The fact that only 20% of students in the U.S. receive a foreign language education between K-12 is a travesty. As a polyglot and a parent who insists that his children are trilingual, this reality saddens me. While English may be the “world” language, certainly for commerce, and more and more people are speaking English around the world (seemingly every day), that doesn’t mean we should be a monolingual society.
There is documented proof that children who learn two languages early on show improvements in cognitive abilities, namely memory and multitasking. To put to bed a long-time misconception, foreign language education does not confuse children nor hurt their abilities in their mother tongue. Truth be told, some research has shown that youngsters who study foreign languages outperform their peers that are monolingual, in their native languages.
Additionally, the benefits of learning a second language can help pave the way for future academic success and beyond. For many professions, someone’s ability to speak a foreign language not only adds a lot of value to an organization, it simply makes that person more marketable.
Without a doubt, the U.S. as a whole (both public and private sectors) has chosen to turn a blind eye to the importance of learning foreign languages. As you will read in the article linked below, this trend is not only continuing, it is getting worse!
To learn more, please see: Foreign language classes becoming more scarce.
Smith-Stein, Kathleen. Foreign Language Classes Becoming More Scarce. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 6 Feb, 2019.
https://bit.ly/33PMBkO. Accessed: 13 Mar, 2020.
Eddy, Peter A. The Effect of Foreign Language Study in High School on Verbal Ability as by the Scholastic Aptitude Test-Verbal. Final Report. Center of Applied Linguistics, Wash. D.C. 1981.
https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED196312. Accessed: 24 Mar, 2020.