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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 27, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 6A The Ctdar Rapids C.ntttt: SUB.. Pel. 27. Explore Whys of Foreign Language Enrollment Drop By Judy Daubcmnler Each year, more than half of (he Americans who travel abroad are young people. While large numbers of young people are anxious for contact with persons of other cultures, fewer of them seem to be studying foreign lan- guages. Foreign language teachers in the Cedar Rapids Commun- ity school district notice a de- cline In enrollment In their courses which began about three or four years ago. District-wide, some 935 students, or 19.4 percent of high school enrollment, an1 taking foreign languages. French, German and Spanish are offered, with Spanish most popular. At Kennedy, Johann lischbach, foreign language head, reports 190 students, or about 12.4 percent of all stu- dents, are taking foreign languages. "We used to have that many students in Spanish he said. "At one time, we had 211 percent of our students taking a foreign language. We've had quite a drop-off and I'm alarmed by it." Washington reports the highest enrollment, with 451 students, or 28.8 percent of enrollment there, in foreign language classes, according to Gloria Aenlle, department head. That figure still repre- sents a decline. At Jefferson. Barb Mail- land, Foreign language depart- ment head, said 290 students. or about 17 percent, arc taking language classes. "I think we bottomed out at Jefferson a couple of years said Miss Maitland. "We have extremely small third year classes this year. The junior high schools are the key to our enrollment here. "For example, for two years, no one was teaching French at Taft. Last year. 1 taught at Taft and we have a big enrollment in second year classes this year. The junior high enrollment determines our high school enrollment." Junior high students fre- quently continue in the same language which they studied in junior high when they come to senior high school, she said. "If they have an unsuccess- ful experience in junior high, they won't try again." she said. A major reason for the de- cline in foreign language stud- y, according to the depart- ment heads, Is the fact that many colleges no longer re- quire a foreign language for either admission or gradua- tion. Miss Maitland said at the same time, the colleges began offering college credit for foreign language study in high school if students pass an ex- amination. "We're (he only department in the high school that can give college1 said fischbach. "I don't think the students realize that this would save them money ga- lore. It would save up to a se- mester of college work." Not Flattered By Age Cut BELGRADE Cretnik, 64, was not flattered when the Social Security serv- ice ignored 23 years of his life, thus preventing him from obtaining old-age insurance. He was born in 1910, but a mistake in administration reg- istered his birth year as The administration private- ly confided in him that he looked a bit older than a man in his 40s but explained they had to act on the strength of documents rather than on per- sonal impressions. A ruling in an official docu- ment of the service specified thai Crelnik had 30 years and 9 months of proven works pe- riod, which rules out the possibility of his getting old- age pension since he was born in 19.111. If he is dissatisfied with the service's ruling he is Iree to lodge an appeal. "I would like to have been born later and thus be of age as is written. But the clerk in charge is asvay and I have to realize my rights without waiting for him. but this seems to be a difficult Cretnik says. DRIVE SAFELY Drapery Dept., 5th Floor The Hassock Selection in our Drapery Dept. is a real comfort. Come Let Us Prove It to You. ii LAY AW AY NOW FOR CHRISTMAS GIVING A. 20" round wilh saddle- stitched motif on top. Choice ol olive, block, gold, rust, brown. B. Kidney shaped Hassock m brow tuit, gold, black and olive. 14' C 2l''j bench hoiiock wilh mil, blork, olwe and brown S 1 E99 D shaped hasiock in your choice of black, mil. olive, brown ond golrl Our Hassock on Ihe 5th Floor is o comfort. Not only because (hey all have salt, loam, cushiony lops hut are ol colorful, wipe-clean, posy-care vinyl, too. And they solve gift problems! That's why you should see our collection this week and make your choice or choices. Vou con layaway Now for Christmas. Visit us and our comfortable collection soon. Open Monday 9 'til 9 Always PARK FREE at Smulekoff's UiO Ihr; MorciKie Lot or thr- Port ft THIRD AVENUE AT MUST STREET S.E DOWNTOWN CEDAR, RAPiDS Three, acres of Magic Miss Maitlund reported one Jefferson student recently entered Klrkwuod Community college with 21 quarter hours of credit before attending one Kirkwuud class. The credit was based entirely on his for- eign language study. Mrs. Aenlle suggested the removal of the college re- quirement for foreign lan- guages may have resulted in a better quality of students ta- king foreign languges. The students who slill take (he languages arc probably doing so because they want to, not because they have to. "We do not want to be thought of as only appealing to the people who are going to she said. Washington has sponsored a series of panel discussions of business people who outlined the importance of knowledge of a foreign language for sec- retaries and other business education students. The teachers believe youngsters steer clear of for- eign language classes because they entail more work than other classes. "Language learning is one of the hardest subjects in the curriculum." according to German teacher Robert Muell- er from Washington. "I don't think language learning is easy. Last year. '2li students signed up for a Russian course after school, but when they found out it required some work, only two stayed. "II lakes dedication and self-discipline. You've got to work real hard and practice it a lot." Miss Maitland said students groan when they realm1 "he gives a homework assignment every night, although it is usually only a 15-minute one and sometimes may be only listening to a record tape. "You don't have to be a genius to speak French. Idiots in France can speak the language." she said, "dive me a hard-working student who gets in other classes. Judy Daubenmier and he will be an A or H student in French. "The students who do not have success in foreign lan- guage study are the ones who have large numbers of ab- sences or the students who do not work consistently." Students taking her class as electives often complain thai the course is an elective for them and is not supposed to be hard. "There are some things which just must be learned." said Miss Maitland. Mrs. Anne-Marie Murphy, French teacher at Washing- ton, said students "have to be- come actively involved in for- eign language courses. They arc not lecture courses where students can hide behind their notes." Students seem reluctant to get involved in class. "The problem is televi- sion." according to Mrs. Ana- Maria Acebay, another Wash- ington language teacher. "Students are used to being entertained while they learn, like Sesame Street. The mo- ment it implies work and they have to do something besides sit there and be fed. they don't want to do it. "They want us to put on a show everyday, to always lie a clown. It's a problem for all teachers, not just foreign language teachers." one can be a clown ev- eryday." said Mrs. Aonlle. "Sometimes there is work and you just can't play with that." A negative attitude on the part of parents also discour- ages some students, according In Mrs. Murphy. "If a student is having trou- ble in some of his classes, his parents will suggest that he drop the foreign language sn lie can concentrate on the nlher subjects." she said. "America as a whole gives less attention to foreign lan- guages. In Furtipe. six years of language study are re- quired. They require more languages because you go a few miles, cross (he frontier, and they speak a different language." said Mrs. Aenlle. American students, on the other hand, exhibit a cultural arrogance. "When we study the culture in foreign language class, the students think it's funny. 1 tell them (here are some things besides hamburgers and frencli fries they might enjoy if they learned to enjoy said Mrs. Aenlle. Mrs. Murphy reported hav- ing heard students wonder. "Doesn't everybody want to be an American'.'" F.sclibach suggested the change from two semesters a year to three shorter terms may have caused the number of foreign language students to drop. High school students now have more choices, he said, and have trouble scheduling in a foreign language class. Since one trimester builds on the previous one. he said, students cannot take Spanish one trimester, drop it Ihe next, and pick it up again dur- ing Ihe final trimester. Kschbach said he is at- tempting to individualize his classes to make that possible. "1 can't say definitely it's the trimester that has caused (he decline. But it seems odd that enrollment has dropped off each year we've had the trimester system." said Esehbach. Cedar Rapids students par- ticipate in large numbers in Ihe Kxperiment in Internation- al Living, and other foreign exchange programs. "Americans are the people in the world who travel tile most. The trend bus changed from seeing the sights to wanting contact with the other people. On the other hand, there's a rejection of foreii'n language said Mrs. Acebay. "There's a there. 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