FLA-OC is offering a $30 Borders gift certificate to the current Member's student whose essay is selected to represent our organization in the National Year of Languages Essay Contest. Membership goes from December to December - update yours today! More detailed information on the essay contest can be found at the ACTFL Year of Languages website, but here are the basics:
THEME: "How does learning another language benefit my community and my country?"
ESSAY FORMAT: Hand-written in ink on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, from one to three pages in length. No student or teacher information on ANY of the actual essay pages. Back page should have the following:
Essays will be scored by a committee of FLA-OC Teacher Members on March 3, 2005, at Tustin High School (Room 401, 3:30 PM).
An article from The Zest! Editor, Flo Martin, for the Daily Pilot:
Are we confused yet? Are we suffering from paralytic monolingualism? If so, take heart. You’re not the only one. Those of us past the age of 25 really struggle with any language other than English.
The younger generation—high schoolers and younger—are enjoying more world language classes than ever before. They are studying Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Korean, Japanese in addition to the standard Spanish, French and German that we older folks had access to during our teens.
To celebrate this important change, thanks to an initiative sponsored by Senators Dodd of Connecticut and Cochran of Mississippi, language education programs throughout our country are celebrating 2005 as the Year of Languages (YOL). Author Maya Angelou is part of the national Honorary Committee. At the state level, Jack O’Connell, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Chauncey Veatch, former U.S. Teacher of the Year, head up the Blue Ribbon Committee for YOL. The celebration will encourage learners of all ages to look at language study as an important component for personal growth and career enhancement.
Research points to the benefits of an early start and an extended program of language study. Kids learn languages best from birth to age 6. This writer is living proof. Because of her immigrant status from age 5 to age 19, she became fluent in four languages by age 10. She understands *** as Happy New Year!
One focus of the YOL initiative is to promote language instruction in elementary schools. With eight to ten years of language instruction, the student will be able to achieve the best level of proficiency. We Americans need desperately to become more fluent in world languages. Ach, Du Lieber! Governor Schwarzenegger would agree, don’t you think?
YOL events will take place on C-SPAN television, as well as at the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center. Libraries everywhere will be sharing multicultural stories and organizing a “Read Around the World.” Schools, from elementary to college level, will take part.
How can you and your kids participate? If you speak a language other than English, how about heading for your local library or bookstore and offering to read a multicultural story in a children’s circle? How about going to your local school and organizing a multicultural outreach event? How about a “music from around the world” day at school? How about national paper flags (you can get them on the Internet) decorating your house or your school?
My students had an assignment at the beginning of September to do just that—create a flag that reflected their origins. (Some parents were clueless and ended up calling Grandma or Grandpa long-distance to find out where the family originated.) The ceiling of my classroom had literally hundreds of flags hanging down. Every September, the new students would add more. Over the years, alumni would bring their kids to my room at Open House and say, “See…(little Johnnie or Susie) there’s Mommy’s (Daddy’s) flag when I went to school here.”
How about having your student participate in a YOL-sponsored essay or poster contest, prizes to be announced. The theme for the essay: “How does learning another language benefit my community and my country”? For the poster: “Good things happen when you learn another language.” (prizes for both the student and teacher) Essays and posters must be submitted to me (or another member of the Foreign Language Association of Orange County) by the first week of February.
Interested? I really hope so! For further information, check out www.yearoflanguages.org for the guidelines of the essay and poster contests. If you can’t find what you need there, just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Bis bald, dann. A bientôt, alors. Do skoro. (See ya later, Alligator.)