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Do We Desire Our Kids To Learn A Foreign Language?
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Do We Desire Our Kids to Learn A Foreign Language?

While in college, meeting abroad students, one quickly learns that many outside the U.S. are bilingual, yet, while in the U.S., many students in our schools are not. Yes, we educate our children in Spanish, French and perhaps German, but by and large, foreign language class is considered laughable, rather than something to be mastered.

Things Are Changing Around Us

The irony in this is that more and more we hear of our population becoming more and more Hispanic or what have you; more and more people around us are fluent in various languages, including Spanish.

Rather than language instruction being taken lightly, however, it seems that this immigration requires us to consider the possibility, or the necessity, of becoming bilingual ourselves . . . or the thought that at least our children will acquire an additional way of speaking.

What Can Aid Us During This Change

Thankfully, there are various curricula on the market. There are different foreign language instructions which include DVD's, music, flash cards, and books to be obtained for children. After all, it is at this time, between the ages of 0-5, that the best window of opportunity for language instruction exists. This is certainly not to say that a child who is older, or even an adult for that matter, cannot learn a secondary language. However, through studies it has been observed that at a young age the brain is developing in ways that allow a child to master more than one language somewhat effortlessly. Whereas, the older one gets, the more challenging the learning becomes.

There Exits a Window

Furthermore, where there exists this window, at a young age learning languages is actually exciting. Children enjoy learning new things, being introduced to new concepts; they simply love exploration and the making of various sounds. This is in contrast to foreign language studies which may seem laborious, or "useless," to high school students. The age of 0-5 is a window . . . of opportunity.

What Shall We Do?

Do you desire your children or grandchildren, or whomever it may be, to be fluent in a language besides your own? Please know that if the child is older than the age of 5 or 6, that it is not too late to continue learning. However, at an even younger age, foreign language instruction can be quite advantageous. Thus, we encourage it; various curricula exist, if not for our own benefit . . . then at least for theirs.


Street Talk

Catching up on some old articles .. I think you almost have to speak a 2nd language in this day and age. Thanks Penny!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks for reading, Wayne:)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Always good to know more than one.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks for reading, Shawn:)

Reply
  about 8 years ago
C4rmen  

I always admire those that speak more than 1 language. I kinda get the feeling it is on my bucket list to do. It will either be Spanish or French. Learning as a child is so much fun. I might take that attitude when I start learning a 2nd language :)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks for reading, C4rmen:) My husband knows Spanish fairly well. I on the other hand do not. I'm hoping my son will learn. It's a fun thought to think of it as being fun . . . like a child would . . . .

Reply
  about 8 years ago
AJ  

Thought provoking, Penny. My children love Dora, Diego, and Kai Lan. They walk around the house speaking Spanish / Chinese words they learned from the show. I am thankful I watch with them so I can translate what they are saying. Mine are 3 and 6 and are sponges, expose them to the right information and they will learn so much.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

That's fun that your kids are speaking what they pick up from the shows; I bet that's so neat to hear as a parent:)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Hated languages at school even my own, but I found learning Afrikaans easy when that's all that is spoken around you. I do think it very advantageous to be bi-lingual, specially in a internationally accepted one.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yeah, Rob, language often gets a bad wrap. I know it did when I was in school, particularly high school. Total immersion I've heard is really the best way to learn a language, but every little bit helps. And yes, it would be advantageous to be bi-lingual. I myself am not, but I do hope my children to be.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I must admit Tessa that I wish now that I had learnt French at an early age but then who knows where you're going to pitch up later in life?

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes, if only I had listened in French class in high school. But honestly, it would have taken a lot of work to block out all the distractions; nearly all of us considered it a goof-off class. It was unfortunate . . . and our poor teacher.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great information Penny. I love the way you've described it as a window of opportunity.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Penny:)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

It's a great theory although fairly hard to find the motivation for it with young children unless the parent is genuinely interested themselves. I learnt a second language (kind of) when I was 18 and on youth exchange. Until this time I admit I never saw a use for a second language. I think english speakers the world over are arrogant in this regard. I too admire nations where multi lingual is the norm. I think it would be wonderful!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

You're right, Heather, that it is challenging to find the motivation. With my son, I figure we'll do what we can when he's young. As he gets older, we're strongly considering homeschooling, which will make (hopefully!) for an easier environment for him to learn another language. Yes, it was in college that I began to think, "My, everyone else knows another language (as in those from other countries) . . . and we don't! Hmmmm."

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Like it or not the world we (Americans) live in is changing. I believe it is imperative that todays children learn one or more languages other than english

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes, I agree, John.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
joe witt  

I grew up for a lot of my live overseas, and had ample opportunity to learn many languages, but I really only learned the basics and forgot most. Something I still regret, children should definitely be given all chances to learn languages.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yes:)

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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