Promoting Plurilingualism throughout Language Classrooms in East Asia

Countries in East Asia have not always enjoyed positive internal relations; there have been many historical problems and territorial disputes. However, it is possible for such problems to be solved, as evidenced by the European Union. It has succeeded in establishing a peaceful community. For centuries, the countries had been engaged in wars that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of young men. The main reasons for these wars included territorial disputes, religious clashes, and historical conflicts. In an attempt to avoid future wars, they concluded that understanding and communication across the countries had been limited. Therefore, they provide their young people with frequent opportunities to interact with each other. One related policy is plurilingualism, which requires a student to study two languages other than one’s own mother tongue.

To establish and maintain good relationships, I suggest plurilingualism be promoted throughout language classrooms in East Asia. While one of the foreign language choices will be English, students should explore other languages as well. Choosing a European language would be valuable, of course; but students should be encouraged to learn an Asian language in order to better communicate with people in their neighboring countries. Such a policy would allow people to more easily interact with one another, which would in turn yield intercultural understanding, eliminate prejudice, and nurture a shared interest among the people of East Asia.