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England's Making Learning a Second Language in Elementary School Mandatory

Liz Dwyer

Despite the growing diversity of the United States, most students don't have the chance to learn a second language until middle school--which puts them at a distinct disadvantage in the global economy. However, reports the BBC, "after a study found that teenagers at schools in England had the worst language skills in Europe," our cousins across the pond are making some changes. Starting in September 2014 all primary students--kids as young as 7-years-old--will begin second language classes.

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  • La'Keisha Gray-Sewell

    Thanks for posting. It is baffling to me that we remain the one country whose children only know one language, although we are so big on "diversity." The message we send children different is acceptable in theory not practical engagement; that everyone in the room can be of a different race, nationality, and ethnicity, but those differences should not manifest themselves in language, cultural traditions, etc.
    Personally, I've seen schools that have IB programs and they are the ones that truly do have an immersion experience that lends itself to the global focus that society at large is moving into.
    Thanks again for sharing this.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Amazing. I wish the U.S. would start doing this on a bigger scale. I know there are language immersion programs in some schools- but do you think they're effective?

    • Liz Dwyer

      It depends on what your measure of effectiveness is, and it depends on the program. Personally, I believe every school should be dual immersion. It just makes sense in a global society (and economy) for all students to learn a second language.

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        Thanks for sharing. I agree. I see my nephew doing really well in Spanish immersion programs. He used to have speech impediments- and I'm not sure if the program helped (since he hasn't seen a therapist)- but I think it definitely made him more confident about speaking both English and Spanish aloud.