Folium: 6 Multilingual Benefits via HuffPost


Folium: 6 Multilingual Benefits via HuffPost
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Folium: 6 Multilingual Benefits via HuffPost

I have been a foreign language teacher for 15 years and the complaint that many of my middle and high school students have is “Why do we have to take this class?” I always share with them that taking a foreign language can help you with your other classes and how the language can help them in the job market.

This article stressed six benefits that you get if you speak another language. One of the surprising facts that I discovered in the article is that half the population of the world speaks more than one language to communicate every day. The article takes six firsthand accounts on why being bilingual gives you daily benefits.

When the song “Lady Marmalade” from the movie Moulin Rouge came out, my students were proud to know what the lyrics to the chorus meant. I’ll never forget that year going to Paris that Spring and having one my 9th grade boys asking every young girl that he met, “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” He knew what it meant but he enjoyed the reaction that he received.

Another of the benefit s of learning French in northern New York is that many of our students get retail and fast food jobs. The Canadian border is less than ten miles from our school and many use the French that they learned in my class to converse with French speaking shoppers.

We live in a global world and I teach my students the importance of learning about different people through understanding their culture. This can help students when they go to college and meet a melting pot of different people and cultures. Our school is not culturally diverse and many of my students have prejudices toward different minority groups that they learn from their family, friends and the media. Students in my French or Spanish class continually hear stories from my life and I model cultural sensitivity. I want my students to respect others as we see a shift towards a more diverse population emerge in our area.

I had a student come up to me and ask me to teach them more French so that she could understand what their Canadian French grandmother was saying. This student wanted to talk with her relative but she also wanted to make her grandmother proud by being able to speak French. Learning a language can also help you find out where you came from. Genealogy records in a foreign language can now be read easily and you can feel connected to your heritage.

My students who play hockey tell me how much they enjoy being able to speak when they go to Canada for a game or tournament. They tell me how the players on the other team appreciate that my students speak to them in French. They tell me stories about how they were able to speak to the hotel desk clerk or help their parents find the correct route when they are lost on the road in Quebec. Learning languages makes you more comfortable traveling to foreign countries where you can learn to appreciate other cultures and enjoy life like never before with a trip abroad.

David DeRushia
LEAF Contributor


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