BRIEF: French teacher encourages students to learn a second language


Maya Subramanian, Staff Writer

French teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Arcangeli sees great value in learning about foreign languages and cultures. Known for her “oh la-la’s” and for her role in the school’s French Club, Mrs. Arcangeli encourages students to learn a foreign language, as she feels that the benefits are invaluable.

It is very important to experience different cultures and learn how to relate to other people,” Mrs. Arcangeli said. “When you can communicate with a native speaker in his or her language, you work to create relationship with that person, instead of just assuming that the other person will speak in English to you.”

In addition to an enhanced understanding of another culture, she says learning foreign languages can equip students for later applications.

“Medical, law and business schools particularly value students who know a second language because they are looking for well-rounded, diversified candidates,” Mrs. Arcangeli said. “Fluency in a second language is not as common in the United States, so bilingual students are at a clear advantage.”

Especially in their high school years, Mrs. Arcangeli urges students to learn a second language. She supports her students as they experience French culture first-hand; the school’s French Club annually goes to Freedom House to volunteer and interact with French-speaking people seeking refuge.

“When we have gone to Freedom House in Detroit to do volunteer work, kids have had to use both their French and English to communicate with residents,” Mrs. Arcangeli said. “I enjoy seeing kids enjoy themselves as they learn the language, for example through games, observing cultural traditions or by listening to music.”

Mrs. Arcangeli firmly believes that learning a foreign language is worthwhile; she finds that knowing French is a quality that will benefit her and her students in a wide variety of ways, and she hopes to lead by example in applying the language.

“Studying another language has so many benefits,” Mrs. Arcangeli said. “Whether it results in higher SAT scores, study abroad later in college or even better understanding a recipe to make some killer crêpe batter, my greatest hope is that my students will find the skills that I have taught them applicable some way in the real world.”