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The Benefits of Learning a Language other than English

Learning another language other than English (LOTE) broadens young growing minds and introduces them to other cultures, traditions and society’s ways of life in general. This experience and understanding is invaluable for students particularly considering Australia’s strong multicultural makeup. Many students learn languages through singing, dancing, craft, books, technology and mainstream teaching methods. Students in lower school years focus on ‘fun’ based learning, while older grades place more emphasis on language, writing, reading, listening and speaking in languages other than English (LOTE).

Have you ever heard of children referred to as “sponges”? That statement couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to a child learning a foreign language.

There are so many advantages:

Better Linguistics

Children’s brains are developmentally ready to accept and learn a foreign language, and fluency comes easily and rapidly. Contrary to popular belief, learning a foreign language doesn’t inhibit the child’s English language proficiency, it enhances and improves it!

Cognitive Benefits of Learning a Language

Research shows students who learn another language also benefit in these ways:

  • better problem solving skills
  • better critical thinking skills
  • more creativity
  • better flexibility of mind
  • enhanced memory
  • better multi-tasking abilities

Academic Achievement

Students who learn another language often demonstrate higher academic achievement. This is due to creative and critical thinking skills and mental flexibility.

Learning a Language increases Cultural Awareness

Learning a language - cherry blossum wall

Learning a foreign language opens doors. Those students who work to become fluent in a second language have access to resources, people, places, and things that the rest of us do not. Not only can a foreign language provide a competitive edge in the workforce, but it creates a deeper understanding of and appreciation for humanity and culture, which enriches one’s life and personal experiences in the world.

As with any learning, supporting, encouraging and perhaps learning alongside your child can enhance these learning opportunities.

This article was published in Issue 19 of our print magazine, December 2016/January 2017.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

1 thought on “The Benefits of Learning a Language other than English”

  1. My brother was looking into Italian language classes to enroll his son into. He wants to make sure that his son would benefit from classes like this. It is nice to know that students who do this are far more likely to excel in academics.


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