Bilingual students shouldn’t have to take a language class

Being a notably diverse school, many WJ students speak two, if not more, languages.
Language classes are quite good for our cultural understanding and ability to communicate with the rest of the world. This is the reason students are required to earn at least ywo language credits before they graduate. While this is excellent for many students, bilingual students may not benefit from these classes. In order for Bilingual students to get their language credits out of the way, they tend to take a class they are already fluent in, preventing them from learning about other cultures and groups of people. This also degrades the confidence of the non-native speakers in the class, causing them to raise their hands less.
One of the most important aspects of language classes is learning about how people of different cultures eat, interact with each other and live their lives. This helps our understanding of these cultures, which is important to strive for diversity, a goal that MCPS holds. Learning new languages also helps with cognitive development.
But because a lot of students take language classes they are already fluent in, this severely limits the benefits these students reap. Large numbers of students who speak a language are already familiar with the culture that speaks it. This means that they don’t get a chance to learn about new groups of people. Instead, they end up taking a class that just repeats information that they already are well versed in.
Language classes, especially with common languages like Spanish, tend to be filled with native speakers. While this does give students a chance to speak with people who can already speak the language, it also can deter them from doing work and answering questions. When surrounded by people who are quite frankly much better than themselves, it’s easy for students to feel like they are bad at the subject, damaging their confidence and preventing them from taking risks. This also makes them likely to allow fluent speakers to carry them in group projects, making less of an opportunity to learn and practice.
If bilingual students didn’t have to take a class where they already mastered the subject, that would leave more room in their schedule for other classes that they need to take. Having more options to spread out classes through high school would be an excellent way to convince students to partake in more AP and advanced classes. All students should definitely have the option to take a language class to help them gain more cultural understanding about the people around them, but requiring bilingual students just makes them want to get it over with an easy A, and does not actually encourage them to learn something new.