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Want To Change How Kids See The World? Teach Them A Second Language

For children, bilingualsm is much more than simply being able to speak in a different language.

photo via (cc) flickr user CTG/SF

As a child in a dual-language elementary school, my teachers liked to explain that learning another language would enable me to meet more people, have conversations in new places, and generally be a better citizen of the world. And while my bilingual skills have gone woefully underused since my grade-school graduation, I am thankful for being exposed to a second language, if only for the fact that it’s given me an added “skills” line on my resume, and the ability to – every once in a while – randomly surprise some of the kiosk workers at my local mall. But, as it turns out, my learning a second language at a young age may, in fact, have affected me more profoundly than I, or anyone else for that matter, previously knew.

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Do All American Schools Need to Teach Chinese?

Given the growth of the Chinese economy, Sweden's considering adding Chinese classes to grade schools. Should we be doing the same?

Given the phenomenal growth of the Chinese economy, more American schools are adding Mandarin Chinese to their foreign language offerings. But no Western nation is taking Chinese language education more seriously than Sweden. Time reports that the Swedish education minister Jan Björklund recently announced plans to add Chinese to their nationwide grade school curriculum. According to Björklund, learning Chinese is going to "be much more important, from an economic perspective" than the traditionally offered European languages. Do American schools need to do the same to stay economically competitive?

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