Thursday, November 15, 2007

Building a Nation of Polyglots

Yes I said polyglots. Simply stated, it means multilingual or able to read, write, speak, several languages. After reading the below article, give me your thoughts. We (Charles County) are not building polyglots but we do offer courses in various languages. Is that enough?


The United States, often fiercely chauvinistic and sometimes outright isolationist, has never considered the ability to speak a foreign language an essential talent. Unlike many Europeans and Asians who learn languages in primary school, most Americans do not get the chance until high school or in the grades just before — at too advanced an age to soak in quirky words and syntax with the nimbleness needed for fluency. That is why traveling Americans resign themselves to speaking menu French or Spanish.

But with an economy that recognizes few geographical borders, and with people from all over the planet becoming our next-door neighbors, more Americans are demanding language instruction earlier in school.

Read more HERE


Anonymous said...


My daughter has LOOOONGED to learn French and Italian but is currently taking Spanish I since it is all she is able to take in her grade.

She started asking to learn French and German in FOURTH GRADE - and I asked the school - nothing. I phoned Thomas Stone and Westlake to see if the language teachers tutored (not that I could have afforded it then, but I wanted to try) but none of them did.

Several people suggested that she take one of the CSM kids summer language camps - but they were only a week long - maybe two - how does that help somebody who wants to learn to speak a language?

Two years ago I started looking for local tutors and teachers again - I could find NOTHING - the closest person on Craigslist was Oxon Hill - and only taught adults.

It is VERY FRUSTRATING when your child is saying PLEASE TEACH ME THIS and you CAN’T!!!

I have to farm out her acting and piano lessons to workshops and teachers becuase the arts is so WOEFULLY inadequate around here.

If anybody reading this teaches French in the Waldorf area - please send leave me a note here!

Anonymous said...

You are so right.

The arts suck major league in Charles County.
Look at the meager marching bands.
30 or 40 kids? You've got to be kidding me.
A neighbor of mine moved from Ohio, and with the color guard, the band had 375 students in it.

It's a sad situation.
Look at the behavior in the middle schools. We have THUGS, most not having either two parents, or even an actual biological parent.

The kids swear, fight, and are nasty to our teachers. They are referred time and time again, only to come back into the teacher's classroom and continue the poisonous cycle.
I ask Mrs. Abell, "Could you please find out why we allow the nasty and vulgar behavior in our middle schools?"
Why are we allowing these thugs to come down from the north into our schools and destroy them?

We can thank our wonderful county commissioners for building the daylights out of Charles County.

And these ninkompoops are asking why our veteran teachers leaves these schools in droves?

Anonymous said...

I wanted to view this blog several months ago, but work, kids, etc. has prevented me. Ms. Abell, keep up the good work! I'm coming from a strange perspective, growing up in NY, retired military linguist, Navy Master Training Specialist, taught NJROTC at Westlake for a year and now do what I love best, information technology. We currently have one daughter at La Plata HS in the marching band. GO BAND GEEKS!

I could talk forever about education or lack thereof but let's address the issue of linguistics. When I was in High School many years ago, all that was offered was Latin, French, Spanish and German. Greek was not offered. The classical languages were offered not to make one fluent when traveling or doing business, it was the basic part of education. To be able to study texts in the original language. Hard to put in context Julius Caesar's writings unless you could read Latin for example.

I believe curriculum today is more geared toward pushing the children through the education factory. Make them feel accomplished when nothing warrants that reward. Very few parents are involved extensively, for whatever reason. School boards and teachers unions advocate politically correct classes, all which take valuable resources away from the primary goal of education, to make our people citizens of value able to contribute to society. I believe we've lost our way regarding "What is the goal of education?"

Gene H. Webb
La Plata

Anonymous said...

A good start would be to change the policy that the Superintendent has of keeping parents out of their child's classroom.

Let's allow parents to give ample notice, then go into observe the child's class anytime they'd like, except of course during testing.

That way, teachers will know what a parents expects of the teacher; the parents will have a better idea as to the relationship that the teacher has with their child, and they'll also get a better idea of the quality of the classroom environment.

Two visits every quarters rings of a dictatorship.

This must be stopped.