Renascence School Education News - private school

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

“Generation Study Abroad” aims to double US students studying abroad in 5 years

SI News – Staff Writer

“A new campaign supported by the Intsitute of International Education (IIE) is aiming to make Millennials the “study abroad generation” — and it only has a few years to do so. Generation Study Abroad, as the campaign is called, hopes to serve as a catalyst to encourage Millennials to turn their well-documented love of travel into a passion for studying abroad. The initiative has set a target of doubling the number of US students studying overseas over the next five years. As IIE points out in its information about the program, international experience has become a vital part of a 21st-century education. It is also becoming an increasingly important component of professional development, as employers are constantly seeking workers with international skills and experience — especially language skills…Though it remains to be seen whether the program will reach its targets, it is doing its part to raise awareness of the importance of international education in today’s globalized world. “Study abroad is not a luxury,” said Daniel Obst, deputy vice president for international partnerships at the IIE, “but an essential part of education.””(more)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Learning a Language Early On Is the Best Investment

PR News Wire – Staff Writer

“The best advice for the teen you know is plain and simple: Learning a foreign language is one of the best investments one can make, with short and long term benefits. We are bombarded with miracle solutions to learn a language “in 5 minutes.” However, some straightforward facts and truths about language learning must be acknowledged: – Start way before your college years. You must be dedicated in college to learn a language from scratch, let alone two. And even though studying abroad in college is great, it will never bring the same intensity and emotions compared to doing it between 14 and 17. Middle school and high school years are the best time to learn a foreign language.”(more)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Shout louder

The Economist – Staff Writer

“THE last time she was recruiting for her export-sales team, Sarah Grain hired a Lithuanian who speaks Russian, Polish and German. Her two previous hires for Eriez Magnetics, which makes industrial equipment in South Wales, were an Italian who also speaks French, and a Venezuelan who speaks Spanish and Portuguese. All of them speak fluent English. “There were no British applicants who had the requisite language skills,” she says. Ms Grain’s conclusion is not unusual for a British company. In 2012 a European Commission survey tested the foreign-language proficiency of 54,000 students aged 14 and 15, in 14 nations. Sweden came top, with 82% of pupils reaching an “independent” or “advanced independent” standard. The average for all 14 states was 42%. England came bottom, with just 9%. Part of the explanation is that many people’s second language is English, while many Britons continue to believe that, as native speakers of the lingua mundi, they do not need to bother with foreign languages. They may be right—in terms of communication. But it means that, not only are they missing out on much cultural interaction, they may also be harming their own job prospects.”(more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Foreign Language Requirement

The Huffington Post – Kassandra Fotiadas

“According to a study conducted by the Modern Language Association, enrollment in foreign language courses has recently decreased. While it increased from 1995 to 2009, enrollment has dropped by 6.7 percent since then. Furthermore, about 100,000 fewer students took college language classes in 2013 than did in 2009. Meanwhile, though, more and more campuses are offering up-and-coming languages like Arabic, Chinese, and Korean, while more traditional languages like German and French are declining in availability. Even though more languages have become available, the desire to study language has declined. What is the cause of this foreign language deficit in America? It’s illogical — common sense alone tells us that foreign language knowledge is essential in the modern world…I can’t help but discourage anyone who plans on dropping a language in high school or even in undergraduate university. I’ve come to learn that you never know when you’ll need to speak even a few words in a language you picked up years prior…Or even when you’ll need to be bilingual to get a job, any kind of job. Language knowledge is absolutely vital in being a global citizen, which is not only something I identify myself as, but also something that everyone should aim to be.”(more)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Muy magnifique: Lexington One students becoming global learners through language

ColaDaily.com – Rachel Ham

“People who pick up a storybook or math worksheet in some classrooms in Lexington School District One might do a double take. Fiction books, educational posters and even student drawings are filled with words like “rojo,” “auto-collants” and “mammifères” instead of the expected “red,” “stickers” and “mammals.” Lexington One’s Partial Immersion World Language program allows students to begin becoming bilingual by surrounding them with a new language…Teachers who see students talk excitedly in their newfound language said the benefits of becoming bilingual show up on standardized tests and in how students solve problems. “It improves creativity … and comprehension … and teaches them how to take risks as learners,” said Spanish immersion teacher Charli Kinard…Kinard said she thinks the Partial Immersion program falls right in line with the district’s mission to prepare students for their futures. “Students are open to and appreciative of diversity … and can be contributing members of society,” she said.”(more)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Adults shouldn’t reduce learning to a single language

The Springfield News-Leader – Dana Carroll

“Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia, a small city in Northern Italy, famous for two things: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and an incredible approach to early education. The Reggio Emilia approach developed at the end of World War II. Preprimary schools with the Reggio philosophy are organized to support a collaborative, problem-solving approach to learning, with an intensely participatory relationship among parents, educators and children. Although I marvel at the incredible work of the pedagiosts who follow the Reggio philosophy, I am equally taken with the founder of their movement, Loris Malaguzzi. He wrote extensively about children and our approach to their learning. In his poem, “The Hundred Languages of Children,” he talks about all the ways children communicate their knowledge and understanding of the world. They speak through sculpture, dance and drawing. It involves singing, discussion and debate. It is joyful, pensive and a struggle. That is probably what makes Reggio Emilia preschools so effective — their ability to highlight and emphasize each of the ‘languages.'”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Diggs: Mandarin fluency critical to US success

Aberdeen News – Lawrence Diggs Roslyn

“China is now officially the world’s largest economy. Our U.S. economy depends on China’s cheap goods and loans to float our economy. This points to how important it is for our children to learn another language. China’s new world economic position is not the only reason children should be learning another language. Mandarin, the main language spoken there, isn’t the only language that should be required of our high school and university graduates. But this is a wake-up call that the world our children will live in is not the one we imagine we live in. The world they’ll live in will require they communicate with people at eye level. They can’t do that if they can’t speak a language other than their own while others are multi-lingual…Why shouldn’t most of our children should be able to speak fluently with the citizens of the world’s largest economy in Mandarin, especially when our economy is so dependent on them? Why shouldn’t our children be able to speak the language of both countries we have borders with? We’re proud of our “world power” status, but what does it mean to call yourself a “world power” or a “world leader” when so many people speak your language and know your culture, but you lack the ability to converse with them in their language about their culture. “(more)

Learning The Language

The Heights – Solina Jean-Louis

“In the completely globalized and connected world we live in, it is imperative to foster in our children a sense of love, understanding, and acceptance of cultures other than their own. So much unnecessary hate in this world stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of another culture’s religion, traditions, and lifestyle. But how do we do this? How do we instill a sense of understanding and curiosity about different cultures in our children? The answer is simple: foreign language learning.”(more)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are bilingual babies better?

Times of Malta – Helen Raine

“Study after study has shown that learning two languages from birth stimulates the grey matter like nothing else and new research from Singapore has only underlined that conclusion…Myths have abounded since the 1970s that speaking two languages to an infant could confuse them or delay language in a way that could be permanently damaging. Those outdated ideas have now been roundly debunked. It’s very clear that not only is it much easier for children to learn a language if they do so from birth but that this actually helps a child’s cognitive development in a multitude of ways…Luckily there are some easy steps that parents can take to make both languages equally important at home…Once you have a plan, you need to persist…Children are hardwired to learn languages and want to communicate, so just remember to keep your approach light-hearted and fun. If you encounter resistance, play games, sing songs, get creative, find a friend that shares your goals and keep going.”(more)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Focus on Research: Learning new languages stimulates brain

The Centre Daily Times – Victoria M. Indivero

“Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to Penn State researchers. “Learning and practicing something — for instance, a second language, strengthens the brain,” said Ping Li, professor of psychology, linguistics and information sciences and technology. “Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger.” Li and his Penn State colleagues studied 39 native English speakers’ brains over a six-week period as half of the participants learned Chinese vocabulary. Of the subjects learning the new vocabulary, those who were more successful in attaining the information showed a more connected brain network than both the less successful participants and those who did not learn the new vocabulary. The researchers also found that the participants who were successful learners had a more connected network than the other participants even before learning took place. A better-integrated brain network is more flexible and efficient, making the task of learning a new language easier. Li and colleagues report their results in a recent article published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics. The efficiency of brain networks was defined by the researchers in terms of the strength and direction of connections, or edges, between brain regions of interest, or nodes. The stronger the edges going from one node to the next, the faster the nodes can work together, and the more efficient the network.”(more)