Is Learning a Second Language Necessary? Essay

1666 Words 7 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 25% in 2008. Secondary schools experienced a 7% …show more content…
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,

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