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The Bobcat Prowl

The Bobcat Prowl

The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

World Language Offers More Than Just a Credit

Language display put up in the second floor hallway of the main building.
Ethan Sands
Language display put up in the second floor hallway of the main building.

South Windsor High School offers a variety of world languages to its students, including Italian, French, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL).

For most students going into these courses, they were raised without constant exposure to that language. This poses a unique challenge for students and teachers alike, as they try to achieve fluency.

“I think that when people think about learning a language, they don’t understand that it requires this commitment of immersing yourself,” Spanish teacher Jessica Serrano said when talking to The Prowl.

However, this also creates a unique opportunity for teachers to use different tools in class to present an unfamiliar language to students.

Proficiency is the method most SWHS world language teachers use to teach their students. This is achieved using a combination of practical skills and immersive learning to help students get the most out of instruction time.

“So you want to just kind of flood the kids with language, and they will pick up the grammar along the way,” ASL teacher Barbara Eddy explained.

The way Eddy incorporates immersion into her classroom is by teaching “voice-off”, meaning she will only sign or write on the board during class so that students are used to having to understand directions communicated in ASL.

Language teachers also try to present topics relevant to students, so that they have opportunities to practice it outside of class. For example, in Spanish II, students start by learning vocabulary about school, something that’s happening to them right then.

French teacher Moussa Ly was born in Senegal and raised speaking French. He then spent years learning Arabic, English and Spanish. A distinctive technique Ly used to teach himself those languages is music – what he describes as a “universal language.”

When Ly was learning English, he would listen to Eminem songs over and over again until he could write out all the lyrics in English. Now, he makes sure to play French music in the background when students are working in class.

I see language as an art

— French teacher Moussa Ly

But language is more than just a means of communication to Ly.

“I see language as an art,” Ly elaborated, “Unique to every culture and strong enough to break down barriers.”

Knowing a second language can be beneficial for student resumes and for communication when traveling to another country.

“People open up more and feel more at ease when they are not put under pressure speaking English,” French teacher Reyes Mabasa said.

World language is a skill that can benefit students for the rest of their life, and the SWHS world language department is more than ready to equip students with the skills they need to retain their language of choice.

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About the Contributor
Ethan Sands
Ethan Sands, Staff Writer
Ethan Sands is a new junior at South Windsor High School. He loves writing of any kind and is excited to start at  The Bobcat Prowl this year. In his free time, he likes to play basketball in his driveway and he also climbs at Stone Age Rock Gym in Manchester CT. He doesn’t know what career he wants to pursue, yet, but is planning to go to some sort of college after high school. Between high school and college, he wants to go on a road trip across the country with his friends.