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Why learn another language?
Transcript of Why learn another language?
"He who does not know
does not know anything
about his own.”
…improves your grasp of English.
…enhances your confidence.
…gives you a wider understanding of world affairs.
…widens your career / job options.
…improves international relations.
…makes traveling easier and more enjoyable.
…connects the world and promotes peace.
…helps you make friends in new countries.
…shows you are open minded and tolerant.
…boosts brain power.
Graduates in modern languages are sought after by employers not merely for their linguistic skills, but for the intellectual training which their course has provided. Linguists are trained to think structurally, they write essays which give them good practice in thinking clearly and in presenting focused arguments. Many language courses involve working cooperatively in groups and making formal presentations to an audience.. just the sort of teamwork and presentational skills which employers tell us they are looking for
King, A., Thomas, G. (1999) The Guide to Languages and Careers (London: CILT)
Additionally, foreign language learning is much more a cognitive problem solving activity than a linguistic activity, overall. Studies have shown repeatedly that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind in young children. Students who are learning a foreign language out-score their non-foreign language learning peers in the verbal and, surprisingly to some, the math sections of standardized tests. This relationship between foreign language study and increased mathematical skill development, particularly in the area of problem solving, points once again to the fact that second language learning is more of a cognitive than linguistic activity.
A 2007 study in Harwich, Massachusetts, showed that students who studied a foreign language in an articulated sequence outperformed their non-foreign language learning peers on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test after two-three years and significantly outperformed them after seven-eight years on all MCAS subtests.
From Duke University:
Panetta said K-12 educators need to focus on not just the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic but a fourth “R.”
“And that ‘R’ stands for reality, the reality of the world that we live in,” Panetta said. “This country cannot simply expect the rest of the world to speak English. We must be multilingual.”
“It is vital to our economic interests,” Panetta added. “It is vital to our diplomacy. It is vital to our national security to use the language of the people that we engage throughout the world.”
From Leon Panetta:
former US Secretary of Defense