November 2006

As Global as it Gets

November 2006 Cover

This month sees the celebration of the seventh annual International Education Week from November 13-17, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State “to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States,” according to its official website.

We at Language Magazine wholeheartedly support any initiative which encourages international exchange and study abroad, but also realize that there are practical limitations — the main one being the cost of such programs. According to the Institute for International Education’s latest Open Doors report, the number of international students coming to the U.S. every year dropped by about 20,000 from 2003 to 2005 to 565,000, and the number of U.S. students studying abroad remains under 200,000, although it continues to steadily rise.

In an ideal world, every child would have the opportunity, and financial ability, to study abroad, however we are a long way from that goal, and need to look at more realistic ways in which we can “internationalize” the education of our children.

In addition to this issue’s feature on studying Spanish in Spain (p.41), there are two articles which present practical methods for cash-strapped classrooms to grab on to globalization: John Bierwith and Lori Langer de Ramirez (p.28) describe how they have introduced easily-available, international resources into the classroom, and explain how they have exploited the diversity of their own community to maximize their students’ multicultural experience; and Robert O’Dowd (p.44) introduces us to the wonderful world of telecollaboration, which enables students from all corners of the globe to not only interact, but also cooperate towards common goals at the minimal cost of an internet connection.

Also in this issue, Jay Parkes and David Rogers (p.22) present evidence of the overwhelming support of parents for dual-language programs in New Mexico. All of these articles demonstrate that in the absence of study abroad options, there are still plenty of opportunities to “internationalize” the classroom. And, it is every teacher’s duty to foster international understanding, even if it neither gets tested, nor counts towards adequate yearly progress. We live in an increasingly interdependent world where intercultural sensibilities, or the lack of them, will determine our future.

Globalization is here to stay, and the good news is that it is all around us — we just have to recognize how to make the most of increased mobility and technological advances.


Is Dual Language a Family Affair
Jay Parkes and David Rogers present the findings of the latest research into Family Support for Dual Language Enrichment Programs

Going Global
John Bierwirth and Lori Langer de Ramirez integrate cross-cultural experiences and foreign policy into their world languages curricula to foster global understanding

English in the Early Years
Rebeca Valdivia and Ann-Marie Wiese explain the work that WestEd is undertaking to maximize the opportunities for English language learners in preschool

Spanish Traditions
Hannah Zeiler discovers why Spain’s most popular language learning destinations draw the crowds

Robert O’Dowd on connecting language learners on-line in intercultural exchange

Reading Comprehensively
Through the latest tools and assessments, Steven Donahue and Marta Menendez discover the areas where students need extra assistance

World Views
Domenico Maceri asserts English-only is un-American

Last Writes
Richard Lederer tests your wordsmarts