Why Your Kids Should All Be Learning A Second Language

 Why Your Kids Should All Be Learning A Second Language

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If you studied language in school, you’ll know just about enough to ask for direction if you get lost or order a meal from a restaurant. But let’s face it: most of us didn’t get a good enough education to allow us to speak the language fluently. That’s a real shame. Research has shown that people who are able to speak another language fluently tend to have more developed communication skills and are more creative thinkers. Researchers think that this has something to do with the way our brains operate on a fundamental level. Different languages create different thought patterns in our minds., When we can think in two languages, we are able to construct different types of thoughts that wouldn’t be possible if we just used one language.

Clearly, therefore, it’s beneficial for kids to learn a second language too. Not only will it help them when they travel, but it’ll also supercharge their learning.

#1: Language Improves Academic Skills

Research from the University of Maine found that learning a second language from an early age reinforces learning in other subjects. For instance, children who were learning another language did better in core subjects, like social studies and even math. According to the researchers, children who spoke a second language consistently outperformed their peers in standardized tests.

#2: Helps With Cultural Awareness

One of the reasons kids go on school tours, besides practicing the language, is to gain a cultural awareness. Learning the language of immigrants can help children better understand that particular community. Language and culture are so bound up together that it’s difficult to learn one and not the other. According to experts, foreign language exposure helps native speakers to incorporate the cultures of others.

Over the next few decades, it’s likely that the US will become more Spanish-speaking are more migrants come from Central and Latin America. Thus, children who are able to speak Spanish will be able to enjoy both cultures side by side.

#3: It Helps With Brain Developments

Not only does learning a second language improve academic skills, but it also helps with brain development. It’s a good idea to get children into learning a second language as early as possible. Currently, most children are only exposed to a second language during their teen years. Many experts are worried that this is actually too late since many of the language patterns in the brain quickly become hardwired as children get older.

According to Bob Hershberger of DePauw University, the areas of the brain associated with language acquisition decline rapidly as the child ages. Children are most open to learning a new language between the ages of two and six. After that, their capacity to take on new linguistic structures is diminished. Once children get to age seven, learning becomes more difficult. Children have to expend conscious effort to learn the topics that they are presented with.

Researchers at the University of Texas have also conducted research investigating the link between bilingualism and the diseases of old age. One of their surprising discoveries was that bilingualism slowed the cognitive decline of the brain in aging. Bilingual brains age less quickly than brains that have only learned one language and are less likely to get Alzheimer’s. Scientists think that the reason for this has to do with the fact that people who have learned two languages have greater “cognitive reserve.” In other words, they’re able to lose more of their brain mass to disease before it impacts on their functioning. In short, having kids learn two languages from a young age could be a way to keep them healthier when they hit retirement.

#4: It Helps Them Understand Of Their Native Language

Kids learn the structure of their own language unconsciously, and never really formalize the rules. But learning a foreign language forces you to formalize the rules since these rules are often radically different. This different perspective is important for kids because it gives them an opportunity to compare and contrast their own language and how it is put together.

Raul Rojas, a specialist language professor at the University of Texas, says that the concern that some parents have that bilingualism will lead to confusion in their children is a myth. There’s no evidence he says that bilingual children get their words mixed up and use the wrong words in the wrong content. In fact, he says, children who only speak one language are more likely to make mistakes in their native tongue than those who speak two.

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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