In this 40 week course (including breaks), students will develop speaking fluency in one “world” foreign language (defined as being the national language of at least three countries.) Please see the list of offered languages below. They will do this by using various free resources to tell a joke, tell a Bible story, and deliver 9 different elevator pitches for products, services, and organizations, to native speaking strangers in their target language. There will be no writing requirements in their target language for this course, as it is entirely focused on speaking fluency. (Examples of student work and sample lesson materials will be available on the teacher’s website: www.thefrontierchristian.com) Please scroll down for more information.
Below are the languages that are currently listed as the nationally recognized languages of at least 3 countries. Since you will have to arrange multiple speaking sessions with native speakers, if you want to learn a language not on this list, but have regular access to native speakers who can help you with this, contact me ([email protected]), and we can make an exception. (These languages are in no particular order.)
13. Persian (with variants)
***PLEASE NOTE: Just because a language is on this list does not mean that it is a good choice to learn. You will need to think through your ability to access a community of native speakers, as well as what your purpose is for learning the language. A good place to look to see if you will be able to access native speakers is Italki. Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Chinese, etc. will probably have a robust community to work with you. Hausa, Tamil, Sotho, and Albanian might not. If you cannot find native speakers in the language of your choice, you will be asked to choose a different language.
So What’s The Story?
Did you ever take a foreign language course in high school?
Were you fluent when you finished?
Foreign languages have always fascinated me.
My mom taught Spanish. My sister teaches Spanish and French. I majored in German and Arabic in college, and was fluent in Spanish, while I could speak a little bit of Hebrew, self-taught Irish, and self-taught Russian.
I later commanded the Army Special Operations Language School, teaching 10 different core languages to military professionals. Learning and teaching foreign languages has always been a part of my life, and I have tried all sorts of things to learn more languages.
You see, I collect them. I have materials for dozens of languages in which I can only say a few words on my shelves at home. Some are good teaching programs. Some are not.
Then I discovered Benny Lewis, who taught himself Polish on the way to Warsaw.
He opened my eyes to all of the free and more efficient language learning resources available. In his book Fluent In 3 Months, he outlines how to learn and use foreign language to change your life.
I really started to realize the importance of language certification when I was living in Germany, and my sister-in-law’s boyfriend was an American who wanted to study in Germany. But if he wanted to study in the German universities, he had to achieve a certain score on the CEFRL. Several of my civilian friends also had to score a certain level before they could work there.
So this got me thinking: rather than have a normal high school foreign language course, why not focus on speaking (the skill that most people want anyway) any world foreign language (the official language of at least three countries) to fluency (so that it would actually be transportable outside the walls of the school.)
Welcome to Foreign Language I!
- Fluency in speaking a world foreign language (defined as a language that is the national language of at least 3 countries)
- Joke told in your target language to a native speaker
- Bible story told in your target language to a native-speaking stranger
- 9 different “elevator pitches” given in your target language for different products, services, and organizations
- The ability to speak your target language fluently (defined as having a conversation where neither member needs to “break the pace” to let the other catch up)
- Ability to communicate with people from a different culture effectively about a wide range of topics
Which Careers Will This Course Give Me a Leg Up On?
- International Marketing Manager – Average Salary: $131,180 (https://www.careeronestop.org)
- International Business Operations Specialist – Average Salary: $69,040 (https://www.careeronestop.org)
- Diplomat/Politician – Average Salary: $88,628 (www.payscale.com)
- Military Contractor – Average Salary: $71,700 (https://www.paysa.com)
- Missionary – Average Salary: $33,829 (www.indeed.com)
Why “0 minutes”?
In talking with a number of homeschool families (and remembering my own childhood), I realized something important: families are busy! If I schedule a course to meet on Tuesdays at 9:30, then any family that has something else at that time cannot take part, and I didn’t want that. On the flip side, we have all done various self-paced self improvement hobbies that did not end up doing any good because there was no accountability (New Years Resolutions, anyone?) I decided to get the best of both worlds: Weekly accountability with daily flexibility.
The students will have assignments that they must accomplish each week. They will also interact with me and with their classmates in chat type interactions. This keeps them on schedule to actually complete the amazing accomplishments that this course coaches them through. But they have the freedom, within the week, to choose when they are going to work on the assignments. I have tried to provide enough instruction to enable the students to do the tasks that they have been assigned, but I also understand that sometimes, there needs to be some more direct instruction to clear up misunderstandings.
To accommodate this need, it will be possible to schedule “office hours” on an “as needed” basis where I would have a live conversation with one or more students. There will be some expectations of the student when they are asking for “office hours.” I will give them questions to answer in order to make sure that I understand what their question is and can best prepare to make that time as efficient and effective as possible. Office hours will be scheduled based on mutual scheduling needs and availability, and if there seems to be a topic that everyone is having problems with, I will either schedule a class session to clear it up, or I will provide additional instructional materials.
I am committed to your student’s success. But rather than limit your family’s ability to take part in the course, I prefer to give your family the flexibility to have your child work on their schedule, as long as they are getting their work done by the Friday deadline each week.
How Can I Write This Course Up On a High School Transcript?
As a Foreign Language credit, given the level of fluency that the student gains, which is higher than anything out there at the high school level today. You could make the argument that this meets the full Foreign Language requirement for high school, given the level of fluency gained.