Foreign language classes lack diversity

Madison Ritz, Blue M Student Life Editor

At Manhattan High, we have our standard three foreign language classes: German, French and Spanish. 

I discovered that those three are the only ones available when I was looking for classes to take for my senior year, and it made me wonder if there are more languages that could be added. 

More foreign language classes would be beneficial because in the United States, it looks good on your applications and resumes for jobs to be bilingual or able to speak more than a few languages. While Spanish is the most common language besides english, there are over 6,000 different languages spoken in the world. MHS only offers  three of those. We need more diversity when it comes to the language department.

Think about all the different languages that are common when it comes to being in the United States. We have a diverse country filled with so many different languages. We could be teaching Japanese, Chinese, Russian or even Portugese classes.

According to the World Population Review, “87.51% of Manhattan residents speak only English, while 12.49% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.16% of the population.”

MHS doesn’t offer other classes, like the ones offered by colleges around Manhattan and other high schools around the area. especially with such enormous diversity in our school, wouldn’t students want to learn more than the typical three?

If a student from Manhattan High wanted to learn a language besides Spanish, German or French, they’d have to take an extra course outside of the high school in order to learn it. For example, some students end up taking extra foreign languages outside of high school at another college that offers it. It’s important to education to have a wide variety of classes being taught. But MHS only has three. If a student who isn’t financially able wants to learn a different language besides the three we offer at MHS, then they have a disadvantage and aren’t able to.

Some other students are learning different languages through apps like Duolingo, but apps are not as productive for learning as an actual language teacher would be. Learning a language is more beneficial to students when they have a hands-on learning experience. They also take tests and do projects. With an app or learning online, you don’t get those hands-on activities like other students do. 

According to “Business Insider,” Vietnamese is the third most-spoken language in Kansas after English and Spanish. So when looking for more languages we could possibly offer at MHS, that would be a good option instead of the common Spanish classes everyone takes.

We really don’t need more teachers teaching the same subject, when we could have more diversity in languages to spread out the students in the different languages being taught. It would also give students looking for classes for their upcoming year a chance to take different languages than the standard three that are being taught.