Some believe that those who are not talented in language learning should not be required to learn a foreign language. Do you think school should require students to learn a foreign language?
Learning other languages is very worthwhile and beneficial. In the “global village” that the world has become over recent decades, it seems to make more sense than ever to be familiar with and competent in speaking several different languages. However, I still firmly believe that it should not be forced upon everyone to learn a foreign language.
To begin with, the acquisition of a second language develops skills such as communication, cultural awareness and global citizenship by overcoming language barriers. A second language can also inject confidence in children by helping them develop global understanding. Many young people travel the world soon after leaving school and there can be no doubt that their experiences would be enhanced by being able to speak the native language in countries they visit. It would also open up all sorts of career opportunities that they would not have otherwise. Learning new languages is said to increase a person’s brain power too.
Nevertheless, it would be entirely unreasonable to expect all children to learn at least one foreign language. There are many who just would not be able to cope academically with learning other languages. This naturally includes children who are developmentally disabled and may be attending special schools or in special units at mainstream schools.
There would also be other children who would be unable to cope with linguistic studies though – even if they were of average intelligence. I believe it’s possible that some would be totally demoralized and humiliated by any pressure to do so. If they can just get a basic grasp of reading and writing their own language then that has to be regarded as an adequate achievement.
On the whole I think being exposed to other cultures and having the opportunity to learn at least one other language in school is a healthy, positive and enriching experience. Nevertheless, it should never be forced upon those for whom it is simply unfeasible.