What in the World?

Rachel Freilich ’23

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Every September, Ramaz Upper School students look forward to reconnecting with old friends and teachers. These students also eagerly await changes that are made in the curriculum and student policies, often stemming from feedback from the prior year. Yet as many surprising new changes were revealed during orientation, one modification seemed to go unnoticed: the introduction of the “world” language department, formerly known as the “foreign” language department. After introducing the new makeup policies, and listing the names of new teachers, Ryan Liebowitz ’20 and Maxine Pravda ’20 disclosed the name change, leaving students wondering how it would affect their daily lives.

Ms. Bellaiche, a French teacher at the Upper School, explained the impetus behind this change. In her words, “The department wants to make it feel that the school is inclusive. ‘Foreign’ means far away, while ‘world’ implies that we are open to the world and included in it.” Even though this name alteration doesn’t affect many students, the student body should understand what this change means for their learning and why it occurred. Oddly, the school never explained why this adjustment was made beyond printing the words “WORLD LANGUAGES” in large letters on the orientation screen. Students wished the administration had explained the logic behind this change more clearly to give them a better understanding of the department’s desire to create a more inclusive language learning environment and focusing on skills that are relevant more often than just in foreign countries. Ms. Bellaiche added that she agrees with the new title and said, “It opens the students’ minds and gives them more reasons to study because they want to be a citizen of the world, not only a citizen of the place they live.” 

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