Students interact in language day

Amber Hall

Foreign tongues were heard across campus April 7, as training-to-be French, German, and Spanish speakers gathered at Missouri Southern for Modern Foreign Language Field Day.

“It’s a great stimulus for students who study foreign languages,” said Dr. Tatiana Karmanova, director of the international language resource center.

Thirty-six area high schools from the four-state area participated in the field day.

“It’s rewarding for the students to see the results,” Karmanova said. “When you see how the students perform in events, like in the skits, because the energy from the audience gives more weight to what they do because the students have been practicing for weeks and weeks.”

The Modern Foreign Language Field Day is an annual event that offers a way for students to show off their achievements in French, German and Spanish. Students can choose to participate in the following events: Culture Bowl, Geography Competition, Poetry Reading, Poster Contest, Reading Comprehension, Skits and Vocabulary Recognition.

There were also no competitive activities, such as the conversation station, where students held conversations in either French, German, or Spanish to earn “foreign currency” so they could buy prizes. Some of the prizes included sombreros and bracelets from Guatemala.

“Students have fun at conversation stations,” said Karmanova. “Some of these students come from a town of about 200 and are given the opportunity to have conversations with native speakers.”

Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School placed first overall, followed by Joplin High School. Results from the events are posted on the Modern Foreign Language Field Day Web site

“Students can see how the score against other schools and other students,” said Karmanova. “It brings together students and teachers, and it gives them a chance to meet their colleagues and bring them together.”

Karmanova also feels that students can benefit from participating in the Foreign Language Field Day.

“The U.S. is falling further behind in foreign language,” said Karmanova. “56 percent of the European and Asian population can speak another language, while the U.S. population only has about 9 percent. We need to catch up.”

“When you look at other countries, they are fluent in two or more languages by the time they graduate,” said Kelly Duke, senior middle school education major. “It’s important to be able to communicate with people from other countries because of travel and because people come here from other countries. You need to be able to communicate, and sometimes the only way to do that is in their language.”

Either way, the benefits of studying a foreign language can eventually be rewarding.

“We need to prepare to live in a global society. We are traveling a lot more and business is becoming more involved internationally,” said Karmanova.