Renee Sang

Learning languages at an earlier age allows students to develop their language skills more efficiently.

Sameeha Rashid, Reporter

Society influences students to learn a commonly spoken language and be content with that. Foreign languages are usually taught to students during their high school years, which is too late for them to fully grasp it and many don’t feel like learning another language will benefit them in the future. What they don’t realize is that bilingualism offers academic, economic and futuristic advantages.

Communication is a necessity for people to feel connected with one another while engaging with the rest of society. Knowing another language allows individuals to find different ways to express themselves and their thoughts and ideas.

English teacher Theran Goodale says, “Although English is an important language to know, it is equally imperative for students to know another language. There are many jobs that pay more to people who speak another language besides English.”

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages states that languages allow students to score higher on standardized tests because of the diverse ways bilingual students are able to comprehend information. They also have conducted studies using students who know more than one language and students who only know English and found that early language learning improves cognitive thinking abilities.

Head Start, a program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, concludes that bilingual adults in society have more job opportunities and earn an additional $7000 per year than their monolingual counterparts. Learning another language allows the person to be able to communicate with another person who might not be comfortable with speaking English.

Spanish teacher Marta Irlinger says, “Knowing a second language will open doors in your professional career and widen your opportunities to find a job and keep a job. You will also be able to communicate with people that you never thought you could and understand other cultures within this country and outside of it.  It will expand your horizons and make you aware of the world out there.  Knowing a second language may be the most effective tool you will ever acquire to communicate in a global economy and community. As I said before, it will help you find a better job, to move up  in a company, and to keep a job.”

Over time, the bilingual brains become more active and flexible, allowing the student to use those skills in other areas of their lives. Their memory will also improve and they will be able to learn more languages.

In order to acquire these benefits, students have to be taught another language from an earlier age. Children’s brains develop and grow at a rapid pace, allowing them to attain a lot of information. High school is when the majority of students are first exposed to a foreign language, because it is required for graduation. However, it will be too late for students to completely understand and remember the language that’s taught to them.

Students should be encouraged to look beyond the economic advantages of speaking a commonly spoken language and learn a second language to benefit their future.