Will you teach your children a foreign language at a young age?

The United States is further behind in teaching children foreign languages than many other countries. Most commonly, students will have the opportunity to start a foreign language in high school – maybe middle or elementary school if their district has enough resources. Other countries teach children either foreign languages or in a foreign language as young as their first years in elementary school.

My high school Spanish professor was having her first baby my senior year. I recall asking her if she was going to teach her child any Spanish – to give her daughter a head-start in the language world. She responded “no” because her husband did not know any Spanish.

I know a couple where the male majored in Russian and still actively practices. The girl studied Spanish but has also learned a few phrases in other languages. If they were to get married, should their children be enrolled in early language classes? And if so – what language?

Americans typically study another language for a few years and then forget about their foreign language experience. What would you do as an American parent – enroll your students in a language they might ever use outside of classes or wait until they are old enough to choose a language to study themselves? As a parent of another culture or country, what are your views on teaching children a second, third, or higher number of languages to communicate within?

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