Ryan Rocque is passionate about foreign language with four languages under his belt and learning a fifth. He has translated this passion into his work for foreign language acquisition in Utah. For the past decade, he has been at the heart of language teaching in Utah through his roles as president and regional representative of the American Association of Teachers of French, board member of Utah Foreign Language Association, and member of school and district world language leadership teams.
In 2015, Rocque received his PhD in educational leadership from the McKay School. His goal throughout his PhD coursework was to pick a research topic that would allow him to support and sustain language study in Utah.
“[It] turned into an exploration of the intricacies of dual immersion, the pros and cons, and how to help,” explained Rocque.
Rocque’s research was motivated by his core belief that we are a global community.
“We give honor to others by learning their culture, their language, and by experiencing life as they experience it,” remarked Rocque. “Throughout my career I have been so grateful to work with a myriad of people from across this globe, and I am always delighted to learn new things that have blessed my life.”
Rocque systematically identified what roles school leaders fulfilled in dual immersion schools. In doing this, Rocque discovered that the role of a dual immersion principal is very different from a non–dual immersion school principal.
“Their roles more closely resemble one of a principal in a school requiring a large-scale change initiative,” Rocque shared. “The actions and responsibilities they fulfill align with this [initiative]. I found in my research that, for the most part, principals of dual and non–dual immersion schools neglect these differences.”
When it comes to foreign language classes, Rocque’s studies show that these are the only classes that are specifically designed to teach students how to communicate with others.
“Learning a foreign language is a medium for so many important cross-cultural and global interchanges,” Rocque explained. “It helps students to appreciate their own culture and the differences of others’ perspectives. This is of vital importance to preserving our democracy and strengthening our civil society.”
Rocque hopes that “school leaders across our great state and nation [will] understand the importance of teaching foreign languages and continue to build and preserve these amazing programs in every school.”
Writer: Janine Swart
Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922