Why Study a Second
Students of foreign languages:
- Score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English;
- Display enhanced memory, listening, and reading skills;
- Acquire a deeper understanding of their own culture as they explore the culture of other countries;
- Demonstrate better complex problem solving;
- Are poised speakers in front of small or large groups;
- Exhibit accelerated cognitive brain development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking and higher order thinking skills;
- Have opportunities for a greater number of career choices.
The above modified from
NYSUT Brochure: Helping
Your Child to Be a Successful Second Language Learner
WANT TO READ MORE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING A FOREIGN
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What are NYS
Requirements for Foreign Languages?
Here you will find links to requirements for the study of
foreign languages at both State and national levels.
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What You Can Do at
Learning a foreign language is a long process that requires
time spent in class and at home studying and experiencing the
foreign language. Here are some simple and fun things that can
make a world of difference in your child’s success in foreign
- Ask your child or the teacher the topic/unit they are
learning in class and be part of it! If your child is
learning about food, it might be a good opportunity to cook
a dish from a country where the foreign language is spoken
and go over food items in the foreign language with your
- Encourage your child to practice with you at home. Let
your child read or speak to you in the language and perhaps,
let your child teach you some foreign language.
- Do not focus on the pronunciation or getting it right at
first ... practice makes perfect! - Be creative and try to
come up with a game to learn vocabulary words or to remember
a tricky pronunciation.
- Expose your child to people from varied language and
- Speak positively about the value of learning a second
- Provide videos, music and books in other languages. Your
local library or the internet can be a great and
free bank of resources.
- Find a pen pal: Once your child is a bit older and knows
the basics in a foreign language, finding a pen
pal is a great way to practice the language and exert some
independence. Having a pen pal abroad is a great way to
learn about culture in another country and appreciate the
differences in lifestyle, e.g. school, food, holidays,
Remember: As a parent, you are your child's first and most
important teacher. When parents and families are involved in
their children's learning of a foreign language, the children do
better and have better feelings about their foreign language
NYSAFLT would love to hear from parents and share with others
different strategies you may use at home with your child’s study
of a foreign language.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CHILD
WITH FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING?
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Building Strong Parent-Teacher
Communication with school is essential and talking to the
foreign language teacher is equally important! Get in touch with
your child’s foreign language teacher and ask about things you
can do to reinforce the learning that is taking place in the
classroom. Your child’s foreign language teacher will be more
than happy to know about your involvement and will offer copies
of the curriculum, links to web sites, homework requirements,
additional worksheets etc.
- Get a copy of the curriculum/syllabus/program of study
- Ask about ways you can get involved in the foreign
language classroom (cooking demonstration for example)
- Attend open school nights/meetings
- Join the Parents Teachers Association
Here are some additional links for parents who are not sure
about how to build a strong parent-teacher partnership.
What is your child learning in foreign languages?
The Office of Bilingual Education of the New York
State Department of Education
Programs can be found under publications.
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Involved in the Foreign Language Programs
As a parent and language partner, your involvement in the
foreign language programs of the school district your child is
in can be a fun and very rewarding experience. It helps build a
strong partnership between the school, the community, and you as
a language partner! Your voice and involvement in the foreign
language programs can go a long way!
Here is a list of things you can start doing in your
community to advocate for and support foreign languages
- Encourage your school to begin second language study as
early as possible. Studies show that the earlier you start,
the more likely you are to achieve fluency. Inquire about
Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) programs.
Contact the National Network for Early Language Learning,
NNELL, for more information.
- Help in identifying the community second language
- Participate and/or organize local and regional events
where language and cultural diversity are celebrated. Help
sponsor those events in your child’s school. You can offer
suggestions to your child’s foreign language teacher to
organize a fundraiser, a bake sale, etc.
- There are a lot of celebrations in the foreign language
classroom all school year round; find out how you can
contribute and be part of it!
- Encourage programs, extra-curricular clubs (such as
National Honor Society, Foreign Language Clubs, etc.) which
will highlight student success in LOTE for the community,
school and families at large.
If you would like to know more about how to get involved in
your child’s learning of a foreign language, in your district
LOTE programs, opportunities for cultural exchange ... any
questions you may have ... ASK!
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NOTE: NYSAFLT does not endorse or
receive compensation for any of the links found below. NYSAFLT
cannot be help liable for the content that is found on the
following links. You are advised to explore the links at your
own risk. NYASFLT assumes no responsibility for the content
found at any of the following links.
This section offers a variety of web links for the perfect
Explore the Foreign Languages
Become a Foreign Language Advocate in your community:
Parents Push for Foreign Language Classes:
Find a pen pal
Local, State and National Foreign Language
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You will find here frequently asked questions by parents of
second language learners.
Q: I studied a foreign language several years ago
and I do not remember anything and did not like it then so much
– how can I help my child now?
A: The most important thing is to leave behind your concerns
and worries from previous bad experiences in foreign language
learning. As your child embarks on his/her foreign language
learning, it is a great opportunity to start over and begin to
learn with your child! For example, letting your child teach you
a bit of the language or asking him/her for some
words/expressions is a great way to manifest your involvement
and spark a new motivation for both you and your child.
Q: How can I find out what my child is studying
in foreign language class?
A: Your child’s school may make available their curriculum
for each subject directly on line. If not, get in touch with the
foreign language teacher or the building principal to request a
copy of the curriculum. A curriculum (also called a syllabus or
program of study) will give you an outline of how the school
year is divided into different topics and units developed in
Q: I would like my child to begin the study of a
foreign language earlier but my district only offers foreign
language in Junior High. What could I do?
A: First and foremost, work diligently to help in the
development and implementation of a foreign language program on
the elementary level, but consider other activities that will
help nurture the development of such a program. Ask your
district about possibilities to run an after school club or
integrate foreign language activities in an existing elementary
program. . If you know other parents feel the same way you do,
perhaps you can gather a group and offer this suggestion to the
school district. Also, the Internet offers a wide variety of
interactive and fun resources for your child to start the
learning of a foreign language; check the
LINKS section of this
Q: When will my child become proficient in the
language he/she is studying?
A: Becoming fluent in a foreign language is NOT an overnight
process and it will take some time, patience and work.
Just to give you an idea, after two years of a foreign language
study a student should be able to know the basics for
conversation in a variety of situations, such as ordering food
at a restaurant, asking for directions, purchasing items at a
store, etc. You can check the
Standards for foreign language
studies on this web page as well as the
Q: If my school is not planning a trip overseas,
should I think about sending my child to the country to improve
his/her language skills? How do I do that?
A: There is nothing better than being immersed in the culture
of the country where the foreign language is spoken – it is a
unique and probably one of the best ways to learn the foreign
language. Traveling as a family abroad or sending your child to
a summer language camp could both be beneficial ways to improve
language skills. There are however other possibilities to
“travel” and “experience” the language and culture of the
foreign language without having to leave the U.S. Inquire about
events in your communities, international festivals,
restaurants, foreign books, movies, international music, museum
exhibits, language clubs, hosting a foreign student over the
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The Internet can be a great resource for your child. It can
be used for research, communication with teachers and other
children, interactive games etc. By being able to punch in a few
letters on the keyboard, your child can literally access the
World Wide Web. That access can, however, pose hazards and this
section offers links and important resources on internet safety.
Find out about the
New York State Law on Internet Safety and
Technology Standards are for your child in school.
CYBERSECURITY & PERSONAL SAFETY
These two links provide clear explanations and tips on how to
be on guard against Internet fraud as well as securing your
computer and protecting your personal information.
For more information,
booklets on ways to help create cyber-savvy teens
and parents can be found at Nancy Willard’s site. Another
free newsletters with pertinent
Doug Fodeman and Marje Monroe also wrote an easy-to-read book
Safe Practices for Life Online that you can order
REMINDERS ABOUT PERSONAL SAFETY
- Passwords: use a mix of letters,
numbers and symbols. Try also to use upper and lower case
- Six or more characters are better passwords.
- Usernames should not include any personal information.
- Don’t click on banner ads or pop-up ads. This could lead
Here is a web site where you can get familiar with the
Cyberbullying with great professional resources.
Cyberbullying can happen a number of ways including:
- Instant Messaging
- Web Pages and Social Networking (e.g. My Space)
- Text Messages
In the event you feel you child may be a victim of
cyberbullying, do not wait; go and talk to a school
administrator, teacher etc. who might be able to help and
address the problem with your help.
MORE RESOURCES ON INTERNET SAFETY
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