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”. 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. As usual, I was not disappointed. Counterpoint: America's Future Depends on Bilingual Education: Points of View Reference Center Home.
Counterpoint: Foreign Language Education is a Low Priority: Points of View Reference Center Home. 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. Put simply, Yale should require students do something only if Yale knows that something will be the best use of each student’s time. Is Learning a Foreign Language a Waste of Time? The Numbers Speak: Foreign Language Requirements Are a Waste of Time and Money. SCHIFFRES: Kill the language requirement.
Counterpoint: America's Future Depends on Bilingual Education: Points of View Reference Center Home. Counterpoint: Foreign Language Education is a Low Priority: Points of View Reference Center Home. Counterpoint: America's Future Depends on Bilingual Education: Points of View Reference Center Home. Should foreign language courses be added to the U.S. elementary curriculum. Michigan Radio. Michigan high schools currently require students to take foreign language in grades nine through twelve.
Well, that might change soon. Republican State Representative Phil Potvin of Cadillac is pushing a bill that would make studying a foreign language and algebra II merely an option for students. Last year House Bill 4102 was heard in the 96th Legislature, but wasn't voted on. Should Students Be Required to Learn a Foreign Language to Graduate? Why do the English need to speak a foreign language when foreigners all speak English? By David ThomasUPDATED: 18:01 GMT, 23 January 2012 My roots read like a World Cup draw.
My half-Welsh father was born and spent his boyhood in Argentina and thus speaks Spanish almost as naturally as English. My mother’s family are Norwegian. Because Dad was a diplomat, I spent the first five years of my life in Moscow and Lisbon, so my baby-talk was Russian (in which I later got an O-Level) and I then spoke kindergarten Portuguese. I was sent to boarding school in the days when they still provided a classical education, so I learned Latin and Ancient Greek to what was then O-Level standard, but would now be A-Level, at least. Scandalous. Why Study a Foreign Language? - WSU Foreign Languages & Cultures. The world is full of languages How far do you have to go from your front door to know that this is true?
Think about how many more people and places you could really get to know, newspapers and books you could read, movies and TV programs you could understand, Web sites you could visit with another language! National Standards for Foreign Language Education | American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages. A Collaborative Project of ACTFL, AATF, AATG, AATI, AATSP, ACL, ACTR, CLASS and NCJLT-ATJ With the help of a three-year grant from the US Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities, an eleven-member task force, representing a variety of languages, levels of instruction, program models, and geographic regions, undertook the task of defining content standards — what students should know and be able to do — in foreign language education.
The final document, Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century, first published in 1996, represents an unprecedented consensus among educators, business leaders, government, and the community on the definition and role of foreign language instruction in American education. This visionary document has been used by teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers at both state and local levels to begin to improve foreign language education in our nation's schools.