Fluency in a Foreign Language Essay Thesis: Fluency in a foreign language should be required for all students before graduation from high school. Introduction: In a world of advancing technology and higher education, it is imperative that students take the time to develop unique talents and skills in order to gain a competitive edge over the average individual. I. Fluency in a foreign language builds character. A. The time and commitment required from students to learn an entire new alphabet and vocabulary builds diligence. B. The achievement realized by students as they begin to understand and converse in a second language produces confidence. II. Fluency in a foreign language builds life skills. A. The ability to converse fluently in another language with an entirely new realm of people builds communication skills. B. The readiness to alternate between languages with family and friends builds flexibility skills. III. Fluency in a foreign language creates unique opportunities. A. Fluency in a foreign language gives unique traveling opportunities. B. Fluency in a foreign language creates unique job opportunities Fluency in A Foreign Language Should Be Required For All Students Before Graduation From High School In a world of advancing technology and higher education, it is crucial that students take time to develop unique talents and skills which will give them a competitive edge over the average individual. Though many doubt the ability of fluency in a foreign language to advance students in society, businesses, educational systems, governmental offices, and health care departments are all eager to hire students with skills in foreign languages. As globalization becomes more prevalent, foreign language skills are quickly becoming a vital factor in preparation for the future. Fluency in a foreign language should be required for all students before graduation from high school. First of all, fluency in a foreign language builds character. The time and commitment required from students to learn an entire new alphabet and vocabulary builds diligence. According to Walter Pauk, a prominent professor of education at Cornell University, developing an open mind to new phrases and grammar structures along with finding the time required to practice them are two difficulties commonly encountered when studying a foreign language (Pauk 2). Young mindsets are impressionable, and habits are installed early on as students begin to discover and incorporate grammatical structures particular to their mother tongues. In order to break these habits, students in foreign language study must constantly open their minds to accept new rules that are introduced. While relearning and sounding out basic vowels, students must also adjust to sentence patterns that have been completely inverted. Students learn to work efficiently with limited time allowances available between their busy schedules of daily life, striving to move beyond formerly learned language habits. Distractions are pushed aside as students repeat new sentence patterns, rewrite new alphabets, and reread literature that seems to make no sense. The Department of Education from the University of Pennsylvania reports, â€œThe nature of language immersion teaches students how to stick to difficult tasks. This diligence translates to better performance on exams, because students will be more likely to persist on challenging problemsâ€ (in White 2). Regardless of how difficult a task appears to be, students who have mastered another language view the situation simply as one giant project to be conquered bit by bit. Constant and sincere effort spent learning a foreign language produces a firm determination in students to persevere and achieve their set goals. While the important character trait of diligence is being formed through foreign language study, the achievement realized by students as they begin to understand and converse in a second language is also producing a separate character trait of confidence. Introductory lessons in a foreign language start out as seemingly impossible to master, yet in due time begin to make sense. Excitement escalates as the brain starts functioning in another language and continues beyond the first few lessons alone. Dincay, a professor at Istanbul Arel University, notes, â€œthe feeling of accomplishment that comes with [studentsâ€™] first steps toward a second language can spur them on to a deeper and broader passion for learning in generalâ€ (Dincay 1). Students who reach an expertise level in foreign language carry that same capability acquired first through language studies over into other realms of life, producing competent results beyond areas concerning language alone. In her article, â€œBenefits of Being Bilingual,â€ Marcos writes, â€œStudies suggest that persons with full proficiency in more than one language (bilinguals) outperform similar monolingual persons on both verbal and nonverbal tests of intelligenceâ€ (Marcos 1). Proficiency in a foreign language develops a needed sense of accomplishment in students, enabling them to move on and conquer other tasks and responsibilities with rare poise and fortitude. They realize that unlike monolinguals, their lives are not confined to one culture alone, but can easily extend to impact an incredible realm of people throughout their lives. Fluency in a foreign language builds character traits such as diligence and confidence, both needed in daily life yet hard to produce. Secondly, fluency in a foreign language builds life skills. The ability to converse fluently in another language with an entirely new realm of people builds communication skills. Students unfamiliar with another countryâ€™s language will find it more difficult to understand and accept the specific guidelines associated with the language; however, as Ting-Toomey, professor of Human Communication studies at California State University, writes in her book, â€œTo the native speakers, the rules of their language make perfect sense and are naturally more logical than those of any other languagesâ€ (Ting-Toomey 86). Fluency in a foreign language carries students far past the simple phrases of â€œHello,â€ â€œHow are you,â€ and â€œI love you,â€ and allows them, like the natives, to converse comfortably through a completely foreign vocabulary and grammatical set-up. Once students comprehend and begin to intelligently utilize a foreign language, they are able to understand and relate to the society and culture in a way that many never will. Ted Ward, Dean of International Studies and Missions for a time at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, writes in his book that â€œa highly competent level of [foreign] language skill allows [students] to conceive ideas and communicate them in a way that is synchronous with those of the people of the host cultureâ€ (Ward 154). Whereas monolinguals are often confined to the society of others who speak their language, students fluent in a foreign tongue are free to get involved in a second world. Benefits produced from the time and effort spent in mastering another language include filling out visa forms, reading public newspapers, and ordering from local restaurant menus with ease. Teaching, debating, and participating in discussions with words and phrases making the most sense to native speakers are yet other privileges opened up to students with foreign language skills. Along with better communication, the readiness to alternate between languages with family and friends builds flexibility skills. Bhattacharjee, author of the article â€œWhy Bilinguals Are Smarter,â€ states, â€œIn a bilingualâ€™s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the otherâ€ (Bhattacharjee 1). Students must constantly determine which language their listeners will understand and recall the correct words and grammatical format to use with that particular language. Though it might seem terribly overwhelming at first, Bhattacharjee concludes that â€œthis interference . . . isnâ€™t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise [,] . . . [forcing] the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive musclesâ€ (Bhattacharjee 1-2). Students fluent in a foreign language respond immediately to one picture, sentence, or idea with two answers from two different languages. Sometimes one particular language carries a better explanation or definition than another, and for the student fluent in a second language, the opportunity is open to decide which language better suits certain situations. Definitions go beyond one explanation alone, and society life is extended to two worlds rather than one. Students can be taught, or teach others from two vastly different spheres of humanity and not be overwhelmed. Third and finally, fluency in a foreign language creates unique opportunities. Fluency in a foreign language gives unique traveling opportunities. While discussing various advantages given to foreign language students, Dincay shares that although thousands of people gain from their travels across the globe each and every year, it is the bilingual students, particularly, which receive the much broader traveling experience. While everyday tourists remain simply outsiders peering through a glass into another countryâ€™s unique culture, those familiar with and fluent in the native tongue are able to step beyond that glass barrier and enjoy their visits with full easy and liberty (Dincay 2). Whether visiting historical landmarks, using public transportation systems, or shopping in local markets, students fluent in the foreign language of the country are not restricted to taking pictures, relying on othersâ€™ directions, or following suggested prices. They may raise questions over history, follow posted transportation signs, and bargain for better values. Fluency in a foreign tongue gives traveling students an opportunity to stand out with something special that most tourists cannot claim. In his book Why Johnny Should Learn Foreign Languages, Huebener states, â€œThe American businessman who can speak the foreign tongue fluently and who can make intelligent comments on the art and literature of the country will gain not only the business but also the respect of the person he is dealing withâ€ (Huebener 46). Tremendous time and energy are required to reach fluency in a language, and communicate incredible care and consideration to the countryâ€™s citizens as the student is seeking to enter their world and communicate with them on a much more intimate level than sign language alone. Many societies take great pride in their native language and culture and when another individual has developed a firm knowledge and understanding of it, the natives, in turn, form a strong appreciation and respect for these students that many outsiders have not taken the time to earn. Fluency in a foreign language does not only create unique traveling opportunities, but also gives unique job opportunities. As the world advances in higher education and technology, men across the globe are seeking to make resources available to all. As one director in the Center for Applied Linguistics shares, â€œThe need for individuals who can speak and understand languages other than English is acute . . . from business and social services to national security and diplomacyâ€ (Malone et al. 1). A stronger focus on internationalism is emerging, making interaction with people from different linguistic backgrounds inevitable. Washington State University advertises a brochure that considers careers such as â€œgovernment, business, law, medicine and health care, teaching, technology, the military, communications, industry, social service, and marketingâ€ to be promising fields for students fluent in a second language, namely because â€œan employer [sees them] as a bridge to new clients or customersâ€ (â€œKnowing Other Languages Brings Opportunitiesâ€ 2). Students fluent in a foreign language can easily connect businesses with customers from a wide array of linguistic backgrounds and handle international business without hiring outsiders to translate. Proficiency in a second language is a skill envied and sought after by several employers as they seek to hire a staff to serve and elevate their organization to its maximal potential. Fluency in a foreign language should be required for all students before graduation from high school. The advantages produced from foreign language fluency are incredible and the opportunities limitless. Students are set up for successful futures in modern society as they leave high school and transition into the career world as young adults, able to communicate freely and work confidently in global communities around the world. The foundation laid is vital for young people going out to begin their adult lives in todayâ€™s world. Bibliography Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit. Why Bilinguals Are Smarter. The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. Budig, Gene A. Foreign Language Study Vital to U.S. Students. Lawrence Journal World (8 May 2010): SR12. LJWorld.com. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Dincay, Turgay. Advantages of Learning a Foreign Language at an Early Age. Todays Zaman. Todays Zaman, 25 Nov. 2011. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Hawkins, Eric W. â€œForeign Language Study and Language Awareness.â€ 1999: 124-42. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. Huebener, Theodore. Why Johnny Should Learn Foreign Languages. Philadelphia: Chilton Company, 1961. Print. â€œKnowing Other Languages Brings Opportunities.â€ New York: Washington State University, n.d. Foreign Languages and Cultures. Washington States University. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. Malone, Margaret E., et al. Attaining High Levels of Proficiency: Challenges for Foreign Language Education in the United States. CAL.org. Center For Applied Linguistics, 2005. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. Marcos, Kathleen M. Benefits of Being Bilingual. CAL.org. Center For Applied Linguistics, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2012. Pauk, Walter. Studying Foreign Languages. UWEC.edu. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 13 Jan. 2012. Web. 7 Oct. 2012. Ting-Toomey, Stella. Communicating Across Cultures. New York: Guilford, 1999. Questia. Questia. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. Ward, Ted W. Living Overseas: A Book of Preparations. New York: Free Press, 1984. Print. White, Mercedes. Language Immersion Classrooms: Programs Are Popular, Diligence Translates to Performance. Deseret News. Deseret News.com, 29 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Nov. 2012.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.