The benefits of learning a foreign language at a young age
How many of you consider not learning a foreign language, or ditching French after your GSCE, a mistake?
Many we'd guess, and many who would encourage their child to pursue this at school.
There are actually a number of benefits to developing fluency in a second language:
It makes them smarter
Learning a foreign language is a great way to improve their cognitive function.
Bilingual children are better able to grasp the English language as they come to the terms with the grammar of a foreign language.
A study by Illinois State University found students who study foreign languages tend to score better on standardised tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of maths, reading, and vocabulary.
They are better at problem solving and multitasking as they can comprehend different language structures and easily switch between the two, and they have stronger memory's as have more language rules and intricacies to remember when communicating, and more information and associations to retain and recall.
It broadens their horizons
When learning a foreign language, you don't simply learn about vocabulary, you also learn about the country's culture and society. Your child will have a greater appreciation for the world we live in and a more educated international outlook. Also, being able to communicate in the native language whilst abroad will be a real moment of pride and a great confidence boost.
It's a way to challenge a gifted child
Learning a foreign language is a great extra-curricular activity to challenge a gifted child. It will keep their minds stimulated and focused, and ensures that they remain enthusiastic and continue to enjoy the learning process.
It enhances their skillset
Looking to the long term, the ability to speak a foreign language is a great skill to boast on their CV. It is particularly attractive to employers in multinational companies, who are looking for individuals capable of embracing additional responsibilities.
A child's brain is better at absorbing and retaining new information; so in general terms, the younger you are, the easier you will find it to learn a new language. However, the good thing is, people who begin language study in their adult lives can still achieve the same levels of fluency as a young learner, and can still reap the same benefits.
So what are you waiting for? Why not make learning a foreign language a family affair!