July 17, 2011

Editorial: Arabic Immersion Camp Is an Example of Needed Language Instruction

From http://www.civilbeat.com/posts/2011/07/11/12037-university-of-hawaii-hosts-arabic-immersion-camp

University of Hawaii Hosts Arabic Immersion Camp
by Michael Lemmon and Mahmoud Al-Batal
July 16, 2011

This month, 24 young men and women from high schools, L.A., Seattle and throughout the Hawaiian Islands, did something extraordinary. Rather than spending their summer playing Xbox or hanging out at the mall, they spent 2 weeks in an intensive Arabic language immersion camp with the goal of gaining exposure to Arabic language and culture.

These students understand that one of the hard truths revealed by the region’s ongoing turmoil is that now, more than ever, the United States must make foreign language learning a true priority, with Arabic right at the top of the list. Too few of us have the ability to read, write, speak and think in the languages of nations that have an increasingly crucial impact on U.S. national interests.

The language list is not limited to Arabic. A glance at the headlines shows why our country needs more professionals in business, national security and academia who can communicate effectively in Chinese, Russian, Pashto, among others. There are various programs that try to meet this pressing need, but ultimately a national challenge of this magnitude needs a national strategy. Sadly, foreign language instruction has suffered in school systems across the nation as educators place extra emphasis on meeting the requirements of “No Child Left Behind”. And in constrained economic times, budget cuts rarely spare foreign language programs.

Read the full article at http://www.civilbeat.com/posts/2011/07/11/12037-university-of-hawaii-hosts-arabic-immersion-camp

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