With French being taught in most UK primary schools, children are able to develop useful skills through learning a language. With Spanish, Latin and German tending to make an appearance in secondary school and Prince George now learning Chinese Mandarin, we give you some of the fundamental things that kids learn when taking on language subjects.
The process of learning a language comes with essential memory skills to learn a list of vocabulary and verbs. To be successful, it is something that has to be learned, memorized and re-produced.
By children being required to memorize, they are able to transfer these skills to other subjects, especially when remembering definitions, dates and equations, essential for subjects such as history and science.
Appreciation of Culture
An interesting point about learning French or Spanish is that children start to learn and appreciate culture such as foreign food, music, geography, landmarks and people. Students get the opportunity to participate in language exchange programmes and go on school trips to Paris and Strasbourg, allowing them to spark up friendships and broaden their horizons.
Languages are one of the few subjects that require an oral examination, forcing children to go out of their comfort zone at a desk and showcase their communication skills in front of a teacher or classroom. Even the shyest and quietest of pupils have to demonstrate their speaking skills when studying a language.
In addition, the role of speaking a language out loud with a limited vocabulary causes pupils to think on their feet and find ways of explaining things when they have limited information.
A successful language pupil cannot succeed without listening. Several studies have shown that a language cannot be mastered fluently without listening to it or the help of a teacher. Students learn to listen to their teacher, recordings and their peers and this is a vital skill which can be used across other disciplines.
Your children can make the most of their holidays to Europe by speaking to hotel staff and waiters. It is a cheeky way to make holidays also educational and being abroad allows you to pick up words from street signs, radio and TV channels. A great way to engage your children when abroad is encouraging them to find out directions or order meals – taking the classroom into practice and these are skills that can be used for life.
For some useful language resources, see BBC Bitesize.