Nandigam 1 Nikhil Nandigam Devarenne Honors English 10 (1st Hour) 1 November 2007 Reaching Out to the World Through

Language Reflecting on my experiences at European schools, I notice the efforts of European students who possess an excellent command of three or four languages as a necessity. They have grown to recognize that they are part of a larger world in which they must immerse themselves. They strive to become citizens of their communities, and also to become citizens of the world. Here in the United States, we are sometimes labeled as an ethnocentric nation, basking in the glory of our own nation and our own culture while ignorantly dismissing those of others. Since the beginning of the new millenium, we have been exposed to more of the world than ever before. Would it not be impressive to reach out to our counterparts across the globe without expecting them to conform to English? The art of language is an advantageous tool for all students to cherish. Forest Hills should require four credits of foreign language in its requirements and expand its programs in elementary and middle schools to enhance a student's education and awareness and to reflect the phenomenon of globalization. The Department of Education has determined that in the fall of 2000, approximately forty-four percent of all students were enrolled in a foreign

Nandigam 2 language course. This number has almost doubled since the 1960s, but is still unacceptable given the amount of resources we have available. Forest Hills Public Schools is renowned for its academic excellence and the role of college entrance exams are critical. It has been found that students who possess four years of foreign language experience score better on verbal exams than monoligual students and receive the same score on math exams as students who studied four years of math. On a smaller scale, and for those students who are not yet faced with college exams, the study of a foreign language reflects in improvements in English through “cross linguistic influence”; polylingual students command a more diverse and comprehensive English vocabulary than their peers, thus giving them countless benefits in the United States. By fostering this love for language, we are promoting multicultural diversity, we are increasing academic achievement, we are destroying cultural barriers between students and the world, we are preparing them for a future of tolerance, and we are opening doors to opportunities worldwide. Taking the initiative to engage in a foreign language rewards today's students with innumerable gateways into an interconnected world. For example, approximately fifteen percent of the nation's legal population speaks Spanish as a mother tongue. Businesses are crucially trying to attract this population and with methods which appeal uniquely to them and native language exerts itself as an instrument of candor. Apart from the traditional

Nandigam 3 Romance languages associated with the high school classroom such as French, Spanish, and Italian; Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic are emerging with increasing expediency. Numerous well-paying commercial and government opportunities are available to those who can persuasively utilize another language. I vehemently defend the implementation of required foreign language at Forest Hills, but I understand that this proposal faces many practical obstacles in the school system. Two years ago, elementary students at Orchard View were denied the opportunity to learn Spanish due to budget conflicts. This action might have been necessary, but it has discouraged many students from pursuing Spanish at the middle school level and eventually gaining an invaluable ability. Factors such as scheduling also forms an obstacle to my proposal. Many students do not realize the importance of foreign language or might have other priorities in terms of course selection. Although these arguments are valid and complicate the implementation of my proposal, foreign language is imperative to today's students and tomorrow's workforce. Through my experiences in Europe, I noticed that there is much more we can do in the United States to truly immerse ourselves into the world, and my proposal is a proactive approach to the inevitable trends of the future. By implementing foreign language as an absolute requirement in our school district, we are defying global stereotypes of Americans as a self-obsessed

Nandigam 4 people. We are creating a perception of us as a nation which is willing to put forth the commitment and zeal to truly befriend those who choose not to pursue our choice in language and culture.

Works Cited Cooper, T.C. "Foreign Language Study and SAT-Verbal Scores." Modern Language Journal 71 (4): 381-387, 1987.

Cunningham, T. H., & Graham, C. R. (2000). Increasing native English vocabulary recognition through Spanish immersion: Cognate transfer from foreign to first language. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), 37-49. from

Nandigam 5 PsycINFO database. "Hispanic Americans: Census Facts." Infoplease. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. 29 Oct. 2007 <http://www.infoplease.com/spot/hhmcensus1.html>. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2002). Digest of Education Statistics, 2002. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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