Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

Why are Foreign Languages Needed in Our Schools?

Yes, We Rise| Why are foreign languages needed in our schools?

Many of my students and parents are concerned with why students need foreign language as a requirement to graduate from high school. In some cases a foreign language is even required to graduate from some college majors. There are several reasons why an additional language can not only be helpful to enhance your life skills, but also why it will soon be a necessity.

In the words of Senator Paul Simon, the United States is a "linguistically malnourished" country compared with many other nations. Despite the large number of individuals from other language and cultural backgrounds who live in various communities throughout the United States, relatively few Americans can boast proficiency in a language other than English. While ample opportunities exist in many other countries to develop proficiency in a second language, exposure to foreign languages in the United States is far from adequate.

In the ever changing world, many other cultures are immigrating to the United States, and many companies have the need for people that speak more than one language with fluency. Learning languages at an early age along with your native language can give your students an edge over many. Research in the field of language acquisition suggests that for the child undergoing normal development in the native language, the earlier instruction in the foreign language begins, the higher the level of proficiency the child will attain in that language (Krashen, Long, and Scarcella, 1979). Because children are cognitively, affectively and socially more flexible than adolescents or adults, they are naturally more "efficient" foreign language learners. In fact, data from children who are raised bilingually indicate that given a supportive environment, a child can start learning two languages from birth. Moreover, children who are adequately exposed to two languages at an early age experience certain cognitive gains: they seem more flexible and creative, and they reach higher levels of cognitive development at an earlier age than their monolingual peers. This is why it is encouraged to start at an early age and progress through primary and secondary levels. This is beneficial not only to your student now but in their future.

Until The Next



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