Explore cultures other than your own: the importance of learning another language

Kendyle Laesch ‘22, Photo Editor 

Taking a world language in high school is not a choice, but the language you pick is. But, how do you know what language you would be most interested in? How do you know what you are getting yourself into when you sign up for the class?

The truth is, it is impossible to know.  Or at least until recently. The South Lyon district has created and begun to offer the seventh graders in the local middle schools an elective that allows the students to get familiar with the four core languages offered at South Lyon High School.

The elective, World Languages, gives brief overviews of the Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and German cultures and languages.  This allows for the students to gain background information before they sign up for a language in eighth or ninth grade. When you sign up for classes, being sure of what class you want to take, especially if it is a language you may end up taking for the next four years, is crucial.  This class helps guide kids to what language would best suit them.   

 Grade seven CMS student Kenzie O’Donnell said, “We learn the words by reading articles and listening to songs, and we learn the culture by slide shows that the teacher found.” Which is just as important as learning the language. The class not only introduces the students to the language itself but also to the culture.  Kids are more likely to retain information when it is enjoyable and is being taught in a fun manner-such as through music. 

SLHS Chinese teacher Sandy Shi also thinks that world languages are very beneficial.  Mrs. Shi has more hope that more kids will join Chinese now that they know it is not as “mission impossible” as it may seem when not informed prior about the class.  There are currently only 12 students in the Chinese 3 class at SLHS, because everyone was likely either misinformed or not exposed to any overview of the class prior to coming to the highschool. When choosing their language, they jump the gun and assume it is an overly-difficult class, when, in reality, the district works to accommodate the students. Shi also said, “The class will allow for the students to use their own knowledge and interests to choose what class would be best for them and not [just] the class that their friends are taking.”

SLHS Japanese teacher Michael Rubida also agrees that, “the world language survey course is a fantastic opportunity for our middle school students to get a taste of each of the four languages and cultures that are taught at both the middle school and high school classrooms.” Two of the language teachers find this class extremely beneficial. What other stamps of approval does one need?

In the long run, you want to be happy with your decision since you will have to stick with it for at least two years.  So, make sure you know what the class is all about and what you, personally, are fascinated by the most. Taking the world language class you want and will likely enjoy, increases the chances of you being successful.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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