Friday, December 29, 2006

Sputnik Moment: Language at Midd

Is Middlebury supporting one long "Sputnik Moment"?

Sputnik Moment: "a moment that reveals an economic or military weakness and has been used as a call to arms to strengthen, among other things, language education." The launch of the Soviet space satellite Sputnik spurred a call for stronger programs to create Russian speakers. Today, current events often dictate the popularity of learning particular languages. With the rise of China, Chinese is today's "hot" language. With turbulence in the Middle East, Arabic also is a language riding the wave popularity.

Middlebury has built its reputation on languages. How? By convincing its students that language learning in general is important with or without Sputnik moments. Language is valuable in the globalized society.

Do your teachers preach the value of language in today's politicized world? Or are you on your own in motivating yourself to stick with learning a language?

[via InsideHigherEd]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think its interesting though that no significant economic or military crises have directly spawned a need to communicate with China. Instead, China's rapid economic growth has gradually led to our desire to strengthen Sino-american relationships. I wonder if the unsputnickmomentishness of this continuous, rather than abrupt, increased interest in Chinese will prevent the loss of the momentum that the article discusses.

I do kind-of hope though that Putin decides to launch some more scary satellites with Russia's newfound oil wealth so that I'll have some job prospects in the future.


on the books...