According to The Telegraph, there is a UK-wide shortage of kids who want to learn a second language, but learning a language can give a child far more benefits than meets the eye.
Many people think post-secondary school education is the most important factor in determining how successful one will be in the future. While it certainly is important, it is the grades we achieve at a younger age that set a student up for success. And there is one especially critical thing many of our children are missing … a second language.
There are several great reasons to involve kids in languages early – here are few of those reasons:
Learning a language can increase intelligence
Ok, this is a big statement, but it does have a small element of truth! People who are very good at languages have been shown generally to have a high level of intelligence. The reasons for this are up for debate – it could be down to academically talented individuals simply having an aptitude for languages, it could be down to physiology and brain size, who knows. One thing’s for certain though, there are numerous benefits to learning a second language, and barely any major negatives that we can spot.
Good language skills make a university education easier
When the kids go off to college and university, they will (unfortunately) have to use their academic skills once more be this via report writing, team work, mathematics…there’s no getting away from this however much one despises sitting in a classroom! When a child is very good at languages however, they are likely to be very effective at using these academic skills and applying them once they get to this level of higher education. An affinity with words and language can equate to strong problem solving, creative writing or spoken presentation skills to name but a few – as mentioned above, the benefits don’t end with being able to order a meal on your annual holiday abroad…
Additionally, there’s no denying that a good University grade in a struggling economy can help when it comes to employment and that all important first job. Headhunters love good grades…and good communication skills. Learning and being competent in a second language provides you with both.
Language skills can enhance ones social life
In addition to the rather more obvious academic benefits, having good language skills can prove a good thing when it comes to a child/teenagers social life too. Learning and communicating in another language will no doubt build confidence – something so key to a child’s all round development and something that not many other academic subjects teach. And don’t forget also the considerably wider circle of friends one can obtain by speaking another language – you’ve got a whole other population to choose from!
These are just a few of the benefits language skills can bring to a child, but there are many more. For example we haven’t discussed the opportunity for international travel in the business world that bilingual speakers have.
Is there a child in your life that could benefit from learning a language? The good news is there are many opportunities and avenues for that to happen. In addition to quality school programs, both public and private — my own child is now enrolled in Kumon – there are language-specific schools as well.
Whichever route you choose, your loved one is sure to benefit.