National Standards for Foreign Language Education. Language Magazine Â» The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit. Kathleen Stein-Smith tells it like it is — why it matters and what we can do about it Why It Matters In an increasingly globalized world, the U.S. is at an ever-increasing disadvantage due to the lack of foreign language skills among Americans.
Other than heritage-language speakers, it is estimated that only between one in eight and one in four Americans have the foreign language skills necessary to hold a conversation in a language other than English. Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism. Counterpoint: Foreign Language Education is a Low Priority: Points of View Reference Center Home. The Numbers Speak: Foreign Language Requirements Are a Waste of Time and Money. The average high school graduate spends two years studying a foreign language.
(Digest of Education Statistics, Table 157) What effect do these years of study have on Americans' actual ability to speak foreign languages? I started by looking at the Census, but it asks only about "languages spoken in the home. " Gallup has a survey finding that one-in-four Americans can speak a foreign language, but it offers no further details that would allow us to measure degree of fluency or the effect of foreign language instruction. After nosing around for better data, I turned to the General Social Survey. SCHIFFRES: Kill the language requirement. When Yale was founded, students were supposed to converse only in Latin — even in dorms.
Nearly a century later, a member of the Yale Corporation moved “dead languages” be made elective in favor of courses “more meaningful and useful for contemporary life.” Requirements relaxed, but it wasn’t until 1945 that Yale, reassessing its graduation prerequisites, codified the precursor to today’s language requirement. Now, it is time for Yale to evolve once again: Get rid of the language requirement. Before arguing against a specific requirement, though, I should define my litmus test for a legitimate College mandate. Counterpoint: America's Future Depends on Bilingual Education: Points of View Reference Center Home. Is Learning a Foreign Language a Waste of Time? In an op-ed piece entitled “What You (Really) Need to Know,” published in the New York Times in January 2012, Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard University and former secretary of the Treasury, calls on universities to reduce the substantial investments made to teach students foreign languages.
Though he understands that “it is essential that the educational experience breed cosmopolitanism”, he thinks that the efforts made to master a foreign tongue are no longer “universally worthwhile”. In his utopian worldview, English is perfectly sufficient for such utilitarian purposes as “doing business in Asia, treating patients in Africa, or helping resolve conflicts in the Middle East”.
In his excellent rejoinder, Paul Cohen, an associate professor of history at the University of Toronto, highlights the “heavy political and social valence” carried by “this particular dream of a linguistically unified world”. Foreign Language Graduation Requirements: Guide to Critical Analysis: Points of View Reference Center Home. Point: Being Educated Should Mean Speaking Another Tongue: Points of View Reference Center Home.
Why America Needs Bilingual Education. Why America Needs Bilingual Education It is not uncommon to hear people say something to the tune of There are too many immigrants in the United States and they are taking all of our jobs.
When these comments are made they are usually in reference to lower class jobs that involve a lot of manual labor and do not involve communication, but the debate has gained fuel from another area as well: the teachers of America.