About 150 students in grades 3-6 are participating in a fee-based after-school Elementary Language Club at Owen J. Roberts High School. Students are able to choose one language to study: French, German, Latin or Spanish. There are 60 High School students acting in a teaching or administrative capacity for the program. Twelve different sections, five classes of Spanish, three French class, and two classes each of German and Latin are being offered this year. Class size is capped at 15 elementary language learners. Each class is staffed with three high school students, two acting as co-teachers and the third dedicated to engagement.
Elementary students spend eight consecutive Thursdays investigating the language which they have selected to study. The curriculum and lesson plans were developed with the intention of providing an engaging and fun exposure to the basic elements of a second language. Mrs. Kristine Simmons, who coordinates the program, said, “My department sincerely hopes the classes will help students realize that languages are much more accessible than they seem and open up a world of alternate linguistic, cultural, historical, and social possibility.”
“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” – Yogi Bhajan. In addition to helping high school students master basics of the chosen language by teaching it, teachers in the high school world languages department also appreciate the opportunity for high school students to “get an eye-opening glimpse into the rewards of the teaching profession and the responsibility of taking care of others”. Mrs. Simmons is assisted on a weekly basis by fellow French teachers, Mrs. Kelly Joyce and Ms. Natalie Smith, and a rotating subset of teachers from the other languages.