Department of Education

Teaching a Second Language to Elementary Students

I suggest we start a program to start teaching our children “at an early age” a second language. There are more and more companies hiring employees putting emphasis on someone who is bilingual before looking at someone who is perfectly qualified in every area except being bilingual. I don’t look at this as “forcing” a second language on a child, but giving that child a chance to excel beyond expectations. Children are very resilient, they learn a lot quicker at an early age, and can adjust very well having to learn two languages at the same time. Just as reading, writing and arithmetic are required courses; why not add a “second language” as a required course, especially if it is going to help level the playing field not only when that person is of age to work, but throughout his/her life.

 

Funding this could be at a minimal as well. I believe by children knowing a second language, it would increase their attention and willingness to learn more, thus, eliminating a lot of dropping out of school. It will teach a child how to communicate with someone of a different background, in turn, learning different cultures, which I believe will peak their curiosity and want to learn more. I think in some school districts, we’ve gotten out of the true meaning of education due to the increase violence in some areas, the unwillingness of a child wanting to learn more for fear of being “called out”. We have good teachers, but not enough to make a huge impact on a child’s life. From the time a child learn to read, they should be taught the basics of a second language just like English. From the 1st through the 6th grade, they should learn enough about that second language to properly communicate with another individual from that particular background. When they get to the 7th and 8th, they can be introduced to another language, a third language, which could possibly be easier to learn since their minds are already set to the basics of a different language.

 

The idea of our children learning a second language at the “start” of a his/her education, as opposed to giving them an option once they are in the 10th grade on up, would be a great opportunity for the children, as well as the entire community because now you will have a group of children who can communicate not only with their neighbor(s), but on an international level as well. I know we can’t teach them every language, but we should start with one in addition to English, and build our way up.

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Idea No. 3981