NoÃlle Bernard, Senior Staff Writer

The Miami University community’s foreign language knowledge will be tested Oct. 12 by students in the Foreign Language Education 2011 Cohort.

The students have designed a foreign language pop quiz project where students, staff and faculty will be given a language ambush that tests their foreign language skills.

According to senior Christine Hartz, a Spanish education major, the purpose of the quiz is to raise awareness throughout the Miami community about the importance of a foreign language presence.

“Basically we’re doing it as a way to advocate for foreign language,” Hartz said. “We’re trying to just raise awareness of the importance of speaking a foreign language and what it means for students to learn things about another culture and to promote a global perspective through speaking another language.”

The students from the cohort will be using the Discover Languages Pop Quiz to test unsuspecting students, faculty and staff randomly at various locations such as King Café, King Library, Shriver Center, Haines Food Court, Irvin Hall, Farmer School of Business and Bell Tower Place.

“We’re planning on just polling random strangers, any people that walk past,” Hartz said. “We’re going to ask them simple questions like, ‘What time is it?’ (or) ‘What’s the weather like?’ in Chinese, Spanish, French and German.”

Junior Ellen Anderson, a French education major, hopes people will understand and respond in the targeted languages.

“I’m not really sure what the foreign language ability is at Miami,” Anderson said. “I know a lot of students have to take a little foreign language in high school (and) I know a lot have to take a little bit in college, but I know that the language majors are not that plentiful at Miami, so I’m really hoping that we will get some response.”

The results will be graded and tallied on the scale of whether students receive a response in the correct language, in English or with no response at all.

Once the ambush is complete, the results will be recorded and the students will create advocacy brochures for local school districts advocating for the teaching of foreign languages.

“Each student in our class is going to be making a one-page brochure or pamphlet to send to local school districts advocating for foreign language,” Hartz said. “We’re going to use this as a tool for raising awareness for parents, students, teachers, administrators and local school districts (about) why it’s important to learn a language.”

Junior Marian Gbenro, a Spanish education major, is excited to see the results because she thinks it will give foreign languages an opportunity to display their significance and worth.

“It seems like foreign languages are like kind of shunned now because people think that math, science and English are more important,” Gbenro said. “They don’t understand that there are benefits to learning a foreign language, whether cognitively or just knowing someone’s culture more.”

The results will be available 24 hours after the completion of the project.

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