A recent study by the American Councils for International Education has found that only 20 percent of American K-12 students are enrolled in foreign language courses.
Infographic Source: Education Week
That’s only one in five students learning a second language. Overwhelmingly, that 20 percent is learning Spanish and only 2.13 percent of them are learning Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most commonly spoken language, yet few students are learning it. This can put American students at a huge disadvantage in international fields or fields that require a high degree of interaction with others.
Bilingual skills are desperately needed in today’s job market. A report by New American Economy found that “demand for bilingual workers in the United States” has more than doubled in the last five years. The largest need was for Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic speakers. Some states needed higher amounts of bilingual workers than others, such as California, which accounted for 19.4 percent of all job ads in the United States seeking bilingual workers.
Fairmont Students Learn Spanish and Mandarin
At Fairmont, students are already ahead of the game. Starting in pre-kindergarten, Fairmont students begin taking Spanish classes once a week. Fairmont students continue taking fundamental Spanish classes through their elementary school years before partaking in more intensive studies in their junior high Spanish classes. By introducing students to foreign language in early childhood classes, Fairmont better prepares them for the later rigors of language learning, and teaches them at a time when they’re most susceptible to learning languages. Learning a new language in pre-kindergarten also benefits other areas of early childhood education, such as improvements to memory and attention span.
In high school, students at Fairmont Preparatory Academy continue to advance in Spanish courses or add another language to their belt, Mandarin. These challenging courses include IB and AP courses, allowing students to gain college credit if receiving passing scores.
It’s also important for students to continue practicing their language skills outside of the classroom. We encourage our parents to help their kids practice and improve their second language skills. For tips on teaching your child a second language from home, see our blog post on the subject!
With the expansion of the internet and quicker travel, the world is becoming smaller, making world language skills more important every year. Fairmont students are prepared for these challenges by being immersed in a second language from early childhood on. Your child can be prepared, too, with the premier and advanced education Fairmont provides. To learn more, schedule a tour with one of our admissions directors by filling out the form below or call (714) 234-2771.