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Acquisition des langues

Foreign Tongues (Charles Kolb: Huffington Post)

Last Updated: 31 May 2012

10 May 2012

What do former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Treasury Secretary and Harvard President Larry Summers have in common? The short answer: other than Ph.D.s and professorships, not very much. But it turns out that they both share an unfortunate skepticism about the importance in American education of studying foreign languages.

In the case of Secretary Summers, his doubts appeared in a January 2012 New York Times article, "What You (Really) Need to Know," that was adapted from a speech he delivered at a Times-sponsored conference on Schools for Tomorrow. The Summers speech is actually a thoughtful speculation about what the future of undergraduate education might entail, and he makes important points about how processing and using information will be more important than imparting information. Collaboration skills will be both more extensive and, especially among employers, more valued. New technologies will also change the way knowledge is delivered and data are analyzed. Read more...