Why Foreign Language Should Be a Core Subject in Public Elementary School

1439 WordsNov 19, 20126 Pages
Silvana Domaz Professor Hussein ENG108: Writing Project #4 22 April 2012 Why Foreign Language Should be a Core Subject in Public Elementary School The benefits of learning a foreign language go beyond learning a different culture or being able to communicate with people of different backgrounds. It is essential that Americans speak languages other than English in order to compete internationally, keep the country safe, and prepare children to be world citizens. Several language organizations, educators, and policy makers have recommended the introduction of a second language at the elementary school level as a way of assuring a high level of language proficiency (Pufahl and Rhodes 273). However, the reality of foreign language…show more content…
In Arizona, foreign language courses are not a requirement. According to Jill Campos, World Language Academic Coach for the Scottsdale School District, “foreign language is introduced for a semester at 6th and 7th grades as an exploratory course. Eight graders can take the first year of a world language for high school credit and continue, if they so choose, through the 5th year”. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) report that “the language areas of the brain seem to go through the most dynamic period of growth between the ages of 6 and 13” (qtd. in Talukder 3). The UCLA study instead suggests that “the elementary and middle school years are the biologically most advantageous times for acquisition of a second language” (qtd. in Talukder 3). It is during the first years of life that “the foundations for thinking, language, vision, attitudes, aptitudes, and other characteristics are laid down," says Ronald Kotulak, author of Inside the Brain (qtd. in Dryden and Voss 266). Studies of the brain show that a second language is stored in the same part of the brain as a first language when learned by age 8. After that age, a second language is stored in a different part of the brain. However, simply introducing a program at the elementary level is not enough. The second recommendation is that a successful language program

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