World Language Programs In Putnam City Schools

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world."

The exponential growth of technology is setting the stage for seamless networking with entrepreneurs around the world. The missing element is fluency in other languages and cross-cultural knowledge.

The Putnam City school district is providing students with opportunities to acquire proficiency in a language other than English and an understanding and appreciation of different cultures. The goals of the programs are to actively engage students in the study of a second or third language and provide experiences that can prepare them for an ever-expanding international marketplace.

Students begin studying Spanish in the district's K-3 Awareness Program. Although instruction is delivered in Spanish, concepts from other content areas are reinforced through the lessons. Students continue studying Spanish in the middle school program with an emphasis on developing basic communication skills and cultural understanding of the products, practices and perspectives of the Hispanic culture.

The district's high school programs offer courses in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. AP courses are available in French, Latin, and Spanish as well. These four-year programs provide high school students with opportunities to develop advanced proficiencies in a second language.

The reasons for students to study a second language are many.

World language instruction is an important part of education and vital knowledge for every child. World language instruction should be part of every child's education. A language is more than sounds and syntax: it is a culture, a way of thinking, and a perspective on the world. Each language is a precious resource that must be studied, used, and preserved precisely because a language opens the mind to new possibilities. The study of language is the study of life, literature, history, and thought. “It is nothing less than the study of our world and ourselves," said Secretary of Education Rod Paige at a meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in November 2003.

Studying a second language can improve skills and grades in math and English and can also improve entrance exam scores — SATs, ACTs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs. Research has shown that math and verbal SAT scores climb higher with each additional year of study of a second language, which means that the longer a person studies a second language, the stronger his or her skills become to succeed in school. Studying a second language can improve analytic and interpretive capacities.

The world is full of languages, and those who can speak more than one are at an advantage. There are lots of Americans who speak languages other than English. Nurses, doctors, police officers, judges, architects, businesspeople, singers, plumbers, or Webmasters multiply their chances for success if they speak more than one language. A hotel manager or a customer-service representative who knows English and Spanish or English and Korean may look much better at promotion time than one who knows only English.

More and more businesses work closely with companies in other countries. Professionals who know other languages are called on to travel and exchange information with people in other countries throughout their careers. Knowing more than one language enhances opportunities in government, business, medicine and health care, law enforcement, teaching, technology, the military, communications, industry, social service and marketing. An employer will see employees with world language skills as a bridge to new clients or customers.