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Monett schools accommodate 20 different languages present throughout the district

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:15 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:46 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) - There are 20 different languages present throughout the Monett School District. While this opens up an opportunity for students to learn about various cultures, it also comes with its challenges.

District leaders say the first language more than 40% of its students is not English.

“In the last four years, things have dramatically changed language-based here,” said Director of English Language Development Daphne Hensley. “Prior to that, we were predominantly English and Spanish speaking. But an influx about four years ago brought us new languages.”

Originally, that new influx brought in Korean and Burmese. After that, the district taught to students of more languages, including Tajik and Q’eqchi’.

“It definitely presents a challenge and an opportunity,” said Hensley.

Teachers haven’t shied away from that challenge. Using technology and immersive learning techniques, students can grow in their education and learn to speak English.

“We might also want to see lots of visuals, lots of pictures. Our teachers look to provide wait time when they ask a question. It gives those students time to process it in their first language, and then they roll it over and produce it in English.”

Having this many different cultures present in the district also opens up a learning opportunity for all students.

“Having this many different languages, and as many cultures, provides us an opportunity of getting to learn about other cultures and see things from different perspectives, to see other people’s viewpoints,” said Monett Superintendent Dr. Mark Drake. “Not only is it a challenge in the classroom, but is also an opportunity, for us as people of Monett, school district employees, teachers, students, to learn about other cultures that only enriches our lives. Having the opportunity to be blessed with other people’s cultures.”

Learning another language is not easy. Some students come to the district speaking conversational English, but it can take 4-5 years before they are confident in the language.

District leaders say they believe the number of industries and job opportunities in the area is what is bringing all these people from different countries to Monett.

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