Oak Ridge, United States

Should Students be Required to Take a Foreign Language? Yes!

There are so many uninteresting and unengaging classes that students are being forced to take at most high schools.  Why can’t the administration spice it up and add foreign language classes? Foreign language classes would bring a good change and some excitement into the lives of students.  These classes teach students about new cultures, raise test scores, improve college applications and resumes, and increase employability. Everyone takes math, science, english, and history; it isn’t impressive.  If your school required foreign language classes, then the students at your school would stand out and be seen as better options for colleges. Students should be required to take a foreign language because it would be very beneficial to them in the long run.

Foreign language classes open up the minds of students to understanding different cultures and ideals.  They help them realize there is not one correct way to view the world. Foreign language classes give students the time they would not have otherwise to appreciate and look into different ways of life.  Students are so consumed with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities that without foreign language classes, they would never have the time to even think about taking time to research other countries and their values and normal ways.  When taking Italian, students are forced to notice and understand Italian cultures and policies. They are taught about the schooling systems in Italy and the jobs and how their society is and what their norms are. These lessons are also taught in Spanish, German, French, and any other foreign language class taught.  Students would be more open and accepting of people from different countries. Many people are exclusive because they just do not understand where the other people are coming from. So many people do not know about other cultures which makes them so quick to judge. If foreign languages were required, people would be much less quick to judge other cultures and other way of life.  They would be more open to understanding and learning more about cultures instead of just shutting them out and labeling them as weird or incorrect.

According to Psychologists from York University in Canada, learning foreign languages help students absorb information more quickly and easily, so taking foreign language classes would raise their test scores.  It would help them remember information which would then cause them to spend less time studying, and in turn allow them much more sleep. Taking foreign language classes benefits the students’ grades in other classes.  It is kind of like learning an instrument, it helps with memory and the people that know how to play an instrument, or speak another language, are generally better at memorizing and retaining information in all of their other classes.  So even if the colleges you are looking at do not care about foreign language classes, which is extremely unlikely, your other grades will be higher than if you were not taking a foreign language.

Taking a foreign language class will easily improve your college applications and resumes.  Students with two or three years of a foreign language class under their belts will be more likely to get into a college than students with zero.  If you take a foreign language class, especially for four years, you are showing your ability to understand multiple cultures and multiple ways of speaking or viewing the world.  It shows that you are open-minded and welcoming of other options and ways of thinking. These qualities are crucial for collaborative work because if you are stubborn and do not listen to any ideas other than your own, then you and your teammates will never get anything done.  You will all be annoyed and unwilling to communicate therefore wasting a lot of time and time for bouncing ideas off of each other. Many jobs require collaborative work so it being open-minded would be extremely beneficial.

Employers are constantly looking for possible employees and they would not even bother considering you if you had nothing interesting to put on your resume.  Sure taking a foreign language is not crazy unique and it will not be as impressive as volunteering every day, but if you do not have time to put in that many volunteer hours or partake in an extracurricular activity, then going to a school that requires you to take a foreign language class would be beneficial because it would make you stand out from a crowd of resumes with the most basic information and courses taken.  If you want to work in sales or any job that involves working with people, your possible employers may even require you to be bilingual. Knowing another language would really help you out in those fields even if it is not required because you would definitely be more desirable than someone that only knows one language. Knowing another language would be beneficial in that line of work because not everyone speaks english fluently so if you can understand and speak another language then you will be able to help out your customers a lot more efficiently and comfortable for them.  It also may help you out in sales because you could be subconsciously making them feel more comfortable or happier, and definitely less stressed, so they may stay at your store longer and as you more in depth questions so you can help them find even more than what they absolutely need.

It is important for schools to require students to take foreign language classes because it would be very beneficial to their futures and their characters. It would help them grow mentally through the understanding of other cultures and their ability to retain information better.  It would also help them to be more desirable to employers and colleges therefore helping their future lives. High school is all about preparing students for college and their future lives so why not bring them one step closer to success by requiring them to take foreign language classes?

Article by Zoe Smith

Works cited

Fernandez, Maria Andreina. “Why Learning a Second Language in High School is So

Important.” College Raptor, 2018.

Kiski.  “The Benefits of Learning a Second Language in High School.” Kiski, 2017.

Latimer, Renate. “Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages.” Associate Professor

Emerita of German, 2017.


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