Ways to Learn a New Language in Folsom


Madame Verspieren’s French 1 class participating in singing a French song.

Julian Coriano, Editor-In-Chief

Throughout the world, languages are integral parts of culture and society through which many people connect. With over 6,000 languages in the world, it’s essential that American students learn foreign languages so that they can compete globally. Language classes offered by public schools serve as a critical tool to these students who wish to learn a new language.

Currently, in the United States, 20 percent of the population is bilingual, meaning they are fluent in two languages. Of this 20 percent, 55 percent speak Spanish, 17 percent speak French and 10 percent speak German. These three languages are the most popular second languages to learn in America, and here in Folsom students have the opportunity to learn each of these languages.

At the high school level, Spanish, French and German are all available –German only being available at Folsom High. In this district, students must have at least a B in their English class before taking a foreign language. This ensures that the student has an understanding of at least one language.

My goal as a teacher is to open the eyes of my students to the beauty and interest of the world,” said Verna Verspieren, a French teacher at Vista del Lago. “Hopefully one day they will travel outside of the United States, but regardless, time spent studying French at Vista gives them an exposure to different cultures and traditions.

At Vista, there are two languages available to learn — French and Spanish. Each of these language classes starts at the introductory level and goes to the Advanced Placement course, organized by the College Board. Each course aims to give students the ability to be proficient in more than one language.

At the end of the French language program, students will be able to function in French-speaking areas of the world.  Specifically, they will be able to converse with native speakers, order in French restaurants, read current publications and find necessary information, and share knowledge of French culture,” Verspieren said.

Another opportunity available in the Folsom community is the Spanish Magnet program at Folsom Hills Elementary School. This program integrates Spanish with the California state approved curriculum. The program is integrated into the grades kindergarten through fifth. There are two classes available in each third through fifth-grade class, and one available for each kindergarten to second-grade class.

“The goal of Folsom Hills Spanish Magnet program is to prepare students for the development of academic excellence and student achievement in English and Spanish. Students in the program are prepared to develop functional proficiency in Spanish at an early stage of language acquisition,” said  Veronica Robles, one of the third-grade Spanish magnet teachers.

A second goal that the Folsom Hills program aims for is to teach the students about the cultures of the Latin and Hispanic countries. This can be in the form of holiday observances, classroom activities or field trips to events, such as performances of Folklorico dancing, the native dancing of Mexico.

“Culture is integrated into the curriculum in which students learn about traditions, perspectives, practices, including human commonalities, history, literature and visual performing arts,” Robles said.

The thirst of another language and culture which fills the minds of some students. With the number of bilingual people in the country growing, Folsom students will lead the way.