New teaching method being used for languages

Published 7:11 am Tuesday, October 16, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – It was introduced at Monday night's Niles Community Schools Board of Education Meeting that the World Language Department at Niles High School has implemented a new method for teaching foreign language.
The problem, according to Niles Community Schools Curriculum Director Jim Craig, is that students were losing interest in foreign languages and walking away with things they really never used in the outside world.
"The new method has changed the approach of teaching foreign languages for sixth grade students up. It is an instructional approach that teaches students to speak and write the foreign language the same way they were taught to speak and write in English," Craig said.
Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Spanish (TPRS) teaches three concepts of foreign languages – reading, writing and story telling. The new method was introduced this year and so far, staff and administration have had nothing but positive feedback from the programs.
"The teachers and students are enjoying it and that was one of our goals with this program. We wanted students to enjoy foreign language classes," Craig said.
He added that foreign language is very important, especially for students looking to get into universities. It is required now that students wanting to get into universities (like Western Michigan, Central Michigan) to have at least two years of a foreign language class. Students looking to get into selective universities (like Notre Dame) are required to have a minimum of three to four year of a foreign language.
"We want our students to be able to get into great schools and this is one step they can take in doing that. It is not the same foreign language class that they may have heard about. It's a different approach and so far it's going really well," Craig said.
In other business, Leta Covington and Andrea Hauck (Niles High School), Cassie Lundy (Howard) and Rachel Richmond (Ballard) received new teacher contracts.
Also, a school finance workshop will be held at Lake Michigan College on Wednesday, Nov. 28