Parents have a key role in the success their children will have in studying a world language, even if they never studied that language themselves. Research studies and surveys of students that focus on the characteristics that lead to student success in world language study underscore how important student choice of language study is. Motivation is enhanced if students have selected the language they prefer to study, especially as they first study another language other than their home for first language.

In a skill-building content area like learning a new language, the next behavior that leads to student success is a student’s study habits, for example, their ability to listen carefully, to actively participate in class by speaking to peers and repeating new sounds, words, and phrases aloud, to study daily whether to memorize key new vocabulary and grammar concepts daily, and not to procrastinate with daily practice, whether orally or in writing. Time management and attendance are important in order for students to not fall behind as it is very difficult to “catch up” in  new language since knowledge and skills build from to another with a lot of practice. and however, missing these steps will lead to quick frustration and failure without external intervention by a tutor.

Therefore, parents cans be a huge help in their child’s success in world language study by allowing them to study they language they prefer and by reminding them to spend some time practicing the world language daily if even just for a short time daily.

Parents will realize that the methods of learning and teaching a world language today may differ significantly from their own experiences. For example, teachers are expected to use the world language a minimum of 90% of class time from the very beginning of Level one study. Students are expected to be actively engaged in paired practice activities in which they should be repeating, asking and answering questions with their peers 80% of class time. Key new vocabulary and grammar concepts should be practiced and applied in meaningful contexts from the beginning and therefore require assessments in which students are demonstrating to the teacher what they Can Do in listening, reading, writing, and speaking the new language.

Parents are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their child’s teacher and feel welcomed to ask questions and understand the current methods of world language teaching in order to be an active supporter and coach of their child’s world language experiences.

The following links are key resources to provide parents additional information about the expectations of world language study in Virginia and PWCS and to make sure all students have a positive experience and become life-long learners and supporters of languages other than English and exemplar global citizens. 

State Level Resources: Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)

Local School Division Level Resources: Prince William County Schools (PWCS)