A thorough foreign language course offers more to a student than just noun and verb memorization exercises. A successful course teaches a student about the culture of the country where the language is spoken. For instance, a teenager who is learning to speak French should learn about the history of France, its traditions, people, literature, and even its cuisine. By taking a foreign language, a person learns about a place and its people as well as the language spoken there.
The creative thinking skills of students are sharpened when they learn a second language. A student in a foreign language class is seeing and hearing a lot of unfamiliar words. Consequently, he or she must use creative thinking skills to put together sentences using unfamiliar vocabulary words. Foreign language students also improve their thinking skills by comparing the words they are learning with words of their native language. Research findings on learning a second language show that people who learn a foreign language have more developed thinking skills than those who don’t. In short, people who are learning a second language use their thinking skills to make themselves understood in the new language, improving all aspects of their thinking abilities.
Studies show that students who take a second language perform better on standardized tests compared to students who don’t take a foreign language. In fact, there have been many more studies on the benefits of students learning a second language (PDF) than one might think. Furthermore, when a student takes a foreign language he or she garners a wider knowledge of the history belonging to different parts of the world. The problem solving skills as well as the creative thinking skills developed in a second language course carry over to a student’s other academic work.
In today’s globalized business world, it is completely possible that a person working for a company would be required to travel the world to conduct business with people in different countries. Consequently, an employee with knowledge of a second language adds to his or her value in the workplace. For instance, an employee who learns Spanish may be called upon by his or her boss to attend a business meeting to discuss a project with a native Spanish speaker. If the project is successful, the employee may receive a promotion to a new position in the company. It’s been shown that knowing a second language can open opportunities in the workplace.
Learning a second language takes patience and persistence. After all, listening to a flow of unfamiliar sounds and words can be very daunting for a student. Most second language courses start with simple vocabulary and move on to more challenging material in a gradual way. Naturally, a student who finds success in learning vocabulary, forming sentences, and pronouncing words feels a sense of accomplishment. Once a student has a good grasp on the vocabulary of a second language, he or she will likely possess the confidence to tackle another language. The knowledge of the words and sounds in one foreign language can make learning another language a smoother process.