Student Motivation: Try a Foreign Language Day!


  • Paul W. Wood,

  • Leslie Badanes

  • Paul W. Wood (Ph.D., Northwestern University), founder and director of Foreign Language Day, is chairman of the Department of Modern Languages, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.; Leslie Badanes (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is Associate Professor of German at the same institution.


ABSTRACT  An annual Foreign Language Day has been found to be an excellent means to stimulate interest in foreign languages, self-expression, and creativity. The day-long event emphasizes student participation, with activities revolving around competitions in modern and classical languages: Cultural Exhibits, Interpretative Readings, Language Productions, Audio-Visual Presentations, Essays, International Foods, and International Music and Dance. Since one of the aims is to be informative, panels and workshops are organized. In addition, the day should be a pleasurable experience; entertainment, foreign films, a fiesta with free food samples and free cultural materials, cooking and folk-dance demonstrations, and games in the target language fulfill this objective. A Language Day, with its emphasis on cultural information, spirited activity, and student self-expression, can represent one focus that teachers of foreign languages may wish to utilize.