Spanish -- Worth Learning?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2005
Spanish -- Worth Learning?
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 1:31pm

How do I convince my strong-willed teen that Spanish is worth learning? His attitude towards this language is so bad! He has straight As in his other subjects, but just brought home an F! in Spanish! He just doesn't want to try. And we have 9 more months of school to go! He can't drop out because he's already taken Spanish II (struggled through), and needs two consecutive years of a language. There are no other languages to transfer into now. The grade is ruining his GPA. He's smart, so I think if he just put his mind to it, he'd succeed.

I think because of all the negative news of illegal immigrants and border crossing, he's associated Spanish with this problem and has made up his mind that he doesn't want to deal with any of it. If I could make him see that he may need Spanish in a future job (he says he won't) or just to get along in life, as the Spanish-speaking population is really growing, he might change his attitude and make an effort. But everything I say just fades away. How can I motivate this otherwise bright Honor Roll student??? Thank you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 2:05pm

As someone who majored in Romance Languages in college (Italian & Spanish) I just thought languages were fun--I also took French in elementary school (Catholic) and 2 yrs of Latin. And now I work in a law firm where everyone speaks Chinese & this doesn't help me at all! I don't think you can convince him that he will actually "need" this because most likely he won't. One approach is that he just has to take certain courses and he will inevitably have to take classes that he is not really interested in, but it's not an excuse to slack off. My DS was talking last night about how much he likes Chemistry and I was looking at him like "you're kidding, right? That was my least favorite class in high school." Plus it is not going to impress a college that although he did well in every other subject, he still failed that class. Won't he be required to pass it in order to graduate? I have a funny story on that one, though--in my h.s. you had to take 3 yrs of the same language to graduate & one of my friends just could not do it--he transferred out senior year to go to a Catholic high, graduated & became a doctor! So it's not like he was dumb--I do believe that learning foreign languages comes more easily to some people than others.

Is there some way you could think of making it fun? I was talking about taking my DS to Montreal if he took French. Could you say that you could go to Mexico, Puerto Rico or some other Spanish speaking country? I know that's a big bribe. But I used to get Italian magazines from the library to practice. Now they have things like People in Spanish which would be more fun to read than the text book.

Oh yeah, another story--can you tell I'm bored at work? My DD went on a cruise after h.s. graduation w/ a friend's family & one of the stops was Puerto Rico. I asked her if she was able to use any of her high school Spanish. She said yes, in the bar there was a sign that you weren't allowed to bring the beer outside. I told her the teachers would be so proud.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 2:19pm


In our schools, we are required to take a number of years of French instruction. Last year when I was homeschooling my DS, to help him with his French work, I got hold of episodes of Simpsons, Family Guy, and other shows he likes, in French.

I wonder if the OP could find her DS's favourite shows in Spanish? Most DVD versions of shows offer several language selections. I'm sure that she could find some in Spanish. She should check her local library in their AV department. The best ones are those that offer not only dialogue in a foreign language but also (simultaneous) subtitles in that same foreign language.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2006
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 3:05pm
Oh My Goodness! What an excellent idea!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2006
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 3:07pm
I don't know if you will be able to convince him it's worth learning, if he isn't interested, but he may need it to graduate, and that makes it worth doing well in.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 3:16pm

Does he NEED that class to graduate (per state requirements)?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2005
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 5:58pm

From my experience the kids who struggled through Spanish 2, really hard a hard time with Spanish 3 and many of them barely passed the course.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 9:09pm

You may not be able to motivate your ads. One poster gave great advice on finding his favorite shows/magazines in Spanish and yes this is very possible. If

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 11:00pm

I'm guessing it has less to do with his truely thinking it's useless and more to do with his frustration at it being difficult for him. I SO commiserate. I was a stellar student until French came along. I just have no talent for foriegn languages. Even when I studied, I barely

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 11:27pm
If he wants to know how important Spanish is, just check Craig's list for how many jobs require Bilingual-Spanish--or Farsi, Mandarin Chinese, or Polish. Kids in EVERY European country, even the old Soviet bloc countries, learn their native language, English, AND a 3rd language--mandatory. "Ugly American" --and it hasn't changed a bit since 1958.
Avatar for ribrit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2001
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 11:15pm
It is not worth learning. Let him pick what he wants to learn and go with it. What makes Spanish so supreme? I live in Texas and have met more people fluent in Finnish, Russian, French, and Chinese than Spanish. People keep saying Spanish, but when you get down to it and ask them when they have needed Spanish, they have not.