Hardships of Teaching Biliteracy

by Kara Thompson ’20

Taking a language class is a requirement for both graduating high school and many colleges. From the time students are in 7th grade, it is highly encouraged that they take an intro level course of a language; most popular being Spanish and French. In MCPS, it is suggested that students take at least two years of said language while in high school, bringing the total years of exposure to the second language to four years. The hope is that through these classes, students will gain understanding of other cultures, as well as the ability to communicate with people in other countries. However, much of the information learned is not used and quickly forgotten by the students. 

MCPS’s curriculum makes it easy for students to earn high grades in these required classes without understanding the language in any functional way. So long as students can memorize conjugations and verbs for a short period of time, they should be able to pass the class with relative ease. Up until AP courses, there is very little learning done that would help students in real life. Very few students end up taking languages as far as AP, and so these years end up being a waste. Either commit to doing the study of language the right way, or get rid of the requirement altogether.