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:
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
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 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.