This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Is Learning A Second Language Necessary?

1796 words - 8 pages

Multicultural education in the U.S. school system has become more pragmatic with the affluent nature of globalization. As the world’s technology increases exponentially, our world has grown smaller, increasing the need for global communication skills and cultural sensitivity. However, American schools are plagued by the pressures of budget cuts, test scores, educational bureaucracies, and impending closures. For many schools, foreign language education has been put on the proverbial chopping block. In the results posted from a national survey of elementary and secondary schools conducted in 2008, foreign language education dropped from being taught in 31% of elementary schools in 1997, to ...view middle of the document...

She draws on the fact that most language education takes place at the adolescent stage of a child’s life, and only lasts for two years: “Articulation between high-school and college foreign-language programs is haphazard at best” (Porter 1). She insists that this is a waste of potential as research has shown that students who begin learning new languages or become involved in linguistic programs at an early age and stay involved in them consistently through a lengthy period of time show “enhanced cognitive abilities” when compared to their peers who do not study other languages. These cognitive abilities include the enhanced problem solving, generating creative ideas by exploring multiple solutions, and identifying pattern recognition. Such education not only increases verbal skills on standardized tests, but also increases scores in mathematics. Other stakeholders involved in the debate on foreign language education do not necessarily deny that cognitive benefits exist; however, these cognitive benefits can be found through music and physical education as well. Studies have shown that decreasing time in the classroom to increase physical activity has increased test scores in areas such as mathematics (Trudeau and Shephard, 3). Other studies have reported that children who learn to play music score higher for tests of verbal, visual, and numerical skills that involve graphs and charts (Neville, 2).
Porter continues to reason with stakeholders on the value of foreign language education, not only for cognitive learning enhancements, but also by making a case for the need to communicate in a foreign tongue for social, diplomatic, and professional purposes. When there are consequences involved, monolinguists are at a disadvantage, risking violation of “social taboos” and missing “subtle verbal and nonverbal cues” (Porter 2). She believes that the knowledge and understanding of other cultures that comes from learning to speak a second language is a required in order to be taken seriously. Other stakeholders in the debate, such as Lawrence H. Summers, renowned economist, former president of Harvard University, and former Secretary of the Treasury, believe that a well rounded, multicultural education is essential to breed cosmopolitanism; however, this does not necessarily mean that learning a foreign language is necessary:
English’s emergence as the global language, along with the rapid progress in machine translation and the fragmentation of languages spoken around the world, make it less clear that the substantial investment necessary to speak a foreign tongue is universally worthwhile. (Summers, 2)
Summer’s perspective on the actual need for fluency in a second language is further supported by many in Britain, such as David Thomas, columnist for Daily Mail in the U.K. Thomas, with an incredibly multicultural background and ability to communicate in multiple languages, takes a provocative stance on the topic in his article “Why do the English...

Other Essays Like Is Learning A Second Language Necessary?

Does A Second Language In Early Life Affect A Native Language?

2339 words - 10 pages a very tender age. Second language acquisition in early life affects the native language positively and negatively. The question of the best age to learn a second language has aroused many people’s curiosity with doubts on when to start teaching children a second language. However, it is believed that young children are the best in second language learning. Young children are not only taught the second language when they start going to school

Learning Is a Privilege, Not a Right

921 words - 4 pages Rachel G English II- 4th hour September 2, 2013 Problem/Solution Essay Learning is a Privilege, Not a Right Nationalized tests are tests that students are forced to take at the end of every school year for the classes that are required to be passed in order to graduate high school. Failing a nationalized test will result in a student having to either take the same class the next year, or the student being held back and having to repeat the

Reviewing a Handbook English as a Second Language Guide to Implementation: Kindergarten to Grade 9 in Alberta

2708 words - 11 pages perceptions of educational theorists such as Jim Cummins and James Crawford. Chapter 1 of the ESL Guide to Implementation (k-9) discusses the definition of English as a second language. According to the Guide, ESL students “are students who first learned to speak, read and /or write a language other than English and whose level of English language proficiency precludes them from all participation in learning experiences provided in Alberta schools

Is The Use Of Animals In Medical Research A Necessary Measure?

1513 words - 7 pages killing millions of innocent animal lives in the process. The use of animals for scientific experimentation purposes is unnecessary because countless animals are put through painful procedures in order to benefit humans lives when there are known alternative methods for achieving the same experimental results. Animal experimentation is not a modern day research method; Aristotle was one of the first to be recorded to use live animals in his

Responding To Topic Education And Others. "Learning Is A Journey"

938 words - 4 pages advice or support, or they just want to be around me. I'm like their second mom - supportive and always understanding." Joanna truly believes that learning is just like a journey - exciting, pleasant, adventurous and always memorable.Works CitedClancy, Joanna. Personal interview. June 20, 2008

Adults Help Young Children Find the Connections Between What They Already Know and What Is Necessary to Handle a New Situation (Erickson, 1982)

1108 words - 5 pages Adults help young children find the connections between what they already know and what is necessary to handle a new situation (Erickson, 1982) Even babies as young as 3 months are organising their perceptions and linking them with previous experiences of people and events. They are using these concepts to work out what will happen next. Piaget calls these concepts schemas. Schemas are patterns of events that the child can generalise and

How is language seen as a tool of power in The Handmaid's Tale?

572 words - 3 pages How is language seen as a tool of power in The Handmaid’s Tale? Language is such an integral part of who were are as humans that, if altered, can have a huge psychological impact on us. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Gilead has complete control over every aspect of the lives of its citizens from their beliefs to the language they use. By creating an official vocabulary which describes the new reality that Gilead is creating, the state is

“If the Freedom of Home-Owners to Make Economic Use of Their Homes Is Not to Be Frustrated, a Bank Must Be Able to Have Confidence That a Wife's Signature of the Necessary Guarantee and Charge Will Be...

2037 words - 9 pages Q.4 “If the freedom of home-owners to make economic use of their homes is not to be frustrated, a bank must be able to have confidence that a wife’s signature of the necessary guarantee and charge will be as binding upon her as is the signature of anyone else on documents which he or she may sign. Otherwise banks will not be willing to lend money on the security of a jointly owned house or flat.” Per Lord Bingham in Royal Bank of Scotland v

Cell Phones in Schools: a Necessary Convenience, or Irritating Intrusion? This is a persuasive essay on why cell phones should not be allowed in schools

324 words - 2 pages during class, and students' attention would divert from the lesson to the phone. Students could want to chat in between classes, causing many tardies. They would also cause a riot if lost or stolen.Besides these factors, allowing cell phones in school could cause an influx of social problems. Kids are already picked on over a number of issues, such as appearances, financial status, etc. If a student is not fortunate enough to afford a cell phone

Describe The Values And Strategies You Would Adopt To Provide An Effective Learning Environment For Primary School Students Who Speak ESL

960 words - 4 pages communicate becomes an important impetus for using language. (Gibbons 1991, 282 Reader, 374).Language must be integrated with cross curricular content, and not taught in isolation, as learning a second language seems to be most effective when the focus is on using language to learn about something else (Gibbons 1991, 282 Reader, 374). Language activities within any learning area should be purposeful, achievable and explicit, as language will become


1312 words - 6 pages year teacher is to understand the process of learning, become knowledgeable of the curriculum, identify and provide for cultural awareness, and be advocates for your students and parents. In order for a teacher to effectively teach students that are linguistically diverse, they must first understand how language is learned. Children must be fluent in their primary language in order to learn a second language. Ryan (2001) states, “Learning is an

Related Papers

Learning A Second Language Essay

749 words - 3 pages , Americans, British, Chinese, Russians, and much more. Everybody was speaking English, which made me realize that English is a language that people from different countries use to communicate, so at that time I was serious about learning English. Time passed through high school, but this time I had a better understanding of English, I started to write and read better, it was because this time teachers were native English speakers. I started to

Learning A New Language Essay

1007 words - 5 pages Learning a New Language Language is a matter that touches many American cultures. Cultures thrive on their languages and customs to define the people they are. However, second languages can divide not only people of a specific group but also members of a particular family. Several writers address the unvarying difficulty of learning a second language in America. Many rhetorical devices are used to sustain their assertions and to shape

English As A Second Language Learner

1730 words - 7 pages sides bring valuable solutions to the table, but I personally find myself torn on which will most benefit the ELL students. I have decided to look at both possible solutions, increase ones knowledge about these students education, and provide a good basis of information about the overall subject of English Language Learning. In English immersion, the main focus is for ELL students’ to gain their education solely through the English language. All

English As A Second Language: Listening, Reading, Writing

1546 words - 7 pages reader towards a positive decision on your application. Do not lie, report facts and circumstances that have affected you, or major accomplishments worth noting. Universities always check, and lies are hard to keep up with. If English is your second language In searching for the truth you need to ask yourself the following questions: First: Am I a good reader, listener and writer of English?. In reality, where do I stand in each of those