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Mar. 10, 2010 Round-Up: Language Instruction

posted: Wed, Mar 10, 2010

This week's round-up is focused on innovations for and debates on the place of language instruction in a technology-driven society. While most of the students discussed in these debates are not yet attending college, these same elementary and high schools students will be in our university classrooms in but a few short years. Language instruction in primary and secondary schools will therefore have a strong impact on language instruction at UT.

  • It's stupid to teach foreign languages: Google helps my case (Dallas Morning News)
    Andrew D. Smith, guest blogger for the Dallas Morning News Technology Blog, continues his prior blog post claiming that "language instruction seemed useless... in a world where technology makes translation instantaneous" -- by including Google's reported "efforts to instantly translate telephone conversations" as evidence of such technology.
  • Never mind 'strategy,' a basic education involves others' languages (The Japan Times Online)
    Roger Pulvers, for The Japan Times Online, responds to a Feb. 7 New York Times article on the rise of Chinese language instruction in U.S. schools. "If you believe you should study a foreign language solely for strategic purposes, such as those that underpinned the study of Russian and Japanese in the past — and those motivating Chinese-language learning today — then you will certainly abandon that study once you feel your nation has "outgrown" the need."
  • The Role and Future of Foreign Language Instruction in US Schools (Georgetown Univ. Program in Education, Inquiry, and Justice blog)
    Another response to the New York Times article on Chinese language instruction's rise in U.S. schools.
  • Austin school district dual language proposal raises concerns for some (Austin American-Statesman)
    "Proposed reforms to the Austin school district's bilingual education program have threatened what some say is a tenuous relationship between new Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and some members of Austin's Hispanic community. By moving from a transitional bilingual education model — where students still learning English get an increasingly limited amount of instruction in their native tongues — to what's called a dual language approach — where students are taught in two languages through high school — district officials say their goal has changed from producing graduates who are bilingual to graduating students who are biliterate."
  • Dual Language Learners: What Early Educators Need to Know (Early Education blog, NewAmerica.net)
    "Dramatic change may be on its way in America’s education system with new federally funded grants and an emphasis on common standards likely to affect how and what the next generation of Americans learn. These shifts garner a lot of media attention. But another trend, no less significant, is also emerging: Every year, more and more kids are entering our public schools speaking a language other than English."
  • WKU signs agreement to become first Kentucky home of Confucius Institute (WKU News)
    "WKU is extending its international reach with the establishment of a Confucius Institute at the Bowling Green campus."
  • New Confucius Institute at Penn State (Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research, Penn State Univ.)
    "China has emerged as one of the top economic and political powers in the 21st century, becoming a critical area of opportunity for U.S. students seeking global careers. Penn State students will have an opportunity to substantially broaden their learning and knowledge of traditional and contemporary Chinese language, culture, history, and society with the establishment of a Confucius Institute at Penn State."

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