Date of Award

5-19-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Russian

First Advisor

Alyssa DeBlasio

Language

English

Abstract

In the first part of my paper, I will summarize a few studies that introduced beginning foreign language programs in early childhood education centers in terms of their goals, origins, how they were conducted, and the ways in which they influenced their students. Following that section, I am going to speak about my personal teaching experience at the Dickinson College Children's Center through my independent study with Professor Alyssa DeBlasio and my teaching position at the Children's Center. In the final section, I will elaborate on how my study led to the creation of a new internship for future students of foreign language, as well as recommendations for a new language program at the Dickinson College Children's Center. Although there are some developing initiatives around the country to implement foreign language studies in academic programs, especially in institutions of higher education, the majority of schools have been slow to realize the full benefits of foreign language study in the 6 development of young people. Additionally, they have failed to place the study of foreign languages at the forefront of their academic requirements. Students who are exposed to a foreign language from a young age not only acquire languages more naturally and perform better in other subject areas, but are also shown to develop higher levels of empathy and compassion. As a result of my studies, I propose the creation of a permanent internship for a Dickinson student studying a foreign language, in which they would be able to work with the preschool and kindergarten classes at the Dickinson College Children's Center. The intern would be able to continue to teach miniature cultural lessons in the classrooms in the hopes of exposing the children to multiculturalism and inspiring the desire to study a foreign language later on. I also propose the idea for a new international exchange program to bring over students and teachers from other countries to work with the classes at the Dickinson Children's Center as full time foreign language instructors. In the Russian language component of my thesis, I will describe the process I took to create the lesson plans of my independent study, and what countries I based the lesson plans on. I will also describe my observations about the effect that these lesson plans had on the students, in terms of how they reacted to them and what they learned as a result.

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