Foreign Language Curriculum

It is tempting for Americans to think that English—the primary business language in the world—is the only language that need be studied. But while is entirely possible to get by in this world without ever learning a second tongue, there are many possible reasons for wanting to study one anyway. With the increases in transportation and communications technology over the last century, the likelihood of interacting with people who speak another language is higher than ever, and the ability to communicate with them is a valued skill. We cannot always tell what foreign language may be useful to us in our lifetime, but the study of one often makes it easier to learn others.

Consider...

  • Many companies prefer to hire bilingual employees. Fluent speakers of a second language often have a higher chance of landing a job than someone else with the same qualifications, yet without the second language.
  • It's not as if there is a simple one-for-one correlation for every English word in another language. The vocabulary, grammar, and history of other languages—though similar at times—are all different from our own. So when you learn another language, you also learn something about a foreign mindset—you are given a chance to better understand and appreciate other people and cultures.
  • Studying a foreign language provides many students with their first real use of the grammar skills they have learned over the years. Learning another language provides reinforcement for understanding our own.
  • As Christians, we have other reasons: such as being able to study the Bible in its original languages (Hebrew, Koine Greek, or Aramaic), perhaps assisting with translation efforts, or witnessing to those from another culture.

Requirements:

Many students start learning a foreign language in high school or late middle school. Some states require a certain amount of foreign language study (on average two years) in order to graduate, but in others this is a requirement only of certain graduation plans (for example, college prep). The State of Oregon places a low priority on foreign language in its graduation requirements, lumping it with Applied or Fine Arts, and requiring only a minimum of one credit hour of a combination of these to obtain a high school diploma.

We place low value on the State's requirements, and suggest you consider the more important questions: what does my student need for college entrance, for a chosen career path, or for typical life situations?

Independent Programs Offered:

Here is a quick summary of the Foreign Language curricula we offer, in alphabetical order:

10 Minutes a Day Grades 6-12

While they won't bring you to fluency, the 10 Minutes a Day books will get you well on your way, building familiarity and survival-level conversational skills in a variety of languages. Each book comes with flashcards, sticker labels, plenty of exercises, and fun CD-ROM content, most of which is built around teaching vocabulary skills, though basic sentence structure is also addressed.

A Beka Foreign Language Grades 7-12

A Beka Foreign Language offers courses in both Spanish and French. The need for conversation practice is frequently emphasized and reiterated, and the authors encourage this program be used in a classroom context. Kids learn both grammar and vocabulary, as well as the cultures in which the language is used; students are reminded that foreign language learning should lead to evangelism.

BJU Foreign Language Grades K-12

Like any program from Bob Jones, BJU Foreign Language (offering courses in Spanish, French, and Latin) is teacher-intensive. The authors understand that many teachers don't know the language students are learning, and they're provided enough information and help in the teacher's guides to prevent this from becoming a problem.

Living Language Grades 7-12

The immediate goal of Living Language courses is not fluency: it's conversational confidence. These are more or less tourist-oriented language programs (and there are a lot of languages covered) that present a fine jumping-off place, but nothing more. With a reference dictionary, handbook, and several audio CDs, students learn the basics of everything from German to Arabic.

Rosetta Stone Grades 9-12

Companies like IBM and Lockheed Martin (and even some government agencies) have implemented the Rosetta Stone language courses based on their depth and thoroughness. Each course is grammar-heavy, though there aren't many built-in grammar helps; students are expected to achieve a degree of fluency through the use of workbooks and audio CDs in what amounts to immersion.

Tell Me More Software Grades K-12

Whether you're looking to learn something exotic like Mandarin Chinese, or something a little easier like Spanish or Italian, Tell Me More Software offers about 30 CD-ROM courses to thoroughly educate you in the comfort of your own home. Students speak into a microphone, complete games and exercises, and track their progress in these easy to use programs.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

 

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