Learning languages at school can have so many benefits. Our brains are much better designed to learn languages before we reach puberty, so really, the sooner the better! Not only does it help your child become more aware of other cultures and societies, but it can have a positive knock-on effect on their learning in general as well as opening up doors for careers in the future.
Whether your child is already bilingual or a total beginner, here are our top reasons why learning languages at school is a great idea for your child or teenager:
Learning languages is easier the younger you are
When we are young, the language centres of our brains are still developing. This is why it is so much easier for children to learn a second language than it is for adults. Basically, kids' brains are like sponges - they're specifically designed to pick up new information and store it unconsciously. Sort of like how we adults unconsciously memorise things like song lyrics. Babies are experts at telling the difference between different sounds in their language. They narrow it down as they grow depending on which sounds they find most useful.
According to various studies, the best age to learn a new language is before the age of ten. Younger children are much better able to imitate the exact sounds of different languages. On the other hand, adults will have a harder time learning a new language without speaking it in a foreign accent. Check out this interesting article to learn more about why younger children are better language-learners.
It promotes cultural awareness
One of the best things learning languages at school prepares you for is the ability to communicate and connect with people from different countries. This opens up doors to travel later in life, and fully immerse themselves in new environments. It's much easier to form positive relationships with people from different countries when you can communicate with them on their level.
Language pupils at school are often taught about the culture of that country, as well as the language itself. This gives your child the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of different cultures, and the way different people live their lives. Understandably, these are super important social skills to learn at a young age. Learning languages helps foster empathy, tolerance and a more inclusive, multi-cultural mind-set.
It can improve their learning overall
Studies have shown that bilingual brains get a constant workout. This is because they are constantly thinking and sorting through two different languages, rather than one. While that may sound like it would give your child a hard time, it actually makes them better problem-solvers as a result. Read this article from the New York Times on the benefits of language learning for cognitive skills. It can also help protect against age-related mental impairment in future.
Because of its ability to boost brain function, learning languages at school can be good news for your child's overall academic performance. Planning, concentration, multi-tasking and problem-solving are all skills that are improved with learning languages. Not to mention it boosts creative-thinking too!
It sets them up for brighter career prospects
In our modern, globalised world, speaking more than one language is definitely a major plus. No matter what job your child ends up in, speaking another language will make them a valuable asset. Almost any field of work benefits from bilingual employees - from teaching, translation and interpretation to law, medicine, science and business.
The problem-solving, creative, planning and concentration skills that go hand-in-hand with bilingualism are also a huge benefit when it comes to career prospects. Not only will your child be able to communicate across borders, but they'll have in-built transferrable skills to put to good use in the workplace.
Learn a new language online
At My Online Schooling, we offer variety of languages from Key-Stage 2 right up to A-Levels. Pupils can study any or all of the languages we offer. They also have the opportunity to achieve accredited International GCSE and A-Level qualifications towards the end of their schooling with us. Learn more about the My Online Schooling curriculum we provide in our online lessons across each key-stage.