International Potpourri: Foreign Language for the Gifted and Talented in Arkansas


  • Joel Bollinger Pouwels

    1. University of Central Arkansas
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      Joel Bollinger Pouwels (Ph. D., Michigan State University) is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR.


ABSTRACT Foreign language “camps” and international festivals have become standard extracurricular activities in the U.S. The “International Potpourri” combined features of both. It was a two-week residential summer enrichment program held in 1986 and 1987 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas for gifted and talented rising ninth and tenth graders. The purpose was to present the basics of French, German, Spanish and Japanese languages and cultures to superior students who had little or no previous foreign language study. This was accomplished through a variety of intensive activities centering on beginning conversation, songs, dances, craft and food workshops, field trips, travelogues and guest speakers. In addition, the participants engaged in discussion sessions with professional counselors, where the affective needs of the gifted and talented adolescent were addressed. This essay describes the program's successful marriage of two areas increasingly emphasized in Arkansas today: Gifted and Talented and Foreign Language Education.