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Should Schools Encourage Students to Learn a Second Language?

One of the most important reasons for a child to attend school is to prepare for life as an adult. Every school subject has a specific purpose- history class shows us where we came from, while science class shows us where we are going. Language classes are also very important, as they give children the means with which to communicate effectively. While every country teaches their native language in school, we must consider the advantages of teaching a second- or even third- language as well. Teaching more than one language in school gives children more opportunities, improves their cognitive abilities, and creates a future where language barriers are a rarity.

According to studies done by Cornell University, knowing more than one language improves cognitive functions and helps with attention problems. In a world where ADD seems to be becoming epidemic, anything that can improve a child’s attention span is a good thing. While some think that learning two languages at once may be hard for a child, the Cornell study actually says the opposite. Children can easily learn a second language at the same time they learn the first, as long as they are immersed in said languages, and will become fluent much faster if they learn a second language at a young age. Plus, after a bilingual child breezes through school, his or her mastery of multiple languages will serve them in the corporate world, as well.

In the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, America experienced a crippling recession, and many Americans found themselves out of work. Those who were desperately trying to find a job were searching for any angle that would put them above the competition, and according to careerbuilder.com, being bilingual was- and still is- a huge plus.  Many American employers see a bilingual candidate as a valuable asset, especially with a rapidly growing Latin American population in the States.

School is all about preparation, and it is easy to see how learning more than one language can help make life a bit easier for children and young adults. From strengthening the mind to improving career opportunities, there has never been a better time to learn a second language. While many schools offer courses in additional languages, and some even require them, learning a second language should still be encouraged more in school. With many advantages and no downside, students could greatly benefit from their school teaching more than one language.

 

 

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