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To Speak or Not to Speak

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To Speak or Not to Speak

Luanna Mota, PHS Paperclip Writer

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Portsmouth High School (PHS) has implemented a new language opportunity for students to enjoy during Teachers in Academic Support Centers (TASC). TASC is a 40 minute period where students can schedule themselves to available teachers for extra help, quiet spaces, and enrichment opportunities.

Language immersion TASC began last school year when the student body displayed an interest in Portuguese speakers. Ms. Martin, a Spanish teacher at PHS, noticed this and took action. She recruited eager Portuguese speaking students  to create a space where any student could come to learn.

Ms. Martin wanted to provide an opportunity for students whose first language is not English to be part of a community, and celebrate their culture. It has become an open environment where students come to learn from each other and connect through their cultural differences.  

These immersion sessions are not only about the language, but also the culture. The native speakers talk about life in another country and paint a picture for curious students.  ”

“I think one of the best parts about this is that regardless of a student’s academic level or language speaking ability, they can participate and take something away from these sessions. All you need is curiosity.” I followed up Ms. Martin’s statement asking if she truly had seen evidence of learning and she responded, “Absolutely. Students are interested and immersion makes it real for them.”

This year more languages have joined in on the action. Each day there is a different language offering. Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Latin, German, and French are currently open to students. Arabic will begin quarter two. The specific dates and locations can be found on the TASC calendar, posters around the hallways, or by asking a language teacher.

Studies have shown that learning to speak more than one language boosts brain power, while improving memory, and sharpening the mind for longer periods of time. Multilingual people are able to multitask better than those who only speak one.

Not only does learning another language generally improve academic ability, it provides more opportunity in the career world. Those who speak multiple languages also tend to be more open minded.

Consider this next time you have nowhere to go during TASC. Step into a classroom that is exploring another way of life. You might learn something about yourself.

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