The teaching of foreign languages provides a variety of benefits:
- Teaches listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture with emphasis on communication.
- Exposes students to the beauty and richness of other languages and civilizations.
- Strengthens cognitive thinking skills.
- Supports the native language of the student and reinforces English grammar.
The ultimate goal of an academic elementary program is to complete successfully the level one high school curriculum. The high schools currently require a foreign language placement test and/or written recommendation by the student’s foreign language teacher.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE RATIONALE
To support the current/existing philosophy incorporated in the Diocesan Foreign Language Guidelines, we offer the following rationale:
- Research indicates the most successful language learning takes place between birth and age ten to twelve. At this young age, the child will have an easier time of learning and retaining the language.
- When children study foreign language, they develop higher cognitive thinking skills. Foreign language study helps students gain a better understanding of the grammar/ structure of their native language. As a result they usually perform better on standardized tests (Terra Nova, HSP/AT, SAT, ACT).
- Two or three years of foreign language study in high school do not always provide fluency in a foreign language. Fluency will more likely be reached if the child has started foreign language learning much earlier and continues to advanced levels in high school.
- Study of a foreign language creates citizens who will learn to accept, understand and appreciate the diversity of cultures. Thinking globally will help to promote world peace.
- In our global society, as the world becomes more interdependent, students’ knowledge of foreign language is crucial for expanded career opportunities. It will also aid in developing responsible citizens of the world community and bring us closer to realizing the Kingdom of God on earth.
Diocese of Arlington Office of Catholic Schools