If you have a child in junior high or high school you are likely aware of how important it is for them to be exposed to other cultures and languages. There are a lot of choices out there for your student, and accredited language courses taught by native speakers offer the best results. However, you may be asking yourself, “What should accredited language courses cover? What does it mean for a course to be accredited?” A course is accredited when its institution has been recognized by an accrediting agency to meet and maintain a certain educational standard. Taking an accredited high school course means that those credits earned follow the student on to college or university. Learn more about LanguageBird’s accreditations here.
Read on to learn more about what quality online language courses should teach and how they can help your student achieve their goals.
ACTFL Standards for Language Learning
Look for an accredited course that aligns itself to ACTFL standards. ACTFL stands for the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages and has been a leader in world language curriculum building for many years. At its core, ACTFL proposes five world readiness standards for learning a language: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities which emphasize the application of learning a language beyond the classroom setting.
How We Learn
Learning a new language is no easy task. Widely spoken languages like Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi are not closely related to English and therefore take time and practice to master. Along the way, mistakes are inevitable; an accredited language course should focus on tasks a student can accomplish in the target language to help them build confidence. ACTFL has created “Can Do” statements to serve as benchmarks for each language level to help guide learning and set goals for what a student should achieve upon completion of a course. Level 1 “Can Do” statements, for example, include the student’s ability to introduce themselves using memorized words with the help of visuals or gestures.
Visit LanguageBird’s How We Learn page for a better understanding of ACTFL standards and how the curriculum for an accredited language course should be structured.
Learning a language should entail not only exercises in grammar and vocabulary but should also spur critical thought amongst learners through the study of culture. An accredited language course expands a student’s horizons by teaching them the history, customs, and values of a community with which they were previously unfamiliar. Culture is deeply connected to language, and students must learn how they relate to each other to better understand both. Take for instance how the Inuit language has dozens of words for snow; Inuit life and culture revolve around different types of snow, and the ability to describe snow precisely has become important in their language. Every language has evolved to express the ideas and beliefs most crucial to its speakers.
A course taught by a native speaker of a language gives students an even greater opportunity to learn about a new culture firsthand. A native-speaking instructor can readily give students examples of daily life in their community, their family’s values, and their community’s traditions. An accredited language course taught by a native speaker offers greater opportunity for the cultural exchange necessary to help language students expand their global awareness.
Make the most out of your student’s opportunity to become proficient and knowledgeable in another language and culture with LanguageBird’s accredited language courses. For more information on our language programs, please contact us.