Wednesday, July 4, 2012

International Diffusion and Power of The German Language

German institutions and schools located all over the World are the main instruments to help this diffusion. Even though German might not be the first language in the school curricula, the number of people learning and/or using it worldwide runs around 128 million.

On the other hand, the knowledge of German gives you access to one of the best educational systems in the world. For instance it gives you access to more than 350 universities and institutes of superior education, some of world-wide reputation. Additionally it is a language that maintains its scientific relevance, due to classical works in many of the branches of the human and social sciences, as evidenced by the continuing relevance of authors like Goethe, Kant, Marx, Freud, Weber or Einstein, whose original works can only be read in German.

Despite the fact that it has a weak standing in the United Nations and the European council, it is considered a "working language" - the official languages being French and English - nevertheless German in Internet is in second place in the Wikipedia, according to the classification on the basis of the number of articles.

The German Government wants to motivate young people to learn German through original events and projects all over the world. With this goal in mind it has created a network of more than 1,400 schools and it has planned an Olympic competition for students, linguistic camps and a juvenile parliament.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 Steps Parents Can Take To Support Elementary Language Education In Their Communities

Many parents and teachers are concerned about cutbacks in funding for foreign language programs at the elementary school level.

Is there anything a parent can do to support early childhood language education in their communities?

Yes! I recently attended a presentation given by Janis Jensen, the NJ Coordinator of World Languages and the President of the National Network for Early Language Learning. During her talk, she made these suggestions for parents and teachers who are being faced with potential cutbacks in their school's foreign language programs.

1. Be an advocate. Many of the teachers at the presentation agreed that active and vocal parents can play a very influential role (sometimes more than teachers) in convincing school boards to support funding for early language learning. Consider organizing concerned parents, and presenting a compelling case to the school board for maintaining adequate funding for early language learning. Sending articles to the local newspaper about the benefits of early language learning also can help generate support for funding language programs.