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Debate Should all students be required to learn a second language? Why/why not?

76 fans picked:
Yes
   66%
No
   34%
 mrshouse62689 posted over a year ago
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64 comments

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mrshouse62689 picked No
mrshouse62689 picked No:
I think it should be optional, not mandatory.
posted over a year ago.
 
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claire-aka-bob picked No
claire-aka-bob picked No:
i seriously struggled learning a language in school. i did german for three years and still cant say a proper sentence :P
like mrshouse said, it should be optional ♥
posted over a year ago.
 
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Sappp picked Yes
Sappp picked Yes:
I think this kind of depends of wether or not you're from an English-speaking country.
Learning English I think should be mandatory: that way you can get around in most country's.
Spanish, French, German etc, I think should be optional.

posted over a year ago.
 
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coolguy111606 picked No
coolguy111606 picked No:
Basics are ok, but to go specific, (or in my case have a strict teacher), then no.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Jillywinkles picked Yes
Jillywinkles picked Yes:
I think it should be a part of required curriculum, yes...it seems an important part of knowledge to me.

And how is it fair that everyone in Europe knows at least two languages, usually more, and us Americans don't? (myself included!)
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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blisslikethis picked Yes
blisslikethis picked Yes:
monolingual education is an entirely American concept. there are no (as far as i've been able to research) other countries in the world where bi- or multilingual education is looked at as a disadvantage. most European countries require students to learn multiple languages throughout their education, and there has never been any kind of educational crisis resulting from this, in face, quite the opposite. when my grandmother was a girl in Belgium, she had to learn English, French, German, Latin, Spanish, and Flemish. it seems ridiculous for American kids to complain about the pitiful amount of French, Spanish, etc. they're forced to learn in school these days in comparison.

it's just another case of lazy kids who would rather play video games or watch mindless television than learn something valuable. i'm sure we can all remember grumbling about learning math as kids, but as adults we're aware that knowing 2+2=4 actually is worthwhile.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Snerkie picked No
Snerkie picked No:
blisslikethis, it's not that i'm "lazy" (and i have finished my schooling) but come on...i can count up to 100 in Spanish and that's it and i learnt it for...8 years? Maths is helpful, you can use maths every day, how often do i need to use spanish? i think maybe twice in a few years laughing at how "impressive" i can be.

Also as for "mindless tv" i have learnt a lot more from watching tv than i have from learning spanish for 8 years.
posted over a year ago.
 
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jess_welsh picked No
jess_welsh picked No:
whats the point if u aint going 2 live in their country like coz i live in wales we learn welsh in school but it is optinual in year 10 and 11 but u still get 1 lesson a week like coz it is technically our home language and i love it but other lanuges such as frence who cares not like i will use it again only if u go on holiday but most speak english now anyway
posted over a year ago.
 
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rohosoho picked Yes
rohosoho picked Yes:
I'm hugely grateful that my school was a language college and made every student take at least one foreign language GCSE. I did German, French and Russian and they've been invaluble to me. Most schools here (England) don't enforce any languages beyond Year 9 and those students are the people that I saw all round France this summer talking to waiters in loud, obnoxious English, getting glares from everyone around.
Also, I heard about some research saying that learning foreign languages (especially from a young age) leads to higher IQ and generally better all round academic performance.. Something to do with the way the brain works.
(Final point: when in France I managed to buy all my food at a market stall for the half the price of this other English guy just because I bothered to try and speak to the owner in French. Languages pay.)
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Snerkie picked No
Snerkie picked No:
see rohosoho, i think it's easy for people in places like England for the point of learning languages like French and Spanish since it's not far away, easy travel. Australia to France...lolz, no
posted over a year ago.
 
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blisslikethis picked Yes
blisslikethis picked Yes:
as rohosoho pointed out, learning other languages isn't just about being able to converse with native speakers. it exercises parts of your brain that don't get much use otherwise, boosts your overall IQ and leads to better academic performance in all subject (including math!). i'd find you a link with the statistics on how French immersion students consistently perform better than monolingual students, but honestly, i can't be bothered.

jess_welsh - i sincerely hope your Welsh is better than your English.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Snerkie picked No
Snerkie picked No:
to be honest i don't think it boosts your IQ by that much. Sure it helps you with different sounds but that's it. Learning the culture of a different society i agree with, language i don't think is that important...unless you would like to know how to count up to 100 in spanish...would you?? :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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rohosoho picked Yes
rohosoho picked Yes:
it doesn't boost the IQ a huge amount but what it definately does do is improve your learning in other subjects, languages require a lot more than just learning different sounds and learning about and understanding all the different aspects of a language(listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocab, grammar etc.) has been proven to improve performance in all subjects. i think it's something to do with the neural pathways in the brain, but i'm not an expert so don't hold me to that!
posted over a year ago.
 
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Jillywinkles picked Yes
Jillywinkles picked Yes:
...and whatever happened to just learning for learning's sake? Most of the stuff we learn in school we will never use in our everyday lives. That's not the point.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Sappp picked Yes
Sappp picked Yes:
(It's Dutch, not Flemish. Flemish is not a language, the people in Flanders speak Dutch. It's kinda like saying people in the USA speak American, while they speak English (the American way)
Sorry for nagging, but I'm Dutch and it's sore point, because the Flemish always defeat the Dutch in the 'Great Dutch Dictation Exercise'.)

French is always good to know, since the French and French-speaking Belgians are too goddamn proud to speak English.

And lots of things don't boost your IQ because of WHAT you learn, but because it strenghtens the connections between the different parts of your brains. Learning a new language is one of the things that does this very strongly.

I wish I has started learning French and German earlier, because then it would've been easier (little children learn languages rather quickly) and it's a great advantage.

Even knowing a little sentence like 'hallo' and 'how are you' in a different language can be an advantage: when you meet people who speak that language they will look kindly upon you when you greet them in their native tongue. Imagine what kind of impression you'll make if you can actually talk to them.

I think Americans aren't that concerned about second languages because it's a very big country where (almost) all the people speak English. In Europe there is always a country nearby that has a different language, thus it is more necessary to learn several languages.


posted over a year ago.
 
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blisslikethis picked Yes
blisslikethis picked Yes:
You're right, I should have been more specific. Flemish is actually the name of the Dutch dialect spoken in Belgium. Yes, it's Dutch when it comes right down to it, but it's different enough to warrant it's own name :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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daisy_star4444 picked Yes
daisy_star4444 picked Yes:
It is in my province (New Brunswick(Canada))
NB is the only province who is legally bilingual, so to get my high school diploma I had to pass an exam in English (my native tongue is French), if you don't pass you don't get your diploma, wasn't a problem for me, so why not?

posted over a year ago.
 
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nerysflynn picked Yes
nerysflynn picked Yes:
i reckon that students should be encouraged to and get the choice to learn another language yes.. but if they are forced to learn it it may lead to them not enjoying the subject at all, studying a different language and culture should be an interesting experience
posted over a year ago.
 
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DietCokeGirl picked Yes
DietCokeGirl picked Yes:
If maths, science and english are required (which they should be), then languages should be too. I feel lucky to have studied french and german.

Besides, if we could all communicate and understand each other's cultures a little better, there'd be less war :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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FutureDancer picked No
FutureDancer picked No:
i quote Calvin from my favorite comic book series "if english is good enough for me, ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD!" lol ok mabye i dont take that quote seriously =) but i do feel if people are coming to the U.S., that they need to know english. but if you live here, the only language you really need to know, is english. i think you should know at least a few sentences in another language, but other then that, i think it should optional. and for the record, i have learned more things on TV then i have in school, including most of the spanish i know ;)
posted over a year ago.
 
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xrockstarx picked Yes
xrockstarx picked Yes:
I think it's important and I'm glad I was made to.
posted over a year ago.
 
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thelxiepia picked No
thelxiepia picked No:
I can get by in Welsh, but I didn't learn it by choice. I'm naturally awful at languages and learning French and Spanish until year nine, and then Welsh until year eleven was hellish.
I think you should be allowed to choose whether you study languages or not, and be given a wide choice if you do. And the other kids can just... play with the safety scissors and glitter. :P
posted over a year ago.
 
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sapherequeen picked Yes
sapherequeen picked Yes:
Absolutely. Communication is one of the most important aspects in the world. Think about it, if we were to choose the most common, most needed activity we all do every day, what would it be? Speaking. To other people. Communicating with one another is evidently something a person HAS to do almost anywhere. How can the teacher arm her students with knowledge through silence? How can a lost child cry out for her mother? Heck, how is this debate even continuing? By talking with one another. For something as important as communication to be crippled by a factor that is so resolvable such as different languages not being taught, this would be....I can not think of a word.

It is highly, highly important for a student to learn a second language in my strong opinions.
posted over a year ago.
 
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kiraragirl200 picked No
kiraragirl200 picked No:
I think it should be an option rather than a required class.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders picked Yes
Cinders picked Yes:
We already do.

Students who already speak English often don't see the struggles of an ELL student, who is not on gradelevel in any subject simply because she lacks the language.

We have bilingual programs in the United States, but a strong emphasis is put on English. If an English speaking student fails to be proficient in Spanish, we don't consider it a big loss. But if a Spanish speaking student fails to be proficient in English, that child struggles for at least the rest of her scholastic career, if not longer.

I believe that the United States is a multilingual society, and that English is only dominant because of the status we attach to it. If we become more aware of the struggles of ELL students - perhaps by sitting in a Spanish classroom and not understanding what's going on - I think we would all be a lot more sympathetic, and a lot more eager to learn their language and help them see that their language has value. If we offer more second language programs, these students can see the value of their home language, even assist their fellow English-speaking students, and promote a better community in schools, rather than the language-segregated ones that exist today.

And here's a thought - In the United States, bilingualism is considered an advantage, if your primary language is English. If your primary language is not English, it's not as valued.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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fugiami picked Yes
fugiami picked Yes:
definetly! if people arent required to learn other languages, the world will slowly be shut down from communication. if its not a requirement, people wont go out of their way to learn. Future generations wont be able to handle things with the rest of the world. could you imagine?! the world would be paralzed!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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bri-marie picked Yes
bri-marie picked Yes:
My own personal experience tells me yes. I'm learning Sign Language right now and it's already helped me with my English/writting/speaking/people skills. It's also a cultural advantage. The Deaf consider ASL to be a large part of their culture, and I consider language to be a large of any culture. How can you learn a countries/people's customs, habits, beliefs if you have no knowledge of their language and how it works?

Besides. The world isn't made up of one language. There are other people who speak other languages, to travel or move to other countries. If they have to learn your language, it's only fair that you learn theirs.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Dimentia44 picked No
Dimentia44 picked No:
It's a hard fact, but many people simply do not use the skills they learn in world language classes later in life. My father, for example. Its greatest value to students is stimulating brain activity, but that effect can easily be achieved through other means. A high school age student can decide for him/herself what will best assist them in later life.
posted over a year ago.
 
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fishypup picked Yes
fishypup picked Yes:
My school system requires us all to at least take language classes in middle and high school; of course, whether you actually learn and remember anything is up to you. ;) (And many people learned very little!) It seems a rather good idea. I took five years of French and am VERY glad I did so...I enjoyed it and did extremely well. Maybe you won't use what you learned later on, but odds are, some of it will come in handy eventually...and at least you've stretched and exercised your language-learning abilities a bit. They naturally decrease drastically from childhood to adulthood, you know.

Hell, if algebra is required, then languages ought to
be. There's no guarantee that you will or won't need the skills of any particular class--it depends on the individual and their future choices and circumstances. I figure that of all the subjects which could be or are required, that languages are among the more important ones in today's interconnected, multicultural, integrated, globalized world/society. It definitely helps if you travel internationally, especially to places with low percentages of English speakers.

Our only choices, by the way, were French and Spanish. Since then Italian has been added, and if I'd had the chance to take a semester of Chinese in college, I'd have enjoyed doing so. I did take a semester of German and liked that as well, though of course, I retained hundreds of times more of the French. :)
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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xDark_Angelx picked Yes
xDark_Angelx picked Yes:
It's not to say that you have to learn everything about a second language; just get the hang of it and understand it enough. There's a reason there's a diverse amount of lanuages that could be learned in schools (in my high school, there's Latin, Spanish, French, and another lanuage that slips my tongue right now...).

And that reason is that this world is not just English. There's so many languages. And if you want to travel the world, or you want to go to, say, Paris, when you get older and want a job outside the U.S, you can't just know English. You have to know French to understand their culture and get use to it. It could help you become culturally diverse, and that's a good thing to help you in your life. And this is simply one good example.
posted over a year ago.
 
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MCHopnPop picked Yes
MCHopnPop picked Yes:
Actually I would like that,but I would want it to require that students picks the language they want to learn,because after all they're the one whose learning not the person who usually picks it,it would make a great addition for school,because I personally enjoy learning new languages,but aside from me,and another reason is Not everyone is this world speaks english,and if someone wants to travel outside of the U.S,it'll make it extremely difficult to travel those places because,you have know the language and culture,like I've said there a countries where they don't speak english,and a person will have an extremely difficult time there,if they don't know the language,because the people there might not understand you,and then what?, I think it helps to learn more about other languages and cultures,because it will help you later in life.
posted over a year ago.
 
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RiverIce picked No
RiverIce picked No:
not required
but they can chose one if they want.
posted over a year ago.
 
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elcastellano picked No
elcastellano picked No:
I said no because no one should be forced to learn another language. I also think we need to take language classes out of school curricula, and focus on subjects that will make people smarter. (learning another language doesn't make you smarter) But realistically, math, reading, science, these core subjects should be the only subjects, sports should be removed too. I believe Japan teaches just core subjects (don't remember all of them). But what ever the world language may be, I believe if you don't already speak it, you should learn it, and it would be wise to require it in schools, if say, Javanese, became the world's language, believe you me, I'd learn it in a heartbeat. And this coming from a linguist (admittedly amateur), and one who is bilingual, planning on being a polyglot, I say encourage learning another language, but don't force it. (Currently alternating between classical Latin, Japanese, old English, Cherokee, Turkmen (maybe other turkic languages by extension), ancient and modern Greek, and every other romance language as I already speak Castilian (also wrongly known as Spanish), and possibly Mohawk thank you assassin's creed three.

And possibly Mandarin, and Korean, and any other language that piques my interest, Swahili I'll focus on later and I believe it's Zulu.

So yeah, love language, just don't wanna force it on anyone, but for the life of me, cannot figure out why more people aren't into it.
posted over a year ago.
 
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elcastellano picked No
elcastellano picked No:
I agree with giving someone the choice as MCHopnPop said, can't believe I didn't think of that.

Forgot to say interested in Javanese. Also Basque.

So I change my answer to yes kinda maybe, as long as it's the world language used everwhere if it's not your own, and if you want any other language of your choice, now it might not be feasable, but the future, hopefully.
posted over a year ago.
 
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elcastellano picked No
elcastellano picked No:
And finally PIKACHU! Yes you must learn the pokémon language! I demand it! Just a little humor.
posted over a year ago.
 
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blackpanther666 picked No
blackpanther666 picked No:
No. Why should it be a requirement? Nobody learns anything when they are 'required' to do so... People learn when they want to and put in the effort to do so. Making something like this a requirement will just reinforce that notion.

@blisslikethis. Kids are getting lazier and lazier these days because of technology, not because they don't want to spend time learning a language they may never use. Besides, you 'American' kids should be learning to understand your own language better, instead of butchering it and then trying to learn more... Master your own language, before attempting others, because America is terrible for people who can't spell, utilise the concept of grammar correctly and not speak without some 'txt' language amongst it.
posted over a year ago.
 
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cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes
cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes:
I think people should at least study another language, with no expectations of becoming fluent.

I took six years of Spanish and i'm still horrible at it, but I do not regret one moment of it. It actually helped me understand English better (by "understand" I mean understanding why English is English. The finer mechanics of English. I don't mean knowing words)

Really, I don't think learning anything is ever a bad thing.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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blackpanther666 picked No
blackpanther666 picked No:
@cassie-1-2-3. Yeah, you think that learning is a good thing and so do I... But, not everyone sees it from that perspective. Learning is difficult for some people and making learning a 'requirement', for certain things that usually are not, will make it harder for them to learn. Often, people who find it difficult to learn, or don't wish to do so, see learning as something that has to be enjoyable for them, or taught in a way that they understand, which makes it quite difficult to make language, and other such educational processes impossible. If they don't enjoy it, then they won't learn and won't make the effort. Simple.
posted over a year ago.
 
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cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes
cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes:
I know not everyone likes learning, but honestly, they should just get over it.
It's a part of life that they can't avoid. Sometimes, you have to learn. Even if you don't like it, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing, it just means you don't like it.
As for the not liking something means you won't learn anything... I don't really believe it happens like that very often, but if it does, they're only hurting themselves. You can't expect schools to only teach what students like.
posted over a year ago.
 
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whiteflame55 picked Yes
whiteflame55 picked Yes:
I think the basis of any answer to this question comes from a comparison of necessity to other classes that all kids must engage in. We teach every child math and English skills, science and history. Why do we teach these things? Math and science are necessary for a child to develop a logical understanding of the world around them and how it functions. History allows them to understand what came before them and therefore give them some understanding of where we're going. English is to interact with other people, and it's probably the most essential portion of all this. Without English, we wouldn't be able to discuss as we currently are. Interaction is essential to any given skill.

And interaction is where we are failing. We are becoming a heavily globalized world, and learning a foreign language is becoming as important as any of these skills. English is hardly the most central language of the world, and even if it was, we do ourselves a disservice by ignoring all of the others for children. I personally think I would have been better served if a foreign language had been taught in my elementary or middle schools, but I did not have access. Individuals and the world at large would be better served by this.
posted over a year ago.
 
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tiagih picked Yes
tiagih picked Yes:
i think it could be a good idea
posted over a year ago.
 
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blackpanther666 picked No
blackpanther666 picked No:
@Cassie-1-2-3. You need to stop seeing it only from your perspective and see it from someone else's point of view. And, honestly, people not learning because they don't to happens a lot more often than you think. Either way, having it as a requirement simply won't work out the way you seem to envision it.
posted over a year ago.
 
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bri-marie picked Yes
bri-marie picked Yes:
^According to your perspective, there shouldn't be required education, because kids shouldn't learn something if they don't want to. Is that right?
posted over a year ago.
 
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cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes
cassie-1-2-3 picked Yes:
I do see it from other perspectives.

I had to learn weightlifting techniques in school. I didn't like it, there was no point in my learning it because i did not participate in the weightlifting for health reasons, and I never will lift weights in my life. It did not enrich my life or experience in the slightest. I was still required to attend the lessons for school policy reasons. I only retained about half of it because I found it to be pointless information for me personally.

What did I do about it? I got over it. I just sat there and listened. There was nothing else I could to. Becoming angsty and complaining was not going to accomplish anything at all. Rallying to change school policy because I just didn't feel like learning about it seemed even more pointless.


As I already said, it doesn't matter if you like learning or not, that doesn't automatically mean learning is bad.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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ThePrincesTale picked Yes
ThePrincesTale picked Yes:
"but other lanuges such as frence who cares not like i will use it again only if u go on holiday but most speak english now anyway"
"but i do feel if people are coming to the U.S., that they need to know english. but if you live here, the only language you really need to know, is english"

Comments like these really do just perpetrate the arrogant, pretentious outlook that many people associate with Americans. Why should they only speak your language? Why can't it go both ways? At least make an effort to show that you're not egocentric- attempt to be bilingual. The stereotypical American tourist ordering their French meal in obnoxiously loud English comes forcefully to mind.
posted over a year ago.
 
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tiagih picked Yes
tiagih picked Yes:
^good point but to be fair don't most schools require students in highschool to learn English? I know when I lived in parts of Asia highschool students were required to learn English, so some people may assume that if you know English you dont need to know another language because most school make it mandatory to learn the language
posted over a year ago.
 
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ThePrincesTale picked Yes
ThePrincesTale picked Yes:
Yes, you're saying that people in other countries learn English anyway? True, but my point is that's it's extremely arrogant to go around the world with your "high and mighty" English, not bothering to learn another language because even when you're in THEIR country, they should speak YOUR language. See my point?
posted over a year ago.
 
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tiagih picked Yes
tiagih picked Yes:
^yeah
posted over a year ago.
 
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ThePrincesTale picked Yes
ThePrincesTale picked Yes:
^ :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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hetalianstella picked Yes
hetalianstella picked Yes:
I believe Bilingualism is very important and seeing how many languages make up the world it will most likely be something you are going to use in life. I mean, only about 500 million out of 7 billion people speak English.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago