Letter: Software no substitute for language teachers

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I am responding to the “Parent Alert” political ad sponsored by Michael Doyle in last week’s Northern edition. The ad demonstrated a lack of insight into the superintendent’s quote. It avoids analysis of “cultural understanding,” and concludes with one student who was not “fluent” in French. Was this student a master of grammar and the “world language” English?

I have two students who have had French since first grade. They are nearly fluent, they have learned about cultures of Francophone countries, and value other cultures. My 10th-grader is in France attending high school, the direct result of her excellent language teachers.

We live in a global economy. It is possible that students’ future employers will be multinational firms. Failing to present foreign language to students is short-sighted. Assuming students might experience language and culture by software is preposterous. Had my children been presented with Rosetta Stone, neither would have their present enthusiasm for a foreign language. I would encourage Mr. Doyle to attend a week or more of a foreign language class in the school system and then call it “flawed.” I challenge him to compare the Rosetta Stone program with the songs used to conjugate verbs in the elementary school, the cultural projects in the middle school and the opportunity for advanced language classes in the high school. The language program is a necessary tool to prepare our students for the global economy they will live and work in as they pick colleges and careers outside of Falmouth.

Wendy Paradis