Questions, Comments, or Corrections? Let us know!

Binational Brings Migrant Educators to Nebraska

This summer, thirteen Mexican teachers traveled to Nebraska to teach in migrant education programs at ESU 1, ESU 7, ESU 9 Head Start, ESU 13, OPS, and Madison Public Schools. Students engaged in reading, writing, and artistic expression focused on Mexican culture and history as well as the Spanish language. Educators shared their experiences at a Binational Reception at the State Capitol on June 18. Mexican Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar and Dr. Lazaro Spindola, Executive Director of the Latino American Commission of Nebraska, acknowledged the teachers for their dedication and professionalism.

The Nebraska Department of Education works with the Secretary of Public Education in Mexico to sponsor teachers from Mexico to work with migrant education in Nebraska. The exchange is part of a larger federal program, the Binational Migrant Education Initiative organized under authority of the US Department of Education. The purpose of the program is to support the education of children who qualify as migrants in the U.S. This year, Nebraska ranked first for the number of qualifying moves of migrant children. Texas and California ranked second and third.

Chinese is Lingua Franca at UNL STARTALK

UNL was the site of the STARTALK Chinese Language, Culture, and Technology Summer Academy again this year. Twenty Nebraska high school students with little to no prior Chinese experience lived in an immersion experience for fourteen days. The Academy also offers a professional development side for teachers who attend from China and throughout the U.S. Fifteen teachers arrived for the ten-day institute to focus on second language acquisition pedagogy. Students and teachers alike cite the experience as a special experience that allows them to make tremendous gains in a short period of time. Dr. Sherri Hurlbut and Dr. Ali Moeller, President of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages, organize this annual event.

Hispanic Heritage Month Speakers Available

Humanities Nebraska is offering several speaker events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15. Speakers will travel to the site. Each educational institution or youth organization must provide adult supervision before, during, and after the program, incorporate the program as part of teaching or a development mission, prepare participants before and follow up after the program. The educational institution may not charge for the program. If interested in hosting a speaker, the institution will pay a $50 processing fee. There is a $100 processing fee for a second program. Schools with a free/reduced lunch population greater than 50% do have discounted processing fees.

This year’s speaker topics are Nebraska’s Mexican-American Legacy, Storytelling and the Hispanic Oral Tradition, Andean Folk Music and Cultures of South America, and Latinos: Searching for the Good Life in Nebraska. More information about the topics can be found here: http://humanitiesnebraska.org/speakers/topic-tracts/topics-for-hispanic-american-history-month.html

Cultural Encounter Kits

Humanities Nebraska offers encounter kits that include videos, CDs, books, clothing, cultural items, and curriculum materials to public or private schools in Nebraska. Reserve kits for up to three weeks. Humanities Nebraska pays for UPS ground shipping to and from your school. Cultural Encounter Kits are targeted to youth grades 4-8. Topics include “A Treasured Heritage: Mexican Americans in Nebraska” and “Home in the Heartland: Nebraska Sudanese Cultures” among others. For more information, go to: http://humanitiesnebraska.org/programs/resources.html

World Language Standards Revision: Charting a Course for Standards Revision

Eighteen participants from around the state met as the World Language Standards Advisory Council June 4-5 in Lincoln to determine the priorities of world language learning and the course of standards revision.

Participants were asked to define their “essential ingredients” for the world language standards. Groups responded that standards should address effective and culturally appropriate communication, global competency, a growth mindset, and a focus on the application of skills to a variety of settings. The gathering reviewed policies from other states and agencies not specific to language study. Using this information, each small group refined their contributing essential ingredients until a standard became evident. These ideas will go forward to the standards writing team to be used as the guideline for the world language standards.

WL Events May 2018

La Veinticuatro-South 24th Walking Tour
May 19 and June 16
11:00-12:30
Starts at 24th and N St.
$10/person, $15/couple

Oakland Swedish Festival
Oakland
June 25-30

Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius
May 26-June 30
Omaha Children’s Museum

Desir de Lire
Book Club
Alliance Francaise Omaha
June 3
4:00 pm-5:30 pm

Highlights of the European Collection
Joslyn Art Museum
June 7
6:30 pm-7:30 pm

Santa Lucia Italian Festival
Omaha
June 7-10

International Thespian Festival
UNL
June 25-30

Alphabet Soup

 

 

News From Nebraska

Updates from Around the State and Our Collaborative Partner Organizations

Alliance Française Announces Summer Courses

The Alliance Française d’Omaha has announced Summer French courses open to beginner through advanced. Contact bonjour@afomaha.org directly for information. Summer courses include Visitons Le Louvre, Chateaux, Eglises, Et Cathedrals, Conversation, and Pronunciation Courses.

Mexican Consulate of Omaha Celebrates Binational Week

The Mexican Consulate is celebrating Binational Education Week May 9-11. Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar invited representatives from educational institutions around Nebraska to celebrate and commemorate the week. Honorable Mention was given to a 12-year-old Omaha student who entered the art contest sponsored by Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations. Two scholarship funds were granted in partnership with Nebraska Universities.

Nebraska International Language Association (NILA)

If you are interested in attending NILA’s fall conference or presenting a breakout session, visit the NILA website at: http://www.nebraskalanguages.com/. NILA continues to accept proposals for 50-minute sessions on topics related to “Coming Together: Collaborating to Improve Outcomes” and other areas related to language learning. Proposals will be accepted until June 1st. Notifications will be made by June 15. All presenters must sill register for the NILA conference.

Learn a Language: Beat the Machine

Second Language Learning v. Google

Google reported that their most sought characteristics in employees are soft skills such as communicating and listening well, having empathy, and being a critical thinker. Although most of the world has come to rely on instant, online translation for easy answers, there are some important ways in which the human brain continues to beat the machine.

Translation programs will never be able to negotiate for meaning. Think of how often we negotiate in conversation. “Do you mean to say, ‘Give the book to Paul?’ or ‘Give the pen to Paul?’?”. Perhaps we mean to give the pen to Pauline. Translation programs can’t distinguish the nuances that we mean but don’t say and lack the ability to ask for clarification.

When you consider further that elements of humor, feeling, intuition and non-verbal response are not mechanical concepts, you can clearly see that the value of language to be immersed in meaning.

Why Not Be a Superhero?

Second Language Learning Makes Us Smarter

Language learning does make us super smart. Think about some of the commonalities of language teachers. Language teachers always teach other teacher’s content, reference other languages than the one they are teaching, and change like chameleons to blend from one surrounding to another. These are actually signs of enhanced mental ability.

Regardless of which language system is currently in use, both language systems stay active at all times in a bilingual brain. This allows us quicker access to a greater array of options in problem solving. Monolinguals are usually constrained to an established pattern of thinking. Bilinguals have the ability to transition into multiple, and at times, conflicting patterns of thinking.

Bilinguals are often more adept at noticing details. This Sherlock-like ability comes from the constant practice of having to track the languages used for meaning and content in order to respond appropriately in the right language at the right time.

Language learning should really be considered the equivalent of power training for the brain. Increasing brainpower enhances decision-making, critical thinking, and mental agility in all areas of life.