When French and Spanish aren’t enough, DIS classes offer alternatives

Increasingly, students are are taking the initiative to study languages not regularly offered by GFS through the popular Directed Independent Study program (DIS).

 Reasons vary as to why a student would take this course in addition to the enormous amount of homework given daily. Most students such as Julia Struzyna ’15, a current German student, take the course due to a family connection to the language. Julia said, “My father was born in Germany so he and his father both speak it fluently and it always sounded really cool.” Julia also wanted to be able to communicate with her extended family in a language other than English. Former Mandarin student Jesse Overholser ’15, took the language with his future in mind. Jesse believes that one day China will dominate America’s economy and Chinese will be widely used in America. Both Julia and Jesse took their DIS in addition to Spanish and believe it was beneficial. Jesse did note the difficulty he faced to learn the language that only met once a week.

In addition to rare meetings, little homework is assigned each class. German teacher Sarah Detwiler said most of her students surpass the slim homework by individually investigating the language. Detwiler also noted her students’ ability to quickly pick up the language because of their firm foundation in another foreign language. Detwiler said, “All of my students are hardworking, determined individuals who have a great ability to learn languages.” These are important traits for a DIS students to display because unlike other language courses, letter grades are not received.

DIS’s are pass/fail courses, which gives students an opportunity to “learn just to love.”  Students get to experience another language, while creating study skills for the future.

Language DIS courses cost $400 a year for weekly sessions with class sizes of about two to four students.