The Bridges: Children, Languages, World program, hosted by the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, will continue to teach children lesser-used languages in Monroe County schools and organizations.
Senior coordinator for Bridges: Children, Languages, World Wes Steele said the program aims to expand children’s awareness, curiosity and understanding of world cultures through interactive lessons such as games, activities, songs and videos.
“Bridges offers local children, schools and community centers a unique opportunity to learn about languages and cultures that are rarely taught in the United States, particularly at the elementary school level,” Steele said.
During the spring semester, the program will partner with nine schools and organizations in Bloomington. The program will offer Mandarin, Greek, Hindi, Swahili, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.
“(The program) builds a bridge between many countries and their cultures,” said IU PhD student Yasemin Kole. “The program is of great benefit to the students as encountering another world through language and culture at an early age will help children develop a more diverse understanding and a respectful, peaceful acceptance of others.”
Steele coaches undergraduate and graduate students specializing in language and area studies. After receiving $16.3 million from the US Department of Education, the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies worked with the School of Education to create six national resource centers teaching culture, languages and international education. Steele said the program provides student teachers with important foundations for designing and developing language and culture curricula.
“For the IU students who teach in the program, it’s an excellent opportunity not only to practice their language skills, but also to share invaluable cultural knowledge from other countries with young and curious American elementary school students,” says IU junior and program principal. Volunteer Erol Algan said.
Algan, who is studying Folklore and Central Eurasian Studies with a minor in Russian, has been teaching Turkish in the Bridges program for three semesters.
“In the United States, unfortunately, our teaching of geography and cultures outside of our own is inadequate,” Algan said. “Through this program, students gain access to a wealth of knowledge about other countries and the languages spoken there.”
Steele said the program will run from February to April. There will be a mandatory orientation meeting for volunteers on January 26th. Interested students should contact Steele at [email protected]