Kimball Konception: School should teach Foreign languages earlier

Andy Kimball
Junior Editor

Andy_Column PhotoStudents at the high school are required to take two years of foreign language.

Logically, you would think that the district would teach foreign language in high school because it is the optimal time for students to learn foreign language.

Surprise, it’s not.

Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington is world renowned for her research on how babies and younger children learn languages.

Through Kuhl’s research she found that the optimal age for learning was from being born until age seven. Also, the ability to learn a language has a steep decline after age 10.

The best way to teach students a foreign language at an optimal age is to teach them earlier. Students can be taught earlier with the addition of foreign language to the elementary school curriculum.

In elementary school, foreign language could be a subject just like math, science, or social studies.

That way students could learn the basics of a language when they would learn it best and extend that learning through middle and high school. This change would heighten the chances of students successfully learning and becoming fluent in a language.

There are many advantages of becoming fluent in a language.

According to a study done by Harvard University learning a foreign helps improve critical thinking skills.

Also, successfully learning another language opens up more jobs for students. For example, being fluent in Spanish and English would make a student available for jobs in English and Spanish speaking countries. This would give students more success in finding jobs because they would become more versatile and therefore more attractive towards prospective employers.

If the district’s goal is to have students learn and become fluent in a second language, then the best way of doing that is to teach languages earlier.






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