It wasn’t long ago that I read an interesting editorial in the New York Times touting the necessity and practicality of learning Spanish. In fact, it was only late December 2010 that this wonderful column was penned and shared by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicolas Kristof. I encourage you to take a quick read.
Kristof’s points are all ones I speak about often in my blog, on my web site and during my keynotes and trainings. The population of the U.S. currently includes more than 48 million people who speak Spanish as their native language. (see link for stats) For day-to-day application, for learning a language that is more easily applied to others and for easier acquisition than most other world languages – SPANISH is the clear choice!
Funny, the total opposite side of this coin is YOUR CHILD MUST LEARN MANDARIN (a dialect of the Chinese language). There is an ever-increasing request for Mandarin classes for young children, products that will introduce Mandarin to little tots, and even school programs that include Mandarin in a dual-immersion setting. Spanish still remains the most requested language program in the United States based on the points Kristof points out and most of experience daily.
Early last month this controversial essay was published in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chua. Although it speaks to the subject of ‘Western’ parenting styles compared to Chinese parenting styles, it leads me to contemplate once again which language should our United States’ students be learning as their 2nd language (knowing that a 3rd can also be learned if parents choose).
Is Mandarin truly going to be the language of the future for the majority of our U.S. children? Or will it simply assist those who choose a career which involves dealing with China and/or Chinese people? Knowing that it takes 4 times more hours and effort to learn Mandarin and its complexities when compared to Spanish (a romance language which easily segues to other romance languages) I have many people tell me the choice is an easy one!
What do you think? I won’t even ask about your opinion on the Western vs. Eastern parenting essay….that is a personal gut feeling that most of us hold dear to our heart, our soul, our faith, our mind, and I would never ask you to share your feelings on that subject.
My question is simple – Someone walks into the PTA meeting or homeschool co-op meeting and gives you the choice to teach your young child (free of charge for 5 years) Mandarin or Spanish – which would you choose for your child?
Happy Educating! ¡Sea feliz educando!