The Student News Site of Taipei American School




OPINION | We should learn—and teach—more culturally relevant languages


Taipei American School is an international school that teaches an American-based curriculum, but the school is not just for Americans. It has a variety of students that are of different nationalities, cultures, and races. It is important to teach students languages that will be practical for their diverse futures. TAS offers classes including English, Mandarin, and Spanish, some of the most widely spoken languages today. However, the TAS curriculum should also include other commonly used languages, which enable students to interact with people from different cultures as they make their way in the world.
Do not get me wrong. I know that TAS values multiculturalism and foreign language learning. The school requires students to take a second language at least until they reach the third proficiency year. This has been a great model, since it encourages students to expand their perspective and focus on either breadth or depth. The school provides instruction in Mandarin and Spanish, two most spoken language in the world. Students of Mandarin and Spanish will be able to communicate with about 1.3 billion people in total after leaving TAS.
However, learning other useful and popular languages would further enable students to communicate with and understand the culture of people from different nationalities. For example, according to Rocket Language, learning Hindi can be useful since this language is the sixth most spoken language in the world. According to the BBC, India currently has a population of over 1.3 billion, and is the second most populous country in the world, projected to surpass China as the most populous nation in 2025. India is also home to many highly-rated universities, such as the Indian Institute of Technology, that might be attended by TAS students in the future.
Also, according to the Parent Teacher Association, there are around 50 Koreans in the Upper School, which makes it important to teach Korean to students and maintain Koreans their  national identity in school. However, currently, the school does not have any Korean classes. Having Korean language class would enable not only native Koreans to hold their culture and identity in Taiwan: it gives students of other cultures a chance to learn more about Korea. In addition, Korean culture is gaining global popularity in the modern day. K-pop groups have been a huge part of Taiwanese and American culture, with artists like BTS gaining prominence on national charts. Teaching Korean could thus strengthen ties between modern-day idols and TAS students.
Since TAS is an international school that has students from different countries, it should offer classes in languages that are more commonly used globally, as this would better serve its students. There would be more diverse interactions, and the gap between students of different cultures would be smaller if the school taught more languages. Thus, TAS would become an even better environment for student body with diverse cultures.

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