December 11, 2006

The value of foreign languages

Why does Kevin Carey's dissing of foreign-language instruction seems remarkably like Richard Cohen's I hate math and am proud of it column, What is the value of algebra? Both reason from personal experience with the subject at hand. Would Carey accept Cohen's logic?  I doubt it.  But he's using the same construction (I took the subject, I didn't get much out of it, so we shouldn't worry too much about teaching it to everyone).

Moreover, I'm surprised that Carey ignores the fact that maybe we don't have great language instruction because we rely on a curriculum model that delays most language instruction until adolescence, after the age when children find it easiest to pick up on languages.

Hey, here's a crazy idea: Combine prekindergarten programs, where you commonly have two teachers in a class, with two-way bilingualism.  Maybe that's a simple way of introducing language instruction.  Nah... too obvious, too easy. 

Update: Kevin Carey rethinks and decides he's in favor of early language instruction. I still think it's too rigid to say Spanish Is It. For preschool programs, for example, why not use the languages in use in the community? Often that will be Spanish, but not always. But early is good. Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on December 11, 2006 7:55 AM |