The Importance of World Languages
This summer, Spanish students may hear the word sobremesa at the dining hall. The word, without English-equivalent, describes the moment after a meal when people linger and converse. Under the Language Pledge these moments with friends and teachers offer opportunities for students to internalize language skills. La sobremesa exemplifies the Academy’s belief in turning every moment of the day into a step towards real-world fluency. We hope that the photos on this blog illustrate the dynamic activities that bring this idea to life.
We wanted to share two recent news articles that support this learning methodology and remind us why the Academies are so important to students’ educations.
The first was published by the Council on Foreign Relations and explains the need for world language teaching in the United States, how policymakers can address this need, and how world language skills prepare individuals for a global marketplace. The report calls for language instruction for young learners and immersion programs taught by heritage or native speakers, a recommendation that rang true with the Academy’s approach to language acquisition. This article is available online.
The second article appeared in Education Week and reports on Rhode Island’s Road Map to Language Excellence, which aims to introduce new language programs to the state’s school system and “emphasize the need to measure language acquisition by proficiency levels, not seat time in the classroom,” another point that harmonized nicely with the Middlebury immersion philosophy; the language Academies literally get students out of their seats and into real-world conversations and projects, giving them well-rounded competencies in their target language. We invite you to read this article on Education Week’s website.
We hope these articles interest you and that you will stay tuned for more blog updates about this weekend’s special events! The first week of Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy 2012 has gone by fast, and we wish families and students a happy Friday.