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4 Advantages of Learning a Second Language at School

Are you considering enrolling your child in a second language program at school? Discover the top 4 advantages of learning a second language at school

Zorita Sormann
Education Analyst

It is a pity that most Australian children are monolingual. In Australia, many think that speaking any language other than English is unnecessary because our language is used internationally in commerce, science, medicine, and even the arts.

Whilst this is true, there are many advantages to understanding other languages. In an increasingly globalised, competitive and unpredictable world, future career prospects are enhanced by being multilingual. There are also multiple personal benefits.

Here are four advantages of learning a second language at school:

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions.

It is the easiest time to learn a new language

Research has shown that the critical learning period for a child’s brain is between birth and ten years of age. Younger brains are more flexible, and their learning receptors find it easier to absorb new combinations of sounds than older brains with established first language comprehension.

At this young stage, learning a new language can be instinctive, like learning to walk. Babies as young as six months can detect a switch in language and show no evidence of confusion. In other words, they are attuned to language rhythms.

Children access insight into different cultures

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions. An added benefit is communicating with extended family and different generations who may not be fluent in English.

It also becomes possible to better appreciate music, literature, and films in different languages.

A French patisserie, beside a cafe with a sign in the Dutch language reading 'Koffie', in the city of Amsterdam.

It can help cement comprehension of English

A second language enhances a child’s comprehension of their first language because language patterns become observable. Communication and self-expression skills are enhanced, as well as cognitive capacity and multi-tasking abilities.

Requiring the brain to identify the language it is receiving, switch between languages, and actively think about how to communicate generates better focus and aids in remembering appropriate information. It also becomes easier to learn new vocabulary and improve comprehension in their first language.

Three traditional Chinese lanterns hang above the street in Melbourne's Chinatown

Young brains receive a boost

The developing brain can be compared to our muscles when we work out regularly. When tasked with the extra effort of deciphering more than one language, the brain is forced to work harder, which appears to build strength, speed and efficiency.

The prefrontal cortex and the cognitive muscles are strengthened through this hard work. The command centre of the brain also gains strength. These changes assist the brain's ability to plan, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks.

Wrapping up

Research has shown that there is a gradual decline in language learning abilities with age. However, it's never too late to learn new things.

It is a pity that most Australian children are monolingual. In Australia, many think that speaking any language other than English is unnecessary because our language is used internationally in commerce, science, medicine, and even the arts.

Whilst this is true, there are many advantages to understanding other languages. In an increasingly globalised, competitive and unpredictable world, future career prospects are enhanced by being multilingual. There are also multiple personal benefits.

Here are four advantages of learning a second language at school:

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3 bilingual signs in a Spanish airport terminal, written in both Spanish and English

It is the easiest time to learn a new language

Research has shown that the critical learning period for a child’s brain is between birth and ten years of age. Younger brains are more flexible, and their learning receptors find it easier to absorb new combinations of sounds than older brains with established first language comprehension.

At this young stage, learning a new language can be instinctive, like learning to walk. Babies as young as six months can detect a switch in language and show no evidence of confusion. In other words, they are attuned to language rhythms.

Children access insight into different cultures

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions. An added benefit is communicating with extended family and different generations who may not be fluent in English.

It also becomes possible to better appreciate music, literature, and films in different languages.

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions.

A French patisserie, beside a cafe with a sign in the Dutch language reading 'Koffie', in the city of Amsterdam.

It can help cement comprehension of English

A second language enhances a child’s comprehension of their first language because language patterns become observable. Communication and self-expression skills are enhanced, as well as cognitive capacity and multi-tasking abilities.

Requiring the brain to identify the language it is receiving, switch between languages, and actively think about how to communicate generates better focus and aids in remembering appropriate information. It also becomes easier to learn new vocabulary and improve comprehension in their first language.

Three traditional Chinese lanterns hang above the street in Melbourne's Chinatown

Young brains receive a boost

The developing brain can be compared to our muscles when we work out regularly. When tasked with the extra effort of deciphering more than one language, the brain is forced to work harder, which appears to build strength, speed and efficiency.

The prefrontal cortex and the cognitive muscles are strengthened through this hard work. The command centre of the brain also gains strength. These changes assist the brain's ability to plan, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks.

Wrapping up

Research has shown that there is a gradual decline in language learning abilities with age. However, it's never too late to learn new things.

It is a pity that most Australian children are monolingual. In Australia, many think that speaking any language other than English is unnecessary because our language is used internationally in commerce, science, medicine, and even the arts.

Whilst this is true, there are many advantages to understanding other languages. In an increasingly globalised, competitive and unpredictable world, future career prospects are enhanced by being multilingual. There are also multiple personal benefits.

Here are four advantages of learning a second language at school:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions.

It is the easiest time to learn a new language

Research has shown that the critical learning period for a child’s brain is between birth and ten years of age. Younger brains are more flexible, and their learning receptors find it easier to absorb new combinations of sounds than older brains with established first language comprehension.

At this young stage, learning a new language can be instinctive, like learning to walk. Babies as young as six months can detect a switch in language and show no evidence of confusion. In other words, they are attuned to language rhythms.

Children access insight into different cultures

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions. An added benefit is communicating with extended family and different generations who may not be fluent in English.

It also becomes possible to better appreciate music, literature, and films in different languages.

Wrapping up

Research has shown that there is a gradual decline in language learning abilities with age. However, it's never too late to learn new things.

It is a pity that most Australian children are monolingual. In Australia, many think that speaking any language other than English is unnecessary because our language is used internationally in commerce, science, medicine, and even the arts.

Whilst this is true, there are many advantages to understanding other languages. In an increasingly globalised, competitive and unpredictable world, future career prospects are enhanced by being multilingual. There are also multiple personal benefits.

Here are four advantages of learning a second language at school:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions.

It is the easiest time to learn a new language

Research has shown that the critical learning period for a child’s brain is between birth and ten years of age. Younger brains are more flexible, and their learning receptors find it easier to absorb new combinations of sounds than older brains with established first language comprehension.

At this young stage, learning a new language can be instinctive, like learning to walk. Babies as young as six months can detect a switch in language and show no evidence of confusion. In other words, they are attuned to language rhythms.

Children access insight into different cultures

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development in understanding the beliefs of others and the ability to access and express emotions. An added benefit is communicating with extended family and different generations who may not be fluent in English.

It also becomes possible to better appreciate music, literature, and films in different languages.

Wrapping up

Research has shown that there is a gradual decline in language learning abilities with age. However, it's never too late to learn new things.

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