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World Languages Resources for K-12 Teachers and Parents

The support of every parent is critical in assuring quality world languages programs in every school. Parent organizations and community groups are encouraged to request additional information from their child's school. Parents might want to ask their child's world language teacher questions about the program sequence, curriculum and language options available in grades K-12. Special programs and activities that provide additional instruction in world languages may be available on Saturdays and after school. Parents are also encouraged in enroll in world language classes, where they can experience first-hand how second languages are being taught and share with their children the excitement of learning a second language.

How can parents encourage their children to use a second language?

Parents are central to motivating their children to learn and use a second language. It is important for parents to encourage and praise their children for communicating in the second language they are learning. Here are some suggested activities for parents:

  • Have children teach family members new words and phrases they are learning in school.
  • Encourage children to use the second language to order in restaurants.
  • Discuss places where other languages are used such as billboards, ballots, and advertisements.
  • Ask children to look at the similarities and differences between English and the second language they are learning.
  • Explore other languages in the supermarket by looking at foreign food aisles and reading labels.
  • Read "authentic" (real-life) texts such as newspapers and magazines in the second language.
  • Watch TV and listen to radio shows in the second language and discuss what is taking place.
  • Sing simple children's songs and popular songs in the second language.
  • Put up a "word wall" in the house displaying new words in the second language.
  • Label household objects in the second language.
  • Play games such as "BINGO" in the second language.
  • Visit ethnic festivals and restaurants.
  • Visit museums where works of artists from the country the student is studying are represented.

What community connections support learning a second language?

The cultural and linguistic diversity in the state of New Jersey provides students many opportunities to communicate with speakers of other languages in their local communities on a daily basis. These opportunities provide practice in communication where language is used for a specific purpose and offer exposure to different cultures. Students should be encouraged to participate in multilingual/multicultural activities, including:

  • Visiting neighborhood locations where a second language is spoken, such as supermarkets, churches, travel agencies, etc.;
  • Practicing the language with others who have recently arrived from another country;
  • Making telephone calls in the second language to embassies, airlines, restaurants, etc., to request information;
  • Interviewing native speakers;
  • Researching careers where it is beneficial to speak another language or that require proficiency in a second language; and
  • Inviting members of various professions and the business community to discuss opportunities for individuals who speak a second language.

What technology resources support learning a second language and exploring other cultures?

Current technology provides students boundless opportunities to communicate globally. Parents have an opportunity to observe their children participating in interactive forms of communication using technology resources that demonstrate their level of understanding in the second language. Some technology-related activities that promote communication in the second language include:

  • Using the Internet to explore the geography, arts, and culture of other countries;
  • Using e-mail to communicate with pen-pals or e-pals in other countries;
  • Reading on-line newspapers and magazines from around the world;
  • Using videos or CDs in the second language; and
  • Watching TV shows broadcast from other countries.
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globalteachinglearning.com   Updated: Fri Nov 23 2007