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Other countries’ approaches to language learning

March 13, 2013

From Education Week

Foreign Language Policies Around the World
By Anthony Jackson on March 2, 2013 6:28 AM

On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, we have been looking at the importance of languages in schools. Today, Heather Singmaster, senior program associate, Asia Society, looks at how other countries are examining their language policies as part of workforce development strategies.

By Heather Singmaster

It is no secret that Americans lag behind in learning foreign languages despite urgent calls from the business and national security sectors. Yet it is barely a part of our policy discussion here—much to our detriment.

In other countries, this conversation is not only happening, it is a prominent part of the national discourse. Why? They see foreign language as key to economic development, even if their first language is English. They don’t feel they can rely on their native tongue alone—nor should we.

Please read more here.

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