Should our children have to learn a second language in School?

@tlb0822 (1412)
United States
November 13, 2008 12:22am CST
I think that it should be optional for children to learn a second language in school. Pres. Obama wants all children all the way through grade school to not only know their regular studies, but also learn spanish. I personally think that this is outrageous. Our children have enough studies to learn, and things to worry about, rather then having to learn spanish. English is the language of this country. That is why I don't feel that our children should have to learn spanish, when everyone who lives in this country should know how to speak english. Disappointingly not everyone in this country speaks english, which is forcing our children to have to adapt to the spanish language, since not everyone speaks english. What is your opinion on this topic? Should our children have to learn spanish in school? What is your opinion on all the non-english speaking people in this country? Are you offended by them wanting to force a language on to our children?
6 people like this
42 responses
• United States
14 Nov 08
I think having the ability to communicate in two or even more languages puts you at a huge advantage and I think kids should be taught at a younger age. Waiting until high school like most schools do only gives you two or three years of learning and then you just stop using it because you haven't learned enough to make it permanent. Sure, I still know a few things in French, but I don't use it. The younger you are when you begin learning a language, the easier it is to pick up and the longer it sticks with you. There are multi-cultural families out there raising their children speaking two or even three languages in the home and that's amazing. As far as us being required to learn another language...why not?! I think it's arrogant to think that we should be exempt from learning others' cultures and learning to communicate effectively with others. There are many countries that children in school are REQUIRED to learn to speak English fluently. Being multi-lingual opens doors. And if people don't learn these other languages (and in our country the main "other" is Spanish) then who teaches those non-English speaking people? Yes, it is important that if you go live in another country you should learn to speak their language because that's just the right and respectful thing to do. An effort is being made to teach the children when they enter school but no system is foolproof and our country was based on the idea of freedom, not on everyone being the same. We can't expect people who come here to adapt to US if we're not willing to embrace them and meet them halfway to INVITE them to want to. This is part of the reason I think other countries are beginning to view the U.S. in a dimmer light than in past generations.
1 person likes this
@messageme (2821)
• United States
14 Nov 08
YES very huge advantage....Any job would hire someone with a second language before someone that just knows English. There is way more opportunities.
• Malaysia
13 Nov 08
I think the intention of President Obama is good. He wants everybody to learn two languages because the children will be equipped with a new skill. Knowing another language is a skill, and you know it. But if it is such a burden to you and your kids, I think it should be made into optional. I don't know whether there are many other people who go against this idea, but if it me I would like to learn a new language. Learning a new language will broaden up my knowledge because I will be able to communicate with more people. I will not be bullied or cheated by spanish speaking people because I already understand their language. Anyway, I hope you don't feel too burdened about this situation. I also hope the president is giving an optional in learning Spanish, because not everybody wants to learn a new thing. Take care.
• China
11 Dec 08
good idea..i understand 2 languages quite quite well,one is chinese, the other is the one i m using about..
@riyasam (16567)
• India
13 Nov 08
in the place where i live,we have to learn english.hindi is the second language.some people are saying that marathi should be made compulsory.i do not agree to this ,though knowing that language does have some benefits.
1 person likes this
@ratyz5 (7752)
• Philippines
13 Nov 08
I think that its alright. You wouldn't be losing anything when it comes to learning.. I mean, you learn after all and in this account, learn to speak another language. Afterwards, they can decide if they'd want to apply what they learned or literally just forget about it. Learning isn't really something forced, things get taught and it depends on the individual if they learn or don't at all, similar to any subject... Being able to speak in multiple languages is even an advantage. When it comes to spanish, well the letters are still similar so that leaves understanding. If it were a language with different letters, I guess that would be more difficult. Then again, if its going to be taught all the way through grade school, then it wouldn't be difficult for the children who are indeed going to be taught. Of course, english is what is known to be the universal medium in communication, mostly due to businesses often go with the english language. But, would it really hurt to learn another language, its not like something is taken? That's just what I think anyway.. [b](^_^")/b]
• India
13 Nov 08
in my view you should lear more than one language. this is will be good move. there is nothing like forcing them to lear. it will help them to learn more and communicate in a beter way. in india, every individual is taught three languages in school. one is your national language, the second is your regional language and the third is English. in my view second language must be taught in the schools.
1 person likes this
@cripfemme (7710)
• United States
14 Nov 08
First off, I think it's good for kids to learn another language. They say when you're younger your brain is more malleable to new material including language acquisition and musical skills. This is why they want to teach kids a foreign language earlier and encourage them to take music lessons. However, I don't think Spanish should be the only choice available. I agree with children having to take a language but there should be like five or six choices. I know in L.A. there are eight. In L.A., you can learn Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and one other. Basically, it's any language you can get the bus schedule in. Students in most other countries speak more than one language. In fact, they think we're strange because we don't. We are working in a more and more multicultural environment and people who have multi-lingual will have better opportunities in the job market. I, myself, plan to learn Spanish and American sign language within the next few years. Universities look for it on your application and you'll be at a disadvantage to the other applicants if you can't do it. I don't really see the big issue with people learning another language. It's good for you. It's good for your brain. Science proves it.
@getnbuy (1314)
• United States
14 Nov 08
That's what I thoght, too. We are Americans and we lived in Germany for 3 years. We put our 3 year old son in German kindergarten, thinking he would learn the language easily. He did not. Instead he regressed back to younger times when he could not speak and had to fight to make his wants known. A psychologist was called in to see why the american child was so aggressive. The psychologist said he was not aggressive and it was the school's fault for not trying to communicate with him better. So, this theory does not alsays work.
@Cianna (1)
• United States
12 Feb 09
Studies have proved that learning another language is very beneficila for kids, they use another different part of the brain that otherwise they will not be able to use it, it is not about if it's Spanish, french, Indian, what ever.. if about how beneficial is for them, studies have proved also learning another language help them to learn even better English.. and if they learn one language they can also learn a 3rd. language easily. God gave us different part of the brain to be use, and we have a lot more space to learn what ever we want to learn and we should give our kids the opportunity because they can do it and they can even do things you even cannot imagine...
@quinnkl (1667)
• United States
18 Nov 08
In all other countries children are taught another language in school. Every other country learns English as well. Why don't we teach other languages in our schools? I think it is a great idea! Opens up the world to children. Many of us grew up hearing several languages spoken in our household. To have schools continue that tradition is a wonderful thing, not a bad thing. How about teaching sign language as one of the second languages as well?
@story15 (111)
• United States
16 Nov 08
When I was in junior high taking a language course was mandatory (Spanish, French or German). I took Spanish. Should've taken French instead. That was a long time ago. Where I worked half the people spoke Spanish. According to the employee's handbook if we're around English speaking people English needs to be spoken. It didn't happen here. It only bothers me if they're talking about me. Learning a second language should be optional, not mandatory. If I receive straight A's in school and one "C" in language, my GPA just went down. In today's educational system the students are already burdened with increased course loads. Today's kids are taught how to be politically correct in this society. It's the parent's responsibility to have a say. We are taxpayers and we pay into the public educational system. President-elect Obama sends his daughters to private school, but that's his and his wife's choice. That's my opinion.
@rusty2rusty (6758)
• Defiance, Ohio
16 Nov 08
I just wanted to add if any second should be learned, it should be of the Native American tongue of whom was in this country first. So, many things were taken from them. They were almost wiped out. But still stand strong today.
@rusty2rusty (6758)
• Defiance, Ohio
16 Nov 08
I think learning a second language is a great idea and will open up more possiblities for those who knwo more than one language. But I also think it depends on the child. I also don't feel one language should be forced ona child over another. Why Spanish? Why not French or Italian instead? before anything is forced up on the American people. Obama needs to realize that English is the langiage of America all who can't speak it needs to learn it or go back where they came from. I am sorry but I find it down right insulting to force another language on a child that they or their parents did not choose and is not the languauge of their country.
@umart13 (841)
• Ireland
15 Nov 08
Dear tlb0822, it is a very good question, not just for America, but for anywhere in the world. I sincerely believe that learning languages and about the cultures, where these langauges come from, is good for our education, for broadening our horizons and helping us to understand other people in the world. It is a great achievement to learn a language and for every language you learn, you give yourself the potential to meet and get to know millions of new people. Now that cannot be a bad thing! Have a good weekend. Regards from Germany. Umart
@dandan07 (1908)
• China
15 Nov 08
It is eaiser to master a language at an early age, so many parents here set their child to learn a second sometimes third language at the age of five. If the children really an master the language, I think nothing is wrong. But to many children, they love playing games more than learning things, so it is really hard to say. To me, I want to master as more as I can, but i will not force my children to think as I did.
@mlh8087 (370)
• United States
14 Nov 08
I totally agree with you. This is America and our language is English. When I was in school spanish was an elective. I failed it miserably. I also didn't do so well in French. Why should our children be subjected to this sort of stress?
@jdyrj777 (6541)
• United States
14 Nov 08
Learning a second language certianly will not be harmful. Actually can be benifical. It opens up the opertunity for more higher paying jobs. Like interpetor. Like it or not the faces of our nation is changing. I remember when i was in Jr high in the 70's. We were forced to take french. How many french speaking people are here? Personally i only know 1 person that speaks french in my entire 52 yrs of life. He speaks 7 different languages. Not one of them spanish. I think its time we opened our minds to new things now. Althought english is the # 1 language it couldnt hurt to speak more than one language. come on its time for change. in fact things have been changing for some time already. I hear people talking about the monority. Whites are now the minority. Im thinking of business loans for minority.
@maximax8 (30579)
• United Kingdom
14 Nov 08
I live in Europe and English is my mother tongue language. If a school wants to teach its pupils a foreign language it might be French, German, Spanish or Italian. Those are amongst the most popular European languages for students. I learned French at school from aged 11 to 16. Young children pick up a foreign language easily so it is a great idea to introduce it in a fun way to the youngest class in each school. Then they could take it with them through their school education becoming fluent by the time they are grown up. However I would imagine most older students would not have time to learn a foreign language in addition to their current studies. Some Spanish is spoken in the USA I think. In Finland the children must lean Swedish but they prefer to talk in English if they go to Stockholm. A small percentage of people in Finland speak Swedish so it is like the USA with Spanish. It would be better if it was for the younger children and then optional for all the other years in the American school system. I am a primary school teacher and the head teacher bought in a cursive writing policy. The youngest class did well but the older children resented the change I think. On teaching practice I taught a girl in an English speaking school that had come from a Welsh speaking school. Some children in Wales do not like the Welsh lessons they must do. Obama has many ideas that he will put in place. I go to Spanish classes but that is my own free will.
@messageme (2821)
• United States
14 Nov 08
From my own personal experience I wish I was taught to learn another language. I have taken many of classes to learn another language but it never seems to stick. You learn better when you are younger and more likely to remember things when you are younger. so yes I think it is great my kids are learning another language. English may be the language of this country, but what about traveling? wouldn't it be nice to be able to travel and be able to understand the other language in the country you are in. I think it's a wonderful idea. Kids don't understand the benifits of it to the full untill it's too late. so if we gave them a choice a majority would probably not want to do it, but then regret it when they get older. It's the same as math or reading if we let the kids decide, they would say no they don't want to learn, but thats because they don't understand the benifit of it.
@liquorice (3901)
14 Nov 08
I think that's a great idea. In the UK everyone learns a foreign language in secondary school (high school) and I think that most primary (elementary) schools are now teaching a second language too. I didn't realise that children in the US didn't already do this. Languages are such a useful skill to have, they make you much more marketable in the workplace, make travelling more fun and allow you to make friends and communicate with more people throughout your life than you would have been able to otherwise. Language learning also makes you much less insular; it allows you to become inquisitive and learn more about the world.
@candymarie (1368)
• Canada
14 Nov 08
Well....I myself went to a french immersion school, and kind of wish I had the option to learn Spanish INSTED of French. I feel that children should WANT to learn that second language, I took it for granted and got out of the class as soon as I got the option (In grade 9 I believe, but before then, we were forced to take it since grade 4). I know it's not too late, but I somewhat regret not giving it my all. I support Pres Bambam in his decision on doing this, BUT, maybe possibly put around in the school system a permission form for parents or legal guardians to sign if they wish for their child to not participate in the language immersion program. Honestly though, another language I think they should start placing in the school curriculum is Chinese, they are also about par with the power level as the states. I thank Josh Whedon for creating the Firefly program, to give his theory of the future of relations around the world. I fully agree with him that soon chinese will be the secondary language of everyone....but that's a new topic isn't it? He he. Thanks for bringing this interesting topic to the forums! Happy myLotting!
@tyc415 (5706)
• United States
14 Nov 08
I was born and raised in Texas and still live here and I can remember in school having to take Spanish. I did not do good in it but I did take it. My children also had to take a course in either spanish or maybe latin and my grandson in elementary has already had to take spanish. This has been around in Texas for as long as I can remember and is not a new thing for us at all. It is also hard to get a job around here unless you do know spanish also but that is a different discussion. So for me I don't see this as something that Pres. elect Obama is trying to get started, this is something that has been around for a long time.