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Much debate has taken place over when foreign language education should begin in American schools Currently the majority of foreign language programs are ineffective and poorly organized Programs would be most substantially improved if the instruction of foreign languages began in early elementary grades Teaching foreign languages to American students at the elementary level would be truly beneficial for several reasons Firstly if the study of a second language were to begin in elementary grades children would have more years to practice and learn the language It is ridiculous that teenagers are expected to speak a foreign language fluently after two to four years of high school language classes More time is needed to comprehend and absorb a language to the point where it can be spoken fluently Therefore it is necessary for foreign language education to begin much earlier than in high school Furthermore foreign language education would be much more effective if were taught at elementary grade levels because children are more likely to practice the language They are less likely to feel uncomfortable speaking in a foreign language Most children like having an extra ability and consider it a talent Young children are also very competitive Competitions over who has greater proficiency in a second language are likely to ensue in an elementary language class Young children are also more likely to participate in activities that help one to learn a language such as singing songs and engaging in hypothetical dialogue In contrast high school students have a much harder time learning a second language Only three percent of American high school graduates reach a meaningful proficiency in a second language Crawford 2 This astonishing statistic could be altered if foreign language education was mandated in all American elementary schools High school students are met with great difficulty when attempting to learn a second language because they are much less passionate they are not interested in learning another language after English has
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