What Are the Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language in School?

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Learning a foreign language while in school can benefit students' math scores, and it can improve communication skills. An obvious benefit to learning a foreign language in school is the ability to communicate with diverse students in their native languages. Learning a second language has also been found to improve the memory. Therefore, it can help students retain knowledge for school work and the real world.

Higher Test Scores

  • One study from 1997 by P.W. Armstrong and J.D. Rogers found that students in the third grade who took foreign language classes scored higher in math and language on standardized tests than students who did not take foreign language classes. Similarly, a 1994 study by C.G. Carr found a positive impact from learning a foreign language. Students had higher language scores in their native language on standardized tests. The process of learning a foreign language, therefore, can help a student have a better understanding of his or her native language, as measured by standardized tests. This benefit will undoubtedly have a positive impact on communication skills in school work.

Improved Focus and Language Skills

  • When school-age children learn a second language, they have an improved mental focus and are not easily sidetracked by outside distractions, according to a study by linguistics at Cornell University. The ability to be able to focus despite distractions will help children maintain focus while studying or in other classes. Children are more likely to learn the language when they are fully immersed in a second language, and it becomes a part of their daily lives. Learning a second language in school allows the children to take the proper language skills they have learned in class and use the language in their real lives. Instead of becoming confused by the new language, school-age children learn skills that enable them to use both their native language and the new language.

Diverse Cultural Experiences

  • Learning a second language can have a positive impact on a person's social life in school and upon graduation. Being able to communicate in multiple languages opens the doors to communicating with a larger variety of students from different cultural backgrounds. People feel more comfortable speaking to others in their native language, and those who learn languages are more likely to have more contact and an influx of learning experiences with people of diverse cultures.

Improved Memory

  • An additional study on second language acquisition has found that learning a second language can help improve a person's memory. A 2003 study published in the "Scandinavian Journal of Psychology" found that children who are bilingual have better memories than children who can speak only one language. This ability can help students retain what they have learned in school and beyond.

References

  • Photo Credit school bus image by Lombok from Fotolia.com
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