There are few neighborhoods today that do not serve as homes to people of different national backgrounds. Although Americans are all taught English as a primary language, in many areas, learning a second language is helpful both in everyday communication and on the job. In fact, many companies hire staff with Spanish language skills to assist their Spanish-speaking customers.
Although your average public school offers foreign language as an elective, the benefits of second language education truly do merit making the education a mandatory part of school curriculum.
The earlier one learns a language, the more likely the person will remember those language skills. There are many benefits to learning a second language at an early age, at a time when the neural connections are forming in the brain. Children as young as two years old can begin learning foreign language skills and successful retain that learning because their brains are developing connections and testing those connections to build long lasting bonds. When people learn a language at this age, attaining fluency is easier.
There are other long term benefits of learning the language early on; children tend to improve their cognitive skills and reasoning abilities. This helps them succeed in other classes and increases their chances for progressing to college.
Parents will find that most schools offer Spanish as a second language throughout the United States; however, other foreign language availability, such as German or Italian, tends to vary according to the neighborhood population.
Immersion is a far more effective approach to teaching a second language than the typical public school approach to learning where the teacher and students can fall back on speaking English. Immersion learning submerses the child in the foreign language through dialogue, games, music, art, and other activities to help the child associate the language with enjoyable activities. This technique is more effective and lets the child learn the language faster.
If the child is interested in mastering the language, study abroad offers an effective way to experience the immersive language learning following either learning method. When the student is compelled to speak the foreign language throughout the day, he or she will quickly integrate a larger vocabulary, better pronunciation, and faster comprehension skills.
Language skills can be lost if not used. Finding a way to continue the learning or ongoing communication following the education will help the user retain fluency and comprehension. Cable television shows are readily available to help keep language skills sharp. Online communities also offer the opportunity for correspondence to hone language usage skills.
The course of a person’s foreign language education can take many different directions, but when it begins early in life, learning is easier and longer lasting. If you’re interested in advancing your child’s foreign language skills, enrolling him or her in an immersion class will give your child an educational edge in foreign language learning and in other school curricula throughout their lifetimes. These classes are available both online and in person throughout the year and offered as summer camp.