Benefits of teaching foreign languages in the modern world

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Foreign languages

The whole world is globally connected today. There are around 195 countries in the world with different cultures and languages. Each country may have many distinct languages spoken in its regions. There are a total of 6909 languages registered by Ethnologue. To survive and grow in this highly dynamic world, communication through languages takes the top position, which is why it is important that schools consider implementing language development classes.

Foreign languages (FL) in the modern world

Multilingualism is the trend today. Learning a foreign language along with a native language is an asset. It helps in making actual connections with people and broadens the horizons that students can explore.

In comparison to the past, borders are becoming increasingly blurred, and the majority of work, including learning, is now done virtually. It is always an added feather to any student’s career or educational choices. Starting to learn new languages as a student is more advisable as one can become a pro at it. Some of the most common languages are German, French, Spanish, Japanese, or any Indian languages too, etc

How can students learn foreign languages?

Teaching foreign languages should be made a part of the school curriculum. Students should be engaged in effective professional development programs of world languages. Teachers should be experts and should maintain relevance in the FL classrooms. 

Students can be exposed to and encouraged to take up online foreign language learning courses too. Parents should be informed that this not only leads to cognitive and academic benefits but career benefits as well. By getting to know the culture, one can speed up the task of learning a new language. Teachers can also consider traveling with students to accelerate their language learning.

Also Read: How teachers can use the best tools and resources available to create a modern classroom?

Benefits of teaching foreign languages to students and their importance in the modern world:

1. Helps find better connection and community

Learning a foreign language opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Students can develop a sense of belonging and acceptance in a new community as their efforts get encouraged and appreciated.

2. Helps in advancing career and educational opportunities

Students who know multiple languages have a better chance of getting jobs in standard organizations. Job prospects are better for students who know the regional language of the city in which the organization is situated. Students who prefer international institutions for further education will benefit if they know it’s regional language. 

3. Lets brain stay fresh when working with new words

Learning a new language exposes one to lots of new words. This makes the brain work more towards excellence. In addition to this, cognitive functioning improves and so does memory. Also, a student develops skills like multitasking, problem-solving, and creativity. It is known that in the long run diseases like Alzheimer’s can also be prevented.    

4. Helps become a better decision maker

We tend to get biased and maybe emotional when we think in a native language. However, when we think in a foreign language, the bias is removed. Decisions are more rational and thought out. Students thus get to navigate more rationally.

5. Helps gain diverse perspectives

With learning a new language one can draw positive and negative comparisons with one’s own native language and culture. One gains diverse experiences and can become more open to dynamic and new experiences.

6. Helps boost confidence

Often being in a new place, with a new language and new people can create a hostile feeling. Confidence seems to fade away. Having learnt the language, students will be able to grasp things correctly and thus be confident.

7. Helps enhance creativity

With a new language learning, students start to think out of the box to understand various concepts. They start developing interdisciplinary creative ideas.

8. Enhances mental ability

Students begin to absorb information better and grasp concepts more easily after learning a new language. A language’s structure, pules, and various complexities help in the improvement of cognitive mental abilities.

9. Improves learning performance in academics

Higher cognitive skills developed while learning a new language can help improve academic performance. According to studies by ACTFL, children score better in math than those who are equipped with an additional foreign language compared to the ones that are monolingual. 

10. Helps develop curiosity

Curiosity stimulates thinking skills in students. They get curious and begin to co-relate and identify concepts in all languages they know. It thus helps break learning barriers.

Disadvantages of learning a foreign language:

It is impossible to believe that learning a new language has disadvantages also. But 

  • The cost might be high
  • Learning a new language may be difficult
  • Learning a new language might be useless if never used
  • The ease of expression of thoughts, feelings, etc, might be challenging
  • Students might end up in confusion if they get exposed to many languages at a time including their native language
  • Stress while learning a new language because it is a long journey, and students may at times lose motivation and interest
  • A new language may not be necessary if English is known. Most countries do speak and follow English

Teaching language provides students the opportunity to excel in important areas of both the targeted content of their syllabus as well as the additional skills they need to develop in higher education and the workforce. Even if the language classes are challenging or deviate from the main objective in school, one should understand that results are amazing in both personal as well as professional lives. 

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