Dr. Kristi Bond, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and International Studies, recently announced the return of the KidLingo after-school language program. Bond said in an email sent to Harding employees that after a long COVID-19 break, the department is now ready to re-open the program for lessons in French and Spanish.
Dr. Joli Love, a professor of French, is teaching the course FLAN 4200, which the program is running through. It is a teaching methods course for teachers of foreign languages, so the KidLingo program serves to give future teachers taking the course some hands-on experience.
The program was started by Bond several years ago and had to be put on pause as a result of the pandemic. Now that it is returning, the program should be relatively the same as before, Love said.
Four students are taking the course this semester: French (licensure) majors junior Alexandra Linge and senior Tyler Harrod will be the French tutors, and Spanish (licensure) majors senior Rose Kuhn and senior Sydney McKinney will be the Spanish tutors. All four are studying to teach at the K-8th level.
“I have always enjoyed working with kids, so I am very excited to welcome the students, and we expect it to be a very fun learning experience for both us and the kids,” Harrod said.
The lessons this semester are going to focus on families and holidays. So far this semester, the students in the FLAN 4200 course “have been doing a lot of preparation on incorporating the 5 C’s: communication, culture, communities, comparisons and connections.,” Harrod said.
Harrod said he wants to teach his students to “see and experience the differences in French culture while also learning French language that they can use at home.”
When he enrolled at Harding in 2019, Harrod originally planned to become an English teacher; after he started taking French courses to fulfill his modern foreign language requirement, Harrod fell in love with how the French class was taught. He said that he enjoyed the creativity and flexibility of teaching a foreign language.
“[I’m] really excited to get to be a part of the KidLingo program this year because we’ll get to actually put what we’ve learned into practice in a real teaching environment,” Harrod said.
As of Sept. 13, Love said the program has 24 Spanish students and nine French students enrolled. Many of the students are the children of employees at Harding, but several are from the Searcy community, as well. The official signup online has been shut down, but the program is still accepting a few more French students. Lessons will begin on Sept. 26, and will meet on Monday afternoons in the Watson Center for eight weeks.
Love thinks that instilling confidence and keeping lessons entertaining will help assure the child will “treat it like a game” and absorb it like their own mother language, “just like a sponge.”
“There is a more natural ability in a child to learn a foreign language because they are fearless,” Love said.