Sterling High School in recent years has cut the German and French classes — due to the retirement of Cheryl DeWerff — and a sign language class — due to a career change by former teacher Melissa Feil — but has kept the Spanish class. This is not to say that students don’t benefit from Spanish this is to say that other options would be beneficial to students.
According to FluentU, learning a second language can improve problem-solving, multitasking, and decision making skills, along with competitiveness in the job market, open up new career opportunities, gives the linguist a new perspective and being bilingual can also slow the effects of old age.
Taking two years of foreign language is also a requirement to be a Kansas Scholar and in turn essential to becoming a valedictorian at Sterling High School.
With all of these benefits that come from being bilingual, it’s no wonder why almost one-third of the high school decided to take Spanish this year. Spanish teacher Cindy Anthony teaches all of these students within three hours. These numbers along with such a small classroom can make for a hectic class time, and although Anthony does the best she can with what she has, there could be benefits in offering other foreign language classes.
For example, some students simply aren’t interested in learning Spanish, but would love to learn German because it’s part of their heritage. According to FluentU, 15% of Americans are German descendants making it the largest heritage group in the nation.
German isn’t the only language that could benefit students. French has a great difficulty-to-benefit ratio.
German and French are not the only languages with benefits though. Learning American Sign Language (ASL) also has its advantages. According to Speech Buddy, learning sign language can help improve spelling skills, classroom behaviors, and small motor skills, along with building a better vocabulary and overall communication skills.
As you can see there are many benefits to learning all sorts of different languages, which is why Sterling High School would find it advantageous to add more foreign language classes to the school day.
— For The Editorial Board