OFLA President 2011-2012
Happy New Year! If you do not have an elevator speech ready, I suggest you make it a New Year’s Resolution to prepare one. An elevator speech, a short, to-the-point verbal paragraph, promotes your idea. One never knows when the opportunity will arise to advocate for our profession. One must be ready to respond to parents, administrators, board members, to anyone who is not yet a believer in learning a foreign language.
At the 2012 OFLA conference many attendees recorded their best reasons for learning a foreign language on sticky notes and posted them on display. They are important enough to repeat here. I hope they will give you some ideas for your elevator speech, for responding to those indifferent or negative individuals who downplay the importance of learning another language. Add your own reasons, solicit ideas from your students, and stand up for language learning!
1. It’s joyous!
2. To communicate with others from other cultures.
3. Knowledge promotes peace, love to all mankind.
4. People think you’re super smart when you speak another language, and we are!
5. Because it’s my heritage.
6. It wards off Alzheimer’s!
7. To work for NSA.
8. To be able to better communicate with my [Québecois] family members.
9. Cultural awareness!
10. It raises test scores.
11. It helps critical thinking.
12. Foreign students visit and become friends.
13. To better our understanding of others’ cultures and in so doing improve international relations.
14. To make friends from all over the world!
15. Travel and learning about more cultures.
16. Today’s and tomorrow’s jobs demand it.
17. To meet new people.
19. Fun, food, games and songs.
20. I study foreign language because the world is round and large and we are small and not as significant in this universe as we would wish ourselves to be. We need to all be able to communicate peace and cooperation as we all seek to rescue this planet from the destruction which has been inflicted upon it over the centuries. We (English speakers) are not the chosen few . . . we owe it to our planet to learn to speak with others in their tongues. I’m just doing my part.
21. Cool club after school.
22. Chance to travel.
23. Global awareness.
24. To make lifelong connections and enduring international friendships.
25. Because it’s fun!!
26. My parents gave me a French name … the rest is history for this little country girl from Portage County, Ohio … with an MA from Middlebury!
27. What a way to “spy” on people who think I don’t know what’s going on.
28. I love languages, I love to travel, I love to talk to people from all around the world preferably in their language.
29. To learn about another culture and understand it.
30. It’s good brain exercise.
31. We can’t expect everyone to speak English; that would be arrogant.
32. To be a citizen of the world.
33. It increases one’s employability.
34. It makes me a more interesting person.
35. It’s a classy thing to do; in times past all educated people spoke at least one foreign language.
36. I want to live abroad some day.
37. If more people knew another language, we wouldn’t have those ridiculous translations that come when somebody just used a dictionary.
38. Knowing another language opens up career paths that are far more interesting than just working at a job in English, or one’s native tongue.
39. It can help an educated person see things from a different cultural viewpoint.
40. It improves critical thinking skills and problem solving.
41. Knowing another language and its culture gives a person a better understanding of world affairs.
42. It helps you learn how to really listen.
43. There are certain works of literature that you just have to read in the original language.
44. If you learn a language, you also learn its history, its culture, its viewpoints and attitudes.
45. If you can speak a foreign language, you get more confidence in speaking anywhere to anyone.
46. It helps you see what people have in common, that we’re not so different after all.
47. It’s sort of a status symbol.
48. You can do what a lot of other people can’t do: speak another language. But we’re trying to change that!
49. It helps you keep an open mind to new possibilities and opportunities.
50. Because it is a BEAUTIFUL language. [Aren’t they all?]