World Learning Instruction Must Be Made Priority in Schools, Community
There is so much in which our schools and community must invest in order to better support, educate, and equip its students and residents. However, funds are often limited and it is easy for even the most essential needs to go unmet. As it pertains to education, one of the first areas to be overlooked or underfunded, is also one of the most foundational for socioemotional development.
Simply put, World Languages are an integral part of a well-rounded education. To ‘educate’ is from the Latin, meaning to lead out. To lead out of narrow and dark ways of thinking, opening hope and possibility. What we once thought might be a panacea for a democratic world, the internet, has opened so many opportunities that take advantage of people’s fear. Using half-truths and slippery language people who don’t look or sound like us are demonized, ridiculed and disregarded. Most of us have participated.
And in this disconnected, connected world – teaching a World Language and Culture is one of the best ways to combat the fear that lives deep inside each of us. It lights a path to seeing the other as a human; our brothers or sisters. Studying another language and culture helps us to see other ways of existing within and contributing to our one world.
Imagine if every school and community viewed World Language Instruction as a celebrated foundation for learning, instead of just a requirement, or even worse, an elective. Where studying other cultures was seen as a rich and valuable experience with benefits for everyone. This shift in mindset would immediately impact our appreciation for other cultures, and instill compassion for others who, though different, share much of our underlying values. In our current social climate, this could not be more vital.
While languages are most easily acquired by the young, they are important and relevant at any age. World Language offerings benefit all learners, not just those bound for post-secondary institutions. Learning another language offers a window to the world, improved use of one’s first language, improved memory, support for critical thinking and problem-solving. This can lead one to wonder why we aren’t investing more in this critical area of education for our nation.
World Language Instruction is a fundamental and valuable resource. The benefits go beyond the typical need for college entrance where you most often find high schools providing Spanish and French, and some regions and specialty schools offering German or Latin. And yet still, there are some places lucky enough to have expanded offerings, like Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Korean and more. What does world language instruction look like in your school? In your community? Could expanding your offerings bring cohesion in the wake of division and distrust?
The World of Learning Institute began as a service for small and rural schools and has grown to support a variety of schools, districts and service agencies to expand opportunities for students to learn world languages. For more information about providing World Languages for schools and districts that are accessible, affordable and suitable for all ages, visit: www.worldoflearninginstitute.com
Find more about Dr. Mulroy HERE