Tag Archives: foreign language

A Culture Double-Standard

When people find out that I am encouraging my son to be multi-lingual (so far, English, French and hopefully Spanish), they usually applaud my efforts.  They don’t know how successful (or unsuccessful) I might be in actually accomplishing my goal, but they typically quote statistics about how children are more likely to master a language if they are exposed to it early in life.  They might also point to studies that show mastery of another language actually improves students’ performance in English.  

That is why I am always surprised – and disappointed – to hear people express negative opinions on families who speak Spanish at home.  Instead of applauding their efforts (the way mine are), people condemn them.  I won’t pretend to be an expert on why this double-standard exists but I am hopeful that the more we think about – and draw attention – to these double standards, the better our chances of eradicating them entirely.

OK, off my soapbox now.images

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Filed under Europe, Latin America, Learn

Smarter Kids

Think about it.  While we’re working so hard to give our children the best education possible, are we actually painting ourselves into a corner?  That’s the throught that sprang to mind when I read this USA Today article about foreign language programs for kids.  Although it was originally published in 2007, it’s still relevant  today. 

Just take this quote, for example:  “I’m smarter than my father. He can only speak one language.”

I think we can all agree that this would be a great problem to have.  So far, I have been unable to interest my son in learning either French (which his father and I speak) or Spanish (which I studied in school and is the kid “cool” language of Sesame Street, Dora, and Diego).  I’m still working on piquing his interest but I’m confident that once I get him there, the rewards of raising “smarter” kids will be clear.

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Filed under Europe, Latin America, Learn, Listen