How important is it to teach kids a second language?

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A second language is extremely impressive!

A second language is extremely impressive! I’m always blown away when I meet someone who speaks multiple languages fluently, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s necessary. Especially as we become more technologically advanced, there’s always an app for whatever language you’re hoping to communicate in. Google can translate anything. Personally, I don’t think teaching my kids a second language is necessary at all unless it’s just to satisfy the people who think Americans are egocentric for choosing not to learn one.

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One Response to A second language is extremely impressive!

  1. Laura says:

    As a former second language teacher (taught French for the last five years), I so strongly disagree with this. I found it beyond impressive, because I found there’s research that supports the fact that learning second (and more) languages actually bolsters your ability to function in your first. Therefore, the kids who were doing really well in French were taking those skills and applying them to English. I didn’t just see it in theory, either… I saw it in practice. My kids who were really grasping French… they took the language structures and skills they learned with me, and came running to me when something they learned in French helped them nail something in English. In an age, especially, where grammar and the ability to write and communicate in writing well have flown out the window for many kids in that age range, I think it’s really impressive to be able to successfully communicate in not one but two languages. But it’s more than impressive… it’s incredibly beneficial.

    It also gives them an edge in job markets. Maybe that’s different in Canada, where French is another official language, and hiring deference will be given to those who have excellent control of both languages, but I don’t think the principle of the idea would be that different in a global market.

    And finally (this feels like a mini-essay! sorry!), in my own personal experience… the more languages you speak, the easier the next is to learn. I had a pretty solid grasp of English in high school and took French from Grade four onward. I went to France in Grade 10 for three months on an exchange, and returned fluent in it. I went to University for French, and in the process took Spanish (which was SO easy being already fluent in French), as well as Latin which ended up being my highest University grade and impacted my ability to function in English, French, and Spanish like nothing I’d done before. Latin explained WHY all three other languages function the way they do.

    So while I agree that it’s impressive, I’d also argue that it’s necessary. It’s absolutely a personal choice from parent to parent, and I respect that fully… but I know my kids will speak at least two if I’ve got anything to say about it :)

    Thanks for making me think!!

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