Who is married to who?  You might be from the US married to an Asian, an Asian married to someone from India, a Turk married to a someone from Spain, a Columbian married to an Asian, an Asian married to someone from an Africa country…the list goes on

I had the pleasure of being involved with the international schools when I was in Dubai,  the exposure to curriculum and programs for teachers and students taking education in the classroom to a higher level in the 21st century.
It’s more acceptable now to be mixed up culturally,  which means that the next generation will be speaking one language at home, one language at school, and learning another language from their other parents and friends.  Children (other than the US) will be learning 3 languages at least.  This was so evident to me (an ahah moment) when I was at the Educational Trade Show in Dubai.  Gulf Educational Services and Supplies- GESS

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Software is being developed for little kids to have their brains easily learn multiple languages at one time.  The Chinese government is supporting countries with funds to teach Mandarin.  David Cameron urged the UK schools to teach Mandarin, “I want Britain linked up to the world’s fast growing economies.  And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow’s business ideal.  By the time the children born today leave school, China is set to be the world’s largest economy.  So it is time to look beyond the traditional focus on French and German and get many more children learning Mandarin.”

languagenut.com is a company from the UK for teachers to choose what language they want to teach from a menu that is vast. Looks pretty fun to me. The entire family can be involved. I met the CEO Paul Fairbanks, who was selling his product to schools. More than a million students in the UK  have  English as their second language and than number is rising. His approach is teachers and students  learn together.

I met a gentleman from India who lives 6 months in California and 6 months in India, developing a product of hardware and software that will provide a paperless classroom. He was looking for VC money and global expertise for his board of directors.

Teaching Mandarin is a growing trend across schools in the US where the number of students enrolled in Chinese language and cultural programs has tripled in recent years. A school district outside Columbus, Ohio, is on track to receive more than a million dollars in federal grant money for its Chinese arts and language program. It’s getting $30,000 from the Chinese government. There is  controversy in smaller communities that are not embracing differences in cultures and acceptance in the global economy of what’s ahead.  This is a challenge.  In NY more families are requesting Chinese speaking nannies than ever before for their toddlers.

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ShaoLan Hsueh is an entrepreneur who has developed a curriculum that English speakers can start learning to read Chinese in less than 10 minutes from memorizing symbols. Called Chineasy. She has over 2 million viewers on line from a TED conference talk. Recently written up in the WSJ Learning the written language reveals nuances of Chinese Culture.  Shao Lan is embracing innovation.  She is really smart too!  The video on her website is compelling.

So I enrolled in Spanish last semester for the weekly night program at the high school which is literally next to my house.  I thought it would be a snap!  Well this was a humbling experience.  I really studied…and memorized…and still did not get it. It was hard.  So the lesson to this story is start early when your mind is pliable, flexible, and you don’t think too hard about what you are doing…fluid conversation.  I will  learn it, but will take me longer than my initial estimate.  English is a given, Spanish is a must, and at least one more language if not two, for the little ones to compete in a global economy.  We will be behind as a nation if we don’t embrace this challenge.  It’s so obvious when one leaves the US to see what we have to do…I find it fascinating. Really thought provoking.  Why didn’t I pay attention when I was in high school and spend those 4 years studying Spanish?  Certainly was not as fun then as it is now with these new methods of learning.