Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Foreign language study should center on immersion

The Elon Pendulum – Karina Pepe

“I have been enrolled in Spanish classes since 6th grade. Looking back on my foreign language education, I can say confidently that the way many other American children and I were taught Spanish needs a serious overhaul. Spanish majors at Elon University are required to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to apply the language in a native setting. My comfort with the language increased dramatically after my experience abroad, but the improvement didn’t come from a classroom. I will not be able to better my abilities much in an Elon class. The courses I need to complete my major fall into three general categories: grammar, literature and culture. I am not required to take any upper-level conversation classes, and that is the major downfall of trying to learn another language.”(more)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Even If You Don’t See It, Children Are Learning Language

Chicago Now – NB Jaworski

“Last night we walked by the area of our city where they hold the annual carnival. They had a petting zoo there that we spent about 15 fun-filled minutes at towards the end of last summer. My daughter turns to me and asks, “绵羊在哪里 (Where is the lamb)?” Last summer, she was barely saying a word and there have been no animals around the area since. However, now she knows the words for all her farmyard animals and she clearly vividly remembers spending those 15 minutes with the animals. This is my answer to parents who ask if they think they’re child isn’t actually learning anything when they’re still not speaking. Your child’s brain is developing rapidly and, even if they can’t verbalize it, they have amazing memories and will start to express themselves once they have the language to do so. So, even if you don’t see it, your children are constantly learning and remembering everything around them.”(more)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nine ways to use language skills to get a job and boost your career

The Guardian – Georgie Bradley

“If you want to be able to use a language within a specific field, it’s essential to combine subjects, as a straight language degree may not command a big enough premium on the job market. Adam Marshall, executive director, policy and external affairs, British Chamber of Commerce, London says: “Companies look at language as part of a wider skills base – very few recruit on this alone. Pure language degrees are often seen as less valuable by prospective employers than degrees that combine other core skills.'”(more)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lessons from Spain: Five reasons to learn a foreign language

The Delphic Times – SHAEFFER SMITH

“It’s been a long, challenging 14 years learning Spanish. I’ve grown from proudly counting to 10 to living and learning in a country that only speaks Spanish. I’ve had my ups and downs in my career, struggling with conjugations and translations that just didn’t turn out quite right, but now I am studying in Salamanca, Spain, working everyday to improve. I am so grateful to be immersed in Spanish, challenging myself everyday, and I think that everyone should be doing the same. Learning another language has a ton of advantages, both personally and professionally, but these are my top five reasons why you should learn another language:.”(more)