It’s Not Brain Science… Or Is It? How Early Second Language Learning Can Impact Future Achievement
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We live in a global economy, yet U.S. citizens lag far behind in the knowledge of other countries’ languages, cultures, customs, geographies and peoples. Equipping the next generation with foreign language skills as well as knowledge of other cultures and customs will not only provide increased career opportunities for individuals but also aid in the future success of the U.S. economy. The U.S. educational system does not stress the learning of language beyond English: K-12 curriculum is rigidly mandated, budgets are tight, class time and teacher training is limited, and language programs are often among the first to be cut during budget crises. There is a time period when a child’s brain is developing and most receptive to learning, and that is early childhood. If the seed were planted in a child before he/she enters kindergarten to learn the basics of a foreign language and culture, perhaps that knowledge could be nourished throughout the rest of their lives, preparing those children to embrace cultural differences, live and compete more successfully in an evolving and diverse world, and be better equipped for later education. Besides examining the current state of foreign language education in the U.S. and how learning occurs, the benefits of foreign language learning in relation to business and human relations are examined in this paper. Multiple solutions to solving the foreign language deficit are mentioned including a proposal for an early-learning language program.
Capstone paper from 2015 spring MPA program. Instructed by Allen Zagoren.