World Language Department launches first World Language Week


Junior Allison Shaker spent a lunch period searching for non-foreign language teachers who spoke a second language, but this wasn’t for just any school assignment. Her Spanish teacher offered her students the opportunity to fill out a “passport” with various activities to enter a raffle to win a Chipotle gift cards. This is just one of many activities sponsored by the World Language Department’s first World Language Week event.

“It’s a great time to do things that are culturally relevant, but yet can be a little fun that we wouldn’t normally do in our curriculum to celebrate the neat things because I think students don’t realize how proficient they are in a language, and with the texting, a student can put their academic knowledge and put it to their everyday lives,” said Mrs. Kristine Pohlman, Spanish teacher.

The activities sponsored by the department include a poster contest and a passport that students can fill out to earn a no-homework pass. The World Language Department also coordinated with the food services company to dedicate a line to international cuisine. During class, students played Are You Smarter than a Foreign Language Teacher in order to learn more about the culture of their languages.

According to Dr. Jennifer Lawrence, Foreign Language Department Chair, the idea for a World Language Week was brought up during a Foreign Language Department meeting. A teacher brought up that many schools celebrated the week while Hinsdale Central did not. After discovering that Central was one of the only schools in the area that didn’t celebrate the week, the Foreign Language department took it on as a department goal to launch the school’s first World Language Week event.

At this point, the department is unsure of the students’ reaction to the event. “I think this year is hard to tell because this is our first year. We’ll obviously collect feedback from students and teachers and see what they think. Hopefully, next year we’ll do new activities to keep that spark alive and show some of the neat ways foreign language can transcend into our world,” Pohlman said.

Although the results of the poster contest and the passport have yet to be seen, Lawrence believes that this year’s World Language Week has been a success.

“The biggest thing we wanted to do was celebrate languages. Almost half the world’s population is at least bilingual, and we wanted to promote learning another language. To really understand another culture is to actually live it through speaking the language because you’ll be able to connect with the people of the culture and truly understand them,” Lawrence said.