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The true failure of foreign language instruction

Ultima actualizare: 11 Aug 2017
The Conversation, 2 août 2017

Far fewer Americans speak a second language than in most other developed countries – and the problem starts in the classroom.

A recent report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences calls for more attention to language teaching in the U.S. The report notes that U.S. students have much less access to foreign language instruction than students in other economically developed countries, and that Americans are thus much less likely to be bi- or multilingual.
As an expert on language and literacy development in children, I’ve talked to many immigrant parents who expect their children to grow up bilingual, only to be surprised that they end up as monolingual English speakers. Meanwhile, foreign language learning opportunities for English speakers are limited. Why is the U.S. so bad at producing bilinguals?
The majority of Americans only speak English