World languages continue to be underappreciated

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World languages continue to be underappreciated

Tatem Cawley

Tatem Cawley

Tatem Cawley

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Imagine sitting in Math, but it’s Math 1, 2 and 3.  Depending on the where you are, you’re either overwhelmed or bored. This is a reality for Chinese language students at the school.

This year Chinese 2, 3, and 4 are all combined at the school. Not only is this a stressor to students and the teacher who is essentially supposed to teach three  different classes at once, but it devalues the class.

By combining these classes, in the past it was just 3 and 4 together, in a sense they lose their credibility. The curriculum sort of mixes and becomes more dumbed down.  The school should make languages not only a priority but keep these separate so classes can have some  progression.

Language classes are unlike many classes at the school. You get out what you put in.  You can passively make your way through the class but to receive the benefits the students have to reach for it actively. It requires a lot of time to become skilled at using another foreign language, which makes it a daunting task for beginners.

The school boasts a language department containing several different options. Most of them being Latin based while only one isn’t.  This year AP French and Italian were added to the line-up while the existing Chinese program was shortened into just 2 class periods. However, this becomes an issue with the school next year inheriting the Chinese Immersion Program.  Now with Chinese 1 and  Chinese 2-4 class periods, the teacher will have to take on AP as well.  

A program that should be fully functioning is far from it. Chinese 3-4 has been combined for several years which doesn’t push students to higher levels by being combined.  It’s also difficult for a teacher to combine curriculum for a class that’s supposed to get progressively harder. It’s like combining math 2 and 3. The general level of the students lies somewhere in between with no progression to be made.  

More of an effort should be a made to promote and to build these programs to allow greater opportunities for the students.

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