An article in The Washington Post illuminates the benefits of even 30 minutes a week of foreign language instruction at the early elementary level.
I read it and thought, “No duh.”
Think about all the complex and amazing mental processing that goes into learning another language. Second language instruction should be happening as soon as our kids enter school, and our goal should be fluency.
This concept is not new. Look at major European countries and their approach to foreign language instruction. When traveling, I am always so impressed by the sheer number of people I meet from other countries who fluently speak multiple languages. I am often dismayed by how self-centered and egotistical we Americans can be when it comes to learning a foreign language.
The 21st century is an increasily globalized world. Foreign language instruction helps students in myriad ways. It:
- Broadens their perspective of other cultures and deepens their understanding of the globalized world.
- Makes them more competitive in the 21st century workforce.
- Fosters brain development that helps lay the foundation for all other subjects.
It shouldn’t be relegated to 30 minutes with a teacher who teaches from a cart.