February 7, 2006

WASL Boot Camp

A REALLY crummy essay I wrote for language arts...

Dear School Board,

Requiring graduating students to have four years of foreign language, is requiring them the use their time in high school ineffectually. Not only is a new language harder to learn as age increases, but language skills obtained in high school also remain unused and steal time away from other subjects, such as math, history and science.

Studies have shown that learning a foreign language during childhood is far more effective than learning it at an older age. Though it is possible to learn a new tongue, it is far harder without complete immersion, a costly and tough project to install. It is more efficient to teach languages to younger students who will have less difficulty learning how to make new sounds. These children would also be far more eager to increase their skills in the area than teenagers, making them more likely to succeed in their learning.

Though there are students who will choose to travel and study abroad once out of high school, many will not leave the States, until after they have already forgotten the language that they learned. Still plenty of people after that will never leave the United States at all. It is a waste of their time to require them to learn something so easily forgotten that they may never use, or to learn a language for a country they may never visit. Subjects that apply to their work and lives are always a better use of their time, and should be able to be pursued freely in high school.

Finally, requiring four year of a foreign language uses the time and credits that could be used in other subjects, such as science, math, history or English. Though some jobs would require some knowledge foreign language, these skills can be obtained in college when the specific language requirements are known. This ensures that time is well spent and greater study of other topics is an option. Students should not be forced to choose from one of four languages that they may never use, when they are going into fields that do not require such knowledge.

Though some students may choose to take foreign languages for four years, the concept of forcing all high school students to take four years of it is entirely unwise. This only wastes their time and the time of the teacher who would have to teach and unenthused bunch something as hard as language. This path should not be pursed, but left up to the student to choose.

A Concerned Student