The Okemos World Languages (OWL) Partnership is a collaborative project between Okemos Public Schools and Michigan State University (MSU), specifically the Teacher Preparation Program and the Center for Language Teaching Advancement. OWL is a bi-weekly after-school program that introduces Okemos children in grades 1-4 to different languages and cultures. It is an introductory opportunity for students to practice basic communication skills in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish. We aim to expose students to world languages and encourage them to pursue whichever language they enjoy in the future. Introducing languages in any capacity at a young age is invaluable. Additionally, learning a second language (or third, or fourth) is a process that continues for a lifetime, and we are excited for this opportunity to provide your children with a new way of developing their academic and interpersonal skills.

Our lessons actively engage the students in the learning process. We incorporate a variety of language activities, games, and cultural information to cater to different learner types and learning styles. Our lessons emphasize functional language use and cultural awareness. The lessons are implemented by pre-service student instructors from the Teacher Education Program at MSU under the supervision and guidance of MSU faculty mentors.

The OWL Partnership incorporates the following elements:

  • communication in the target language in real-life situations,
  • student-centered activities based on what students need, already know, and can do,
  • prioritizing cultural awareness and integrating culture in every aspect of language instruction, and
  • catering to diverse learning styles, while encouraging the development of a wide range of skills.

The Spring 2020 program planning is underway.

For any questions related to the program, feel free to contact the Teacher Education supervisor Sandro Barros (  

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