Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Pet Cause

I have this issue that I don't get.  I'm active on a parenting forum and am currently debating on a forum about second language programs in public schools.  The forum is mostly Americans, and once again, I shake my head at the close mindedness of some of the people on the forums. 

I fail to comprehend how a Spanish/English immersion program (much like our French/English immersion programs in Canada) lead to illegal immigration.  But then, to some of them, it seems like me buying a banana leads to illegal immigration.

I fail to comprehend how a child being in an immersion program is un-American.  The number of languages spoken in the United States is huge.  So apparently all these people are un-American.

I fail to comprehend how schools not being 100% English are failing to teach the "national language."  Mostly because there is no official national language in the United States.  

I just don't get it. 

Here are my beliefs.

It is easier to learn a second language when you are little.  And for most kids, they're up to the challenge.  The kids that learn the second language when they are little (or as in the case of one of the girls in Hammad's class, a third language) have an easier time learning a third or a fourth or a fifth language as they get older, if they so choose.  Standardized testing (including the SATs in the US) have shown that kids who have been in immersion programs routinely score higher than their single-language peers.  

I'm not saying my kids are smarter than any other kids.  (Well, Hassaan, in certain subjects, yes I am.)  What i am saying is that my kids will have opportunities that uni-lingual people will not have when it comes time to apply for jobs.  Or to travel the world.  Their journey in French Immersion will allow them to more quickly pick up Spanish, Italian or maybe even Arabic.

Quite honestly, I'm an advocate of any immersion program.  I don't care if your kid is in a Mandarin, Arabic, Polish or Russian immersion program.  Spanish, German or Italian.  I just don't care.  I also don't care if your kid is not in an immersion program.  But don't bash me, my kids and their peers and parents because we choose to give our children these opportunities.  In no way am I saying that people that choose not to are bad parents.  They're not. They just made a different decision.  And immersion isn't for everyone.  If there are other education obstacles that you are over coming, I get that.  

But what I just do not understand is the narrow mindedness of many Americans and that immersion and second language programs are a bad thing.  Because they've already proven to be very, very good.

1 comment:

  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    I think they feel that anyone who is not American and doesn't speak English is beneath them so why learn their language.

    You are correct about opportunities. My daughter has as part of her job to speak French to people in Quebec. As well, she is studying Spanish and thinks its a breeze masha Allah.

    I think its just a matter of time before people realize that countries such as India and China are rising and that it would be a good idea to learn their languages. I still remember when everyone was trying to learn Japanese.