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Mon Jul 16, 2018, 05:52 AM

Teachers Urge Stronger Commitment to Foreign Language Education

The South Dakota Board of Education Standards meets tomorrow in Pierre for several dreary tasks, including conducting a public hearing on revising our high school graduation requirements. They’ve already received 96 comments from a generally grousy public. Among those comments are some brave defenders of world language education who say that South Dakota’s placement of foreign language (“world language” is the accepted professional term) classes and career/tech classes in the same graduation category is just silly.

Rapid City Spanish teacher Angela Giffin says that instead of allowing students to substitute tech courses for foreign language courses, we ought to require every student except those in special ed to take at least one year of foreign language to graduate. She gives us five points that pop up in some other public comments:

World language learning should be a 1 unit requirement for all graduates (except special education students). (It should be taught starting in elementary school). It is not comparable to CTE courses or internships. It utilizes a different part of the brain, and had different benefits and results.

1. Second language is increasingly required to be accepted to college.
2. More jobs prefer (and require) knowledge of a second language.
3. Even in South Dakota, we are not isolated from the world at large, and its cultural and language diversity. Learning in high school will help prepare children better for their reality.
4. Learning a language takes time. The younger they start, the better they’ll be.
5. Learning a second language has a profound positive effect on brain development [Angela Giffin, public comment to DOE Board of Education Standards, 2018.06.20].

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2018/07/15/teachers-urge-stronger-commitment-to-foreign-language-education/

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