Teaching English to Pass or to Learn?

(Courtesy of Getty Images) Chinese test preparation company New Oriental Education & Technology Group dominates the Chinese market for preparing students to take entrance exams such as the SAT and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to be accepted into American universities. What sets them apart from their American competitors such as Kaplan … Continue reading

No Surprise: Chinese, Japanese and Arabic on the Rise

(Photo courtesy of  U.S. DoS) The traditional foreign language offerings, Spanish and French, are still leading the numbers among high schoolers enrolled in each courses. However, some Eastern languages are slowly grabbing their bigger piece of the pie. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages reported that Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Arabic are being offered … Continue reading

Parents seek exposure of children to Chinese culture

(Photo courtesy of mLive) There are public schools. There are private schools. There are charter schools. And then there are language immersion programs, and they open up an entire other category. Language immersion programs take place at all kinds of education institutions, but instead of teaching a foreign language as a separate subject, the selected … Continue reading

Arabic: Making it Mandatory?

(Photo courtesy of Yael) Forget just making foreign language credit mandatory, Mansfield ISD in Texas is making Arabic classes mandatory. Or at least they tried. Protesting parents have put the plan to a temporary halt. The proposed 2012 Arabic course offering is due to a $1.3 million Foreign Language Assistance Program grant from the Department of Education … Continue reading

Are we teaching the wrong languages?

(Image courtesy of  Marcus Koljonen) In a recent editorial in the WSJ, John McWhorter, a French major, argues that we are stuck in the past, teaching languages that are no longer useful to today’s students, who are of course the future of our nation.  Mr. McWhorter makes three points in his argument: 1. Chinese and Arabic first, … Continue reading

Sasha Obama is learning Chinese

(Photo courtesy of The WSJ) Sasha Obama is all play here with her sister Malia, but 9 year-old Sasha is serious about her future. Young Sasha is learning Chinese at her private grade school, the Sidwell Friends School, and was eager to put it into practice when Chinese President Hu Jintao was in town visiting … Continue reading

Chinese in, European languages out.

(Photo courtesy of  Xinhua) How many of us studied French, German, Spanish, Italian and even Latin, when we were in school? Almost everyone I knew studied one of these languages for at least two years in middle or high school. I not only studied Spanish in middle school, but tried to pick up a little … Continue reading