When it comes to foreign language education, Luxembourg stands out as the country that offers the most comprehensive language learning opportunities. This is due to the fact that Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. In fact, more than 20 countries in Europe require the study of two foreign languages before graduating. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, while the number of schools offering foreign language teaching is increasing, students are not becoming fluent in the target languages.
In Australia, the professional body for foreign language teachers is the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teacher Associations. In England, all schools run by local authorities must teach at least one foreign language to students between 7 and 14 years old. High school students may also learn a foreign language, and some elementary schools are beginning to offer foreign language classes. In Luxembourg, Norway, Italy, Malta and Spain, the first foreign language begins at the age of six; in Denmark at seven; and in Belgium at the age of 10. A resource and method have been designed to implement the ALL approach, equipping generalist elementary teachers to teach Esperanto as a first, fluid and intercultural foreign language.
In the United States, ten states and the District of Columbia have foreign language graduation requirements for high school students; 24 states have graduation requirements that can be met with foreign language classes or other non-language courses; and 16 states have no graduation guidelines regarding foreign language education. English is usually one of the languages being studied, and more than 90 percent of high school students learn it. Despite this high rate of teaching foreign languages in schools, the number of adults who claim to speak a foreign language is generally lower than expected. In Belgium, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia upper secondary school students learn at least two foreign languages. In Key Stage 2 (7 to 1 year old), these schools must teach a modern or old language; while in Key Stage 3 (11 to 1 year old) they must teach a modern language.
However, most states have less than 25% participation in foreign language education; only 9% of students study a foreign language in New Mexico, Arizona and Arkansas. Spanish is by far the most popular language studied in the US; however other languages such as Chinese and Latin are also examined. Foreign language immersion programs are becoming increasingly popular for elementary school children to start seriously developing a second language. In Australia German, French Italian and Mandarin Chinese are the most popular languages to learn. Foreign language education is an important part of any student's education. It provides them with an opportunity to learn about different cultures and gain valuable communication skills that can be used in their future careers.
While some countries have more comprehensive programs than others when it comes to teaching foreign languages in schools, there are still many opportunities available for those who wish to learn a new language. Whether it's through immersion programs or traditional classroom instruction, there are plenty of ways for students to gain proficiency in a new language.