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Language Development

We believe that language is a defining human characteristic and that learning language is at the center of core instruction. It is also integral to the development of the whole child— contributing to the intellectual development and social-emotional wellbeing of our students. New languages are best acquired through a continuum of immersive and extended learning experiences that start at an early age and continue through young adulthood.  

Learning multiple languages and how language functions are accelerators of equity. They allow for deeper cross-cultural understanding and rigorous academic achievement. Building on the assets of our students’ heritage languages and cultures allows us to strengthen the individual and our community. By combining highly engaging, interactive and communicative language instruction with authentic, grade-appropriate content, students will have the opportunity to experience multiple perspectives and cultures as part of their education.

When students develop literacy in one language, learning other languages becomes much easier. An increasing number of students in Portland Public Schools will attain proficiency and literacy in more languages as a result of robust language programming in our district. The Maine Seal of Biliteracy thus becomes more realistic for more and more of our students!

I also started to get not an understanding of the language, but a feeling. An old wise man once said to me, “You only truly know the language once you start feeling it, not understanding, but feeling.”

-Abdalla Elbatanoni,
Seal of Biliteracy recipient, Arabic and English

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