One of the most exhilarating and unifying moments of the 20th century was the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. During several hot July days in 1969, people all over the world were glued to a television or radio anxiously following the astronauts’ progress to outer space and awaiting Commander Neil Armstrong’s first words as he stepped onto the moon. Willing to put aside global tensions for a bit, we became citizens of the world as we watched Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, gleeful and childlike, bouncing and driving along the dusty and hilly and mysterious lunar surface.
Very rarely do we question the practical, lifelong applications of a high school class. When was the last time you wondered, for instance, whether Ohm’s Law would be useful in your career? Or, does knowing that James Buchanan was our 15th President have an impact on your earning capacity? And, what about those sines and cosines — what practical meaning could they possibly offer to your life? With foreign language, however, the “useful” question invariably comes up and many times families choose a course of language study based upon its pragmatic value. So, let’s explore the practical side of learning language in general and learning French in particular.