The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should Languages be taught in school

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 756 times Debate No: 102257
Debate Rounds (3)
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Should Languages be taught in school well I vote yes! It helps them prepare for when they are older. For example, it Helps them get into a better college. Another example is, It helps them become better thinkers and better learners. One text even said, it gives the Cultural awareness of others! Another Reason might be that it's easier to learn at a younger age. For example, One parent wants to understand kid but cant because school is teaching at a young age so the children will remember foreign languages. Another example is, The brain adapts more and takes knowledge more seriously. Finally, there's less complex stuff to remember/learn when your an adult you have to worry about grammatical issues and pronunciation. One last reason is, They can become more fluent in English. For Example, kids will have to know English to be able to know what they are saying in a foreign language. Another example is, they will improve there grammar. Lastly, they have more fun if they can be more fluent and understand there reading!


Thank you to Roar135 for creating this thread. This will be my first debate on this website, and I pray the voting community will take that into account if I fail to live up to what I expect are high expectations.

I'd like to start by offering what I see as a few obvious rebuttals. A favourite quote of mine by Christopher Hitchens is applicable here: "that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence". Certainly, there is plenty within the proposition"s opening statement that can be sidelined through this mechanism, and I encourage Roar135 to elaborate upon them in the second round. The points I would contest the accuracy of are as follows:

"It helps them prepare for when they are older."
"It helps them get into a better college."
"It helps them become better thinkers/learners."
"It gives cultural awareness."
"They can become more fluent in English."

That leaves two coherent and valid points that I feel require a more engaged rebuttal.

Firstly, that "it is easier to learn [a new language] at a younger age". Having studied the development of language in children, I can confirm this. That said, there are two issues with simply stating this argument as evidence to support your claims. The first of these is that the ability to do something is not necessarily a reason to do it, and you have provided no clear justification for utilising the natural advantage children have in this area. The second issue is that the development of bilingual abilities in children - at least in relation to natural advantage - requires regular practical application, typically in the home. As this is by no means assured, there is no clear indication that children will develop anything more than a passing recognition of basic phrases or functions, certainly by no measure close to fluency.

Secondly, that learning a language can lead to "more fun". This is largely situational, and depends entirely upon what language is being taught. In a Welsh school, for example, one could make the case that learning both Welsh and English improves one's ability to enjoy the cultural niche of the Welsh language. The same argument is not so effective when one considers "languages" as a general concept. There is no guarantee that learning any language in early age will have any practical application in the future, particularly considering the previous point on fluency.

I now wish to present with my own arguments against the motion, of which I open with three. In short form, these arguments are thus: Education system insufficiency, practical application, and necessity.

The utility of learning a foreign language, foremost, is the ability to communicate effectively with those who speak it. Sadly, as any who has been the victim of language programmes in our state schools can attest, the inclusion of multiple languages (typically German, French, and Spanish) erodes the foundation of any one of these, so that the education provided in each falls far short of anything resembling utility, let alone fluency. Certainly, the time restrictions of both weekly schedules and term-times means that any attempt to educate students with a solid framework of any one of the languages included on such courses is futile, especially when one considers that the strongest aids to language acquisition is prolonged hyper-regular exposure. Such efforts could be as easily served with a book of handy quotes when visiting a country, or even a translation app.

The point on quote books/translation apps brings me to the second point, on practical application. The provision of education on the grounds of "preparing them for when they are older", as argued by Roar135, assumes that these skills will be utilised in a way that demands such attention and preparation in childhood. This is very much on the contrary. Core studies like English, Maths, and IT can obviously be justified as useful, necessary disciplines for anyone not planning to live their life as an illiterate hermit. The usefulness of languages, however, is entirely dependent on exposure in later life, something that is not guaranteed. In terms of personal usefulness, languages, in my estimation, should be held as a supplementary subject, one that a student should choose (not be made) to do, alongside disciplines like media studies or drama. There are far more worthwhile and useful subject disciplines, like politics or philosophy, that are far more justifiable in terms of likelihood of application than any languages, subjects that have far more benefit to the development of the intellect. Dedicating the hours saved in languages to useful core subjects or more justifiable non-standard disciplines is both more beneficial for the children, and more desirable for their effective development.

Finally, on necessity. One might, in this paragraph, accuse me of being "narrow-minded", but I leave it to Roar135 to rebut the point if he wishes. The simple truth is that English is the world"s dominant language in so far as it is most widely spread throughout the cultures and nations of the world. The necessity to dedicate time to a new language implies that it will be in any way useful to do so, when, in fact, most other nations throughout the world prioritise English in their own curriculums, as we do particularly with French in our own. Tourism throughout the world for the English is exceptionally easy given this, and any needs that go beyond these boundaries will not, as previously explained, be served by a basic school education any better than with a translator or quote book.
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Herooftheyear 3 years ago
The only language taught should be English. Takes to much resource for all this extra stuff.
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