Languages are necessary for communication with the world

BVH should offer a variety of language classes

Maddie Almodovar

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Diversity in language classes allow students to learn new languages. As a result, students are more open to social opportunities, such as conversation internationally.

A world without language is impossible to imagine. A world without any form of communication is even more unfathomable to think about. For students at Bonita Vista High (BVH), the main form of communication between students is conversation.

Conversation is done through speaking a language. At BVH, four language courses are offered: Spanish, French, Italian and Tagalog, with Spanish, Italian and French having the highest level of International Baccalaureate classes. 

However, if BVH offered more language classes, then students’ ability to communicate would expand. This is because when students have knowledge about other languages, it enables them to be fluent enough to understand the conversation and allows for students to respond appropriately. According to Lead with Languages, an organization focused on making language proficiency a national priority, being exposed to different languages in middle and high school increases confidence, improves prospects of college admissions and fosters brain activity. 

First, BVH should consider the addition of Mandarin classes. Although located in the United States, according to Statista, Mandarin is the most spoken language globally as there are nearly 1.1 billion Mandarin speakers and may continue to increase.

If Mandarin is taught at BVH, students would experience a number of benefits of having that choice, such as career opportunities in translation and facilitated travel in the Middle Kingdom. Furthermore, education in Mandarin boosts brain function, according to the Chinese Language Institute. Learning Mandarin is one example of how students can interact with people outside of the United States.

Aside from including Mandarin in BVH’s selection of language classes, the administration should consider adding American Sign Language (ASL). Although Southwestern College offers ASL, it would be more convenient if ASL was offered on BVH campus. For instance, classes at Southwestern College may cause conflicts in schedules for students who are interested in taking ASL, resulting in students not being able to take the language at all.

ASL, a form of non-verbal communication, is one of those languages that forges a bridge between those who are hard of hearing and those who are not hearing. According to a study from the Hear It organization, a website with information on hearing and hearing loss, one-in-five teenagers are hard of hearing or deaf. BVH offering ASL classes would contribute to the communication between a significant portion of the world.

In addition to teaching well-connected languages, BVH should consider adding Korean and Japanese to the curriculum due to the popular rise of Korean and Japanese culture—Korean dramas, Korean pop music, anime and manga. Not only do language classes educate students about the following languages, but they also give students the opportunity to expose themselves to the corresponding practices and cultures.

According to the University of North Georgia, “The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature” and “Foreign languages expand one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant.” Through a knowledge of foreign languages, students are able to connect, understand and communicate with the world without ever needing to leave the classroom. 

Furthermore, when students have the option to choose from a variety of language classes, this could lead to the encouragement of diversity in the languages spoken at BVH. If there are students who are interested in Japanese and much less Spanish, students have the autonomy to choose, rather than being forced into a language and culture they do not find interesting. It is important to provide additional language courses for BVH students to choose from, if the aforementioned languages are not considered. 

However, in order to provide these classes, BVH would have to find teachers willing to teach them. Finding credible and available teachers may prove difficult. On the other hand, other high schools in the Bay Area provide the discussed language classes for the same reach, according to Shu Ren International School. If other schools can provide language outreach, then BVH should be able to do the same. 

In order to propel students further in their high school education, the implementation of other language classes proves to be beneficial for a better understanding of the world around them. Schools like BVH can start with implementing Mandarin and ASL language classes then can expand to less spoken languages such as Greek or Romanian to keep communication alive.