Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bilingual Students, Or Why Learning Another Language Matters

Unbeknownst to La Petite, I have enrolled her in the spring session of our local online virtual school for French I.

This is not very HoneyFern-esque in the sense that A) the online school is a traditional school, and B) I have not consulted her first, but here is why I don't care, in no particular order:

1. She is my lab rat. La Petite test drives everything and gives me feedback before I unleash it on other students. I need her to check out the school and give me honest feedback.

2. She is only in 7th grade, but she has finished a year of high school French independently and is a bit lazy moving forward. She desperately wants to speak French fluently but does not want to listen to her teacher/mother. This is when a good outside party helps (and is also why parents come to me for HoneyFern and tutoring; kids reach a point where they need to separate from their parents or need an intermediary). The course is a high school French class, but I am not concerned about that. I want her speaking and writing in French regularly, and this will make her. Plus, it will give her confidence in what she knows and push her in what she doesn't.

3. Being bilingual is an essential skill, and the Innnovative Educator outlines why in this blog. In a nutshell, learning another language makes you a smarter and better person. Good enough for me.

I took French for two years and Spanish for two years in high school.  I can understand both if native speakers talk to me like I am a toddler, and I can communicate very basically in both. This is not good enough for students today (or me, for that matter); the world has changed, and we need to help them change with it. If learning another language is the norm everywhere else in the world, we cannot continue to be so arrogant as to think we needn't learn more than English.

I need to break the news gently, though. We will see how it goes!!!

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