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Language in schools

do you think it should be required to do a language in school?

September 21, 2017



In the EU it is actually required to learn a second language in school since the 70s (with the exclusion of the UK, when they were still in).

In Germany most even have classes in two different languages (sometimes even three), but at least one is required to graduate. We even start quite early, back in the 90s I started in 3rd grade, nowadays it's first grade (either English or French depending on the school and region).

I think it's good and should be required even if the native language is English. But there should be options of different languages to choose from. It also makes it seem less forced because you actively decided to do it.


100% and i think it should be required for more than 2 years of high school like in the USA particularly if it is a language that is immediately useful in their city i.e. Spanish in most American cities in Arizona. it should be something started young in primary school and you can change once you reach secondary school. that may be a bit harsh but i feel if it were a mandatory part of curriculum it would help the person develop in to a more globally minded individual. as a native English speaker it is unfair of me to think everyone should just speak English. just my two cents.

and also as a side note someone before mentioned unfair to force a child to learn something that then becomes boring (yes i know you were just trying to show the other side of things)... the very first book i chose in a library was a Spanish picture dictionary. I also remember wanting to speak with the English speaking foreign kids next door that spoke Russian at home most kids just long for relationships and i cant see how learning a language cant open that door more widely.


It has been mandatory to learn English in school in Sweden since 1946. Before, it was mandatory for high school students to learn German. But back then very few attended high school. I began to learn English in second grade, which is almost 20 years ago. It's strongly recommended but not mandatory to learn a third language, which usually are either German, French or Spanish. In rare occasions it can be possible to learn Italian, Latin, Chinese and/or Japanese. I studied Spanish and Italian.


School "forced" me to learn English, but now I can only be thankful for that


YES! I was forced to learn French and English.

French was my first foreign language. I loved it at first, because my dad is from France, but I wasn't raised bilingually. I even went to a bilingual secondary school. Then my parents got divorced and because of the relationship with my dad I started to hate everything about French. But I had to keep going with it, my hatred is probably why I can't speak it fluently. But what I kept is a "fluent" understanding. I can read and listen to French without a problem. Now years after school, my dad and I get along well, I saw my aunt for the first time in a decade and could understand everything she said.

English is similar. I had a teacher who didn't like me from the start because her husband who was my teacher for the two previous years in another subject didn't like me. As a teenager I of course reacted by disliking her and her subject as well. Now I'm glad I had to go through with it.

I like to read novels in their original language, same with movies, there is so much wordplay lost in translation. I'm really glad I'm able to appreciate media in three different languages and that is because I was forced to learn the two that aren't my native language.

You don't give kids the option to not learn maths, despite a lot of them hating it. So why shouldn't they learn a foreign language, doesn't even matter which one. It has so many advantages for health and memory and of course for communication.


I fully agree with kamuune.
Despite a science study profile, I had to learn English (6 years), German (3 years) and French (4 years).
I am very grateful for that, because the most of my professional literature is in English and German. And when I am traveling in Western Europe, I can understand a bit of the texts in the shops and traffic signs. Not only in England, Germany and France but also in other countries, because I am familiar with reading in foreign languages.

Especially for native speakers of a language with easy grammar like English, it is very important to learn a foreign language with more difficult grammar for at least three years.


It's already a requirement for most schools (at least that I'm aware of around my area). My school has a language requirement of 3 years.


I agree that every school should teach a language. However, there is no point in a school teaching a language if the lessons are dull and tedious.

I know several people who had to resort in dropping a language because the lessons given to them were not of great quality - These people were very able in doing a language but were not given that driving force needed for them to be able to carry on with the language they were learning.

It is very sad to see this and I wish more people are aware of the fact that many schools * don't take languages seriously when compared to subjects such as Maths, Science or English. :/

EDIT: *(Especially schools in the Uk)


but do you agree with it?


Yes because most kids love learning langueges.


I only think that it should be required if the school offers many languages (at least 4). Therefore, the students will have a higher chance of actually being interested in the subject, more options to choose from, more opportunity, and smaller classes. I absolutely hate how my school only offers Spanish (I'm in southern United States so there are a lot of Spanish speakers, but c'mon!). Luckily in high school there are more options, but most of the languages offered are only available to take online at school. If there are barely any languages offered, it would be stupid to make it required. It would just be another require math, English, and science.


I agree. It was because of high school that I heavily engaged myself in French.

On a side note, how on earth does your school only offer Spanish? I live in the South too, but my schools even offered Chinese. I guess it's just different everywhere. ^ ^


We had French last year, but now we have like 2 or 3 Spanish teachers. It's super dumb considering that most people who take Spanish at our school hate it anyways (even my friend who loves languages and is fluent in 5 or 6). So I guess my school sucks but glad your schools had more options.


I wish my school had more options as well. Latin is the only choice, and while it's great, other languages would be pretty awesome.


Man I wish my school had Latin as an option. Don't get me wrong, I love Spanish, but Latin would be amazing (And helpful for understand Spanish as well I suppose).


I don't even live in the US and my only options were Chinese and Spanish (German as well, but they got rid of that subject for my grade this year. Spanish, the class I'm taking, will probably be kicked out as well because my school doesn't care about languages).


I agree. But there should be more choices. My school only offers Spanish and French. They had Chinese years ago but it was dropped due to the budget cuts. Now the budget cuts are causing French to be taken out. It's already in the process, I think 8th grade is the last year taking it, so in 5 years, there will be just Spanish available. Luckily I'm in 10th grade, but I'm doing Spanish anyways.


yes once u get to junior grade


I can't say I agree with it, no.

I'm fine with schools introducing subjects and topics for students, but to force children and teens to learn some subject that they might not need or want to learn isn't something I'd say is a good idea.

Often times, language course do the opposite of what they're meant to do. They can make a student see the subject of learning a language as boring, and non-fulfilling. This is why I think it's important for students to choose to take the classes themselves.

With that said, I do think learning or taking a language course, either at school or learning online, is very useful.


The trouble with this is, a lot of the time, children are forced to make decisions about their learning far too early in their lives. For example - I always disagreed with the UK's system of forcing kids to drop subjects for GCSE an then more subjects for A Level, because at that age, it's hard for someone to know what they really want and which subjects will take them further. Between that period and university and beyond, so many people change their minds about their life goals, career paths, etc. For me, it would be much better to keep the amount of subjects as broad as possible until a far later stage when they are mature enough to know what choices they really want to make.


Also, the best time to learn more languages - the time when the languages you learn become your native languages - is far younger than the GCSEs and A Levels.


Can't say I'm sure on this one. I could see both sides, really. I was just offering a different point of view :3


Kids are 'forced' to learn maths and science and English and... I don't know why foreign languages should not be the same, tbh. Maybe if foreign languages were a vital and integral part of education rather than an add on, then teachers and resources would actually be better, because if people had to do it, they'd have to figure out ways to do it well.


I also hate it, that one can say "water" and all the other words in about 8000 different foreign languages with different grammar rules.
But I am very grateful, that I was forced to learn three foreign languages at school. Because it is useful in my work, on holidays and to read the points of view in the news of foreign broadcasters.

What do you think about Duolingo?
For me, Duolingo was the first time in my life, that I like to brush up my foreign languages.


Definitely. My school is terrible with languages - in grade 7 we only had to do 6 months of a language and same thing in grade 8. Now, in grade 9, it's not compulsory (Which is ridiculous). Plus, it's highly likely I won't even have a Spanish class next year! That's why I'm trying to pick it up on Duolingo. I think it's ridiculous - my school is more focused on it's stupid performance class (Which isn't even good, none of them can act or dance). Although, in all honesty, my hatred for the performance class could very well stem from the fact I'm a music kid and all of us are sick of them getting the attention (They get musicals and performances, we get nothing). Sorry to stray off topic, lol. But yes, it should be mandatory. However, if it's going to be compulsory from a young age the schools actually need to put in an effort to have a good and consistent program. In primary school, we had Chinese as a subject. However, we only had Chinese for one hour a week so all I can remember is "Gou" (Dog). I honestly don't think Australia gives a crap about languages (Probably because we already speak English, so what's the point in learning another language? After all, opening your eyes to different cultures and having the ability to communicate with people all around the world in different tongues isn't important at all). There are so many advantages to learning a different language - I just wish schools would recognize that. Plus, my school couldn't even bother hiring a good Spanish teacher when our old one went on maternity leave, our current teacher doesn't teach us ❤❤❤❤. I am not kidding when I say that almost half of our class got C's or lower. Sure, not everyone has a knack for languages, but all we needed to do to get an A on our test was literally memorize a vocabulary sheet. It wasn't even all that complicated.

Sorry about going so off topic lol, I couldn't stop myself.

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