Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In his New York Times opinion piece earlier this year, What You (Really) Need to Know, Larry Summers suggests that foreign language acquisition is not essential for U.S. students, because English is becoming the lingua franca for business and the Internet, and idea that seems to be growing in popularity.

Is this a trend? Are business and government leaders really comfortable with the position that our 21st century educated American workforce has little requirement for knowledge of languages other than English?

We hear a lot from educators and researchers about language learning's cognitive benefits. Dan Fost wrote a nice summary a couple of years ago, How Global Language Learning Gives Students The Edge.

Anecdotally, we are hearing from students in computer programming and web design classes, that their world language learning experiences have given them a cognitive head start doing the complex cognitive work of learning and using a programming language. Similar comments are heard from musicians, especially working in jazz or other improvisational genres.

Yesterday a teacher described some students of hers, who had been learning in a QTalk classroom the prior year. Compared to other students, the QTalk students were "more confident speaking, and more eager to learn," and "they seemed to consider language learning as a fun activity." For schools struggling to improve test scores and reduce high school dropout rates, shouldn't there be a high value placed on classes that build a student's self-confidence and sense of achievement? Can we place a return on investment percentage on the fact that world language classes can be fun and keep students engaged, even those students who may struggle to succeed in other subjects?

Facebook promotion: Describe your favorite language-learning activity - post it to our QTalk Facebook page. We'll select one entry each month to receive a FREE 1-year subscription to our Online Games.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

While it's true that a child's mind is able to build many more new neural connections more quickly, it is NEVER too late to acquire a new language, and reap the benefits described in this opinion piece from the New York Times

At Tribeca Language we have helped students in their sixties and seventies speak for the first time in a language other than English - to their own delight and amazement!

What do you think it will take, to persuade the school committees and budget-balancers, that world language education needs to be part of the core elementary school curriculum, not just in magnet schools, charter schools and private schools but in EVERY elementary school?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Education Specialist Catherine Waldron enjoyed the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of you at the Western New York Foreign Language Educator's Conference annual meeting on Saturday, March 3 at West Middle School in West Seneca, New York, just outside of Buffalo.

The QTalk Publishing team would like to thank JoAnn, Eileen, Kim, Mark, Amanda and everyone else who helped to put together Saturday's wonderful event.

QTalk Education Specialist Catherine Waldron represented us this time. She had so much fun, she hopes to be able to do more of these conferences in the coming weeks. Usually Catherine's is the voice you hear when you call our toll-free number and have a product question or need a proposal, free product samplers, or get some vendor paperwork completed in order to process a purchase.

Catherine would like to shout out special thanks to three wonderful teens -- Patrick, Gordon and Krysta -- for their help during exhibitor setup and breakdown. Thank you to all the vendors and participants who attended, including the many teachers, student teachers, and college faculty who stopped by to visit and learn about our QTalk method and products, "Visual "cues" to talk" enabling rapid oral production with engaging, fun classroom activities.

One more note about this event: the winds were gusting up to seventy miles per hour throughout the day, adding to the sense of excitement and adventure!