Tuesday, February 15, 2011

F5 and the Second Language

First thing, a bad idea for you future bloggers: a great way to artificialize you site hits is to sleep on your F5 button. This refreshes your site, which registers as a hit. As a disclaimer, I must say that I do NOT do that. I did inflate my numbers by ten by frustratedly holding the refresh button down. Neither do I want my few followers to follow this accident in the precedent of an “accident”. Note the quotes.

As for a subject of worthless chatter today, I wish to break a largish hole in the American educational system. As I prime my set of satires for this topic, I realize that, beyond the administration (which is so far gone already), my school, at least, does pretty well with the academics. Every subject is pretty much up to par… except for the foreign languages.
On coming to high school, my first major setback was that I was to spend my entire high school in a second language class. My first response to this was, “I need to take HOW MANY YEARS of Spanish!?” Since then, I’ve settled into the monotony of four long years of verb tenses and an angry, jittery lady as a teacher (I love you Ms. Oldknow).
Now, about halfway through my Sophomore year, I began to understand that, beyond the first year one learns of Spanish, the rest is just vocabulary and verb tenses nobody ever uses. I have never heard anyone use the subjunctive present tense. I’ve never found any need to use the future tense. Through hand gestures, I keep conversations in Spanish with my eighty-five-year-old grandmother strictly in the present tense, using hand gestures, or “it is finished”, “no now, yesterday”, and “tomorrow” excessively to get the point across that I mean to speak in the past and future tenses. I have used this on anyone who speaks Spanish fluently, and I’ve found it successful.
This led me to believe that there are two types of second language learning. My father calls it “Conversational Spanish” and “Academic Spanish”. In Europe, where I can count off at least four languages spoken in any given home, secondary language is taught as a second language. You learn enough to say hello to the American English-speaker, and you are fine. When you want to go to America for a year, you go to a more intensive school, where you are drilled to learn more of the language.
In America, the opposite hold true. The intensive second language is taught first, for four years that nobody can recall after graduating, and then you need no further language. Now, I understand we are America, and should demand the absolute pinnacle of education, but honestly, four years of a single period being wasted on something else I could sleep through sounds like a pitiful waste of resources.
Then there are the teachers. Everywhere I go, the secondary language teacher always speaks strangely, is too happy, angry, sleepy, evil, worthless, or any combination of the six aforementioned adjectives. I have yet to meet a Spanish teacher without any noticeable quirks. This same holds true for History, Mathematics, Physics, and English teachers. Something about Spanish, though, brings out the worst in a teacher.
So, America needs to take a good hard look at its second language curriculum. Cut the Spanish teachers and have them drill basic Spanish for the freshman, and maybe even the sophomores. But enough of this false four year empty air. If I want to learn Spanish, I’ll buy a book and READ IT.
Comment Below! Or, if my viewership consists of me fooling myself by spamming the F5 button, then I should find other people to spread word about this. On a related note, tell your friends about my blog! If you have no friends, then you can be mine. Tell me about my blog below!

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