I have been raised in a family who values the knowledge of foreign languages very much. Because of this I believe that kids should be taught as many languages as it is realistic since their childhood, even if they do not particularly like it. However, recently I have come across a person who completely disagreed with me. Her point of view was that if a child doesn’t want to learn a langue, you shouldn’t force him. She believed that if one will need to familiarize oneself with a language in the future, he or she will be able to do it in a year. In such a manner we tumbled into an argument. My point of view is that only continual learning of a language from childhood can result in its mastery.
The more languages one knows, the more times one is a man. However, this is not the only motivation for discovering new languages. The modern world is such that it demands the knowledge of at least one foreign language in almost every sphere that one may decide to work in. Moreover, some companies require that their employees are versed in at least 2 foreign languages. Isn’t it easier to keep learning a language from diapers and have it as your second mother tongue, rather than torture yourself for a year trying to hustle though all the main grammar rules and words and still not remembering all of them? Apart from the fact that revision is the only way to carve new words into one’s mind, a child’s memory is a lot more fruitful then one of an adult.
Children, if worked with, have amazing memory abilities. They absorb new information like sponges. For them a new word is a fun new adventure, rather than a number of sounds that need to be memorize. Continual repetition of information and vocabulary is crucial and is what education for adults lacks. When a child is still small, there is still enough time to go over the same things many times. With adults, the case is completely different. Education is rushed to fit as much as possible in as little time as possible. And although motivation may be higher for adults, kids must also learn to motivate themselves and to work.
Forcing a child to work in school is by no means bad. This is their work for when they are little. It is not only about foreign languages, it is about the upbringing and education in general. The skills a child obtains while learning are crucial for his future. After all, most of the things we learn in school will be forgotten, but it is the skills to learn and to study that will stay with us for the rest of our lives and that will continue helping us as we get new jobs and retire.
Children should be pushed to learning languages. They need to understand that a new culture is a new adventure. The language skills they obtain as little kids will be the foundation of their future language fluency. These first steps will make a child comfortable with a completely foreign part of a different culture. A new language will help him from fist grade to his first job. It will lift him a step above everyone else and will provide that push up the career ladder.