Vail Daily letter: District should reconsider laying off language teachers | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: District should reconsider laying off language teachers

Lindsay Olin
Vail, CO, Colorado

As a recent college graduate who double-majored in Spanish and French, I am shocked and saddened to hear that the foreign-language programs in Eagle County schools have been eliminated.

Do the administrators not realize the value of foreign-language learning, or do they simply not care? Are they really putting the superintendent’s bonus before the education of Eagle County’s youth?

Not only does this rob good educators of their well-earned job security, but it also robs Eagle County’s students of a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in today’s global community.

Speaking a second language is not only a very marketable job qualification but an integral part of being a globally minded citizen.

Throughout my studies, I have read countless studies and articles about the positive impacts of foreign-language learning on a child’s cognitive development. Stimulating a higher level of brain activity and a better comprehension of one’s native language are a few examples.

While those students who can afford the extra cost of the computerized language programs will, to a limited extent, experience the beneficial outcomes of foreign-language learning, the computer programs are in no way an adequate substitute for an actual, real, live classroom experience.

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These computer programs make a wonderful supplement to a foreign-language class, as I have been fortunate enough to experience myself, but by themselves, they cannot replace the value of a teacher explaining the tougher concepts and adapting to each student’s individual learning style.

There is so much more to language learning than simply memorizing a set of words or repeating rote phrases after a recorded voice.

On a personal note, some of my best experiences at Eagle Valley High School happened in my Spanish classes. These teachers not only reminded me that learning is fun, but they opened my eyes to entirely new worlds and sparked what has become my life’s passion. I definitely do not think that a computer program is capable of this.

I dearly hope that the Eagle County School District can review its priorities and remember its commitment to the students and giving them the best education possible, not the cheapest education possible.

Please give these students a chance to learn about the world around them and obtain the skills to compete in a global job market and become members of the global community.

Lindsay Olin

Eagle