Princeton mulls foreign language course mandate
- Princeton University has proposed that all undergraduates take mandatory foreign language for at least one semester, regardless of fluency or past coursework, as a means to encourage cultural competency and marketability in a global economy.
- The proposal, which awaits passage from full administration and faculty bodies, would limit the ability for students to test out of language requires or to swap with advanced credits earned in high school; a practice that is common among most Ivy League schools that require foreign language at all.
- According to Inside Higher Ed, much of the research suggests that language education is better implemented in primary and secondary schools, and for cultural immersion to be delivered by higher education exposure.
There was a dramatic shift away from bilingualism in K-12 schools in the 1990s, and the students who were in primary and secondary schools then are now rising juniors and seniors in college with no great mandate for foreign language study, despite an increasing need for professionals in fields like foreign affairs and international business.
Now that secondary systems across the country are beginning to embrace the return of foreign language to classrooms, colleges and universities should consider the opportunities for teacher training in these areas, grant-making in supporting secondary language capacity building, and opportunities to encourage study abroad as add-on value to language and cultural immersion requirements.
- Inside Higher Ed More than words
- Education Dive Should all students receive bilingual education?
- Education Dive Language immersion programs increasingly popular in K-12