Foreign Language Learning In The Great Britain Essays Examples
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I. Different Views on the State of Foreign Language Learning in Britain
Learning a foreign language is a demanding task in any country. Notwithstanding that a foreign language opens up new opportunities and vistas for any individual, in some countries, including the Great Britain and the United States of America, people show a lack of interest in foreign languages learning. Bearing in mind the fact that half of the world population currently speaks or learns the English language, most people from the English-speaking countries do not feel like learning any other foreign language or pursuing knowledge.
Will Hutton of “The Observer”, states that “a willingness to work hard at understanding another culture, a language,” and its conventions, portrays weakness in one’s own country morals. Hutton also references that in America, those who speak another language are “un-American”. This lack of support from one’s own country about mastering a foreign language speaks numbers when studies show that the percentage of younger generations studying foreign language has dropped dramatically (Hutton). School systems such as in Britain and the United States see speaking a foreign language as a nice skill to have, but not as an asset (Hutton).
English is learned from a very young age in countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia (Hughes). David Hughes of “The Telegraph”, states that “while the British may be monumentally hopeless at learning foreign languages, the rest of the world is coming to our rescue by learning ours”. Many Britons are proud of the fact that other nations learn their language as they do not realize that this is a serious issue for concern. The reality is that the rest of the world is not rescuing Britain by learning the English language. For all intents and purposes, graduates from other countries with native speaker competence or even with decent language knowledge simply deprive British graduates of work places within the boundaries of their own country.
Susan Purcell of “The Guardian” backs up that statement when she says that “fewer than 5%” of students graduating in Britain took an A-level foreign language exam in 2011. School children in the Far East greet and converse with tourists to practice their English skills because those countries understand the importance of communication and diversifying their population’s ability to understand the English culture (Hughes).
II. Susan Purcell's Views on the State of Foreign Language Learning in Britain
Susan Purcell of “The Guardian”, states that in Britain schools would rather teach kids in subjects they are apt to do well in, in order to make the school’s learning system look better on paper, rather than teaching them the more difficult foreign language classes, thus diminishing the interest in learning languages from an earlier age.
Purcell states that “English is the mandatory first foreign language” in thirteen countries of the European Union. Moreover, even in the countries where the English language is not mandatory, children choose to take English studies regardless. However, in Britain, there are no mandatory classes that require British students to study or excel in a foreign language. According to Purcell, though out of all the countries in Europe, their language studies programs offer an astonishing amount of diverse learning prospects and opportunities for students of any age and any level of language knowledge.
The major concern of nowadays is that most of the British graduates have very poor language skills because of the weak points and vulnerability of the educational system in the Great Britain. As a result, international companies do not see them as valuable employees. It is easier for companies conducting their business activities in the Great Britain to hire a bilingual professional from another country rather than to teach a British graduate from the ground up.
The United Kingdom offers up a total of 19 languages in their school learning programs; France offers up 16 languages (Purcell). In countries like Germany, the Netherlands or Norway, only 5 to 8 languages are offered for study, most likely because they are focusing their sights on learning English (Purcell). Purcell also argues that businesses would benefit much more in Britain if their graduates were versed in a foreign language.
III. The Value of Mastering Foreign Languages
A very famous Chinese proverb suggests that "to learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world". A new foreign language does not only broaden one's outlook, but also opens prospect of personal and professional development.
One may say that there is no need to emphasize the importance of learning and mastering foreign languages as the significance of such knowledge should be crystal clear for every educated person. Unfortunately, many people still refuse to admit the value of foreign languages knowledge acquirement.
Will Hutton states that “the capacity to speak a foreign language – and to enthuse about doing so – is a vital competence”, meaning that regardless of where someone grows up, and what learning atmospheres they are exposed to, people should realize that mastering a foreign language is important and should be viewed as a goal in life. Therefore, young students should be taught from an early age that learning a foreign language should be a sought-after skill for them. It is crucial to get out a message that learning another language is followed by getting to know another culture, meeting new people and making friends with them, and, obviously, seeing something amazing and totally new of this life. As of today, learning a foreign language and being able to communicate with a larger majority of the populated world is essential not only in personal life, but in the world of business as well.
As Susan Purcell pointed out, many businesses in Britain complain about fresh out of school graduates not being ready for many business positions because of their lack of communication skills and their being ignorant of foreign affairs. When school systems in countries like Britain or the United States do not deem the mastery of a foreign language important, it leaves the masses to assume that speaking a foreign language is an unnecessary skill to have, thus promoting a negative view on foreign cultures. People should be taught early on to be excited to learn about another culture and be excited to learn another language in order to converse and share their experience with people of another nationalities. Not being able to carry on dialogue with people that don’t speak the same language frightens people, causing them to travel less to those countries where they fear they will not be able to communicate.
Hughes, David. "Do We Really Need Foreign Language Skills to Flourish? – Telegraph Blogs."The Telegraph. 6 Feb. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2015. <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidhughes/100135346/do-we-really-need-foreign-language-skills-to-flourish/>.
Hutton, Will. "Why do we continue to isolate ourselves by only speaking English?" The Observer. 5 Feb. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.
Purcell, Susan. "Saying Britons 'don't Do' Languages Is a Fallacy." The Guardian. 12 June 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jun/13/britons-languages-learning>.
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