Learning a foreign language

During my college-going years, one of my close friends was interested in learning the French language. That time (I am talking about twenty years ago!), there were hardly any institutes or tutors who offered a foreign language course. There were no smartphones, internet or online courses either. Somehow, she managed to find a French lady in the city and persuaded her to teach her the language.

The gist of the story is that there would be no such struggles today for someone who wants to learn any foreign language. Fortunately, there are plenty of learning resources available nowadays.

Usually, people learn a foreign language only when they move abroad and knowledge of local language becomes necessary or when their job demands it. Somehow, a majority of parents don’t encourage foreign language learning as a hobby or life skill in their children. Let’s find out the reasons why you should enrol your child in a foreign language course.

  • Children are More Open to Learning Than Adults

Have you ever noticed how Indian kids easily pick up at least two languages – their mother tongue and second language most spoken in their school, neighbourhood or state? That’s because children’s mind is more receptive to learning new words, sounds and pronunciations. Moreover, unlike adults, children don’t have any hang-ups about making mistakes or rectifying them.

Foreign language learning comes easily to children with sufficient training and practice. It also forms a strong foundation for advanced or professional courses in the same or other foreign languages for the future. They develop an ear for languages.

  • Develops Cognitive Skills

There is an increasing focus on cognitive skill development of children these days. That’s because cognitive skills boost their ability to analyse and solve problems, think rationally, pay attention, process things faster and make informed decisions.

So, when your child becomes bilingual or multilingual, it positively influences their left hemisphere of the brain which is associated with cognitive development. Your child can learn and recall things quickly, develop critical thinking and manage multitasking.

  • Enhances Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity

A foreign language course also introduces your child to that country’s people, social habits, food, beliefs, customs, values, art and music and various other aspects of its culture. It allows the child to develop sensitivity and tolerance towards cultural differences. It also gives them a global perspective at a younger age. Moreover, your children will feel also confident to adjust and blend in the culture new country as and when they go there.

  • Provides an Edge for Higher Studies and Career

When your child applies for admission in foreign universities or moves abroad for studies or job, the knowledge of the language of that country can be an added advantage. Many universities and employers prefer people who can speak their language proficiently. Even Indian companies running their operations abroad or foreign companies established in India look for multilingual candidates. Your child can explore careers as a translator, interpreter, foreign language trainer, writer/blogger, diplomatic service professional, public relations manager, etc in foreign languages.

As you can understand, foreign language knowledge can have multiple benefits for your child’s development and future.

The right age to enrol in your child in a foreign language course would be around 6-7 years. This gives the child sufficient time to achieve fluency in that language.

You can discover online and offline foreign language classes on Kidwise here.

About Smita Omar

Smita is an ex banker who voluntary said adiós to a high flying career to explore the rocky yet beautiful terrain of motherhood. When she is not busy juggling between her naughty daughter and foodie husband, you can find her donning the hat of a freelance content developer-editor to keep her sanity intact. She has been a Work-From-Home-Mother for 8 years and turns to meditation when the going gets tough.

  1. Sujal Bhatt 3 years ago

    I think learning a foreign language should be a fun activity for kids. I started watching some German language basic tutorials with my kid and within no time, we picked up some German words. It’s fun if you take it as fun.

  2. Prashant Thorat 3 years ago

    I feel there is no harm in exposing kids to new languages, whether regional or foreign at an young age. Kids tend to pick up different languages easily. My neighbour’s kid can speak/write/read Marathi, Hindi and English fluently. She speaks Marathi at home, has Hindi-speaking friends and studies all these subjects in schools. Adding a foreign language in this mix wouldn’t be a bad idea per say, provided the kid is interested.

    • Author
      Smita Omar 3 years ago

      So is the case of my daughter whose friends are well-conversant with 3-4 languages.

  3. Avikal Bhatt 3 years ago

    While I completely agree that every kid must know a foreign language, my point of worry is that today’s kids struggle with vernacular language. Let them learn their local language first and then a foreign language.

    • Author
      Smita Omar 3 years ago

      Yes Avikal. I feel that kids must know their mother tongue. As far as the debate between vernacular or foreign language is concerned, it really depends on what the kid should learn. For instance, if parents are planning to relocate abroad, it would make more sense for the kid to learn the language of that country. If the parents are staying in India, it would make more sense for the kid to learn the language of that state.

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