42 answers

Should Foreign Language Be Required in Schools?

these days do you think a child should need to know spanish specifically to function as an adult in the workplace?

I personally took french in high school. but all i retained was the alphabet and frera jacque? but i wish i had taken spanish. some job ads i have seen require bilingual specifically spanish. my son can speak korean and german. but my 3 girls took spanish. my SS who are mexican dont speak a lick of spanish...lol.

But most schools only require ESL classes to learn english, but not the other way around. i think in 10 years, its almost going to be a detriment if kids dont know spanish as well as english to make it professionally.

and btw,in case this post goes there, it makes me furious that you can take the U.S. citizenship test in your home language (imo, if u want to be a us citizen u can at least learn the language first) and specifically in Virginia you can take the drivers test in spanish....but the road signs are in english so i see that as a huge saftey issue.

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ftr, i happen to agree with you BUG.

thanks for the answers...i think with the hispanic population outnumbering any other right now, its important to try and know both languages specifically. especially for any profession where you deal with people. more and more cut backs in education with art programs and music programs, im afraid foreign languages may be next and i think thats lowering the standards for our kids educations and well being.

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I think that it is a tremendous help to be bilingual. Music (which helps with math skills), and foreign language should remain a requirement to graduate.

I actually think that Spanish should be taught to children in all 12 grades, right along with English.

I took 3 years of Espanol. It is definitely a skill you have to USE.

9 moms found this helpful

In many parts of the country, kids are already learning it, along with math and science. I think its a good idea to have everyone learn it. I dont understand why anyone would be against having their children gain more knowledge on any subject.

8 moms found this helpful

I think economics and oral communication should be required before requiring a foreign language.

We have people who can't effectively communicate in English even being born here, why add another language they can mangle.

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Xenophobia at it's best.
English is not the official language of the United States. English - belongs to and originates from England. The kings English. Doesn't that make English a "foriegn" language?
We don't even speak English. We speak a bastardization known as American usually pronounced Amurican.
So many flag carrying "Amuricans" have forgotten our heritage, forgotten the way, the why, and the how the US came about in the 1st place.

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I believe a foreign language should be required in school.
There are many benefits to learning a foreign language beside knowing how to speak another language: you learn about a cultural differences, which is important in today's global economy and there is scientific evidence that learning another language helps develop areas of the brain that come in handy for other tasks as well.
Learning a foreign language has NOTHING to do with immigration policies. It does not even matter which language you learn in order to get most of the benefits (though I see how learning spanish is an advantage in today's job market) - even learning a dead (latin) or rare language will offer benefits.

BTW - I don't think roadsigns in a different language are a safety issue at all. I have driven a car all over Europe and even though I don't speak a lick of Italian, Spanish, Danish or Swedish I can drive there just fine! If it was such a huge safety issue NO ONE should be allowed to drive abroad, for example when you go on vacation... or think of all the service men and women stationed in countries that don't even have the same alphabet... I would rather someone take a driving test in their own language and know the traffic laws than having them drive without a license and any idea what they are doing!

And as for the citizenship test:the test is in English and no longer multiple choice and you are asked all questions in English by a USCIS officer. It is an interview type test...that most natural born Americans would probably fail miserably if they had to take it... at least that what many natural born US citizens have told me.

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My kids have been taking Spanish EVERYDAY at the charter school they attend since KINDERGARTEN. With the same amount of money every other public school in the state gets, our school manages to educate our children to become responsible citizens of the world. Which I believe requires learning the discipline of mastering a foreign language.

My oldest just graduated 8th and will enter one of the best public high schools in the state into Spanish 3. The vast majority of her classmates, who attended the very high rated district middle school, will START their forgein language education as Freshmen.

Yes, I think it's important. Yes it is realistic to expect our kids should be taught FL from a very young age. Every other industrialized nation thinks it's important too and has been doing it, without fanfare, for decades.

We share a continent (and our closest neighboring continent) with Spanish speaking countries. Why shouldn't we expect our kids to learn Spanish? It shouldn't be the only FL offered but it's a darn good start.

Again I hear Americans complaining about trivial issues that deserve little of our attention. Why do so many focus on hot button issues that are so insignificant? We can all sit around arguing about what language public forms are printed in while our children go uneducated, people lose their jobs and homes and one medical problem can land you in the poor house.

Let's focus on what really matters. I for one love the sound of someone speaking Spanish!

10 moms found this helpful

The rest of the world teaches their children other languages. We're really so far behind in not requiring it. At the very least, the skills are useful when traveling.

We live in a global economy and if we want our children to compete for good jobs, they need to know how to communicate with others. I am going to make sure both of our kids take a foreign language starting in junior high.

I took French from junior high through college and it came in handy once at work when they needed someone to translate a document from one of our Canadian offices. My memory wasn't perfect, but I could share enough to be helpful.

Foreign language skills are definitely an asset.

ETA: I passed the AP test in French Literature and earned three college units while in high school. Those units were extremely valuable at a time when college budgets were being axed and it was hard to get classes. The three units helped me graduate college in four years.

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So....we're just gunning for the illegal, Spanish speaking immigrants, here? ;)

The USA had better wake up and smell the coffee. Spanish IS America's second language.
Just like we're the lone hold out for using the metric system, we refuse to bend on this one. Really?

I get SO sick of people complaining about having to "Push 1 for English"!
It's about marketing, people! It's about profit and bottom line.
It's about companies serving their customers--ALL of their customers. Even the non-English speaking ones because, guess what? Companies want MONEY for goods and services from CUSTOMERS--even of their first language is Pig Latin.

K., ever stop to think that just MAYBE someone, somewhere has though about the "red flag" English/Spanish driving issues? Someone in a more powerful position than you? Maybe if people can recognize the STOP means ALTO--they got it, right? There are plenty of illiterates driving in this country--English And Spanish speakers.

As for teaching Spanish--it was one of the first things to get cut from our elementary school.

And for all of the card-carrying grammar policemen out there--ya think maybe we'd better start doing a better job teaching English here as well??!!

10 moms found this helpful

I think that language should be reqiured in schools because it trains the mind to think in a different way, and because we live in a multi-cultural society. I studied Spanish for 5 years in school, and actually did use it during my years as a teacher.

10 moms found this helpful

Of COURSE foreign language should be required, regardless of whether or not we have large populations of immigrants who speak any other language. English has its roots in lots of other languages. I don't know that I can think of any aspect of english, in fact, that is NOT rooted in anything else. People complain that so many people don't know enough of english to learn anything else, I say that learning something else will help with english comprehension, too. Often, learning things in tandem helps make them easier to understand. I think we don't start teaching foreign language early enough. The earlier you learn, the easier it is. Did you know, that all humans are born with the ability to produce the same sets of sounds? However, as we hear certain sounds and combinations, those are the ones we practice, and sort of lose the flexibilty necessary to do them. If we had practiced as children, for instance, the rolling rrr's in the back of the throat as in spanish or french would be a great deal easier for us as adults. Full comprehension isn't necessary at an early age, but familiarity is so helpful.

It also disappoints me that Latin is so rarely taught as a foreign language. Latin, being the root of most of the European languages, not to mention the language of medicine, is so very helpful to know.

No only that, but while english is the common language of aviation, french is still the common internationally used language of politics. Business used to use english as well, but the global economy is changing, and chinese is becoming more and more important.

As for the other issue, of learning spanish to accomodate immigrants, no - I don't think it's a necessity. But it's a smart business move. People are more comfortable speaking what they speak at home, whether they are proficient in another language or not. If you can speak to them in that language, they will do business with you. If you live near a large Korean community, you pick up a little korean. If you live in certain parts of Alaska, you might pick up some Inupiaq. This is how english got to be a conglomeration of other languages in the first place, and no doubt it'll continue. True, some more spanish words will inch into united-states english, just because spanish-speakers are a large immigrant population right now, but that's really no different from the rest of American history.

I agree with some of the others' observations that speaking a language and reading it quickly are not the same thing. You yourself, misspelled "Frere Jacques." (I'm not meaning to nit-pik, mind you, but it re-inforces the point - and yes, I am aware that I technically misspelled, it, too, as I left off the diacritical mark... :) )

Side-note for the road signs, even the drivers' test in english requires the student to identify them, not by what is written on them, but by color and shape. They are color- and shape-coded on purpose to make reading them unnecessary.

9 moms found this helpful

I think that it is a tremendous help to be bilingual. Music (which helps with math skills), and foreign language should remain a requirement to graduate.

I actually think that Spanish should be taught to children in all 12 grades, right along with English.

I took 3 years of Espanol. It is definitely a skill you have to USE.

9 moms found this helpful

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