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Learning Foreign Languages in High School Essay

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Updated: Mar 27th, 2020

Introduction

English is undoubtedly a very beautiful language, and it is a good thing to love it and be proud of it. It is among the most prominent languages in the world. However, Americans cannot do without other languages in this century.

The 21st century has experienced an increase in international jobs and business opportunities, threats to both global and national security and other factors that necessitate international understanding. Therefore, American students should learn at least one foreign language to enhance their chances of favorably competing with other nations for job opportunities, economic development and national and international security.

History and Status of the Issue and Overview of Problems

The call for a second language is not a new issue in the American educational set up. It has been a concern since the 1970s. In 1979, the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies proposed a second language for all tertiary institutions in America (Foreign languages an essential core experience, 2014).

This recommendation was followed by another one by the College Board in 1983. The new recommendation required schools to teach all students at least one foreign language. In 1996, school administrators unanimously endorsed foreign languages as crucial for the development of K-12 students (Foreign languages an essential core experience, 2014).

However, the achievement of all these recommendations has not been good enough because only 18% of the American population can speak at least a foreign language (Grosse, 2004). Therefore, America has achieved fewer outcomes compared to what other countries have achieved (Liu, 1999).

Problem Statement

Firstly, learning a foreign language has a great cognitive effect on an individual (Foreign languages an essential core experience, 2014). Scholars have found out that learning a foreign language contributes to the improvement of the learners’ aptitude in other subjects. Several studies compared the performance of students taking foreign languages to that of students who only take English.

The results indicated that the performance of those learners taking foreign languages is better than that of other students (Foreign languages an essential core experience, 2014).

Secondly, the 21st century world is dominated by globalization: technological advancement has made it possible for people from different countries to interact in attending to global issues (Rubin, 2001).

As a result, people from different parts of the world meet in educational institutions, conferences to discuss the development and use of technology and other global issues such as global warming (Block & Camer, 2012). It is also common for people to compete for international jobs and business opportunities (McKay & Wong, 2006). Communication is always a very big problem whenever such groups and organizations meet.

The third and perhaps the most problematic issue concerns attaining international peace and understanding. The last two centuries experienced widespread war between and among many countries in the world. Countries fought in the World War II, World War I, the cold War and many other wars.

Worse still, countries are still fighting each other even in the 21st century. For example, Russia is still in a conflict with Ukraine. In addition to the war between countries, terrorism has become a global issue. Terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, Al-Queda and Al-Shabab have become a global concern. Therefore, nations must come together to discuss the best ways to bring peace and co-existence and fight terrorism.

Conclusion

The 21st century requires the knowledge of more than one language. This century is has witnessed the reduction of the world into a global village. People from different countries meet very often to discuss emerging issues such as global warming, terrorism and economic matters.

They also meet during interviews to compete for the same job opportunities. Therefore, all US students should take a four-year foreign language course in high schools to help them compete favorably with candidates from other nations for jobs and business opportunities. These languages also help them contribute in international conferences on issues such as global warming, peace and terrorism. In addition, research has proven that learning foreign languages enhances the aptitude of learners in other subjects.

References

Block, D., & Camer, D. (2012). Globalization and Language Teaching. New York: Psychology Press.

(2014).

Grosse, C. U. (2004). The competitive advantage of foreign languages and cultural knowledge. The Modern Language Journal, 88(3), 351-373.

Liu, J. (1999). Non-native‐English‐speaking professionals in TESOL. Tesol Quarterly, 33(1), 85-102.

McKay, S. L., & Wong, S. L. C. (2006). Multiple discourses, multiple identities: Investment and agency in second-language learning among Chinese adolescent immigrant students. Harvard educational review, 66(3), 577-609.

Rubin, J. (2001). What the “good language learner” can teach us. TESOL quarterly, 2(3), 41-51.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Learning Foreign Languages in High School." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-foreign-languages-in-high-school/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Learning Foreign Languages in High School'. 27 March.

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