Advantages of Learning a Second Language
Learning another world language at any age is beneficial, and in today's global society, the ability to speak more than one language is a valuable asset. Research tells us that a second language is best learned before the onset of adolescence and when it is sustained by well-sequenced, well-articulated programs. When children have an early start to a long sequence of language instruction in a carefully designed program that continues through high school and college, they will be able to achieve high levels of fluency.
In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with people from other countries, there are cognitive, academic, and attitudinal benefits for children who acquire another language.
Students who begin the study of another language at an early age seem to manifest cognitive advantages over monolingual children. Bruck, et al. (1974) report that immersion students showed greater cognitive flexibility than other kids. Also, Foster and Reeves (1989) documented that FLES students outperformed the English-only controls in metacognitive processing and in analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Second language learning helps enhance knowledge of English structure and vocabulary (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004). Students who learn a another language score statistically higher on standardized college entrance exams than those who do not. College-bound high school seniors who averaged four or more years of language study outscored other students on the verbal and math sections of the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Second-language learning fosters respect and appreciation for cultural diversity. It also expands children's ability to understand other people and builds tolerance.
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