Spoken communication is emphasized in foreign language classes, in a new approach to developing proficiency. The emphasis on speech is seen as more important that classroom reading and writing.
“When kids take a foreign language in school, their goal is to be able to go to a country where people speak that language and to communicate effectively and to understand the culture and community,” said Julie Gherardi, the Somers Central School District’s assistant superintendent for learning. “So, that is where our focus is going.”
The district has an emphasis on “global citizenship”, and competence in speaking a foreign language is part of that.
“When you’re learning a language, the most important aspect of learning that language is then being able to communicate effectively in the language,” Gherardi said. “So, we’re shifting really to a very, very strong focus on communication.”
As increased numbers of people travel, work, or study overseas, the motivation to learn another language is growing. This increase is fueling the trend toward globalization in learning.