While reading Aria by Richard Rodriguez, I was immediately reminded of a research paper I wrote for my Writing 100 class freshmen year of college. In this paper I discussed the importance and reasoning as to why elementary school children should begin to learn a second language. I chose one of my references from this paper to use as a hyperlink to this article because I believe illustrates the issue of foreign and secondary languages within the education environment the best.
Within this article, the author, Arthur Turner, discusses the importance as well as benefits of teaching children a secondary language. Some key points that Turner makes is that as English speakers, we must come to the realization that English is not the only language spoken in our world. There is diversity throughout our world that allows there to be a wide variety of languages that are spoken. Turner emphasizes on the aspect of communication and that by only knowing one language we are limiting ourselves as well as depriving ourselves from communicating with those around the world.
In Rodriguez's article, he discusses the uncomfortableness he feels as a child in school. By not teaching about other cultures and languages in the education atmosphere, we are not only teaching children to be ignorant of the diverse world around them, but we are depriving those who do speak a second language from being able to use their voice in their native tongues and allow them to learn more about their own culture.
Rodriguez states within his article that, "Today I hear bilingual educators say that children lose a degree of individuality' by becoming assimilated into public society. (Bilingual schooling was popularized in the seventies, that decade when middle-class ethnics began to resist the process of assimilation-the American melting pot.) But the bilingualists simplistically scorn the value and necessity of assimilation. They do not seem to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized. So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality." I completely agree with Rodriguez's opinion that we find assimilation to be essential within our society and by forcing those who are bilingual to assimilate themselves into the dominate speaking language we are taking away their identity. The fact that the individual can speak more than one language becomes forgotten for they are forced to use the public speaking language which in a way degrades and deprives them from their culture.
Points to share in class...
I am a strong supporter of teaching children a secondary language throughout their education career as well as the benefits that occur from knowing more than one language. My concern is that should we have special accommodations for children who speak a different language when English has been our primary language within schools across America for so long?
If anyone wants to read the paper I wrote that I was referring to feel free to e-mail me! I worked really hard on this paper and believe strongly in this topic so I would love to share it!
Here is my e-mail Lovemelaurenxo@gmail.com