Should More Foreign Languages be Offered as Basic School Curriculum?
Debate Rounds (5)
bman7720 forfeited this round.
While I do consider that Spanish is a common language in the US, and that Mandarin is rather rare to encounter daily, my point is that they do not finish the course that they offer. My school is not to blame for this, the program is provided by the Confucius Institute at no charge to the school. Personally, I will continue to pursue fluency in the language after I surpass the offered levels in my school. I do accept that not every student wishes to achieve fluency in the language they take, but they should provided with the materials to achieve it if the school offers introductory levels of the language.
Looking at the Mandarin course specifically, there are maybe a dozen students in it, my opponent included. The class is very small, and the teacher is different each year. The small class size allows for student-teacher interaction, and even extra lessons for those who actually wish to learn the language. In fact, the current teacher allowed me to borrow a book to practice writing in the proper stroke order, and a picture dictionary to expand my vocabulary. The Confucius Institute also allowed the class to take the YCT(Youth China Test) free of charge to determine our level of fluency.
Now that I have started the background information of this argument, I will start by showing the benefits of foreign language courses. Our society lacks knowledge of other cultures, and this knowledge is crucial to any form of diplomacy or peace between nations. Stereotypes about these countries stain the friendship of the citizens. With the common use of the internet, communicating across the globe has never been easier. This communication is hampered by the language barrier, though. A majority of the internet is based upon English, while web browsers can translate these pages, the translation can be iffy. I accept that many countries learn English as primary education, but again fluency is rarely achieved. In diplomacy, it will also be seen as friendlier if the visiting party uses the nation's native language. Being aware of the world culture is crucial in this ager of interconnectivity, and it's being neglected.
My opponent explains that our Mandarin Chinese class is very small and consists with only a few members. I do agree with him when he talks about the teacher-to-student efficiency, but I would like to arise one question. Do people actually WANT to study Chinese? This language is harder to learn than most languages because it has 2 types of communication: pinyin and characters.
Mandarin Chinese is a very complex system if you look at it in an English person's view point (which a lot of us are). In this dialect, "pinyin" is used to translate in English letters and "characters" are used to express the words in Chinese. So basically, these two languages are extremely different. Looking at it from an Asian view, English to them is very complex because of the way they express their own words. America and other English-speaking countries have an alphabet and extremely confusing pronunciations and spellings of the consisting words. Asia doesn't. Instead, they use the characters to explain a whole description while we use letters to explain for a partial amount.
The accessibility to other languages is not NEEDED. It is a want that some of us do not have. Forget about culture and connectivity. None of that matters if we do not WANT it. Here's a good analogy. A man walks up to the refrigerator and takes something to eat because he is hungry. The "refrigerator" in this case is the world. The food inside are the languages. The man is hungry, so therefore he "eats."
As human beings it is in our nature to take what we want. However, needing something is human instinct. There is a big difference between the two. Human nature is how we act based upon a certain situation due to our emotions or "feelings" towards it. Human instinct however is how we act based on our own survival. We already have both of the systems in place, but they make up for different things. For example: It is in human nature to have emotions; it is human instinct to stay alive. They work hand in hand, but make up for what the other lacks. Instinct lacks mental freedom while our nature lacks the seriousness towards oneself. If we had no instinct, we'd just do whatever the hell we want no matter what would happen to us. If we had no nature, we'd only care about the life of oneself.
Sometimes human nature can over-power our instincts because of our emotions. Or it can be the other way around. If you love someone or care about them deeply, many people would risk their own safety, ignoring their own instincts of survival, if the other is in danger. On the other hand, if we don't care about someone whether they're a stranger or you hate them, there is less likely of a chance for your human nature to provide you with the freedom from instinct. Of course this doesn't mean that you won't go and help a stranger, it only means that you care less about them than you would a friend or family member.
Being diverse in culture is a want, not a need. There are people who wish to become buddy-buddy with other countries/continents, but even so, there are also people who don't care about the other societies as much as others. Those people who don't "want" to become diverse will fall behind the ones who do and will achieve nothing by learning something that they don't wish to be educated upon.
Also, let me ask you something. What do friends do? They gossip, have fun with each other, and share secrets if they are believed to be trustworthy. Now let me ask you another question. What are countries? They are the people. Without us, they would not be of any importance. WE are the MIND. The country just represents us. Now, if we are the mind of the country, doesn't that mean that we are also the downfall of it? What have I said previously? "It is in human nature to have emotions." This statement includes the fact that our weaknesses are OURSELVES. If we become friends with other countries what is the chance that we don't share our secrets, whether it's accidental or purposely? Also, one more thing. What do friends like to do a lot? Fight. Yes, that's right. It is in human nature to wish to be part of the pack and even excel above the others. We argue about meager things and we'll neglect all the positive attributes towards one another and focus on the negatives. What happens then? We try to obliterate each other. Ever heard of the term, "keep close to your friends, but you enemies closer?" In this world, if your sly, you can get yourself anywhere. The human heart is as impenetrable as a stronghold with it doors left open.
What's the point of providing something that others don't want? I guess you could compare the classes that we don't want to the food in the garbage during lunch hours. We're just throwing it all away. All the education provide is being wasted because of the lack of desire towards these certain classes. Our brain takes in what we think will be useful in future events. Are we ever going to actually use these languages at all during high school? The probability is very low because none of us are getting a job in Asia or Europe or anywhere else that requires another language anytime soon. We don't want it because it is no use to us at this moment in time. Instead, we should be focusing on the basics of our society before taking other communities into account.
We do not want it, therefore we shall not take.
bman7720 forfeited this round.
My opponent brings up wants and need, however communication is a crucial need. To effectively communicate, we cannot focus on a single language, especially in America. In this nation, there are cultures interbreeding, several commonly spoken languages. How can one effectively communicate with neighboring countries when one cannot even speak a mutual language with them? Wether we like it or not, diplomacy and interconnectivity is a need in our society.
Karnathan forfeited this round.
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