Disrupting The Traditional Curriculum:

A Case For Required Foreign Language Education

Heather Ramsay

Dr. Abbey Poffenberger, Dr. Abbey Poffenberger, Associate Professor of Spanish, Chair- Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities

This thesis analyzes the importance of students having access to foreign language education at a younger age. When K-12 and college level administrations determine their budges after state or national cuts, foreign language programs, classes, and the arts are often the first programs to be cut. These cuts are often a result of misinformed ideas of the lack of need for these programs. Scientists and educational experts argue that foreign language education is beneficial for anyone, especially children, when their brains are beginning to develop. Learning foreign languages proves to boost brain power by enhancing critical thinking, multi-tasking abilities, improving memory, enhanced decision making, and increased observance of one’s surroundings.

Foreign language education also has positive effects on students later in life. By having knowledge of another language, students have a broader worldview and tend to have more open-minded perspectives of other cultures. This open outlook and further understanding better prepares students to work in a globalized economy, leading to higher success and increased career possibilities. For public schools and educational institutions there is not a standard national requirement to teach foreign languages to students. Different states, education levels and schools have their own standards of what languages are “important and necessary” to teach children, if they teach them at all. Some schools deny teaching foreign languages altogether due to budget cuts, lack of staff needed, or that languages are not as high of a priority to the school compared to other subjects when preparing for standardized testing. The principle goal of this thesis project is to explain the impact and social outcomes of foreign language education, and why this education is educationally and financially valuable to educators and their institutions.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-8-2019


Abbey Poffenberger

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities