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The Transatlantic Divide In Language Learning [Infographic]

Forbes – Niall McCarthy

“Learning a foreign language comes with many benefits, whether it’s the ability to converse with people during a vacation abroad or making a jobseeker more marketable to potential employers. While language-learning is commonplace across Europe, the situation is completely different in the United States. Many European countries have national-level mandates for studying languages at school but these standards don’t exist on the other side of the Atlantic. In most cases, any formal requirements only exist at school district or state-level. That glaring disparity certainly shows when it comes to the share of primary and secondary level students studying languages in the U.S. and Europe.” (more)

Only 20% of US kids study a language in school—compared to 92% in Europe

Quartz – Ephrat Livni

“Still, learning a foreign language is important for reasons that go beyond our practical obligations to communicate with people in another tongue. It’s a window on to a new worldview, a way to understand how our fellow humans think—multilingualism even shifts perceptions of time. American kids who don’t pick up another language may still easily find work in a globalized economy dominated by English. But they will be missing out on developing critical cultural intelligence—like learning how to relate to and communicate with strangers.” (more)

Successful promotion of giftedness as early as elementary school age

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Associations such as the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) have argued that the specific needs of gifted children are often neglected, resulting in a shriveling of their abilities and potential. Consequently, they call for the implementation of programs that specifically aim to promote gifted children. Together with colleagues at the German Institute of International Educational Research (DIPF), scientists at the Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology at the University of Tübingen have examined how giftedness can be fostered as early as in elementary school.” (more)

European royals turning their hand to Mandarin

China Daily – Fu Jing

“The Dutch people have applauded the announcement that Princess Catharina-Amalia, the 13-year-old heir to King Willem-Alexander’s throne, is to learn Chinese when the new semester starts in The Hague. Some have dubbed it the royal family’s “smartest investment”, pointing out the enhanced bilateral relations between China and the Netherlands. Such a move has already been made by the Belgian monarchy. Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, was born in 2001, the first child of King Philippe. She studies Mandarin in a Dutch-speaking school in Brussels. The Duchess of Brabant title is reserved for the heir apparent, and she is likely to become a queen who can speak Chinese as long as she can endure the difficulties of learning a language harder than her mother tongue.”(more)

U.S. Losing Its Grip On Elite Higher Education, Rankings Show

Forbes – Nick Morrison

“New university rankings published today show that the U.S. is losing its grip on the global elite higher education market. While the U.S. still retains the top spot, in the form of California Institute of Technology, it now has fewer universities in both the top 10 and the top 100. And the seemingly unstoppable rise of China and the Far East appears to have come to a halt – at least temporarily…And instead it is Europe, a continent wracked by internal strife and seemingly a busted flush, that appears to be undergoing something of a resurgence. The rankings are based on 13 performance indicators, covering teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. And they make sobering reading for nations that had taken their traditional dominance for granted.”(more)

Learning a foreign language a ‘must’ in Europe, not so in America

The Pew Research Center – Kat Devlin

“A popular stereotype of Americans traveling abroad is the tourist who is at a loss when it comes to coping with any language other than English. Fair or not, the fact is that while the U.S. does not have a national requirement for students to learn a foreign language in school, the typical European pupil must study multiple languages in the classroom before becoming a teen. Studying a second foreign language for at least one year is compulsory in more than 20 European countries. In most European countries, students begin studying their first foreign language as a compulsory school subject between the ages of 6 and 9, according to a 2012 report from Eurostat, the statistics arm of the European Commission. This varies by country and sometimes within a country, with the German-speaking Community of Belgium – one of the three federal communities of Belgium– starting its 3-year-olds on a foreign language, but parts of the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) waiting until age 11.”(more)