The Bay Area. Or more specifically, Los Altos. Magnified a few times, Pinewood High School. We live in a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, and languages. It seems only logical that as students, we should be given every opportunity to discover and be educated on the languages of the people around us. So why is it that Pinewood only offers two languages, Spanish and French?
First off, numerous private schools around Pinewood offer a much wider spectrum of languages to choose from. Harker, located in Saratoga, offers Latin, Mandarin, and Japanese, on top of Spanish and French. Sacred Heart, situated in Atherton, offers both Mandarin and Latin, in addition to the staple Spanish and French. Archbishop Mitty, found in San Jose, offers Mandarin, Spanish and French.
“I think it’s definitely beneficial to have a wider range of languages, because it gives you more opportunities to learn about different cultures,” freshman Nicole Blakes said. Blakes is currently taking Spanish 1 at Mitty High School. It’s definitely not surprising that Mandarin is a repeating language in all of these schools.
According to the American Community Survey of 2009, Chinese is the third most spoken language in America, falling behind English and Spanish.
A few of the language teachers at Pinewood already speak more than two languages, leaving the possibility for more options. Michael Tetzlaff, a native of Germany, speaks fluent German. He is currently teaching French One and AP French.
“Yes, I absolutely think Pinewood should offer more languages in the curriculum…I would be open to teaching German, it is just the problem if students are interested,” Tetzlaff said. However, adding an extra language to the foreign language curriculum will likely be a compromise, as adding this additional language could take students away from the already meager number taking French. There have been talks about adding Japanese to the curriculum, but with such a small school, it’s unrealistic to add another language to the program that isn’t an elective.
As students in high school, thoughts of college never stray far. Being multilingual is an excellent supplement to a college resume, and the more, the better. It’s unfair that we are put to a distinct disadvantage to other schools because of the lack of language choices.
“I think Pinewood should offer more foreign languages because it’s useful in an ever-expanding world,” freshman Vikram Bharati said. Being fluent in multiple languages would definitely be handy in countless situations, whether it be traveling or eating at a restaurant.
I remember when I was faced with the decision between the two languages, I was a bit disappointed. If I’m being completely honest, neither of the languages interested me, as I had absolutely no connection to either of them. If I could choose any language to learn and study, I would most definitely want Korean. Although I’m doubtful of Korean becoming a language option here at Pinewood anytime soon, I think it would be amazing to have even just one addition to our inadequate two languages. Having a wide spectrum of languages to choose from would be a huge benefit, for both Pinewood and the students.
“The more languages you know, the better off and more human you are!” Tetzlaff said.