The Northern Light

Foreign language classes: just a graduation requirement or an investment in your future?

Snigda Narisetty, Staff Writer

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Checking off requirement after requirement for high school graduation can become tiresome. Many students feel that some classes are unnecessary such as the mandatory two years of foreign language. Despite their claims and amateure attempts at defending them, research shows that knowing more than one language is a beneficial skill in life.

Knowing another language may be valuable in the social and working lives of an average person. America, called the great melting pot, creates an environment where people are placed amongst a multitude of cultures, races, and languages. For example,

there are more than 37 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. making it the second most spoken language. This means that coming in contact with someone who cannot speak English will be very likely, making it very useful to at least have basic communication skills.  Being bilingual could also help people get jobs as many companies have locations abroad. According to New American Economy, the demand for bilingual workers, both high and low skilled, has more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.

There have also been many cognitive effects associated with being bilingual or multilingual. An article on dana.org, The Cognitive effects of being bilingual by Viorica Marian, Ph.D., and Anthony Shook, explains how the bilingual brain improves a person’s ability to focus and switch tasks faster and with much more ease. This is most likely due to the fact that the brain has already trained itself to put one language in incognito mode while the other is being used. It is evident that learning a second language in high school can provide development benefits to the teenage brain.

Sure it’s easy to go through life  being monolingual, but imagine how much more could be achieved when someone is bi or multilingual. There will be endless opportunitie,s so I hope students keep their dreams in mind when they decide to skip out on the foreign language classes.

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Foreign language classes: just a graduation requirement or an investment in your future?