Learn To Speak Spanish: Why Bilingual is Best
Learn how to speak Spanish, it'll give you the edge in your employment and the ability to step it up a notch when you submit your resume for that new job. The need for Spanish speaking employees in government jobs, as well as the private sector is on the rise, therefore, you will be overlooked for that promotion at some point in the future if you do not make the effort to learn Spanish now.
For some time, the ability to speak Spanish has also been recognized as a useful political tool. This is made even more obvious in places such as Florida, where the state is heavily populated with Hispanics. It has even been said that not being able to speak fluent Spanish would be a sure way to lose a political race in such a climate (Cardenas, 2005). During one attempt to promote awareness of bilingualism in politics by the Republican Party, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez delivered a speech to the Senate in Spanish. The Hispanic population has been traditionally in favor of the Democrats; therefore, any effort to sway such interest needs to be in the voter's native tongue. It is a naive politician who ridicules bilingualism in politics. Newt Gingrich openly opposed bilingualism and dismissed the idea of printing voting documents in other languages. Perhaps Gingrich's (2007) reference to bilingualism as "the language of living in a ghetto" ultimately determined his role in 'certain' elections (para.1).
Bilingual teaching programs have proven to be effective. Realistically, it is not possible for a fluently bilingual student to be disadvantaged. It was reported that "students in developmental bilingual programs - which featured a gradual transition to English - significantly outperformed their counterparts in quick-exit, transitional bilingual programs and in all-English immersion programs when all three groups were tested in English" (Ramirez et al., 1991, para. 7). It has been shown that English itself can be detrimental to learning for students who speak other languages. This is because English is a subject of the curriculum as well as a means of communication (Brice, Shaunessy, Hughes, McHatten, & Ratcliff, 2008). Students who are able to transition with ease between two languages were found to have an academic edge over students who are part of an English Language Learning (ELL) program (Brice et al., 2008).
Learning to speak Spanish is not just for fun anymore, or if you plan to travel. In U.S. society today, it is becoming a necessity. Whatever your job capacity is, there will come a time where you will likely be demoted or laid off if you are not bi-lingual. Being able to speak Spanish can also give you an excellent reason to request a raise in salary. Why not grab a book, search the net, or ask a Spanish speaking local for some lessons? Spanish is not a complicated language, and it is surprising how fluent you can become with just a little effort.
Associated Press. (2007, March). Gingrich links bilingual education and 'ghetto'. Republican former House speaker mocks printing ballots in other languages. Retrieved November 2008, from MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17889756/
Brice, A., Shaunessy, E., Hughes, C., McHatton, P., & Ratliff, M. (2008, Fall2008). What Language Discourse Tells Us About Bilingual Adolescents: A Study of Students in Gifted Programs and Students in General Education Programs. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32(1), 7-33. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from EBSCOhost database.
Corral, O. (2005, February). Bilingual Politicians Gaining Clout. U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez's use of Spanish in the Senate highlights a growing trend among Florida politicians. Retrieved November 208, from Puerto Rico Herald: http://puertoricoherald.org/issues2/2005/vol09n21/BilingPolit.html
National Association for Bilingual Education. (n.d.). Does Bilingual Education Really Work? . Retrieved November 2008, from National Association for Bilingual Education: http://www.nabe.org/education/effective.html