The benefits of learning a second language and the culture associated with that language include, but are not limited to:
- an increase in the student's global awareness and understanding,
- more opportunities in the marketplace as more employers are seeking bilingual candidates,
- improved literacy in the native language as students develop their linguistic ability,
- better preparation for college and universities who may require foreign language experience,
- and greater access to appreciate the arts such as literature, film, music and fine arts.
World Languages on Campus:
Roughly 150 World Language teachers in Austin ISD deliver curriculum and instruction to support 10 different languages:
- American Sign Language (ASL)
Students in Austin ISD may begin studying foreign languages in middle school earning high school credits. It is important for both middle school parents and students to understand that language courses at this level are taught using the high school curriculum and thus students are expected to perform under the same expectations.
Students who begin language learning in middle school are able to continue their studies in high school, culminating in or going beyond Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture or a rigorous course in another language taught at the advanced proficiency level. Students may also choose to pursue a third foreign language.
Please consult the Secondary School Information Guide for details on graduation plan requirements for foreign language. Students who enroll in advanced placement courses for languages will take the College Board AP exam at the end of the year, which could potentially result in college credit depending upon the score received on the exam. Regardless of the exam score, students in advanced placement courses receive consideration by most colleges and universities that value perseverance in a successful completion of such rigorous courses. The languages offered at both middle and high schools vary campus to campus. Campuses can provide more specific information about what languages and levels are offered.
Language learning is maximized when started at early ages; if young students are exposed to foreign language instruction, they will have a larger potential of achieving proficiency in the chosen language and culture. The World Languages office encourages elementary campuses to offer foreign language study when possible. The office provides support with student outcomes depending upon the type of program selected for implementation whether it be a FLEX (Foreign Language Experience) model or a FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary Schools) model.
For more information on the vision of World Language instruction and for details on curriculum instruction and assessment, please consult the Secondary School Information Guide or contact the Austin ISD Multilingual Education Team at 512-414-4734.