand teaching of foreign languages

Tallahassee Democrat – Jennie Harrison

“Faculty and students from Florida State University’s Foreign and Second Language Education program are working to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages not widely taught in the United States today. Wenxia Wang, assistant professor of Foreign and Second Language Education, received $89,994 in funding from the National Security Agency (NSA) to organize a STARTALK program at Florida State. A component of the National Security Language Initiative, STARTALK’s goal is to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking and teaching critical need foreign languages, which include Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu…FSU STARTALK is not only training future teachers — the program is also reaching out to Leon County elementary school students by teaching critical need languages at local summer camps.”(more)