Learning languages are glossed over at early ages

Learning foreign languages at younger ages may prove to be beneficial


Ethan Nguyen

Saying “Hello” in different foreign languages

Amelia Bautz, Staff Writer

    Elementary schools should provide foreign language classes for their students, due to it being easier for younger children to learn a second language compared to older students.

    High school students have a list of credits that are required in order to graduate, one of those requirements being two foreign language credits. As students travel further down on the educational path, more courses and a heavier workload become inevitable.

    A major solution to this problem is introducing students to foreign languages at younger ages. Elementary age children will not only have more time to study a new language but have more passion as well, as the stress of difficult classes has not been pressed on them.

    With a larger learning capacity, children will be able to absorb more information at a quicker rate. In addition, it is easier to motivate younger children to perform new skills.

    To put this into perspective, many parents get their children into some kind of physical activity before the child has the ability to reject the ideas of his or her parents. Once the child starts said activity, they become proficient in it, and it remains a passion throughout the rest of their life.

    The same philosophy works for learning a new language. If a child starts learning early, they are more likely to continue to use it as they get older.

 Another benefit to teaching children a language at a younger age is that their peers are not as judgemental, and they are able to mess up without it hindering their confidence.     

    One major concern people have with incorporating language classes into elementary schools is that children can barely understand the works of their mother tongue. They fear that children will have practical proficiency in both languages, but fluency in neither.

    Frankly, these outcomes are improbable. A child who studies two or more languages in grade school will learn each one as a separate entity with its own separate grammar and vocabulary. There are, of course, phrases that get lost in translation, but these will not affect comprehension.

    In truth, there is one major reason why language classes are not offered at the elementary level; standardized tests. Unfortunately, curriculums at the elementary school level are designed so a student can pass a test. Nothing more, nothing less. Since they are not required to pass a test, languages are deemed as unimportant and are glossed over.

  In the end, the benefits of learning a new language at a young age far outweigh any concerns. By learning a language at a young age, children increase skills such as; empathy, creative thinking, tolerance, curiosity and cultural sensitivity.

    There are many ways to incorporate a bilingual lifestyle, most notably incorporating multilingual classes in elementary schools. However, until the test-passing mindset is changed, this may be a difficult feat.

   All the same, elementary schools should offer foreign language classes, as they would benefit the learning of the students and equip the children with knowledge that will be beneficial in the huge world waiting for them.