How Learning a Second Language Can Help Generation Z Change the World
“Generation Z” or “The iGeneration” are children between the ages of “7 and 22” and have grown up with the internet, social media and cell phones. They are realistic and have witnessed some tough times growing up. They are entrepreneurial, concerned with the future of our planet and more accepting of others than any generation in history. Right now, our kids have a greater opportunity to make real positive change around the world, so it’s up to us to get them ready. The earlier we start, the better off they will be.
One way we can help is by teaching them a second language as early as possible. There is a great deal of research on when a child should start learning a second language. In the past, it was thought that the changes that occur in the brain at around four to five-years-old might be the cause in their declining ability to learn language as they grow older; however, a recent study at MIT suggests:
Children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected — up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is nearly impossible for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.
By starting them early, they could be speaking like a native in middle school. Consider how that will help them in other areas of their life.
A recent study by Dr. Thomas Bak — a lecturer at Edinburgh's School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences — shows that young adults proficient in two languages performed better on attention tests and had better concentration than those who spoke only one language. In fact, it helps to improve their memory and thinking skills in general. Bilingual students concentrate better, ignoring distractions more effectively than those who only speak one language.
In a world filled with distractions like cell phones and social media, the ability to focus better is quite valuable. By teaching your child a second language now, you can help them both academically, as well as professionally later.
According to the report: Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market employers increasingly desire workers who speak multiple languages, particularly in industries that provide services involving a high degree of human interaction such as healthcare.
Language allows us to experience other cultures, traditions, religions, art, and history of the people associated with that language. This will help our children better understand people of other cultures on a more personal level, so they can serve those in need on a much deeper level. Whether your bilingual/ multi-lingual child opens their own business, starts a nonprofit, or goes to work for someone else, the value they offer will be greater than that of many monolinguals.
In a recent study published in the International Journal of Bilingualism, they state children who can speak two languages often do better at creative thinking and problem solving.
"Our study has found that it (learning a second language) can have demonstrable benefits, not only in language but in arithmetic, problem solving and enabling children to think creatively. We also assessed the children’s vocabulary, not so much for their knowledge of words as their understanding of them. Again, there was a marked difference in the level of detail and richness in description from the bilingual pupils,"
As our children get older, they have some big issues to work out with regard to world economy, health and climate change. Their language skills will help them communicate better with other cultures and thanks to their improved problem solving skills, come up with solutions we couldn’t even conceive of yet.
Add the experience of Immersion Island’s immersion camps to the mix of tools your child has to help them grow their proficiency today! Register here.