In a previous column, I highlighted the importance of global education in our evolving society. Central to the aim of developing global citizens is a commitment to providing students with a comprehensive course of study in foreign language. Youth
provide an invaluable source of cultural awareness, and instill in students a lifelong appreciation for other cultures within the context of a broader contemporary curriculum.
A glance at today’s headlines underscores the critical nature of international relations in the creation of a stable, peaceful future. To speak another language is to possess a key to diplomacy, while ignoring the necessity of cultural empathy and effective discourse leads to miscommunication, confusion and strife. At Francis Parker School, our mission is to prepare our students to be responsible and capable citizens of a changing world; and our foreign language program will foster both an understanding of and appreciation for language. Our language courses focus on practical application and teach students how to communicate in a variety of situations ranging from home to school to work, play, travel and leisure – all while progressing at a pace that ensures consistent success and development. As skills improve, students gain the confidence that comes with accuracy and effective communication; over time, this confidence translates into linguistic and cultural fluency that remains—indeed, continues to grow—long after graduation from Parker.
New languages, new worlds: foreign language learning at Francis Parker School
It’s never too early to begin learning a new language; at Parker, all our Lower School students, including those enrolled in kindergarten, study Spanish within their daily core curriculum. In the coming 2012-2013 academic year, Lower School students will have a choice between daily Spanish and Mandarin, while Middle and Upper School students have the option of studying French or Latin in a traditional classroom setting or one of the additional 19 languages available in our independent study Virtual Language Lab. From Arabic to Hindi, Vietnamese to Italian, Turkish to Farsi and beyond, students at