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Computer Program Takes Place of Teachers in Rural District Hindered by Shortage

Computer Program Takes Place of Teachers in Rural District Hindered by Shortage

”This isn’t perfect, but it was the best option to move our students forward this year,” says Madison Area Memorial High School Principal Jessica Ward to CentralMaine.com.

Ward is referring to a decision she and her staff were forced to make—the decision to use a computer program to teach students foreign languages as opposed to a teacher.

In Madison Area Memorial High School, students are now receiving their foreign language instruction from Rosetta Stone, a program that while is not a replacement for in-person instruction is being used by many districts struggling to hire foreign language teachers.

A nationwide shortage of foreign language teachers is forcing districts, especially rural ones, to resort to alternative measures in order to ensure students do not suffer.

According to CentralMaine.com, the state is being forced to put off making foreign language a requirement for students until at least 2025, when hopefully the shortage can be addressed. A lack of such a requirement, unfortunately, can significantly hinder students in their pursuit of higher education as many college and universities require prior foreign language experience.

In Madison, just 67 out of 215 "high school students currently take a foreign language, something that Ward said while optional is usually recommended or required by colleges,” according to the article.

Rosetta Stone officials say the product is used in over 4,000 other schools, but ideally is used in “conjunction with a real person.”

Regardless of how successful the program turns out being in Madison, Ward told CentralMaine.com she will continue to search for foreign language teachers for next school year to ensure students are receiving “cultural education and a personal touch.”

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/19/2016

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