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Lise's Lens: November 16, 2023

This week I lament the national drop in foreign language learners, celebrate Native American and Alaskan Heritage Month, and express my great awe at last week's production of As You Like It.

  • As a foreign language teacher and scholar, I was disheartened (but sadly, not particularly surprised) to see some of the latest data from the Modern Language Association on language learning in the United States. According to their research, enrollment in courses in languages other than English fell by 16% between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2021. Another interesting item of note is that drops in enrollment have been particularly steep in European languages, while other, non-European languages, like Korean, American Sign Language, and Biblical Hebrew actually saw increases. Knowing multiple languages has opened so many doors and helped to foster so many personal connections for me, and I know it can do the same for others. I hope this overall downward trend does not continue! 
  • I am still thinking about the incredible Fall Production of As You Like It. If you went to see the show, you know just how spectacular it was. Over 60(!) students were involved in putting this production together, serving as actors, directors, costume designers, builders, lighting designers, and members of the tech team. It was a lofty goal to try and build the world of As You Like It exclusively from recycled materials, but they pulled it off and I am so impressed and proud. Special shoutout to our Theatre Department faculty Emily, David, and Calin. Bravo!

  • November is Native American and Alaskan Heritage Month. PBS put together a great list of programming featuring Native voices and highlighting Native heritage. Their offerings range from documentaries to cooking shows. There are even a few items available for streaming on YouTube. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday (whether or not you choose to observe), I think it’s important that we honor and educate ourselves on native culture. 
I love this photo Coco Chen '26 took of the tech crew working the booth for As You Like It. There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes of a production that the audience never gets to see. 

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.