Should a foreign language be taught in all middle schools?

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   “For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen.” -Stephen Hawking, 1993.

    English, Spanish, French, German; The list can go on and on. Languages are a way that humans share their feelings, desires, thoughts, and ideas with one another. A foreign language is a language that didn’t originate from the same place as the speaker. Someone from Spain can say that English is a foreign language to them. In 2008, high schools in America started teaching their students a foreign language due to the many advantages that it held. However, should all middle school students be given this opportunity too?

    A foreign language can be important to learn. It can help humans learn more about several cultures and humanities as they travel around the world. According to Trinity University, “In order to travel around the world, whether for business or pleasure, a desire or willingness to adapt new cultures and methods is necessary.”

    In the article called, “Is learning a foreign language necessary for a high school education?” by Casey Miller, learning a foreign language is required in high school in order to get a four-year college education in America. However, in America, middle school students don’t have any requirement for learning a foreign language. Despite this, middle schools including Peterson Middle School, located in Sunnyvale California, have a seperate elective class where students can learn languages such as Spanish and Japanese.

    Being able to communicate with different people in different countries makes it easy to convey thoughts and ideas with other people. As reported by Cornell University, studying a foreign language at a young age can often be easier and not feel as complex. Learning a foreign language can give an adolescent’s brain a mental workout and help the child develop.

   To get another outlook on this topic, Alaina Tran, a seventh grade student who attends AdVenture/STEM in Herman Intermediate, was asked what she thought of middle school students having the option to learn a foreign language. She responded with, “Middle school students should have the option to learn a foreign language at school because you can learn more about different cultures and connect with a lot of people. Both middle and high school students should learn a foreign language because it’s easier to learn at a younger age. I know how to speak in Vietnamese. It took me several months to get the hang of it!”

    Aolani Rodriguez, who also attends AdVenture/STEM at Herman Intermediate, was also interviewed about this topic. “It would be cool to have an option to learn a foreign language because if you know other languages besides your own, it can lead to many job opportunities. Personally, I don’t think it would add to much stress for me to learn a foreign language in middle school. However, it really depends on how rigorous the course would be,” she replied.

    As technology continues to advance and international travel becomes more popular, learning a foreign language can result in meeting different people and experiencing new things. Languages are one of the major ways that humans all communicate with each other and express themselves. Knowing foreign languages can sharpen minds and increase brain power. Whether someone learns a foreign language in middle school, high school, or even as an adult, it can open up countless opportunities. All in all, due to the vast amount of languages, humans were able to cooperate with each other thousands of years ago and can still do today.