Renascence School Education News - private school

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Governors Missing the Link Between Global Competitiveness and Global Competence

Education Week – Heather Singmaster

“Most United States governors have completed their annual State of the State and inauguration speeches, which included the outlines of their education priorities. They covered many trending topics such as the Common Core, early childhood education, and Career Technical Education (CTE)…As in years past, however, the topic of global education remained relatively unaddressed…Many governors’ speeches also referenced state competitiveness in the global economy and attracting global commerce…How can states create more jobs and be globally competitive? According to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) “Education is the best economic development tool we have.” So if global competitiveness is a priority—and education is the key—shouldn’t governors want to promote a global education? Only two governors made the direct connection between the economy and global education in their speeches. Delaware Governor Jack Markell, (D) a long-time supporter of world language education, spoke about its importance. “We have also invested in language immersion programs because our children will have greater opportunities in the global economy when they can speak more than one language,” said Markell.”(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

New Advocacy Group Pushes for Multilingualism in D.C. Schools

Ed Central – Conor Williams

“D.C.’s dynamism as a local community was on full display earlier this week at a panel event hosted by the DC Language Immersion Project. The discussion, titled “Economic and Workforce Development Impacts of Language Immersion,” was the second in a series of local events designed to build a groundswell of support for multilingualism in D.C.’s public schools…Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies Executive Director Bill Rivers…cited recent data showing that 11 percent of American companies are actively looking for multilingual job candidates…domestic and global workforce demands are changing rapidly—most jobs being created now in the United States depend in some way on foreign trade.”(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)

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)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saved by song: can singing improve your language skills?

The Guardian – Jonross Swaby

“The late Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” But what if they can’t understand you when you do? Many people who have learned a language outside of a country that speaks it will sympathise. You could be trouncing native speakers at Swedish scrabble, your French grammaire could be parfaite, and watching Colombian telenovelas could be a breeze – but open your mouth to say something to a native and you’re met with a bunch of “qué?”s and “quoi?”s. This happened to me the first time I went to visit relatives in Brazil. A desire to discover the culture of my Cuban-born grandparents drove me to start taking Spanish classes after I left school. Many years of self-study, language exchanges, and six months of living in southern Spain made me fluent, and so I picked up Portuguese vocabulary and grammar pretty easily. A few years before my trip to Brazil, having worked my way through a self-study book and audio-visual software similar to Rosetta Stone, I began writing emails to my aunty in Belo Horizonte, a south-eastern city about 270 miles inland from Rio de Janeiro. However, reading and writing are very different skills to speaking and listening.”(more)

Foreign Langu-edge!

The Times of India – Shounak Ghosal

“There was a time when one would take up French or Russian simply for the love of a new language — for reasons like “I wanted to read Tolstoy’s original version”; but career ambition has overtaken cultural zeal. Today, it’s more common to find an engineer learning Spanish, or an MBA Mandarin, to beat competition in the Kolkata job market… or even a banker being recruited on the basis of her foreign language skills. The third, or fourth, language is turning out to be more important than the first, or second — English — when it comes to landing a job. From German to French and from Spanish to Chinese, hundreds, even thousands, of students are flocking to be trained to get that edge. There are scores of qualified job aspirants for a post, but only a few with the extra advantage. “At Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata (MMB), there were 800 students last year,” says Madhurima Moitra, head of the language department at MMB. “Three years ago, it was 450. A lot of engineers get scholarships to Germany for postgraduate programmes. We have campus recruitments just like engineering colleges,” she adds. “There is a great demand for people with a good knowledge of German,” adds German consul-general Rainer Schmiedchen.”(more)