Learn for Excellence:
for those who will go far.
Most U.S. schools do not teach foreign language until students reach high school, as it was for me years
ago. Then typically there is a two or three year program which attempts to teach students a language in
this short time. At the same time, of course, the students are taking critical college preparatory classes in
math, science and so on, so most students find it a struggle to pass the courses and then very often do not
really learn to speak the language, or even retain what they learned after leaving high school.
In my case, I took 2 years of German in high school, then didn't take any language until my junior year
in college, at which point I'd forgotten most of what I'd learned and had to start over. Even then, though I learned
a lot of German, it was very difficult and took valuable time away from other classes which were also demanding.
Apart from this case, many American students take little or no foreign language at all, either in high school or college,
seeming to confirm the old joke:
What do you call someone who speaks two languages? A: bilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks three languages? A: trilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks several languages: A: multilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks only 1 language: A: American.
At Learn, I think that children should begin learning a foreign language from an early age, and continue this all
through elementary and middle school, and thus learn in a less painful way, and retaining much more of what is
learned. At the moment, we are qualified to teach Spanish from the beginning to advanced levels. I hope in the future
to add other languages, but at the moment we only teach Spanish.
In addition to my own opinion, let me point out that many universities require some foreign language for graduation.
There are at least a couple of ways to satisfy this requirement. One is to take an advanced placement test in the language
and score a 4 or 5. This can be done if the student has sufficient knowledge of the language. Some colleges also allow
students taking four years of high school Spanish to satisfy the requrement, provided the grades are good (read "A").
Perhaps the most difficult way is to actually take the classes in college. This is tough because the classes are tough and
because they will take time away from studying for other tough classes.
One more point I'd like to make. There are many Latino immigrants in the Watsonville area, who grow up hearing Spanish
and can often speak it conversationally. While this is certainly a help, let me point out that this does not guarantee that you
will be able to pass the AP test or get college credit. I am aware that some of these are NOT learning to read Spanish, which
is required. Further, a fairly extensive vocabulary is alse required. Just speaking the language at home as a child may not be
enough. So if you want your child to go to college and meet the foreign language requirement, you may want to consider
putting him or her in a reading class to augment the valuable practice from home.
What this means is that a student who takes a language beginning from an early age has a big advantage on reaching
If you are interested in learning Spanish or for your children to do so, speak to me and we'll discuss the program.
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