Benefits of Second Language Learning
The Impact of Second Language Education study shows the benefits of learning a second language are much broader than simply the ability to speak in another language. It reports on research that affirms the importance of second language education on intellectual potential, scholastic achievement, first language skills, citizenship and the economy.
The research conclusions in each area are as follows:
- Students fluent in two language score higher in both verbal and non-verbal intelligence.
- Students studying a second language are superior in divergent thinking tasks and in memory ability and attention span.
- Second language students have higher test scores in reading, language and mathematics.
- Each additional year of second language training created a greater positive differential compared to students not receiving a second language.
Effect on First Language
- Second language education significantly strengthens first language skills in areas of reading, English vocabulary, grammar and communication skills.
- The earlier the start, the greater the positive effect on the first language.
- Students studying a second language have superior cross-cultural skills and adapt better to varying cultural contexts.
- Students studying a second language display greater cultural sensitivity.
- There is an urgent requirement for qualified speakers of languages other than English in areas of science, technology, medicine and global commerce.