Learning foreign language earlier in life stimulates brain growth

Kaete Schmidt

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Many people take a foreign language class for at least two years in high school. But, it is not very common to hear of people learning a foreign language in middle school or even elementary school. After just two years of a foreign language or even four, it is very rare that a student will be able to speak that language fluently for the rest of their life. Although, this may seem like it is not that big of a deal, it can actually affect students a lot in the long run.

According to nmu.edu in a survey sent to all 50 states and the District of Columbia in which 48 states responded, only 14.7 percent of middle school students are enrolled in foreign language courses. Only 5 percent of elementary students in 24 responding states receive foreign language instruction. This is just one survey that displays the lack of foreign language instruction at earlier years of schooling.

Would learning a foreign language earlier than high school be beneficial?

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The American Psychological Association states that students’ brains develop the most in elementary and middle school, so they would be able to retain more knowledge learned at a younger age. Students speak English fluently because they were born into an environment full of English-speakers. Not many students can say they remember learning English because they were just born into it, that is why they know how to speak it so fluently. Children are like sponges, they absorb everything that is happening around them and everything children are learning. If teachers started teaching foreign languages during this critical time of brain development, students are more likely to remember it and be able to speak the language fluently after some time.

Learning a foreign language at a younger age has many benefits. According to frontiersacademy.org, some of the benefits include better problem solving skills, improved critical thinking skills, more creativity, better flexibility of mind, enhanced memory, and greater multitasking abilities. These are all things that are very helpful in schooling and in the workforce. Not only do those skills help students now, but they will continue to help them for the rest of their life. The benefits of learning a foreign language at a younger age are all great skills to have.

Along with getting all of the great benefits, students also receive higher test scores and are all around more intelligent than most students who did not receive a world language