My first few years of school I took half of my classes in Russian. No, the school wasn’t in Russia, it was in Cincinnati, Ohio. It didn’t end up being a great school, but my parents thought it was important to try to get me to learn a foreign language early on. Russia was opening up and they thought it would be a great business language (also, my dad really likes Russia). As it turns out, I only remember a handful of words, but it instilled a respect of language in me, something I hold onto to this day.
Sadly, a lot of Americans don’t think that learning foreign languages is important or particularly desirable. 31 states have issued “English Only” laws that prevent public officials from speaking languages other than English while on the job.
In a world where more and more people in America try to shun other languages a handful of parents are putting their children into school similar to the one I went to, schools where the teachers speak primarily in a second language.
The Film Speaking in Tongues is about four such families. It follows four children on their so-called quest to become bilingual. It’s a charming story that seeks to make people rethink the skills children will need later in life to be successful. A brief panel discussion, featuring Jeanette Crosswhite and Jan Lanier of the TN Department of Education will follow the screening.
This film will be showing at The Tennessee Foreign Language Institute at noon. You have to RSVP at their website for this event.