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Why should we learn a second language? 10 reasons! The younger, the better? A growing mind can pick up languages quickly, which is why it is an excellent idea to teach children different languages when they are young. It’s never too early for your child to begin learning one - or several - foreign languages. By teaching your child a foreign language from a young age, you provide an opportunity to develop powerful cognitive benefits that will help them to succeed not only academically, but in their future careers. 1.You can speak to more people At the end of the day, isn’t this why most people learn a second language? When you can speak to people in their own language you deepen connections and understanding. Learn a foreign language as a child and you have a lifetime to benefit from cross-cultural friendships, broader career opportunities, exciting travel adventures and deeper insights into how others see the world. 2. It grows kids’ brains Studies have shown that people who are bilingual are better at tasks that require multi-tasking and attention focusing than monolinguals. Brain scans show they have more gray matter in the regions of their brain that are involved in executive function. The hypothesis is that the effort to constantly choose the right language at the right time provides a “mental gymnastics” for bilinguals which gives them extra practice in focusing their attention. 3. demonstrate cognitive advantages There are also many benefits that children can reap when they learn a second language. A number of research studies have shown that children who have learned a second language at a young age demonstrate cognitive advantages, such as increased problem-solving skills and creativity. Children also develop an interest in and curiosity about different cultures and ideas when they have a foundation in other languages. This makes them more comfortable growing up in our increasingly global society, where languages and cultures intersect every day. 4. Building and keeping cultural connections Some of us are lucky enough to have a relative from the old country who still speaks their mother tongue frequently. To be able to communicate with them in that “foreign” language builds a bridge—not only to that person, but to the heritage and history they represent. To maintain that connection keeps memories, stories and traditions alive—and brings to life new memories, stories and traditions as well. 5. .Higher test scores Numerous reports have proven that students who have studied a foreign language perform much better than their monolingual peers on many standardized tests. In fact, the 2007 College Bound Seniors report (US), issued by the College Board, which administers the SAT, vividly demonstrates the significant benefits of studying a foreign language. The report shows that students with 4 or more years of foreign language study score on average 140 points higher (out of 800) than students with half a year or less experience on the Critical Reading section, and almost another 140 in the Math section and over 150 points higher on Writing. 6. Greater confidence Children are always discovering new things, but learning a new language is a uniquely rewarding experience—at any age. For children, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with their first steps toward a second language can spur them on to a deeper and broader passion for learning in general. And because children are at a special “window of opportunity” in which language learning is intuitive and natural, the ease and pleasure of the experience may boost their confidence and their desire for new discoveries. 7. Bigger view of the world Traveling abroad is an experience which can benefit anyone, offering not just new sites to see, but new frames of mind and new perspectives. But going abroad and feeling comfortable in the language of your destination means you’re doing more than just traveling—going from your home to another place, and then back home. You can feel as if you’re a part of the culture and the life of this new world, as if you aren’t a total stranger just visiting. Like reading a poem in another tongue you know, you will hear more than just the language—you will hear the music behind it as well, and the life. 8. Learning a second language prepares children to be expert problem solvers Children who learn a second language grow up to be expert problem-solvers and creative thinkers. Their brains experience a constant workout from a young age as they try to sort out which language to speak and when. Researchers have found that in addition to enhanced problem-solving skills, bilingual children are better at planning, conentrating, and multi-tasking. And, they score higher on standardized tests. By teaching your child a second language at a young age, you are setting them up for success. 9. It boosts empathy Dr. Katherine Kinzler, at Cornell University, tested monolingual and bilingual children on a task which required them to consider someone else’s perspective to understand her meaning. Children in bilingual environments performed better than monolingual children. As Dr. Kinzler explains, “children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: they have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken.” 10. Create a casual learning environment The best way for a child to learn to understand a new language is to hear it being spoken regularly. Find television shows, books, CDs, restaurants, and other means of exposing your child to the second language on a regular, frequent basis. Visit a community where the language is spoken. Learning Arabic online Learning a second language is easier as a child The younger, the better? When kids are still babies, their mind is being constructed and structured every day in order to understand the stimulus that they get from the world around them. Experts say that children who learn a language before their teenage years are more likely than older learners to achieve native-like pronunciation. Furthermore, research has found that kids have an innate ability to acquire the rules of any language - an ability that disappears by adulthood. One of the main benefits of learning a second language at an early age is that children learn languages faster and easier. They have more time to learn, less to learn, fewer inhibitions, and a brain designed for language learning. In short, teaching your child a second language at an early age saves them from having to learn a second language as an adult. It’s never too early to begin learning a language: it’s fun, it promotes healthy development, and the many cognitive and social benefits will last a lifetime.