Knock down language barriers early

Caitlyn McCarthy, Sports Editor

I can introduce myself, tell how old I am and speak other phrases in Spanish, the language I have been taking for three years. I have had great teachers throughout these few years, and I have been provided all the tools to learn and really understand Spanish. Yet if I tried to have a conversation with a fluent speaker, I would barley be able to communicate with that person.

I understand that if a student really commits to learning a language it would become easier as time goes, on but with all the other classes that students have to be studying for, it feels impossible. So students cram and memorize all the different verb forms and words that are needed for projects and tests, without really learning. As soon as the students do not need to know the information, it is forgotten. As students we should start learning another language by elementary school.

In elementary school, students virtually have no stress about school or after school activities, and are more open to learning about new subjects. If students were required to start taking a language at a younger age, by the time those students are in high school they can either continue that language or start learning another.

I thought going into high school, I would be leaving with a very strong understanding of Spanish, but unfortunately. I have just a little more knowledge about the language than I did entering high school. I will always remember how confusing it was to learn all the verb forms and tell the difference between them, but I could not conjugate them without having to think for a long time.

While I completely understand that some students will gain a good comprehension of a language in high school, the majority of students will not have that complete understanding after only taking it two or three years.

According to Forbes, in Europe 53% of Europeans can converse in a second language compared to America’s 18%. It is very important to understand other languages regarding national security, allies, and just being able to communicate with citizens from other countries.

As a country we need to be able to communicate with all the countries around the world and understand what may be happening in different parts of the world.

If we started requiring children to take a language at a younger age, those children could become very knowledgeable in more than one language. Those children could eventually help the government in critical times, when there is a language barrier.

As stated by Forbes, in 1957 congress passed the National Defense of Education Act, this provided federal support for foreign language instruction. Obviously at one point our government valued the teaching of foreign language, but now many schools are having to cut the budgets. That results in fewer language classes and not enough teachers that can teach these languages.

Overall, as a country we should be requiring the future generations to start learning a different language in elementary school, so we can keep up with other countries, and increase the amount of citizens who can speak multiple languages.

Caitlyn color