Should American Children Be Made to Learn a Second Language Fluently?

UL_1986

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Pride? It has zero to do with pride. We start making this a requirement, then shit, we m8ght as well start telling kids what to major in.
Spanish was taught throughout gradeschool and high school for me, but when I got to high school we had an option to have at least 3 years of a foreign language under our belt, whether it be Spanish, French, German, Chinese/Japanese. There were a couple others as well. At U of L in my undergrad we had to have 3 semesters of a foreign language. I think that those 3 semesters helped a bunch as I’ve continuously learned Spanish in my life. I’m practically fluent now. I suppose it’s always seemed “mandatory” to me, and it never really phased me. I enjoyed learning it tbh...
 

all4theillini

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@Kevin Bryan whats the “common core” math?
Common core math is designed to give students multiple ways to solve a problem, sort of like "there's more than one way to skin a cat." My children are in 5th and 2nd grade and are growing up with Common Core principles. I, too, heard horror stories about C.C. but figured I would keep an open mind to it and, truth be told, I rather like it! It gives kids different ways of attacking a problem...if one way doesn't resonate with you then perhaps another will.
My sister struggled mightily with the simplest math concepts but I'd like to think she would've done much better and had a greater understanding of mathematical concepts had she been presented with different problem solving options vs. the "one size fits all" most of us grew up with.

Kids today don't know any better - they are working through what they are taught. However, the key for people of a certain age (i.e. those on this board, teachers, etc) is to keep an open mind. If you insist upon teaching a child common core principles using the standard "one-way or the highway" approach we all got then it will be a disaster.
 

Kevin Bryan

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Common core math is designed to give students multiple ways to solve a problem, sort of like "there's more than one way to skin a cat." My children are in 5th and 2nd grade and are growing up with Common Core principles. I, too, heard horror stories about C.C. but figured I would keep an open mind to it and, truth be told, I rather like it! It gives kids different ways of attacking a problem...if one way doesn't resonate with you then perhaps another will.
My sister struggled mightily with the simplest math concepts but I'd like to think she would've done much better and had a greater understanding of mathematical concepts had she been presented with different problem solving options vs. the "one size fits all" most of us grew up with.

Kids today don't know any better - they are working through what they are taught. However, the key for people of a certain age (i.e. those on this board, teachers, etc) is to keep an open mind. If you insist upon teaching a child common core principles using the standard "one-way or the highway" approach we all got then it will be a disaster.
I can see it being beneficial to some, especially to help them understand the concepts rather than simply solving the problems. In the end, though, simpler is always better. The likelihood of errors increases with each step you take, especially with math. If you take 20 steps to solve a problem you could have reasonably solved in 5 steps, odds are against you. Besides, your boss at the accounting firm you'll be working at in 20 years isn't going to give you 15 minutes each time you have to add two 6 digit numbers together. Laughing
 
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dukedevilz

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I speak Portuguese fluently. It's nice to have that skill, but I wouldn't say it's especially useful. It's more useful in the sense that I can understand Spanish much better because of Portuguese; the variation between the two languages is actually really small. And Spanish speakers are everywhere. So, from time to time I'm able to utilize that. But, a conversation in a foreign language isn't something that I'm engaging in very often.

From an individual standpoint, I think knowing another language is beneficial because it helps you understand your native tongue a little better. You familiarize yourself with the patterns, the roots, and how one language often pulls from and interacts with other languages.

The class that merits consideration for a graduation requirement, is a course in financial literacy. It's appalling how few individuals understand elementary concepts about finance. It's no wonder so many millennials find themselves buried in student debt and credit card debt.
 
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UL_1986

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I speak Portuguese fluently. It's nice to have that skill, but I wouldn't say it's especially useful. It's more useful in the sense that I can understand Spanish much better because of Portuguese; the variation between the two languages is actually really small. And Spanish speakers are everywhere. So, from time to time I'm able to utilize that. But, a conversation in a foreign language isn't something that I'm engaging in very often.

From an individual standpoint, I think knowing another language is beneficial because it helps you understand your native tongue a little better. You familiarize yourself with the patterns, the roots, and how one language often pulls from and interacts with other languages.

The class that merits consideration for a graduation requirement, is a course in financial literacy. It's appalling how few individuals understand elementary concepts about finance. It's no wonder so many millennials find themselves buried in student debt and credit card debt.
Agree with everything but the last sentence. Many students are crippled with debt because the job market isn’t what it once was, as population has grown significantly with many students majoring in a broad field (communication, marketing, etc) so said job market becomes saturated. Also, the inflation of student tuition isn’t feasible for the jobs that are out there for these kids. This is a different conversion entirely that could be talked about in the politics thread. Just my two cents. Most millennials I’ve met and know are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. There are some outliers, but to peg them as uneducated about finance, with a copious amount of credit debt via student loans is on the cost of education and it’s continuous upswing in affordability and cost. Most better paying jobs that offer salaries over 40k a year require at the least..a bachelors degree, a few years of internships and at least 3-5 years prior experience in said industry. So, these students will be entering a job at the lowest possible wage in the company, pay for their housing and other bills, and somehow keep up with a student loan that’s the cost of a brand new Lexus? It’s tough, and they’re in a losing battle right out of the gate. I feel for a lot of these kids, especially the ones who didn’t have a silver spoon and have their parents pay their tuition. I can relate. It took me forever to pay of my student loans. In fact, I just made my last payment last fall, and I’m in my late 30s.
 

Jaycg15

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I don't know for certain, as I don't have kids. I just have a lot of friends that are elementary teachers and I know it's a joke.
As a guy that's taken more math than 99% of the population, it's not complicating things. It's actually simple and intuitive, but most of the people teaching it have to learn a different way to think. That's the struggle. Add in that parents don't know how to do it or teach it, and you've compounded the problem enough that everyone broadly generalizes it as more difficult.
 

toonces11

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Agree with everything but the last sentence. Many students are crippled with debt because the job market isn’t what it once was, as population has grown significantly with many students majoring in a broad field (communication, marketing, etc) so said job market becomes saturated. Also, the inflation of student tuition isn’t feasible for the jobs that are out there for these kids. This is a different conversion entirely that could be talked about in the politics thread. Just my two cents. Most millennials I’ve met and know are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. There are some outliers, but to peg them as uneducated about finance, with a copious amount of credit debt via student loans is on the cost of education and it’s continuous upswing in affordability and cost. Most better paying jobs that offer salaries over 40k a year require at the least..a bachelors degree, a few years of internships and at least 3-5 years prior experience in said industry. So, these students will be entering a job at the lowest possible wage in the company, pay for their housing and other bills, and somehow keep up with a student loan that’s the cost of a brand new Lexus? It’s tough, and they’re in a losing battle right out of the gate. I feel for a lot of these kids, especially the ones who didn’t have a silver spoon and have their parents pay their tuition. I can relate. It took me forever to pay of my student loans. In fact, I just made my last payment last fall, and I’m in my late 30s.
I think the discussion concerning free college is the wrong conversation (im bringing it up). The real discussion is education reform and wrangling in soaring tuition rates for degrees that don't produce high paying jobs. Tuition is out of control....and many required classes do nothing to further the person in life or career--just add dead weight in crippling debt.
 

dukedevilz

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Agree with everything but the last sentence. Many students are crippled with debt because the job market isn’t what it once was, as population has grown significantly with many students majoring in a broad field (communication, marketing, etc) so said job market becomes saturated. Also, the inflation of student tuition isn’t feasible for the jobs that are out there for these kids. This is a different conversion entirely that could be talked about in the politics thread. Just my two cents. Most millennials I’ve met and know are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. There are some outliers, but to peg them as uneducated about finance, with a copious amount of credit debt via student loans is on the cost of education and it’s continuous upswing in affordability and cost. Most better paying jobs that offer salaries over 40k a year require at the least..a bachelors degree, a few years of internships and at least 3-5 years prior experience in said industry. So, these students will be entering a job at the lowest possible wage in the company, pay for their housing and other bills, and somehow keep up with a student loan that’s the cost of a brand new Lexus? It’s tough, and they’re in a losing battle right out of the gate. I feel for a lot of these kids, especially the ones who didn’t have a silver spoon and have their parents pay their tuition. I can relate. It took me forever to pay of my student loans. In fact, I just made my last payment last fall, and I’m in my late 30s.
I'm not saying that millennials aren't industrious. Just seems to me that there is a lack of emphasis on managing personal finances. And this study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers supports that idea. 24% demonstrated basic financial literacy? That is egregiously low.

 

UL_1986

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I think the discussion concerning free college is the wrong conversation (im bringing it up). The real discussion is education reform and wrangling in soaring tuition rates for degrees that don't produce high paying jobs. Tuition is out of control....and many required classes do nothing to further the person in life or career--just add dead weight in crippling debt.
College is a leg up, and for decades it’s been looked at as a means to further your future in a positive light. That just isn’t the case anymore. Universities need to lower their rate of tuition. It’s absurdly unaffordable, and financial aid puts a tiny dent in something that just isn’t feasible. Not saying college should be free, but it should have a lower tuition rate than what’s being presented right now. X’ers and Boomers had the benefit of going to a university and taking on business or comm as a major, and they didn’t have to difficult of a time finding a decently paying job. The market is completely different now than it once was.
 

Kevin Bryan

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As a guy that's taken more math than 99% of the population, it's not complicating things. It's actually simple and intuitive, but most of the people teaching it have to learn a different way to think. That's the struggle. Add in that parents don't know how to do it or teach it, and you've compounded the problem enough that everyone broadly generalizes it as more difficult.
Complicating not by difficulty, but by adding more (unnecessary) steps.
 

schoonerwest

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It's when the kid has to do like 47 sit ups for every problem he gets wrong.

Builds your core muscles.

I was lucky to not be the freshman chosen to attempt the impossible situp back in 1994.

What a great prank that was. I hope the tradition is still being passed down every year on every team at every school in America.
 

UL_1986

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I'm not saying that millennials aren't industrious. Just seems to me that there is a lack of emphasis on managing personal finances. And this study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers supports that idea. 24% demonstrated basic financial literacy? That is egregiously low.

I’ve always thought that finance should be a staple of education as it pertains to your life in every facet imaginable. Some of this lack of education falls directly on the university.


Ps: not contradicting myself with my previous comments about calc/trig & chemistry. I still think those things reigned frivolous in my life after my formal education.
 
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dukedevilz

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Well that's not nearly as cool as having a smokin' hot Brazilian girlfriend.
lol, right?

It honestly wouldn't take much effort to get a smokin' hot Brazilian girlfriend. They see Americans as exotic. They love the idea of having an American boyfriend. Wasn't uncommon at all to walk down the street and have attractive females whistling at you. And almost every day we came across a young lady that asked us if we could date. They asked that question, I'm certain, because they were interested in dating us.

So yeah, go down to Brazil for a short period of time, and you could easily have 5 or 6 girlfriends. They eat less, workout more, and have nice, olive skin complexions. The average Brazilian women is way better looking than the average American, IMO.
 

toonces11

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I’ve always thought that finance should be a staple of education as it pertains to your life in every facet imaginable. Some of this lack of education falls directly on the university.


Ps: not contradicting myself with my previous comments about calc/trig & chemistry. I still think those things reigned frivolous in my life after my formal education.
As a person that completed Chem I & II, Organic Chem I & II, Inorganic I & II, and Biochem I, II, III......I'm telling you I would have to get pretty creative to justify having to have taken those classes for my career.
 
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schoonerwest

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lol, right?

It honestly wouldn't take much effort to get a smokin' hot Brazilian girlfriend. They see Americans as exotic. They love the idea of having an American boyfriend. Wasn't uncommon at all to walk down the street and have attractive females whistling at you. And almost every day we came across a young lady that asked us if we could date. They asked that question, I'm certain, because they were interested in dating us.

So yeah, go down to Brazil for a short period of time, and you could easily have 5 or 6 girlfriends. They eat less, workout more, and have nice, olive skin complexions. The average Brazilian women is way better looking than the average American, IMO.
A friend of mine does remote oil/gas work from his penthouse in downtown Bogota (which costs near nothing) and he’s in his late 50’s. Says that 20 year old women throw themselves at him whenever he leaves his place and they’re usually near perfect looking. The pics back it up.
 

Kevin Bryan

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lol, right?

It honestly wouldn't take much effort to get a smokin' hot Brazilian girlfriend. They see Americans as exotic. They love the idea of having an American boyfriend. Wasn't uncommon at all to walk down the street and have attractive females whistling at you. And almost every day we came across a young lady that asked us if we could date. They asked that question, I'm certain, because they were interested in dating us.

So yeah, go down to Brazil for a short period of time, and you could easily have 5 or 6 girlfriends. They eat less, workout more, and have nice, olive skin complexions. The average Brazilian women is way better looking than the average American, IMO.
That actually explains a lot. I know two guys that are old, bald, and dorky and one has a hot Brazilian wife and another a hot Brazilian girlfriend. The women are much younger too, and they certainly aren't after money. One of the guys is a Cincinnati cop.
 
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dukedevilz

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A friend of mine does remote oil/gas work from his penthouse in downtown Bogota (which costs near nothing) and he’s in his late 50’s. Says that 20 year old women throw themselves at him whenever he leaves his place and they’re usually near perfect looking. The pics back it up.
That actually explains a lot. I know two guys that are old, bald, and dorky and one has a hot Brazilian wife and another a hot Brazilian girlfriend. The women are much younger too, and they certainly aren't after money. One of the guys is a Cincinnati cop.
A strange trend that I saw in Brazil was lots of women in their 20's, in perfect health, going for men in their 40's or 50's. It's weird. Like, that guy is the same age as your dad. I saw it all the time. It's not an anomaly. So yes, the Brazilians/Latinos, will absolutely go for an American at the drop of a hat. You don't have to exert effort. At all. The women were constantly hitting on us. Even got stalked a couple times... And then you have really bizarre instances, like a women looking at me and moaning on the ground as I walked by. So yeah, you could easily pickup a handful of ladies in one day. But, your odds of picking up an STD go up substantially, too.
 
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Kevin Bryan

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A friend of mine does remote oil/gas work from his penthouse in downtown Bogota (which costs near nothing) and he’s in his late 50’s. Says that 20 year old women throw themselves at him whenever he leaves his place and they’re usually near perfect looking. The pics back it up.
Well now you have to post the pics....
 

Kevin Bryan

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A strange trend that I saw in Brazil was lots of women in their 20's, in perfect health, going for men in their 40's or 50's. It's weird. Like, that guy is the same age as your dad. I saw it all the time. It's not an anomaly. So yes, the Brazilians/Latinos, will absolutely go for an American at the drop of a hat. You don't have to exert effort. At all. The women were constantly hitting on us. Even got stalked a couple times... And then you have really bizarre instances, like a women looking at me and moaning on the ground as I walked by. So yeah, you could easily pickup a handful of ladies in one day. But, your odds of picking up an STD go up substantially, too.
Sounds like I need to move to Brazil, pronto.
 
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brooky03

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Back to the common core math topic; my issue with it has always been that it could hold back the smarter kids who already intuit the various ways to solve a problem. Those who are good at math usually aren’t good because they memorize equations the best, they’re good because they understand the equations well enough to intuitively break them down into smaller, more easily calculated pieces when/if needed.

It seems like common core is trying to get all kids to that point. That’s fine, but only if early advanced placement opportunities are available for the sufficiently smart kids who don’t need to sit down for a week learning that 35 is made up of three 10’s and a 5, and that ten 3’s and a 5 is the same thing. Let those kids who understand that in a minute move on to the good stuff quickly.
 

Bert Higginbotha

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Back in my day you had to have 12 semester hours of German, French or Russian to get a degree in chemistry from the college that I attended. I took German because English is a Germanic language. I thought it would be easier as I was/am poor at language. I made straight C's in German, but I got the damned required hours.

I cannot remember jackshit about the German language as it was an academic exercise that I memorized my way through. Those 12 hours have not added to my life one little bit. I only remember sitting through those damned labs memorizing shit.

My view is if someone wants to learn a second language do it, just don't require it.
 

UL_1986

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Back in my day you had to have 12 semester hours of German, French or Russian to get a degree in chemistry from the college that I attended. I took German because English is a Germanic language. I thought it would be easier as I was/am poor at language. I made straight C's in German, but I got the damned required hours.

I cannot remember jackshit about the German language as it was an academic exercise that I memorized my way through. Those 12 hours have not added to my life one little bit. I only remember sitting through those damned labs memorizing shit.

My view is if someone wants to learn a second language do it, just don't require it.
 

brooky03

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I don’t think it’s crazy to assume speaking another language will be like driving a manual car in the not too distant future. A cool skill to have but not needed in 99.9% of situations.

With current technology, phones can translate printed words and even audio virtually in real-time. Give it a few decades and you’ll be able to speak English into a phone and, with no delay, your phone will spit out Czechoslovakian or Japanese or whatever in your voice.

Will you be in a tough situation if you’re visiting a 3rd world country and your phone dies and there’s no outlet to plug into and no other people with phones for miles? Sure. But you’ll be fine in the other 99.9% of cases. Just like you’re fine not knowing how to drive stick unless you’re stranded on a mountain in a blizzard with frost bitten toes and the only vehicle around is a 1940’s Jeep.
 

Kevin Bryan

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I don’t think it’s crazy to assume speaking another language will be like driving a manual car in the not too distant future. A cool skill to have but not needed in 99.9% of situations.

With current technology, phones can translate printed words and even audio virtually in real-time. Give it a few decades and you’ll be able to speak English into a phone and, with no delay, your phone will spit out Czechoslovakian or Japanese or whatever in your voice.

Will you be in a tough situation if you’re visiting a 3rd world country and your phone dies and there’s no outlet to plug into and no other people with phones for miles? Sure. But you’ll be fine in the other 99.9% of cases. Just like you’re fine not knowing how to drive stick unless you’re stranded on a mountain in a blizzard with frost bitten toes and the only vehicle around is a 1940’s Jeep.
Only dudes with man buns and skinny jeans don't know how to drive a stick.
 

TheDude1

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Just to point out... common core is just basically a set of educational standards... like, "by the end of 2nd grade, kids can count by hundreds." The way they do it isn't actually outlined; it is the end goal only.

The math you guys are talking about are particular programs, like Everyday Math or Singapore Math. Some of these programs really focus on the underlying number concepts that some people felt kids needed so that math wouldn't be rote regurgitation of multiplications facts, but rather an understanding of the bigger concepts. They came about because American kids were basically shitty in math compared to most other developed countries.

It is DEFINITELY harder in some ways... so much of it is language-dependant, so really some of it is as much a reading/writing issue as a math issue. And good lord, the next time someone successfully explains lattice multiplication to me will be the FIRST time someone successfully explains lattice multiplication to me:)

As with most things, I think the best solution is somewhere in the middle... make sure kids know their math facts and have simple ways to solve problems, and then explore the math they are doing in deeper ways, where the outcome isn't necessarily the goal, but rather the understand of what is being done.

As for cursive... I teach it, but only as a morning warm up on some mornings, and I'm the only one left... honestly, nobody is using it anymore. It might be something that is worth letting go of:)
 
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TheDude1

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Only dudes with man buns and skinny jeans don't know how to drive a stick.
Can't heel-toe in an auto;)

Love driving stick. Nothing as lovely as perfectly nailing a downshift so that the rpms match and you don't even notice you've shifted:) My old Mustang had this FANTASTIC short throw shifter that was an absolute pleasure.
 
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UL_1986

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Only dudes with man buns and skinny jeans don't know how to drive a stick.
That deflates JCs and Crums bald spots theory of me. I still drive a stick. I bet they drive Jeep Libertys. They’d be bummed to find out I rock a buzz year round.
 
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SpartanJD

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I just don't see being able to have that many public school teachers fluent in foreign languages to staff every k-12 school in the country.