Expanding students’ language options


Ned Riddle, Staff Writer

Imagine this. You are stranded in an airport, and you are about to have a potty emergency. But wait, you’re in Beijing Capital international airport, and you only speak English! This needs to change.

The average high school in America is known for teaching three languages: Spanish, French, and German. But high schools are finally starting to branch out into other languages, particularly the most spoken languages like Mandarin and Arabic, and Poway should start to branch out too.

 Roughly 313 million people speak Arabic, and a whopping 1.17 billion people speak mandarin.  

First and foremost, learning a new language unlocks new opportunities for students to communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds. In today’s increasingly globalized world, the ability to be multilingual is evolving into a more and more valuable opportunity, both personally and professionally. 

Along with that, learning a new language brings new benefits to one’s native language, increasing perspective and skill within both languages at the same time.

According to yougov.com, roughly 75% of Americans do not speak a second language to the point of fluency, which shows an unfortunate lack of enthusiasm behind languages in the majority of American high school curriculum.

With all this, it’s important to note that Poway does a lot within their language programs. We have a fairly expansive Spanish, German, and French program that has benefited students for a long time, there’s no denying that. 

And it’s also worth noting that adding a new language to the curriculum is a hefty task that requires not only someone to teach it, but also a classroom for the class to occupy, and a campaign to spread awareness about the new class, etc.

However, two of the world’s largest languages, Mandarin and Arabic respectively, are taught in other high schools across the nation. 

For example, Del Norte High and Westview High both teach AP Chinese Language. This could be great at Poway too.

Mandarin Chinese and Arabic are incredibly widely spoken, and although they are typically more difficult than the Romance languages like Spanish, French, etc., it’s far from impossible and is incredibly beneficial for languages like Mandarin and Arabic among others to be included in the curriculum.

These languages could open up incredible opportunities for Poway students at home and abroad for the rest of their lives.