Why and Why not
James Bond or Agent 007 – famed for his cunning stratagems, brilliant stunts, and sex appeal –still remains as one of the biggest stars even after 22 movie portrayals, with five actors playing the lead role. The character was brought to life by the famous journalist, Ian Fleming, an intelligence officer for the MI6, a British Secret Intelligence Service. Part of his job was to mingle with various people of different races and of different languages (Last n.
p). This is not a role played by Agent 007 alone; rather, this is a role played by many other intelligence officers working for agencies across the globe.
Intelligence officers are people with highest levels of personal integrity and professionalism. Resilience, self-motivation, and the determination to achieve results are also part of their credo. They have excellent interpersonal and liaison skills. They are confident and able to interact with people from different races (Intelligence Officers n. p). Thus, the question as to how learning a foreign language may serve to the benefit or detrimental of intelligence officers is at hand. There are a number of reasons which point that learning a foreign language may be advantageous for intelligence officers.
Although it is considered a common misconception that intelligence officers are required to learn or know a foreign language, it may be considered helpful if it were true (Intelligence Officers n. p). As their jobs involve intermingling with people of various races, which generally also speak in a different language, learning the language of the country or the person they are to interact with may make render communication smoother and much easier. There will also be less room for misunderstanding or a possibility for miscommunication. This may ease the investigation process and may make the job almost effortless (Putatunda n. ).
A second advantage in learning a foreign language is that one can easily get the trust of a person from another race through their familiarity of language. In the case of intelligence officers, whose jobs involve having the ability to effectively interact with people of diverse cultures, a second language may be a great tool to gain people’s faith, especially if it is understood by the population that the officer will be working with. With the knowledge of their language, intelligence officers become more trustworthy in the eyes of the people who are under involved in certain cases or scenarios (De Bleu n. ). In addition, recent studies show that people who study a foreign language have higher scores in verbal standardized tests conducted in their primary language. There is also more willingness and ability to learn a third language, as well as an increase in their sense of identity while being sensitive to other cultures. This points that learning a foreign language may help intelligence officers learn another foreign language and culture easier. At the same time, it may also sharpen their skills in their own primary language.
This may increase not only their intellectual capabilities but may also allow them to become more confident and capable, which is another benefit that is obtained from learning a foreign language (De Bleu n. p). Relative to an increase in the understanding of their own primary language, it has also been discovered that learning a foreign language helps in comprehending how language influences the shaping of thought patterns. Through learning another language, intelligence officers may become familiar to other cultures’ ways of expressing their ideas, and concepts.
This may prove helpful as there is a probability that another cultures’ thought patterns are better than one’s own (Putatunda n. p). Another advantage of learning a foreign language is that it may give a feeling of security to intelligence officers. Security may result to better self-perspective and confidence. Being the main tool for communication, an intelligence officer equipped with the language necessary for the job, may invoke an assurance of job well done that may help build confidence and trust that anything is possible.
This may make intermingling easier and smoother as there may be no room for nervousness and anxiety (De Bleu n. p). In accordance to the given bases, it may be said that learning a foreign language may have numerous advantages for intelligence officers. However, as other things that may be required for a job, it also has drawbacks. One of them is that it may not be easy for adults to learn a new language (Cohen n. p). Learning a new language involve activities that may be considered as mentally exhausting. The activities include memorization of new vocabularies, grammatical form or syntax.
It also requires rehearsal or practice to sharpen the skills and to obtain the confidence to utilize what has been learned (Cohen n. p). For children who are just in the process of honing their primary language, inserting a new knowledge, such as a foreign language may be an easy job with the right strategies and proper guidance. However, with adults who have used their primary language for almost all their lives, acquiring a new knowledge that involves mentally-exhausting activities may be difficult, even with the right strategies.
As such, requiring intelligence officers who are already adults may prove to be a disadvantage as it may consume a lot of effort and time both on the part of the officer and agency that he or she may be working for (Cohen n. p). In relation to the age, it has been found that learning a foreign language can sometimes become difficult, frustrating, and boring even to children who are interested to learn. This is a problem faced by parents who push their kids into learning another language other that his or her primary language.
It becomes a waste of money and effort because any form of disinterest in the subject results to non-absorption of the things being taught (Andrews n. p) In the case of adults being pushed by employers to study, it may be considered a bigger problem as adults have more tendencies to get bored on things that should have been done when they were younger. As such, it may become disadvantageous for agencies to have their intelligence officers learn a foreign language (Andrews n. p).
Another disadvantage of requiring intelligence officers to learn a foreign language is that it may become very expensive especially if it will be shouldered by the officers themselves. Since learning a new language may take time for adults, this also means it will eat up more sessions or classes and more classes means more payment. As long as the student is having a hard time absorbing the language being thought, the classes will continue leading to a need for more money to sustain the learning process (Cohen n. p).
Even if learning a foreign language may be done on one’s own to prevent a great loss of money, there are still studies that show that trying to learn it on your own leave little room for improvement since there is no one available to answer queries that may arise in mind during the process. Also, it may consume more time as there is a possibility of losing self-discipline and motivation (Andrews n. p). Given the above information, it may then be concluded that requiring intelligence officers to learn a foreign language has both advantages and disadvantages that may be taken into consideration by agencies.
One of its advantages is that it may make the jobs of intelligence officers easier as it enhances communication skills, interpersonal relations, and sensitivity to other cultures. It also increases intellectual capacity, and confidence resulting to better and reliable agents. However, there are also existing disadvantages that may make agencies think before requiring their officers to learn another language. There is the factor concerning the capacity of the officers to acquire new information with regard to the foreign language they are required to learn.
Given that not all intelligence officers are fast learners, requiring an adult officer to learn a foreign language may involve consumption of great amounts of money, either from the agency or from the officers themselves. It may also require more time and effort that both parties may not be able to provide. As such, these should be taken into account and carefully contemplated before completely requiring intelligence officers to learn a foreign language.