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Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

Hafha – Grace Hwang Lynch

“It is never too early to expose children to a foreign language and culture. Children especially between the ages of 4-5 have an open mind and absorb information like little “sponges”…When it comes to teaching kids a second language, there can be a confusing array of choices. Here’s some information on the most popular methods to help you find the right way for your child to learn another language.”(more)

Eric Migernier: Foreign language study nurtures more than job prospects

The Charleston Gazette-Mail – Eric Migernier

“We have all heard the old refrain: Why should I learn a foreign language? I am never gonna use it. Why is there a foreign language requirement for my son in college? He is never going it to need it. Besides the fact that this premise might not be entirely right in an increasingly multi-lingual global world where, exposure to a foreign language can give anyone competing for a job a shot in the arm, there are other reasons for wanting and needing to learn a foreign language. Think of all the elements that counter learning in a traditional classroom today: the passivity, the yawns, the boredom, the stress, the sheer lack of pleasure that typically engulfs students and erects a wall between them and the teacher.”(more)

Science and languages ‘marginalised in primary schools’

BBC – Staff Writer

“Pupils are leaving primary school unprepared for the rigours of science and foreign languages at secondary level, Ofsted’s chief inspector says. Sir Michael Wilshaw said the focus on the “three Rs” had pushed other compulsory subjects “to the margins of the curriculum” in primary schools. Science and languages had become the “poor relations” of the primary curriculum as a result, he said. The government said more pupils were taking science and languages at GCSE. Sir Michael said, in his monthly commentary, that the government wanted most pupils who started secondary school last September to take the full suite of English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects, including science and a foreign language, when they sat their GCSEs, in 2020.”(more)

Pushing the Multilingual Envelope

Language Magazine – Staff Writer

“Just as the campaign for the White House has stepped into high gear, so has the campaign for foreign languages in the U.S. A 2014 Harvard Business Review article, “What’s Your Language Strategy?,” highlighted the importance of foreign language skills as global talent in multinational organizations. With its origins in the 1979 report of the President’s Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies, “Strength through Wisdom: A Critique of U.S. Capability,” which was closely followed by Senator Paul Simon’s “The Tongue-Tied American: Confronting the Foreign Language Crisis,” the campaign for foreign languages has been part of the scholarly and public conversation for several decades, albeit to different degrees, referred to in the “Languages for All?” final report as the “roller coaster focus on language in the U.S.” depending on the local, national, and international issues of the moment.”(more)

Foreign language teachers facing a confidence conundrum

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Foreign language teachers play a pivotal role in creating global citizens, but some teachers lack confidence in their ability to speak in their nonnative tongue, which could undermine the quality of language instruction, Michigan State University researchers argue. Peter De Costa, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, and Lorena Valmori, a recent Ph.D. graduate of the second language studies program, surveyed nine teachers in an Italian high school system, some of whom taught in college prep schools and some in vocational schools. The study, published recently in the journal System, is the first qualitative study examining how teachers maintain foreign language proficiency.”(more)

Want to prepare your kids for the future? Language immersion programs are the answer

The Charlotte Observer – Ynez Olshausen

“A decade ago, we rarely heard the phrase international education or global education. Today it’s part of every teacher’s mission. The 21st century is the global age, and leading-edge language immersion programs offer a unique opportunity to prepare students for the globalized world in which they will live, work and contribute. Becoming highly proficient in a foreign language is not the only answer to the challenge of the global era, but it is a very important part of the answer. Language and culture are intertwined, and fluency in a second language opens the door to new worlds. Knowledge of the world and competence in interacting with other cultures begins with proficiency in another language.”(more)