Multilingualism at Belding

Multilingualism at Belding Elementary

We have exciting news! Belding has the amazing opportunity to offer 2 language programs: Arabic and Spanish! Both programs are based on the Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) model meaning that each program will introduce the target language and accompanying cultures to students through weekly class sessions.

Both programs will cultivate foundational language skills within cultural contexts. The programs will emphasize basic listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. Upon completion of the programs, learners will be able to comprehend and respond to both spoken and written Spanish and/or Arabic with cultural awareness.

The overall goals of the programs are to inspire all learners to be confident, passionate leaders, and to foster curiosity and respect toward other languages and cultures.

Why is my child learning 2 new languages in elementary school?

We are naturally wired to learn multiple languages. When we learn another language, we are better adept at abstract thinking, we are more sensitive to culturally diversity, and we can make connections between the two languages.

The best time to learn multiple languages is before middle school. When we reach the ages 10-12, the ability to learn another language becomes significantly harder because our cognitive flexibility decreases with age. Surprisingly, young children can hear slight differences between sounds that adults cannot. Thus, the younger we begin learning a language, the easier it is to pick up and to use naturally and spontaneously.

Can a young child learn 2 languages at the same time? Myth: Learning two languages will confuse your child.

Referenced from HealthyChildren.org (http://tinyurl.com/y5kdfqqw) and CPS.edu (http://tinyurl.com/yxon44b7)

 

Why Learn Arabic?

Arabic connects you to hundreds of millions of  speakers around the globe.

Arabic is the fifth-most spoken language in the world with over 200 million native speakers of Arabic and more than 400 million total speakers of the language.

Arabic connects you to Arab-American communities.

In the United States, more than one million Americans speak Arabic at home, making it the fastest growing second language in the United States since 2010. These 1 million are among an estimated 3.6 million Americans total of Arab origin. These people make up diverse communities that represent different religions (primarily Christian and Muslim), countries of origin, and cultures, including first-generation immigrants and families who have been in the United States for generations.

Open the door to more languages!

Knowing Arabic opens the door to many other languages. About 50% of the Farsi vocabulary is made up of Arabic words. Hebrew is also related linguistically to Arabic, making it easier to grasp. Finally, many Latin-based languages, like Spanish, have Arabic roots. Therefore, knowing Arabic makes it possible to learn other languages easily!

Referenced from Day Translations (http://tinyurl.com/y3wcljb7) and Huffington Post (http://tinyurl.com/y3z8fdxg)

 

Why Learn Spanish?

Spanish helps you get to know your neighbors and make friends around the globe!

Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world. With 387 million native speakers, more people on earth speak Spanish than English. Even more surprising, though, is that the United States has more Spanish speakers than Spain!  Spanish is also the second most-spoken language in the United States, with more than 35 million speakers across the country. Cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago brim with Spanish speakers and Spanish culture. Moreover, the opportunities for Spanish speakers across the globe are endless!cExpand your world!

 

Spanish broadens your travel opportunities.

Spanish is the official language of 21 countries worldwide, and those countries are home to many exquisite and fun travel destinations. If you speak Spanish, you can stray from the tourist path and explore local culture with ease. Travel stress is also minimized when you understand directions and menus, and countless doors open to travelers who speak the native language of the country they’re visiting.

Spanish connects you to Hispanic culture.

World-renowned singers like Juanes and Gloria Estefan, filmmakers such as Pedro Almodovar, and writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez are all native Spanish speakers. Knowing Spanish will help you understand and appreciate other cultures and Hispanic cultural contributions.