I am a strong believer in the power of a seamless transition between school and community. The school serves the community and vice versa, therefore we should all be working hand-in-hand. The school should serve as a means through which community issues are solved, and in return, the students receive a real-world education that will prepare them for college or career.
One of the main ways that I incorporate community in my classroom is during February, known to World Language teachers as Discovering Languages Month. During this month, our school hosts an international fair (to be MUCH larger next year- last year was our first attempt), conducts the ACTFL community language survey (ambushing businesses in the community to see how many people speak and understand a most basic level of any foreign language), and I, personally, invite bilingual business leaders and employees into my classroom to speak to the power of being bilingual in the work force. Students investigate how bilingualism will (not just “could”) help them in their future careers (one that they choose for the project). The result is a large increase in the number of students taking more that just the required foreign language courses for graduation with honors, and many more choosing to study a foreign language as a minor or major in college.
Promoting and exploiting, if you will, the symbiotic relationship between community and school is a huge benefit to all classrooms, all teachers, and most definitely all students.