Choosing a World Language Via Virtual Passport Day

It’s the time of year when MICDS 6th graders participate in Passport Day! As described by JK-12 World Languages Department Chair and Upper School Spanish Teacher Patrick Huewe, “Passport Day is a process at MICDS for 6th grade students that gives kids a chance to experience our language offerings in a video format developed by faculty and students.”

At MICDS, the study of world languages is a critical component of our JK-12 curriculum and an essential element in our graduates’ preparation for life beyond our campus. Language study prepares MICDS students for the opportunities and challenges they will face in an increasingly global 21st-century world. We value all of the languages we offer equally because each of them has inherent qualities that foster cognitive development, cultural awareness, global competency, and communication skills.

This past week, our current 6th grade families and rising 7th graders who are joining us in the fall viewed videos that gave an overview of each of the four languages offered at MICDS: Mandarin Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. The students then started the process of their world language decision journey by submitting a Google form with their top three language choices and explaining their interest in each one. With limited capacity in each language class, students consider three options that they would potentially enjoy.

Emily Coppersmith, Middle School World Language Teacher, shares, “Learning a language is an exciting process. Through language, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in culture, learn about different traditions and history, and learn to see the world from a different perspective. Passport Day offers 6th grade students the opportunity to explore the four world languages that are taught here at MICDS, ultimately choosing a language that they are passionate about studying for the rest of their time at MICDS. It’s so fun to hear them excited about their language choice!”

Students will make their final selections by April 23 with guidance from their 6th grade Spanish teachers and their parents. Check out the videos below that teachers and students created (in the spring of 2020) to highlight each language’s experiences and also provide a comprehensive profile of the languages we offer and some of the experiences they would have in each one throughout their time at MICDS.

Which language would you pick if you were in the shoes of our sixth graders? Read some of the reasons why students placed one of the respective languages as their top choice!

  • Spanish: “My first choice is Spanish because a lot of people in the U.S. speak Spanish. It is the second most spoken language in the U.S. It will be very helpful to be able to talk to and understand a lot of people. I’ve loved taking this language ever since kindergarten when I began Spanish, and I want to continue to take this language.”
  • French: “Although French is a language I have never been exposed to speaking, it is a beautiful language with history behind it. French is one of the most commonly spoken Romance languages. France itself is a beautiful country with lots of culture, and I hope to visit there soon. When I do, the trip would be even more special if I could speak with the people in stores, restaurants, and at hotels.”
  • Latin: “My first choice would be to take Latin because, when I grow up, I want to become a veterinarian, and in vet and medical school, lots of terms are Latin words, so it would be good to know the language. I always wanted to learn about Roman mythology, and Latin class would be a great opportunity. Learning Latin can also improve my vocabulary and grammar skills.”
  • Chinese: “China is also a hotspot for the world’s economy and business. Learning Mandarin would not be limited to a special experience; it would also be a leg up from people deeply connected to China’s economy. Wherever people travel, speaking the language is a new way to connect with the culture and the people of the place. If I ever have the opportunity to visit China, speaking Mandarin is a way to connect with the rich culture and history awaiting.”

Huewe added, “Committing to studying a specific world language for multiple years can be a difficult proposition. They are all relevant and valuable for the linguistic benefits that each represents and the rich cultural heritage that students will experience when selecting Chinese, French, Latin, or Spanish as their language of study for the next four years. Passport Day has changed in some ways over the past year because of the pandemic, but its intent to bring into focus for students which unique journey they will choose to explore is still the same.”

Learn more about our world languages and global learning opportunities here.

No matter which language is chosen, we know that our Middle Schoolers will enjoy mastering the language and diving into any of our world languages’ culture. Sixth graders, consider those virtual passports officially “stamped” after completing Passport Day 2021!