Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Teaching the kids French isn’t always fun and games

Teaching the kids French isn’t always fun and games

In month three of teaching her sons French, Louise Tickle hits a few bumps in the road

Dreaming up and then doing all the language activities yourself can be tiring, and – like me this month – you might just find yourself slacking off. So it’s useful to get input from outside sources.”

Languages do matter!

New Year’s 2014 Around the World

New Year’s 2014 Around the World

“We’re tuning in with countries around the world as they begin to ring in 2014. Check back in with us for pictures, news, and celebrations around the clock.”

Languages do matter!

Toward Globally Competent Pedagogy

Toward Globally Competent Pedagogy

“A globally oriented school or classroom is one that creates a global vision and culture, recruits and prepares internationally-oriented teachers, transforms curriculum and instruction by integrating international content, emphasizes language proficiency, and expands student experiences through harnessing technology, international travel and partnerships, and international service learning and internships.”

Languages do matter!

Got Global Competency?

Got Global Competency?

“Creating globally competent U.S. citizens capable of thriving in the twenty-first century workforce is an undeniable thrust of international education. But what exactly comprises the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences necessary to become globally competent?

As many researchers and associations noted, for the United States to continue as a superpower, its citizens must truly be educated with a wide range of cultural, linguistic, and international knowledge. Unless immediate action is taken, this prognostication could quickly become reality.”

Languages do matter!


Court team finds interpreters to get the job done

Court team finds interpreters to get the job done

“The translation service, typically provided to anyone appearing in court who requests it, covers stalwarts like Spanish and Vietnamese. But it also includes many rare and exotic languages — from all corners of the globe — as officials work to ensure fair and efficient trials.

Dallas County spends about $1.1 million each year on interpreter services in the court system.”

Languages do matter!

Creating the Global Studies Curriculum – A Space for the Local?

Creating the Global Studies Curriculum – A Space for the Local?

“We require intermediate language proficiency of our students, the equivalent of four semesters. We encourage – and gave serious consideration to requiring – a major in a foreign language but ultimately felt the credit requirements for a double major would be too intense. But language is a tool for understanding and we wanted our students to at least experience language instruction, to understand the connection between language and culture, and to know that the world does not speak English.”

Languages do matter!

Securing America’s Future: Global Education for a Global Age

Securing America’s Future: Global Education for a Global Age

“In the most prosperous nation on the planet, with the most extensive system of higher education, we are notoriously inept at imparting languages to our youth.

We desperately need to understand other countries and other cultures—friend and foe alike. We are unnecessarily putting ourselves at risk because of our stubborn monolingualism and ignorance of the world.

Most colleges—like our educational system generally—have taken relatively few steps to remedy this shortcoming. It is the rare campus where anyone other than a language major is required to achieve proficiency in a second language—and the ranks of language majors are dwindling. Beginner’s language courses may be crowded, but enrollments beyond that are sparse. Is it any wonder that the U.S. State Department and our intelligence and security agencies are chronically short of analysts and diplomats with critical language skills?”

Languages do matter!


Global Competency

Global Competency

“The second dimension of global competency is the ability to speak, understand, and think in languages foreign to the dominant language of one’s native country. Foreign language skills are analogous to stereoscopic vision for the global mind.”

Languages do matter!

What’s the best way to teach languages?

What’s the best way to teach languages?

How do students best pick up languages? Martin Williams talks to academics, teachers and multi-lingual speakers to find out about the science of learning a language.”

Languages do matter!

Want to travel the world? Then you’ll need a language

Want to travel the world? Then you’ll need a language

“A report by the European Commission in 2011 listed the UK joint-bottom in major rankings showing the number of languages learned in each country. National curriculum reforms set to be introduced next year – which will see foreign languages taught from the age of seven – may help, but figures show the UK has a long way to catch up with other European countries.”

Languages do matter!