Throughout my years in foreign language education, I’ve had the privilege of teaching many types of students, some more eager to learn the Spanish language than others. Because two years of foreign language is required in some programs in order to graduate from high school, I understand that I will come across many students who are only taking Spanish simply because they have to fulfill a requirement. For these students, Spanish class is an obligation and nothing more -- and that’s okay. However, I want to address and encourage the students who are enrolled in Spanish courses and who are eager to learn, not only because it’s a requirement, but because they are truly interested in communicating in another language.
Here are some important reasons why students want to learn Spanish:
Know your neighbors!
If you live in the US, you’re probably (at least somewhat) accustomed to hearing Spanish being spoken around you. Whether you’re at your local grocery store or a highly populated sporting event, Spanish is everywhere. According to a 2009 survey by the US Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 35.5 million people aged 5 or older. With Spanish being the world’s 3rd most spoken language, after Mandarin Chinese and only slightly behind English, you’re bound to hear it--and want to understand and speak it, too!
Here are a few interesting statistics found on www.learnspanishguide.com:
- At the end of the 19th century, 60 million people spoke Spanish. Today, nearly 500 million people across the world speak Spanish!
- In both the US and Canada, Spanish is the most popular foreign language to learn. In the US, it is the most popular by a very wide margin.
- Students with 2 years of studying a foreign language generally score higher on their verbal scores on the ACT/SAT.
- Over the past decade, the demand for Spanish Language courses worldwide has almost doubled.
- The Hispanic population in the United States has grown by 60% in just one decade. At present, there are 35.5 million Hispanics, representing 12.5% of the total population. Hispanics are now the first minority.
- The United States has the fifth largest Hispanic population worldwide (trailing Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina – just barely behind Spain itself and Argentina). Of this group of over 35 million people, 3 out of 4 say that Spanish is their primary language.
- In the New York City area, the newscasts on the Spanish-language Noticias 41 and Noticiero Univision, often have higher ratings than news shows on CBS, NBC and ABC.
Sterling Academy offers two years of middle school Spanish and three years of high school Spanish classes online.