Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Commentary: Studying foreign language in high school helps in a globalized world

The State Journal-Register – Megan Crain

“The concept of foreign languages has always fascinated me. When I was a little kid watching “Dora the Explorer,” it was so cool to realize that “red” and “rojo” meant the same thing. I looked forward to taking a foreign language class in high school, because my junior high only offered a Spanish class with a limited number of students. When I got to high school and had to pick a foreign language class, I decided to take French. To me, the French language is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, and I couldn’t wait to learn how to speak it. That first class freshman year, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know if my teacher would be speaking completely in French, if I needed to have any background in the language, or how quickly I would have to learn. But we just went over classroom rules and discussed English words with French origins. While that doesn’t sound like the most interesting topic, it was kind of amazing to see what influence French had on other languages.”(more)

California celebrates multilingual students

The Sacramento Bee – Marissa Lang

“Speaking Spanish doesn’t make high school senior Karla Garza Plascencia feel different. It doesn’t make her feel like an outsider in a school where English dominates, or like a foreigner in a state where – just 16 years ago – more than 60 percent of voters supported a measure that gutted the state’s bilingual education programs. It gives her a sense of community, said Plascencia, who earned top scores on her Advanced Placement English and Spanish exams. It makes her feel more confident about her future. Plascencia, 17, of Foothill High School was among hundreds of students who received certificates Monday night acknowledging their achievement of the State Seal of Biliteracy, a state program that recognizes high school seniors who have achieved a “high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English,” according to the California Department of Education.”(more)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Arizona Student Test Scores Excel After Superintendent Introduces World Language Program

iSchoolguide – Sara Guaglione

“Can learning another language help students achieve better results in other subjects? That’s certainly what one superintendent in Arizona wanted to find out what she introduced a world language program in 2008 – and the results speak for themselves. Superintendent Debbi C. Burdick integrated learning Spanish and Chinese languages into the elementary school level in her district of Cave Creek USD in Arizona, Education World reports. Years later, students “in the various world language programs have excelled above and beyond district and state averages, pushing the district up in rankings to fifth out of 227 districts in Arizona,” according to a District Administration article…”Our students excel in 21st century skills when they learn a second language,” Burdick said. “It makes them better global citizens.””(more)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

World Language Learning Boosts Student Achievement

Education World – Staff Writer

“A superintendent’s initiative to start a world language program beginning in elementary school has helped students consistently score higher than the district and state test averages. Superintendent Debbi C. Burdick began the world language program in 2008 and integrated learning Spanish and Chinese languages into the elementary school level in her district of Cave Creek USD in Arizona. Years later, students “in the various world language programs have excelled above and beyond district and state averages, pushing the district up in rankings to fifth out of 227 districts in Arizona,” according to an article on DistrictAdministration.com. Burdick says she began brainstorming a world language program in 2006, when the governing board she was working with “wanted every child to have access to learning other languages.” A Spanish immersion program pilot thus began in 2006.”(more)

The seven big language learning issues facing the UK

The Guardian – Martin Williams

“Despite the UK’s pivotal role on the global stage and its melting pot of cultures, the country remains largely a nation of monoglots. But what is holding back Brits from learning a foreign language? The Guardian and the British Academy launched the Case for Language Learning to investigate the reasons behind the UK’s shortage of foreign language skills, discussing the importance and value of learning a foreign tongue. The Living Languages report highlights many of the debates and thinking generated by the two-year project, and brings together some of the dominant themes. You can find the full report here (best viewed in Adobe reader). Here are seven of the key findings:.”(more)

Fort Worth students learning the world of languages

The Star-Telegram – Yamil Berard

” When he was in the first grade, Jackson Roblow, now 11, couldn’t speak a word of Spanish. That normally wouldn’t have been an issue in the largely English-speaking Fort Worth school district, but Roblow’s mother wanted him to learn Spanish, so she placed him in a classroom where he could learn a second language. “At first, it was very uncomfortable. I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying,” Roblow said. Years later, Roblow, who is now a sixth-grader, speaks fluent Spanish and is on his way to learning a third language at the World Languages Institute, a program for youngsters who hope to maintain their bilingual skills and adopt a third language as well. He is among the 150 students enrolled at the Institute.”(more)

Monday, April 13, 2015

School districts looking to support popular dual-language programs

The Denver Post – Yesenia Robles

“Successful dual-language schools in Colorado often start as grassroots efforts, operating on their own paths, working with consultants to get advice on running the programs. But as the number and popularity of the bilingual schools grow, some districts are re-evaluating how to support them and make more of the schools successful. “We don’t want to make them cookie-cutter programs either, but right now they kind of became dual language on their own and we were not able to support them,” said Darlene LeDoux, director of academic achievement for English learners in Denver Public Schools. Colorado does not track the number of dual-language programs in the state. Nationwide researchers estimate there are more than a thousand such programs. There are different types, but most dual-language schools are defined by having all content — like science, math and social studies — taught in English and a foreign language, most often, Spanish. Young children start with varying amounts of time in each language, but the goal is to get to a half-and-half split by third grade.”(more)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Deal with it

The Economist – Staff Writer

“LANGUAGE-learners like to swap war-stories about their struggles, whether with Chinese tones, Japanese honorifics, German articles, Russian cases or Danish pronunciation. Each language challenges the learner with something unique. After twenty years of knowing passable French, Johnson learned today that two French words are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural: amour (love) and orgue (organ, the musical kind). It is un amour fou, but des amours folles. This kind of thing can only make the learner shake his head: isn’t French grammar complicated enough already, to say nothing of French amours? It is easy to spend an entire lifetime learning the quirks of one’s native language, without having to boggle the mind with a foreign one. All this diversity, when not a headache, is something to admire. But one quirk unites the world’s languages rather than dividing them: the weirdness of prepositions. Not all languages have prepositions as such: some languages use word endings instead of prepositions. But whether standalone or as endings, they are odd all around. Prepositions seem simple enough. A child learns them as spatial relations, perhaps in a book with deceptively simple pictures. The box is on the table. Now it is under the table. The ball is in the box. Now it is next to the box.”(more)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dual-language programs prove successful

The Daily Tar Heel – Rachel Herzog

“On a Wednesday morning, 17 students in Pedro Ortiz’s fourth-grade class sit in a circle on a rug displaying a world map, reading from composition notebooks. They’re talking about spaceships. A girl raises her hand to contribute, then pauses, trying to think of how to say “taking off” in Spanish. This scene is commonplace at Carrboro Elementary School, where students can spend half the day learning about everything from rockets to writing skills completely in Spanish…Experiences like this have proved beneficial for young students. In March, VIF International Education, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that develops global education programs, released results from an evaluation by UNC’s Education Policy Initiative at Carolina. The study found that students participating in VIF’s foreign language immersion program scored higher on state End-of-Grade tests than students not in the program, regardless of economic status, English proficiency or ethnicity.”(more)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Importance (and Hardship) of Becoming Bilingual

Asian Fortune News – Aozora Brockman

“A few summers ago I found myself listening to a concert at the annual Okinawan festival in O’ahu, Hawai’i. I closed my eyes and began to sway to the sound of the strumming of the sanshin and to the melodic tilting of the woman singer’s voice. She sang in a way that enveloped me in love, yet pierced me with nostalgic sadness at the same time. Later, as I began to dance with others on the grounds in front of the elevated stage, I realized that the overwhelming feelings of love and nostalgia came from the fact that she sang in Japanese. I had been raised speaking Japanese in my home in Central Illinois, so hearing the language made me feel safe, protected. But when I returned to my seat to catch my breath, I realized that the audience members, mostly made up of local Japanese, were conversing in English between the songs. For some reason this conflict of language between the stage and the audience was jarring to me. Did those in the audience long to know what the lyrics meant? Did they ever feel like they missed out on not learning Japanese? I thought back to how I learned in one of my college courses that after being put into camps during World War II, Japanese American second and third generations (called nisei and sansei) tended to disengage themselves from the Japanese community. Japanese language schools that were numerous before the war became almost nonexistent. I was saddened by the thought of Japanese Americans feeling as if they had to show that they were as “American” as possible by distancing themselves from both Japanese culture and language.”(more)