by Kathy Bailey, Spanish Teacher for Summer Language Institute
I decided I was going to learn Spanish when I was ten. My father, a Christian college professor, often had students visit in our home. One evening, a young woman from Puerto Rico brought her three-year-old daughter. The little girl spoke only Spanish and I spoke only English. Never before had I experienced a “language barrier” and when I did, it not only frustrated me, but it inspired in me an unquenchable determination to learn the language.
I took every Spanish class available throughout high school and decided in college to major in Spanish as well as Elementary Education. Thirty years later, I’m still learning more Spanish and have enjoyed every opportunity to use it and to teach it to others.
Before meeting this little girl, I don’t remember ever encountering someone who didn’t speak English. In fact, my awareness of people who spoke other languages was only from stories about missionaries who traveled to other countries to translate the Bible.
Today, many of us use more than one language, and almost all of us know someone who speaks a language other than English. Languages that many still call “foreign languages” are now a part of every adult’s experience, be it at school or work, while traveling, or even at the doctor’s office or visiting with neighbors.
Although English has been, and continues to be, a global language, we as parents and educators would be amiss to think that learning only one language is enough for our children, and even for ourselves.
I like to think of learning other languages as an opportunity for the width of a person’s knowledge to be stretched from “the banks of a river” to “the vast expanse of an ocean”. Many of us may have read or heard the little phrase,
“learn a foreign language; say twice as much.”
There’s truth in that thought-provoking phrase, but its message is inadequate. When you do the work of learning a foreign language, you begin not only to “say twice as much,” but to increase in seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, smelling, understanding, enjoying, and even in knowing far more than “twice as much,” not just about the language, but about the cultures, the countries, the traditions, the foods, the art and music, and the histories of those who communicate with the language. Learning another language is like digging for buried treasure; it is well worth the labor and is priceless in value.
This summer, Clapham School is offering a unique opportunity to the community through our new Summer Language Institute. Not only can students begin learning Spanish, but French, Greek, and Latin too!
This exciting new endeavor offers classes for students entering Class One through high school. Class lengths in Introductory Spanish or French are: one week for children entering Classes 1-3 and, two weeks for those going into Classes 4-6. Four-week classes are being offered in Spanish I, French I, Greek I, and Latin I for students in Class 7 and up. Students who successfully complete a four-week course will earn 1 credit in foreign language at Clapham School.
These summer classes are open to Clapham students and to children in the surrounding community. (Clapham families are eligible for a 10% discount on the total cost.) Clapham families are encouraged to sign up early to secure a spot in the Greek or Spanish classes as class sizes are limited and participation is open to others in the community.
For more detailed information about this opportunity, Clapham School parents are asked to please stop in the school office for an information packet/application. All interested families can find class offerings, dates, and cost information at http://www.claphamschool.com/academics/summer-language-institute.
Please note that all applications and course payments must be received before April 1, 2014 and a minimum enrollment of 5 students is required for each class.
If you have additional questions, please call the school office at 630-547-5125.
We hope your family will be a part of this valuable opportunity and will share it with family and friends who may also be interested!