Foreign language teachers oppose choice of coding in core curriculum

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Foreign language teachers throughout the state oppose a move to change the core curriculum required for TOPS.

A proposal would allow high school students to opt for coding or a related computer science instead of a foreign language.

Senate Bill 191 would give high school students seeking TOPS the option of taking coding instead of a foreign language. Coding is how we tell computers what to do.

The teachers said it’s no substitute for a foreign language.

Some think the ability to code or other computer science topics would be more useful to students than a foreign language. Not so in a French class at Barbe High School.

Janice Patton has taught French for 25 years and feels foreign language is needed now more than ever:

“Language is to communicate with one person. By definition coding is to tell a machine what to do. And when we communicate, we’re not telling people what to do we’re passing our message and they are acknowledging it an sending a message back and to me that’s not what coding is,” she said.

If students want coding as a skill set, Patton said let them take it as an elective. She said many students need to improve their communication skills.

“I think this generation really has lost their skills of communication. They don’t know how to communicate anymore. With the pandemic, for example, when the kids had to eat lunch in our classrooms, when the bell rang and the class period was over and lunch began, the kids all took out their lunch and took out their phones and looked down at their phones rather than talk to each other,” said Patton.

Students like junior Sam Cappel feel their years of French will be useful.

“I understand with the evolving age of technology, where it’s coming from, but just through my process through the French immersion project, I think it’s been a great opportunity. It provides something a limited amount of people have,” said Cappel.

The students have been immersed in French since before high school and treasure what they’ve learned.

An amendment to the bill would delay it taking effect until the 2025-2026 school year. At last word the bill was headed to the house for approval.

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