Gov. Markell’s World Language Immersion Progam beneficial
Introducing students to foreign language classes young increases chances of fluency
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 19:02
Earlier this year, some Delaware elementary school students kicked off Gov. Jack Markell’s World Language Immersion Program by taking 50 percent of their classes with an English-speaking instructor and 50 percent with a teacher speaking in Chinese or Spanish. This innovative program is the first of its kind in Delaware and aims to train American students in other languages and expand their cultural horizons.
In an increasingly internationally connected world, teaching American students new languages at such a young age is another stepping stone in the inevitable globalization process. For too long Americans have maintained the philosophy of thinking, “Everyone already speaks English, why should I learn anything else?” This attitude is what keeps Americans segregated from the rest of the world and makes us seem intolerant and uninterested of other cultures. Beginning a new language at a young age is extremely important in becoming bilingual. It easier for a brain exposed to different languages at a young age to continue learning different languages in the future. It also opens up a giant space for further appreciation of foreign cultures, which is much more important than spending time learning to write in cursive.
However, the role of parents in this process cannot be overlooked. Not only do students need encouragement in the classroom, but also at home. If the program is going to be successful, parents need to be a motivational driving force in their children’s learning experience. Teaching new languages in public schools is the first step in keeping the United States on the track towards a more globalized world and its importance needs to be recognized at home as well.