Posts Tagged learning a foreign language
For those of you who know me, you might know I am not a huge fan of testing and I didn’t do a lot of testing throughout our high school years. Even though I am not a fan, there are some times when testing can be really helpful to you.
For one thing, you want to make sure that if you are applying to a specific college and they are going to ask you for certain high school test scores that you know that in advance. If they want to see a SAT subject test or an AP test, you cannot really make that up in a month. Sometimes you have to plan years ahead to get those tests taken care of.
So that is one situation where you should find out exactly which tests the college will want. When you really want to go to a certain college you are going to have to do the testing in order to reach that goal.
The other situation is that sometimes you don’t actually know what your children are learning. Maybe they read so much or they are so involved in this project or that activity, that you don’t really realize how much information they know. In that situation, it can be really helpful for you to give them some sort of test so that you can figure out how much they know.
Another example of a good reason for tests is if they are learning a foreign language and you are not using a curriculum, and you really don’t know how much foreign language they’ve learned, you might want to give them an SAT subject test in that foreign language or maybe a CLEP exam in that foreign language. If they pass the exam, you will know how many credits of foreign language to give them. And if they don’t but they come close, then you’ll know that it’s not 3 years, but perhaps it is 2 years. Read the rest of this entry »
According to a popular biblical story, before mankind decided to build a tower that would reach all the way to heaven (the Tower of Babel), there was a single language, universally spoken and comprehended by all. As the story goes, mankind was punished for the hubris of building this tower by having their one universal language turned into dozens of different languages. The inability to communicate in each other’s languages resulted in mass confusion and the ultimate destruction of the tower.
Whether the story as a whole is fact or fiction is not the salient point to consider here: what is true is that today there are between five and six thousand different languages spoken around the world, and that the inability to communicate in each other’s languages can indeed cause mass confusion and, at a minimum, an erosion of goodwill between different cultures.
Being able to speak another person’s language is a critical skill, especially as increased travel opportunities, satellite programming, and international use of the internet have begun to create a truly global community. But when is the best time to begin learning a foreign language? Many experts would say the sooner the better, and in fact, there have been numerous studies and reports, some dating back to the 1960s, indicating that the ideal time to begin studying a foreign language is in elementary school. Read the rest of this entry »