Language course geared to travelers

Sardis secondary’s language department is trying to pull more students into learning languages by tapping into their travel dreams.

What student doesn’t want to travel the world? eat tartelettes on the Champs Élysées? tour the Colosseum in Rome? appreciate fashion in Barcelona?

They don’t need to know the ins and outs of a country’s language to experience all that, they just need to know the basics.

That’s what Sardis secondary’s new course, Languages for Travel intends to provide.

“The idea is to give them enough language to be able to ask for directions, purchase train tickets, order off a menu,” said German and French teacher John Warkentin-Scott.

While students will learn three languages, including French and Spanish, and German or Italian (depending on the teacher), they won’t be required to learn grammar, written word, or translation like academic language courses require.

This course is more about memorization; tuning into the language needed to be a tourist.

“We’re trying to appeal to students who are interested in languages, but who don’t want the hard academic slog of a two- to three-year language program,” said Warkentin-Scott.

The course was developed as a way of increasing interest into learning languages.

Sardis secondary’s language department has experienced a decline in students in the past few years.

Languages are not a core course, do not fall into fine arts or applied skills and are not required for graduation. Many universities have even dropped needing a second language from their entrance requirements.

“It’s hurt our enrollment,” said Warkentin-Scott.

In addition to learning the basics of language, students will also learn about the countries different cultures and histories.

There won’t be final exams, but there will be unit projects that will include things like creating a travel brochure on a specific region or mapping out a travel itinerary.

This course doesn’t just benefit the future traveler, said Warkentin-Scott, it also benefits the local community.

“Canada is an immigrant country,” said Warkentin-Scott. “In learning new languages and cultures, we’re able to better understand the people around us.”

Sardis secondary’s Languages for Travel will be available to Grade 10, 11 and 12 students starting in September.