Wanting to help shape the future of foreign language instruction in elementary and middle schools, the West Virginia Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (WV-FLES) cadre will meet July 25-26 in Charleston. The West Virginia Department of Education established the cadre in order to implement activities outlined in the Foreign Language Assistance Program grant it received from the United States Department of Education.
During the two-day event, members of the cadre will discuss the importance of foreign language education of elementary school children. It will view a video of Salsa, a Spanish-learning television program aimed at elementary students, which is set to premier this fall on PBS. It also will examine the steps the state of Wyoming has taken to implement early foreign language programs since it was mandated to do so a few years ago.
“During this two-day meeting, we hope to gain some ideas as how to incorporate foreign languages into the elementary curriculum,” said Debbie Harki, Foreign Language Coordinator for the Department of Education. “We want to find ways that will bring quality foreign language teachers to our classrooms and find time in the busy school day to instruct foreign languages at the elementary level.”
Cadre membership is comprised of educators who have expressed an interest in promoting early foreign language learning in West Virginia schools and were approved by their respective county superintendents. Members are advocates for and promote early foreign language programs and are familiar with issues and research in early foreign language learning.
There are numerous benefits for learning a foreign language at an earlier age. Some of those include higher scores on achievement tests, tolerance and appreciation of other cultures and improved understanding of other subjects, such as English, geography and mathematics.
For more information regarding the WV-FLES cadre, please contact the Office of Instructional Services at 304-558-7805.