The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors affecting the need of learning a foreign language at high school. Many have realized the increasing importance of the acquisition of a foreign language, in other words an increasingly valued skill. In United States of America, an increase of 200 percent in the number of schools offering Chinese language in their programs has been observed. (Asia Society 2008) In this paper, I will be covering on how learning a foreign language benefits academic progress in other subjects and enhance career opportunities.
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On the other hand, I will explain the inadequate level of proficiency in learning a foreign language in high school. 2. Advantages of learning a foreign language 2. 1 Benefits in academic progress in other subjects Learning a foreign language is a powerful experience, a study of 13,200 high school students revealed that the students who studied a foreign language received better grades in the English section a test compared to those who did not. (Dumas 1999) Similarly, Thomas C.
Cooper a professor in foreign language education revealed that in a study of 23 metropolitan high schools, students who took a foreign language in high school received significantly higher marks in the Scholastic Assessment Test. (Cooper 1987) Last but not the least, mastering another language can improve the knowledge of English structure and vocabulary. (Curtain & Dahlburg, 2004) 2. 2 Foreign language enhances career opportunities Through a survey done with 581 alumni of The American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona, respondents said they gained a competitive advantage with knowledge of foreign language.
It is identified that foreign language is a critical factor in employment and enhances their career paths. Furthermore, possessing proficiency in another language provided personal fulfillment, mental discipline and cultural enlightenment. (Grosse 2004) Similarly, studying a foreign language enhances the capabilities of students in understanding English grammar and their overall communication and problem-solving skills. Apart from intellectual benefits, knowledge of foreign language facilitates travel, enhances career opportunities and promotes cross-cultural understanding.
(National Research Council 2007) 3. Inadequacy of proficiency from learning a foreign language in high school Studies have shown that with over 300 hours of contact time over 2 years is woefully insufficient for high school students to acquire usable levels of proficiency in a foreign language. This requires the schools to improve the methods in which foreign language is taught, for instance, a greater use of immersion programs. (Committee for Economic Development 2006) 4. Conclusion This paper has covered the advantages and disadvantages of learning a foreign language in high school.
Therefore, the key aspects in learning a foreign language are the academic improvements in other subjects and the boost in career opportunities. However, in consideration of the time a student spent engaging with a foreign language, it is significantly inadequate to procure usable levels of proficiency. In conclusion, learning a foreign language at high school does benefit a student, but the proficiency of the language boils down to the commitment a student puts in the process of learning the language.