OUR VIEW: LEARNING LANGUAGES

The benefits of being bilingual

Cedar Post Staff

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In order to graduate from an Idaho public high school a student must have at least two humanities credits.

The humanities department at SHS includes fine arts and foreign language courses, meaning that as long as a student takes two semesters of fine arts they can graduate without taking a single semester of a foreign language.

Various studies conducted by Harvard University show that learning foreign languages increases critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility in the minds of young children.

The same study also showed that students who learn a foreign language outscore their peers who don’t study a foreign language in verbal and reading standardised tests.

Almost all of the skills that learning a foreign language requires are likely to build a student’s problem solving ability.

Many students, especially those who would most benefit from learning foreign languages, may steer away from them, so it’s sensible to make taking a foreign language class a requirement.

The more obligated students are to learn a foreign language, the faster they will learn it.

Taking a foreign language can be scary, but every other student is scared too, so there’s no need to worry about having to speak in front of your peers or be nervous about learning a language. Some students will pick up the language faster, but that’s the same with every subject.

Students should start learning languages at a younger age, like in the upper grades of elementary school and middle school. At a young age, children have time to play and learn through games. Language lessons should be more informal in elementary school.

Elementary and middle school students don’t yet have all the responsibilities that high school students do and would have more time to study a language.

The benefits of being bilingual reach far beyond the classroom. Children who learn about languages and culture often develop empathy and a strong curiosity about different cultures and ideas.

The fact is that there are no real downsides to learning a foreign language, so everyone should try.

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