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Articles: World Language

Preparing students for an increasingly global workforce means teaching them not only how to speak a second language, but how to think critically in that language and have a deep understanding of the culture and geography that are embedded in it.

Increases in rigor and depth are a focus of this year’s American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) conference, which will be held Nov. 20 to 22 in San Diego.

Superintendent Debbi C. Burdick has brought her Arizona district's state ranking up to fifth out of 227.

Immersing students at Cave Creek USD with foreign language catapulted them above state average test scores. Superintendent Debbi C. Burdick and the governing board launched a world language program that included Spanish and Chinese programs beginning in elementary school.

St. Paul Public Schools has a large population of Hmong students, many of whom participate in a dual-language immersion program to learn their heritage language.

The term “dual language” makes most educators think of Spanish. But dual-language programs taught in less-common tongues can help families preserve their cultural identities as new generations are born in the United States.

Houston ISD’s new Arabic language immersion school will join the district’s Spanish and Mandarin programs.

Next fall, Houston ISD students will be the first in the nation with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Arabic language.

In November, the Houston board of education unanimously voted to open the Arabic Language Immersion Magnet School in fall 2015, with two pre-K and two kindergarten classes. A new grade level will be added each year as students progress through grade 5.

An image from  Rourke Educational Media's "Symbols of Freedom."
An image from  Discovery Education's Social Studies Techbook.
Hobsons' Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum
Knowledge Matters' Virtual Business—Management Online
Sony Virtuoso Digital  Language Lab Technology by SANS
Middlebury Interactive Language's Chinese Fluency I
¡Avancemos! by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Administrators striving to align instruction with the Common Core have an ever increasing range of curriculum programs from which to choose.

Several new social studies programs focus on keeping students abreast of current and archived news while other materials spotlight America’s history.

Foreign language teachers are cultivating global competence in today's classrooms. Above, educators interact at last year’s conference of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Foreign language has become a necessity for “global competence”—the ability to use a language beyond the classroom, in the workforce and in social settings. The idea of global competence encompasses sensitivity, respect and understanding of other cultural perspectives.

The Kent School District in Washington has more diversity in its student body, greater achievement and better technology, in major part due to Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas.

Every day, students whose families speak among 138 different languages learn together in the classrooms at Kent School District in Washington. To address the linguistic and economic challenges for the 27,000 K12 students—the majority of whom receive free or reduced price lunch—administrators have worked hard to build innovative language and technology programs.

Utah elementary school students spend half their instructional time in English and half in a world language.

When it comes to foreign language study, Utah is emerging as a national trendsetter. The state’s five-year-old dual-language immersion program will likely give Utah students a leg up in the future job market and foreign affairs, and could serve as a model for other states, language experts say.

Growing demand and a shortage of qualified foreign language teachers has opened the door for commercial companies, including Rosetta Stone and Middlebury Interactive, to enter the educational marketplace.

More than 20,000 schools and districts have integrated Rosetta Stone into their curriculum since 1991.

“The Heart of Matter," by Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, says competing nations are focusing on humanities.

Reduced emphasis on the humanities in school could threaten the nation’s ability to innovate and compete internationally, and leave students less prepared to participate in the democratic political process, according to a new report by the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Two kindergarten classes are speaking Spanish throughout most of their days in a successful opt-in, dual-language program in the Tigard-Tualatin (Ore.) School District.

A few months ago, a Chinese family moved into a house down the block from our home in New Jersey. The two kids playing in the front yard looked about the age of our own teenagers, so within a few days we did the neighborly thing and introduced ourselves. The good news? The family seemed genuinely happy to meet us. The bad news? They barely spoke a word of English. There was a lot of smiling and pointing (to our house) and uncomfortable sound-making from both kids and adults, but we didn’t manage to communicate very much in our brief encounter.

Odvard Egil DyrliGrowing up in a bilingual home near New York City, where my brother and I were the only ones who spoke Norwegian in our elementary school, I remember being asked to translate for newly-arrived Scandinavian students whose parents were assigned to the UN.

Girl learns Chinese

Bibb County, Ga. is better known for being at the heart of confederacy than for its international interests—until now. This fall marked the beginning of a new curriculum for the school district, with Mandarin Chinese classes now required for all pre-K12 students. Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand’s goal is to have all students become fully bilingual in English and Mandarin by high school graduation.

The global economy demands globally educated workers and citizens. About 1,300 schools in the United States—and a total of about 3,200 in 141 countries worldwide—have turned to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum as their ticket to educating students who are worldly-wise.