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 Diversity and Languages 
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I think that diversity is one of the most amazing aspects of our country. Being a French major and having loved languages and traveling all my life, understanding and hearing about different backgrounds is so "cool" to me. I just read Nadia's post and wanted to start a thread on the importance of teaching languages and encouraging people to learn a different language, study abroad and experience other cultures. Traveling is what makes my clock tick. I have been to places all over the country and been out of the country a few times and love just seeing the way other people live. How they interact with their families, what it's like in other towns, the foods they eat, the language they speak, etc. My mom grew up in South Louisiana, and we go back to visit all the time, and it is a completely different world down there. There is so much to learn from the past culture, and even the language is different. At first it's the accent that throws people, but I know it's nothing compared to what an immigrant deals with, but I know when my mom moved to Pennsylvania in her 20s, she was even teased for speaking differently. Her Cajun accent was different, and she was picked on for it. Luckily my dad thought it was cute... but that's behind the point. I've been blessed to have been able to travel and experience and embrace other cultures, and I think that as teachers, we have to really preach the importance of being "different" and coming from different backgrounds. Now, I know I'm bias, but I think requiring students to take foreign languages in High School is incredible. Even for just a few classes in High School will open people's eyes to different ways of living, and will make people more receptive to diversity.

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Kim Volker


Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:55 am
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I definitely agree with you, Kim. I think having students take a foreign language in high school is a wonderful way to open their eyes to a different culture and make them further aware of diversity. However, I feel as if a foreign language class needs to be taught as such. I don't think a foreign language class should just stress on the composition of the language, but also include activities that will enlighten students to another culture.

As for the traveling, I think it is also a wonderful tool for teachers to use if they wish. As a history teacher, I hope to be able to organize history-related optional weekend field trips.

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Merry Lauren Futch


Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:54 pm
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While I think that taking a foreign language class in high school is a good thing, I do see the difference between the ability to speak another language and not learning the predominant language of a country that you live in. All students in public schools should be required to learn English as a prerequisite to entering into the school system. Many other countries do not provide the ESL-type programs that we offer here and students are required to learn the language on their own.

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Jonathan Wade Hodges

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Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:16 pm
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