Language Day 2014 Connects Dartmouth and Area High Schools


This week, about a hundred young area students will experience a morning of Dartmouth-style language instruction, blending class work and drills, in nine languages: French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, and Arabic.

Max Samuels ’15 talks to students from area high schools during a Language in Motion event last year. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00 )

Based at Dartmouth’s William Jewett Tucker Foundation, Language in Motion (LIM) connects Dartmouth students who have intercultural experience—through language study, world travel, or both—with students at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H.; Rivendell Academy in Orford, N.H.; Stevens High School in Claremont, N.H.; and Windsor High School in Windsor, Vt.

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LIM usually sends Dartmouth students into local high schools as cultural ambassadors. Language Day marks something new, says Tania Convertini, director of the language program in the Department of French and Italian. “Dartmouth is blessed with a lot of opportunities and resources for language learning,” she says. Language Day “lets us share the experience of college language learning, with all its excitement, academic rigor, and fun, with high school students who might not be exposed to such a variety of languages.”

Ten Dartmouth faculty members and more than 30 Dartmouth students and staff volunteers are making the event happen. “Language Day provides a unique opportunity for Dartmouth faculty to work together with Dartmouth program staff and undergraduates, with the compelling objective of opening the world of language study to area high school students,” says Jay Davis, the Tucker Foundation’s program officer for school outreach.

Last year, says Lindsey Green, the Tucker Foundation’s service and education coordinator, LIM had “26 Dartmouth undergraduate presenters who worked with 24 partner teachers to give approximately 50 classroom presentations reaching over 800 students in the Upper Valley.” Classroom presentations by the Dartmouth participants add to the school’s curriculum, expose the students to the wider world, and raise their awareness of higher education.

LIM is a Tucker Foundation program funded through a $200,000, five-year grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Campus partners for LIM and Language Day 2014 include the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Rassias Center, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), the Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL), and the departments of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, French and Italian, German Studies, Russian, and Spanish and Portuguese.

Kelly Sundberg Seaman