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Illinois schools to adopt new standards for foreign language classes

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019  |  Article  |   By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square

Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
Foreign language classes in Illinois schools may look a little different when kids get back to school in a couple of weeks.

The Illinois State Board of Education is talking about new standards for what state officials are calling world languages.

Illinois State Board of Education Principal Consultant Kim Johnson said the focus is to become fluent in whatever language a student is studying, and get a better sense of how to speak that language in the real world.

"It is moving beyond just the concept that you need to memorize and learn the rules of language," Johnson said. "It's embedding the sense of culture into it as well."

ISBE is also focusing on the State Seal of Biliteracy. That's a way to recognize students who truly are immersed in the language and culture.

"We know that we are much more global citizens than we've ever been in the past. We want students to develop an appreciation for the cultures of the languages that they are learning," Johnson said. "It embeds more of that community aspect, in that cultural aspect than simply learning language."

Last year, nearly 5,700 students earned the seal in Illinois.