Nowadays, the idea of speaking several languages inspires many individuals. However, in the U.S., communicating proficiently in a foreign language continues to be either an attractive but unattainable objective or an utterly pointless luxury for many people. Despite the many advantages, language teachers must frequently struggle for their employment and career future in situations with budget restrictions. Although numerous school system bodies and political figures have actively endorsed the learning of various languages, additional funding has not kept pace with the degree of expressed desire. In the 2005: The Year of Languages article, Jennifer Stolpa illuminates the education system’s shortcomings and outlines the solution to the problem and benefits of foreign language learning.
Problem and Benefits of Foreign Language Learning
In an effort to alter attitudes about the significance of second-language learning, the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages proclaimed 2005 The Year of Languages. According to this strategy, every individual must strive to be fluent in at least one other language (Stolpa 3). Consequently, in order to attain the objective, the school curriculum must include foreign language classes, which could necessitate the perception of foreign languages as a crucial component of every child’s education.
However, according to the author, the implementation of this program faces several challenges that halt the process. Unfortunately, in many educational institutions, learning a foreign language is merely an elective, and it is common for primary schools only to provide it as an extracurricular activity (Stolpa 3). In 2005, only several cities provided ongoing language classes from early childhood through high school, even though primary school students could master colors or numbers in another language (Stolpa 3). Furthermore, the writer accentuates that such a challenge poses a threat to employment (Stolpa 3). Many language teachers are forced to defend their opinions when education funding is reduced. They are sometimes set against one another and required to explain that one language is more vital than another.
People must focus on their basic identities as a nation in order to change this predicament. This extraordinary cultural variety, which is a blessing, holds the key to survival in the 21st century. According to Stolpa, people must appreciate their ancestry and be enthusiastic about studying the languages of their forefathers and present neighbors (Stolpa 5). According to the council of teachers, language learning in schools should be integrated into the school curriculum.
Lastly, the writer provides the benefits of foreign language learning, which impacts personal and community lives. Memory is enhanced by learning languages since it trains the brain to retain data more effectively (Stolpa 5). Moreover, it may be immensely fulfilling to the person and offer benefits in terms of self-esteem. Additionally, American public safety would be significantly impacted in two ways by the population’s increased proficiency in foreign languages (Stolpa 5). Firstly, such abilities to collect, translate, and interpret information are of vital importance. Second, putting more stress on learning languages would improve people’s understanding of other cultures. Culture and language are intricately linked; therefore, learning a new language always leads to a greater knowledge of that culture.
Hence, learning languages in modern society is usually viewed as an unnecessary luxury or unattainable goal. This reality is corroborated by the budget cuts in educational facilities and the alienation of foreign languages in school curriculums. The author of the article stresses the importance of language learning. The benefits include boosting self-esteem and memory enhancement for learners and better national defense and cultural awareness for the nation. As a result, the writer calls for action, requiring a reassessment of national values.
Stolpa, Jennifer M. “2005: The Year of Languages.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum, vol. 85, no. 1, pp. 3-5, 2005.