A Worldly Vision
Apr 15, 2011
There was much to celebrate as Concordia Language Villages marked a half century. Throughout its history, the program has balanced innovation with
traditions and rituals. More importantly, it has embraced fun.
When Waldsee began in 1961, nobody guessed that sports, music and games could be crucial portals to another culture.
Since then, however, research on how students learn world languages has supported what the Villages has always done intuitively. Participants learn best not from a book, but through active fun. They learn phrases as they sing. They learn verbs while they play soccer. They learn culture as they share meals at a table.
"Ask the average American whether language learning is fun, and I doubt many would agree," says Donna Clementi, the Villages' director of education and research. "Being at the Language Villages is fun in the most positive, strongest sense of the word. It’s not silly, trivial fun, but it’s a certain magic that makes them want to learn more and come back."
Part of that fun is taking on a Village identity, a new name that symbolically reinvents the participant’s identity.
"You have a chance to be better at the Villages than you are anywhere else in your life," says Patricia Thornton, director of summer programs.
Visit Concordia Magazine online to read, see and hear more about the 50th anniversary of Concordia Language Villages.