A recent podcast with Ms. Rose Potter, a lifelong Spanish language educator, discusses introducing and cultivating support for world languages in our schools. In this brief 17-minute podcast, Ms. Potter examines the many facets of world language education in elementary and secondary schools, deliberating the best ways to introduce bilingualism into the lives of our students.
Ms. Potter begins with a brief history lesson on the American perspective of bilingual education: “I think, first of all, we need to think historically of how Americans have viewed foreign languages – we do call them foreign, like you are not here, you’re not part of us.” To Ms. Potter, our vocabulary surrounding world languages actively affects our perception of those languages. That is, changing the discourse from “foreign languages” to “world languages,” diminishes the exclusion of languages other than English.
Bilingualism serves all populations and those who do not participate are “at a huge disadvantage…[because] it is not simply words you learn, you learn all the different variations within a culture that speaks that language because culture and language are intrinsically bound together.” Just as in TWIN-CS, we know that the introduction of world languages can broaden our perspectives to a worldlier one and promotes cultural tolerance.
Ms. Potter reflects on pragmatic tactics to introduce bilingual education into our schools such as cost-effectiveness, changing methodology, recent studies that discuss cognitive benefits, the growing global world, etc. As she states, being bilingual is more than being fluent in two languages, but involves being culturally fluent and bringing that knowledge to the classroom.
Ms. Potter concludes by praising immersion education. She emphasizes that immersion education, like TWIN-CS, not only assures multilingualism, but offers a refined perspective to including other cultures in the classroom and expands upon the knowledge of both students and faculty, working together to create a better, global world.
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-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher