The benefits of learning a foreign language…

The world is becoming smaller due to countries connecting through technology, information and transport. The borders have become almost non-existent. People, more than ever before, are inter-connected socially, technologically and commercially. They have become Global Citizens.

At Crawford Preparatory North Coast, we are in the fortunate position of offering three languages as a Second Additional Language, namely Afrikaans, Zulu and French. Crawford is also investigating the possibility of introducing Mandarin into the high school curriculum in the near future.

So, what are the benefits of learning a second or third language at school?

Speaking more than one language is a great asset to the cognitive process:

  • You become smarter. It challenges the brain to recognise, negotiate meaning and communicate. These skills boost the brain in other problem-solving areas as well.
  • By permanently switching between various systems of speech and writing, multilingual people become skilled at multi-tasking.
  • Learning a foreign language improves your memory. The brain is like a muscle that needs exercise in order to grow. By memorising vocabulary and understanding grammar, the brain becomes stronger.
  • The brain becomes used to editing words for specific languages. Therefore, the brain is able to rule out irrelevant general information.
  • It improves confidence and public speaking ability.
  • Studies show that benefits of learning a new language include higher scores in standardised exams in maths, reading comprehension and vocabulary by multilingual students, compared to those of monolingual students.
  • Opens a doorway to new cultures. The mind becomes receptive to new ideas and accepting of new cultures, religions and races. It opens a world of new ideas and the student is able to adapt more easily to new situations and change.

Crawford Schools develops each pupil individually and holistically, using a good value system. Ultimately, all the above-mentioned points will expand our pupils’ career potential through developing their skills, to become more flexible and open-minded, adept at decision-making and communicating, able to take risks and cross cultural barriers. Pupils will become more inquisitive and curious global citizens.

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Article by: Angela Johnston (Deputy Principal Crawford Preparatory North Coast)