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09/07/2019

Should school boards require high school students to take a foreign language class?

QUESTION
Should school boards require high school students to take a foreign language class?
I’m doing a persuasive essay on this and I need a factual arguement.
Please Help!

ANSWER
Yes yes yes yes!! But it should be ONE language and it should be much more comprehensive than what we have currently. I know people who took 3 years of Spanish in high school and can’t speak a word of it.

I don’t have time to make too much of an argument for it but I’ll list a few reasons that come to mind.
Learning a foreign language opens up so many more possibilities to students.
– They will be more understanding of people who are struggling to learn English.
– They will (hopefully) have a better grasp of the culture of whatever language they are learning
– They will learn to think in new ways, phrase things differently, express themselves more clearly
– It will help them learn their own language better as they compare the grammar and vocabulary of the new language to English.
Lastly… I know many people from European countries like Denmark, Holland, Spain, Japan etc. and they all speak nearly flawless (grammatically) English. English is required in school there and they actually learn it to fluency. I have so much respect for that. Why can’t the US step up and say “hey just about everyone else in the world knows more than one language, maybe we should take the hint?”

I suggest Spanish as the most obvious and useful choice. EVERYONE in the US should know English, I’m a supporter of ESL courses – but if everyone in the US knew English AND Spanish I think it would be very helpful.

EDIT:
Just had to respond to the answer below mine. That is completely untrue about some people not being able to learn a foreign language.
I am a linguist, this is what I studied at university. One might as well say that some people cannot learn to read music. It is simply not true. Sure, not everyone will do it well and certainly once people pass a certain age they will never learn a foreign language to full native speaker fluency. But everyone has the ability, it doesn’t go away. In general one’s ability to learn a foreign language does degrade somewhat over time. This is why immigrants who enter a country as adults have a much harder time learning the language and many never lose their thick accents. But short of mental illness or trauma they do have the ability to learn a foreign language to some extent if they are being taught and trying to learn.
High school students should have no problem. (again I’m not saying they’ll be GOOD at it, but the capacity is there)

Saying that students would “suffer a big hit to their confidence” is a very bad reason in my opinion.
Just because some people might not be as good as others at something is NO reason not to teach it in school. If that were the case then nothing would ever be taught for fear of hurting student’s self esteem when they weren’t good at it.