Bonjour, Ciao, Hola! Students at St. Viator School in Chicago Go Global

A donation last fall of 30 desk top computers from Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, has resulted in a new school language lab at St. Viator School in Chicago.

This semester, its first through eighth graders began studying foreign languages, through an online access program provided by RosettaStone.

Each student chose from 24 different languages available, from Spanish, Italian, German, and French, to Polish, Gaelic, Tagalog and Mandarin Chinese.

Starting with basic levels, their teachers expect they will build toward conversational mastery, through written and spoken components involved with the course. Wearing a headset and microphone, students learn parts of speech and their usage, and, similar to a computer game, they strive to get to the next level.

“Learning from the computer may be similar for them to learning from Sesame Street on TV, and come just as naturally,” says Sr. Judith Murphy, OSB, of the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “I know that there is good educational theory that learning is enhanced when it takes on the characteristics of play.”

Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, pastor, says the goal is for students to be able to communicate via Skype with their peers at Viatorian schools around the world, including in Central and South America, as well as in Haiti and Canada.

“We live in a global world,” Fr. Bolser says. “Our students need to be aware of different cultures and languages in order to expand their own experiences. Learning another language helps to break down some of those barriers.”