Foreign languages classes experience UMSL’s language of learning day
November 6, 2019
Languages of Learning Day
Hola, como estas? Bonjour, comment allez-vous? Gutentag, wie geht es dir? Spanish, French, and German are all the common languages taught at most high schools. Over the years, these foreign language classes have gained more popularity than ever and have become widespread among all students. It’s important to celebrate our diversity and further spread cultural appreciation for all people and languages.
UMSL has recognized that idea and invited schools from all over the region to commemorate a language of learning day on Oct. 4.
The event gave world language classes an opportunity to participate in scavenger hunts, play games, hold competitions and host conversation tables. Some world language teachers saw this as a golden moment to allow their students to learn and become exposed to all kinds of experiences.
“There were dance tutorials and karaoke just celebrating languages,” French teacher Ms. Farrelly said.
Students could do a poetry reading, make a poster, or perform a skit.
“The posters and skits had to be done before we got there and sent in, so they narrowed them down and picked winners,” Farrelly said. “The poetry contest was done on sight and they had to read a pre-selected poem, and they got graded on their presentation. The skit was self-made and it could be about anything, which was funny. They could do anything they wanted in the target language so we saw German, French and Spanish skits; we didn’t always know what was going on but it was entertaining.”
While the UMSL professors predominantly had the final vote on the winners, the fan favorites were chosen by the applause from the audience.
Ms. Farrelly is in her third year working with UMSL as an adjunct professor, which enables her French III and French IV students to earn college credit. Even though this is Liberty’s first year attending, she’s more than content with the response from her students and all the benefits they can gain.
“I took them to have them practice their language and get excited about continuing language in college, as well as having them see what a college campus looks like/feels like, and how taking the language in college isn’t very scary,” Farrelly said. “They had some language majors talking about what the language has done for them, getting jobs and how it helped them get inspired to continue on. Studying languages has value, studying abroad is always a great idea to free your mind and open your eyes to other cultures.”
UMSL is consistently tweaking the program to make it better each year, but the turnout speaks for itself seeing as how the rooms were overflowing with students from all over the region. Many students spoke more than one language at the event, just like senior Faith Daniels. Daniels has been in Spanish for all four years of high school, but has also taken up French and German as well. She’s currently in Spanish IV, French III, and German II. Being exposed to Spanish when she was younger has enabled the language to come easily to her and noticing how easy Spanish was for her gave her the idea to take up the other two languages.
“I would help other kids in my class and it’s like the same as learning when you’re a kid; you have to understand how the language works. There’s a lot of videos about language acquisition and a lot of people don’t understand how it works, but the best time to learn is when you’re young,” Daniels said.
Daniels’ Spanish group won the skit activity, but Daniels was also rewarded with the honorable mention for presenting three poems in all three of the languages, similar to what she has done in the past for German day.
Likewise, senior Elaine Amery won an award in first place for reciting a poem in German. Amery has continued to take German for all four years and recognized it as a passion of hers; she enjoyed getting exposed to different cultures and meeting new people.
“We go to German day every year at Wash U. and this was similar. This was also a lot of fun because there were multiple languages, it was all three of the languages [Spanish, French, and German] but there were also Chinese, Japanese and Koreans there too so I thought that was cool,” Amery said. “I would definitely want to keep pursuing German and get a minor in it and then definitely study abroad.”
UMSL’s language of learning day event has opened up a lot of opportunities like studying abroad and finding programs for students to get straight into work on a career in language. Being able to be a part of something and have it become a passion is what these language classes are all about. To recognize and celebrate our similarities and differences continues to encourage cultural appreciation globally, and inspires students to get out of their comfort zone to experience the rest of the world.
1st place in the Spanish skit:
2nd place in the Spanish scavenger hunt:
1st place in reciting German poetry:
2nd place in reciting German poetry:
1st place in creating a poster:
1st place and fan-favorite skit:
1st place in reciting French poetry:
Special Recognition for reciting poetry in Spanish, French, and German: