Why Languages?

Find why we are learning languages and benefits of learning languages ...

Communication

First and foremost, learning a language enables students to interact with others. They learn and practise how to organise their ideas, to select the appropriate words and tone, to look and listen to the response and to express their ideas and feelings. The communicative approach to teaching Languages ensures that meaningful communication such as asking for, getting and giving directions is the focus of classroom learning. Teachers also use the target language as much as possible, to give students the maximum opportunity to hear the language used in everyday communication.

Better Understanding of Your Own Language

Learning a Languages encourages and enables students to look more objectively at English as a system of language. As they begin to see the patterns and rules that operate in their Languages, students look for patterns and rules in English grammar, spelling and usage. In Languages classes students learn grammar concepts and terms such as tenses, subject-verb agreement, nouns, verbs and adjectives so that they can understand the system of language, whether it is the Languages or English. Students become more confident about dealing with unfamiliar words and develop improved word awareness and word attack skills in both English and the Languages as they practise applying spelling and grammar rules. Almost always a student's English will improve as a result of studying a Languages.

Through Languages, students practise reading comprehension skills such as skimming and scanning to locate specific meaning and using contextual clues such as headings, graphs and illustrations to predict content. The dictionary skills practised in Languages classes are also directly applicable in English and foster an appreciation of the need for accuracy.

Social Development

Language programs emphases social interactions such as introducing friends, explaining likes and dislikes and making arrangements for an outing. Languages learning activities therefore often involve students working with a partner or in small groups. Students learn and practise relationship skills like taking turns, asking for and giving assistance, negotiation and conflict resolution while they are learning their Languages.

Seeing the World from a Different Point of View

Students use language as a tool to learn about the world and learning a second language is like upgrading and extending their collection of tools. Students are given opportunities to experience other areas of the curriculum such as reading, mathematics, health, science, society and environment and technology with a new set of language terms and so improve or consolidate their understandings.

Learning About Other Cultures

Students learning a language other than English also learn about the culture embedded in that language. Different behaviours when greeting people, expressing gratitude and extending an invitation, for example, are integral to successful communication, as many business people will attest. Students who learn about another culture are more likely to value other ways of thinking and behaving and are developing their imagination, sensitivity and understanding.

Self Esteem

Success breeds success. Many parents and teachers have witnessed improvements in both students' attitudes and achievement in all areas when they have begun learning Languages. The change is felt to result from the students' interest in Languages learning programs which emphasise group interaction and and lots of oral work, especially at the primary level, and careful planning for step-by-step success. Students are also often excited by the opportunity to succeed in something new and different which makes them feel special. Positive attitudes such as these lead students to engage more in the learning process, leading to improved achievement.

Enjoyment and Enrichment

Modern methods of teaching languages recommend a range of activities, including role-plays, games, songs, interactive technologies and stories that engage students in using the language. The focus is on each student's progress with a range of levels of achievement and challenge evident in each class. For students this is a vibrant, supportive and stimulating learning environment developed from their interests and focussing on individual success.

Developing Skills for the Future

Learning Languages promotes effective learning across all subject areas by providing students with the skills to analyse and use language better. These literacy skills are a key to understanding any subject, and they develop no matter which language is studied. Students learn to experiment with different ways of thinking and expressing their thoughts, and they are more likely to try a variety of solutions when solving problems.

In addition, the skills of learning a language other than English last a lifetime and can be applied to any other language children may decide to learn to help their career, to interact socially with family and friends, to facilitate travel or just for fun.

Enhanced Vocational Prospects

Businesses in any field associated with international trade, including tourism and import / export, require employees with knowledge of the languages and cultures of their customers. There is also a trend in the world today towards the development of regional international trading blocs needing communication in different languages. Students leaving school can expect to have 6 - 10 job changes in their lifetimes. Employers are interested in recruits who can demonstrate positive attitudes and work ethics that include team working skills, tolerance, awareness of cultural values and practices, planning and initiative, all of which are developed in studies of languages.

A knowledge of language and culture is specifically relevant to these fields: customer service, media, secretarial, childcare, teaching, sales, banking, police, travel, health, defence, diplomatic services, finance and foreign exchange, customs and excise, hospitality, transport.

Languages is about:

  • Seeing the world from a different point of view
  • Communicating
  • Learning about other cultures
  • Better understanding of English
  • Social justice
  • Developing a skill for the future
  • Enhanced vocational prospects
  • Life long learning
  • Intellectual development
  • Social development
  • Enjoyment and Enrichment
  • Self-esteem

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